The Journey Back to Retail: The Top 5 Takeaways from HypeHour #1
The BDSmktg experts behind The HypeHive recently launched “HypeHour” – a biweekly livestream event to discuss relevant topics, answer difficult questions, and brainstorm creative solutions for today’s biggest retail challenges. The first HypeHour virtual event took place on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 and featured four key industry experts:
- Sean Ludick – Industry-renowned global channel marketing expert and former Microsoft Executive
- Jonathan Margolis – SVP of Experiential at BDSmktg
- Andrew Catapano – SVP of Digital Strategy & Marketing at BDSmktg
- Kelly Campbell – Senior Marketing Manager at BDSmktg
You can watch the livestream video for yourself, or you can read the detailed transcription below! Either way, here are the top 5 takeaways from our first HypeHour event, “The Journey Back to Retail”
1) Consumer Spending Is Influenced by the News
More now than ever before, consumer spending habits are heavily influenced by what people are hearing, seeing, and consuming on the news, and it shows in the numbers. The U.S. is experiencing the highest rate of unemployment in decades, exceeding 30 million; the 2020 GDP forecast is at -6.2% in Q2; consumer confidence has plunged to 27%, the lowest it’s been in six years; and only 4% of consumers will feel comfortable shopping in a mall within the next month. Not only is news a driving factor of consumer spending, but so is social media. Consumers feel pressured by what friends and family members are doing and sharing online, and they often act in the same way.
2) “Know Before You Go” Will Be Required
Hygiene transparency will become the “new normal” moving forward. Consumers will need to “know before they go” that a store has been cleaned and is properly maintained according to CDC standards, and that its displays are wiped down and sanitized regularly. That information should be disseminated via weekly newsletters and even sticker “seals of safety” on a storefront’s window. The need to feel safe, secure, and sanitary will also continue to drive demand for delivery services, no-touch shopping experiences, and contactless payment options, in addition to virtual sales assistance. The more retailers can cut down on crowds and human-to-human contact, the more comfortable shoppers will feel in-store.
3) Consumers Demand Socially Responsible Brands
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected humanity to its core, and consumers are beginning to demand some level of social responsibility from the brands, companies, and stores they shop from. In fact, 33% of people say they will not shop from a brand or store that is not “doing the right thing” during the pandemic. On that note, what brands are doing right NOW will inevitably influence purchase decisions down the road, so it’s best to take action early and often. To avoid a boycott situation, brands and companies need to respond well to the COVID-19 crisis by treating their employees well, protecting consumers appropriately, and avoiding cliché, insincere messaging.
4) In-Person Experiences Will Look Different
No matter what happens after COVID-19, consumers will always appreciate the opportunity to touch, try, and even taste products before they buy them, which is what makes brick-and-mortar retail so popular and irreplaceable. Although online shopping is on the rise, digital doesn’t allow for the same multisensory experience. To safely engage consumers in the future, retailers will need to take a hard look at how they approach in-person experiences in a socially distant world. From one-direction aisles to “six feet apart” markers and even glass partitions, retailers will need to quickly pivot their plans and change the way they’ve always done things.
5) Brick-And-Mortar Retail Isn’t Going Anywhere
It may not seem like it right now, but life WILL slowly return to normal. Although we cannot 100% predict the future, Americans are resilient, and we are optimists by nature. However, the fate of brick-and-mortar will ultimately depend on each individual retailer, and how they react to the current situation. To survive and thrive through COVID-19, they’ll need to pivot and adapt quickly, and be responsible in their approach. Brick-and-mortar retail isn’t going to go anywhere, but it will look a different. Instead of fighting that inevitable change, retailers need to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, welcome the challenges, and innovate accordingly.
We hope you enjoyed HypeHour #1! Be sure to tune in for more virtual events from The HypeHive powered by BDS. You can pre-register for the next one here..
