If I had to characterize the second day I would say it was a reminder of how critical people are to the success of retail and again, like the first day, the ever expanding role of decision science in the industry. Few other industries are as dependent on person-to-person interactions as retail is and hiring the right employees and listening to them so they are empowered to help customers is a critical, on-going need.

The keynote that kicked off the day was from General Colin Powell. General Powell spoke of his experience as a store associate in a toy store in New York growing up and how the Jewish man who owned the store took him under his wing and instilled the value of hard work in him at an early age. General Powell encouraged retailers to continue to invest in their community and in the underprivileged to ensure a brighter future for the next generation.

Store Associates
Store Associates Are Your Most Valuable Asset

Sticking with the people theme, a company out of Toronto called Tulip Retail demonstrated their store associate app platform to help empower the frontline and enhance the value they can deliver. As we mentioned in a blog post earlier this week, the store associate is the single most important point of contact for a consumer at retail and, given low pay and high turnover, customer satisfaction with associate interactions is low. Tulip’s app for in-store interactions enables representatives to have access to the entire product catalog, not just what’s on the floor, and enables the integration of the client’s wish list, allows associates to schedule client appointments, take notes and more. The solution is backed through a relationship with Box’s content management platform.

On the analytics side, companies like Revionics, FirstInsight, and APT spoke about pricing, merchandising strategies, and

Why New Products Fail
Why New Products Fail

A|B testing using data science to boost revenue and profit. There’s still a fair amount of Moneyball-like behavior that panelists spoke about regarding their experiences getting management to buy-in to data driven approaches. That said, retailers like The Limited, ToysRUs and Rebecca Minkoff are clearly leveraging data science techniques to create better outcomes for their customers and the business as a whole. Solutions like the one brought by FirstInsight enable retailers to better understand the likelihood of success for new products through test and learn strategies that help in the roll-out of product out that’s less likely to be marked down.

Visit us again tomorrow for our overview of Day 3. Thanks for stopping by.

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