HypeHour #1: The Journey Back to Retail, Video Transcription
BDS Marketing presents The HypeHour. Hosted by Andrew Catapano and Kelly Campbell. Featuring guests Sean Ludick and Johnathan Margolis. Today’s topic, the journey back to retail. Let’s get started. Here are your hosts.
Andrew Catapano: (00:59)
Hi, everybody and welcome. We are happy you’ve joined us today as we stream live from the hive. Powered by BDS Marketing. I am your host, Andrew Catapano, SVP of Marketing and Digital Strategies at BDS, and with me today is my co-host, social media maven, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, extraordinaire, Senior Marketing Manager at BDS and quite possibly the most positive person on the face of God’s green earth, Ms. Kelly Campbell. Hello, Kelly. How are you?
Kelly Campbell: (01:35)
I’m well. Welcome. We are so excited to have everybody today. So excited to be here.
Andrew Catapano: (01:40)
Surprise, surprise. Kelly’s excited. Kelly, listen, let’s just start off quite simply. You absolutely are one of the most positive people I have ever met. I mean, you’re always smiling. I love the shiplap background that’s not even a faked background image. It’s like you broadcast from a Pottery Barn, for heaven’s sake. Beautiful, positive, how do you do it? I mean, in this day and age of social distancing and lack of human connections, tell us how you stay so positive.
Kelly Campbell: (02:11)
Well, the shiplap definitely keeps me company while we’re at home. I know we’re all streaming live from home today, which we’re also very excited to be able to do in this day and age. I think one of my biggest things about staying positive through all of this is just finding one really great win throughout your day, making a note of that, and just pulling out all the good wins throughout the day. Just one thing. That’s all you need to stay positive throughout the day.
Andrew Catapano: (02:37)
Love it. All right, listen, what is the HypeHive? What is the HypeHour and why are we wearing hats and why are we here? I promise you all those questions and more will be answered, but let’s start off, what is the HypeHive?
Andrew Catapano: (02:56)
It is a set of digital-first transformative video powered solutions, one of which is live streaming, brought to you exclusively by the great BDS. We are happy to bring them. Kelly and I are working on the amazing team that has powered the HypeHive, has brought it into existence, and we are so excited to talk about those video-first strategies, but not today. Today, we are talking about the journey back to retail as part of the HypeHour, which hopefully, ambitious as this seems, we’re going to try to get on regularly and talk about some of these innovative new strategies brought to you by the HypeHive where we can come on, talk to industry experts, talk about what is hot in retail strategies right now, how we’re pivoting, how we’re looking at things through the different lens of brands, and retailers, and agency life. That’s all the great stuff that HypeHive will be about and more importantly, the HypeHour, which we’re trying to do once a month, but we will have another episode in two weeks where we will dive deeper into the video-first strategies that really did birth the entire HypeHive.
Andrew Catapano: (04:07)
We’re here to educate. We’re here to inform. We’re here to share knowledge, product experiences, and I am proud to show you the start of the studio here in Columbus. We have three live streaming studios that are interconnected and as soon as we all get back to work and back in the office we’ll be proud to present the three interconnected studios in Columbus, Ohio and Irving, California, which Kelly will be in charge of, and then the lovely Johnathan Margolis in New York, New York. Isn’t that right, Kelly? We’re excited about all that.
Kelly Campbell: (04:40)
Yeah. We’re so excited. So excited to be launching.
Andrew Catapano: (04:45)
And today we are using our live stream to talk about the journey back to retail and as our customers return back to the stores, the new normal. Kelly, we’ve got some exciting guests to kick off this series. I’m really happy to have them. Tell me a little bit about the guests that are going to be on the show today.
Kelly Campbell: (05:03)
Yeah, we’re so excited. We have Sean Ludick here today. We also have Johnathan Margolis. Sean is a seasoned executive with a proven track record of building successful go-to-market teams and end-to-end omnichannel sales and marketing infrastructures and solutions. He’s actually a board member of BDS and was most recently an executive at Microsoft, so today we’re really excited to get his perspective on the journey back to retail and what that can mean for brands and retailers today.
Kelly Campbell: (05:34)
Then Johnathan, he’s the SVP of Experiential at BDS and he leads our experiential division based in New York City. He was an early pioneer of experiential marketing in that space and has over 20 years of experience in non-traditional marketing tactics. He actually co-authored the book, Guerrilla Marketing for Dummies, so we actually have a book author here today.
Andrew Catapano: (06:00)
Fantastic. Kelly, before we jump in and you’re going to tell us about the rules of engagement on The HypeHour, you on the TikTok? I know you’re the social media maven here at BDS. I have to tell you, my wife got me into the TikTok challenge or something. We were doing where you climb over the individual. The partner has to climb in and out and see if they can get a … Two things happened as a result of that, Kelly. One thing my wife said immediately, “Take a shower.” The second things was, “I bought two knee braces off of Amazon.” That’s how that challenge … So, unfortunately, that’s what happened to me. But tell us a little bit about the rules of engagement here on this social stream and what the audience can expect.
Kelly Campbell: (06:42)
Well, we’re not doing a TikTok challenge here, thankfully, so that’s good.
Andrew Catapano: (06:45)
Kelly Campbell: (06:47)
But one way that you can actually be a part of the conversation if you’re listening in and watching today, you can actually join our roundtable too if you would like, so go ahead, comment in the feed. If you have questions or you just want to know something, put in the comments. We’d be happy to answer it towards the end of the stream. If you have to leave HypeHour for some reason to finish with the rest of your day or, really, just get your real happy hour on, don’t worry because we’re going to be following up with this stream at a later point, so you won’t miss a thing.
Andrew Catapano: (07:19)
Kelly Campbell: (07:20)
I think that’s it for our rules and our setup, right?
Andrew Catapano: (07:25)
Let’s dive right in, Kelly. Thank you. We’ll see you back at the end of the show.
Kelly Campbell: (07:27)
All right. Sounds good.
Andrew Catapano: (07:33)
All right. We’ve got our first guest, Sean Ludick. Sean, before we start and I give you the first question, just to set the frame of reference for everybody on this show, we know that states are starting to open back up. Right? We know that over the next 90 days or whatever as we start to look at this journey back to retail customers will see a lot of different kind of buying behaviors or even behaviors as they re-approach their brands and retailers that they love, whether it be cautiousness, whether it be optimism, whether it be ready to engage. I think a lot of people who are listening to this and maybe everybody listening to this right now, they want to know what retail strategies will win, how, and why, right? That’s really why we’re here today.
Andrew Catapano: (08:21)
I think that when we talk about that, I think what’s really important and these buzzwords we’ve heard is, “What is this new normal?” Right? What should they expect as we go through these … this next journey, this opening of retail and the journey back to it, this set of new normal? But we’ve heard a lot about this new normal. I got to hear from you, Sean. What do you think that really means? I mean, define that for us.
Sean Ludick: (08:46)
Good. Hey, well, first of all, very happy to be here and being part of the first HypeHour. It’s kind of exciting, so really appreciate it, and to everybody that’s listening, first, hope you’re all safe and second, on behalf of BDS and all of our employees, just want to thank you all very much for your support and everything that you have shown with us the last period during this COVID-19. Thank you for that. I’m very happy to be here.
Sean Ludick: (09:22)
Andrew, as we think about this next new normal, and let’s think about the things that we know today. What do we know today? We know that in the US we’ve seen the highest unemployment we have seen in decades, exceeding 30 million. We think about the 2020 GDP forecast is at a -6.2% in Q2, although there’s hope of it rebounding by four points the end of the year. More importantly, consumer confidence has plunged 27%. The lowest we’ve seen in consumer confidence in six years. I read about a survey that said only 4% of consumers say that they will actually go into a mall in the next month.
Andrew Catapano: (10:11)
Sean Ludick: (10:12)
24% will probably wait another six months before they go back into a mall. We’ve seen things like sales of apparel down 52%, furniture down 27% in March and in April, as we see, it could get worse. We are very, very concerned and people are worried. And as you can see on the screen right now, the consumer spending is extremely volatile, but what’s been very interesting, Andrew, as I’ve looked at this I see that the influence of consumer spending is being driven by the news and what people are hearing and consuming on the news. That is kind of a new thing for us, I think, more than ever as this COVID-19 has happened.
Sean Ludick: (11:06)
If you ask me, what is my opinion on what the next normal is? Again, as you can see on the screen, I have a few thoughts and I’m not going to speak to all of these that you see on the screen. But a couple of things that jump out to me, which is extremely interesting from a generalist point of view, is this virtual experience economy which is changing the landscape of retail. Although virtual experiences were kind of a status thing are now becoming really a more relevant everyday thing, which drives the need for digital transformation at a high priority and a high rate for most companies.
Sean Ludick: (11:50)
If I think about retail, what does this next new normal for retail really means? If you can go … As you can see on the screen, a couple of things that jump out here as well for me. One, hygiene transparency. I think this is something that we all know is going to be … in fact, be a consumer indicator. Before I walk into a store I want to know that this store has been cleaned and is doing well. This all delivery economy and the seamless connected shopping, the introduction of virtual sales assistance, live streaming’s going to become such a big deal. Just in China alone, live streaming drives 62 billion dollars of social economy or social revenue, so these are kind of the new retail norms that I’m seeing happening for us as we start to return to retail.
Andrew Catapano: (12:46)
Sean, listen. First of all, you always outdo me with the hats. I got to stop for a second because you are wearing one of my favorite outfits that I’ve seen you wear. It’s only the first time since we’ve started talking since COVID actually took place that I’ve actually seen you wear the same hat twice, but I think you did that as a favor to me. That is a fantastic outfit you have on, my friend.
Andrew Catapano: (13:11)
You know what I want for Christmas, so fantastic. As we go through it though, and for those of you playing at home, that is the Roger Federer collection, is it not? You are a tennis player, correct?
Sean Ludick: (13:20)
Andrew Catapano: (13:22)
I think a fun fact about you is I did not know this, your wife is a tennis pro. Do I have that right?
Sean Ludick: (13:26)
She’s not a tennis pro. She’s a very good tennis player.
Andrew Catapano: (13:30)
She beats you every time, doesn’t she?
Sean Ludick: (13:31)
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
Andrew Catapano: (13:32)
Okay. Very good. All right, Sean, coming off those, you’ve mentioned a couple of things. You’ve talked about kind of that what customers will expect as far as the tactical and as far as displays being clean and environments being cleaning. Then maybe some of the non-tactical strategic things as video and some other stuff, but specifically, what challenges do you think brands should be prepared for as retail starts to open up?
Sean Ludick: (14:00)
Sure. I mean, let’s state the obvious, and I mentioned it earlier. Safety and cleanliness is going to be paramount. Ways and means of how we need to boost consumer confidence to get them off the couch and back into the store, I think that’s going to be a high priority for us. Then, also, the influence that the media is having on our spend and on people buying things, as well as what the federal and the local governments are saying, so we have to pay attention to all of those factors, I think, as we return to retail. But also, something else we should be thinking about as we start doing this and also something very interesting around some research that has been done is that … If we can go to the slide, we see one in three consumers are actually punishing brands that did not respond well to the coronavirus or COVID-19.
Sean Ludick: (15:03)
33% of people agree that if I don’t believe you as a brand are doing the right thing I’m going to second guess coming into your store or coming to shop with you, so this was very, very interesting statistic. Another one was that brand response to this actual epidemic or pandemic will influence my future purchase, so very interesting to think about how you as a company have responded and presented yourselves in the eyes of the public and consumers on your response to COVID-19, which I thought was very interesting.
Andrew Catapano: (15:44)
Sean, spot on. Actually, we were just having that discussion yesterday, Kelly, and I, and the social team of what we’re seeing out in the social space. I look forward to maybe doing a deep dive with you on that specific topic in short order because I do believe … We love brands that have a social component, that have a social responsibility component, that have a community component that we feel do good. Right? But I think more than ever you make an unbelievable point. Our brand and retail response to the COVID, are we protecting our consumers? Are we doing the right thing? Are we responding correctly? There is this social media that is happening that we are seeing that they’re actually almost, I hate to use the word, boycotting brands that they don’t feel like are being responsive enough. Absolutely interesting point.
Andrew Catapano: (16:33)
Sean, I know we’re running out of time for you, but what can we learn? You’re a worldly guy. Love the accent. So many things I love about you, Sean. I love your outfits. I love the accent. Really, it’s a full picture for me, but what can we learn as the worldly guy that you are from the other countries? What can we learn or that in the recovery phase of this pandemic and what are the key takeaways that you believe we should know?
Sean Ludick: (16:55)
Yeah, sure. I mean, absolutely. I mean, there’s two countries that really stand out for me, and China being one that was really the … They’ve really come back and started getting back to normal. These are statistics you see on the screen of the impact they felt on their day-to-day life, and you can see some big shifts in things like online health consultation, and purchasing cleaning equipment, and things like this, and social commerce obviously has really risen. Yeah, that was kind of the impact, but if I think about lessons that we can learn from China as their response to a pandemic, and I know China pretty well, is you think about contactless shopping.
Sean Ludick: (17:47)
Contactless shopping isn’t really a mainstream thing in China. They have one of the most sophisticated networks of mobile payments anywhere in the world. They have this seamless transition to omnipresence, which is this amalgamation of online and offline coming together. They drive experience. They’re doing such a great job. They are a very mobile-first driven economy and with a huge impact of social, so this mobile-first social economy is huge. I think we could learn a lot from China as we come out of this pandemic in the US.
Sean Ludick: (18:25)
For me, I looked at some of the stuff that is happening in the UK, which was kind of interesting. This piece of research I found of what people are telling us they’re going to do when they get out of quarantine or get out of this lockdown. What was interesting is couch shopping, and I sort of put a mark around it there. I call it couch shopping, but there’s home and DIY shopping is going to be a big thing, a new norm. I think people are going to be so used to consuming and shopping online first before they’ll go into a store, so I think this was kind of interesting for me when I looked at two other countries that are kind of going through the same thing.
Andrew Catapano: (19:15)
Sean, I know we’re running out of time before I have to bring in Johnathan. Can you give me real quick as we kind of wrap up … And stay with us because I need you to come back on the end for some digital questions that I have, but in your opinion, shotgun me some ideas or advice you have for companies as they begin to think about reopening.
Sean Ludick: (19:33)
Yeah, great. Look, I hope the audience has picked up some good lessons or some good idea from some of the stuff that I’ve shared, but a couple of other things if I think about the path forward, I mean, we have to rethink or redefine the purpose of the store. We have to rapidly digitize. I mean, there’s just no question the digital transformation that has to happen, it has to occur with everything and anything that we do and the shift of our sales mix, as well is going to be very important. We have to look after our people. Safety is going to be paramount for our teams, and if I think from a leader point of view, from a leadership point of view, one of the common … eight things that I think we should be doing from a leadership point of view.
Sean Ludick: (20:23)
You see it on the screen there. I’m not going to repeat it. But purposeful, for me, I love that, is the number one. That’s what I loved about Microsoft when I worked at Microsoft. They’re a very purpose-driven company. An idea that I have for you guys when I think about being purpose-driven, when you start opening up for retail again you set up a … every sale that you do you set up maybe a portion of the sale goes towards a fund that funds medical equipment and things like that for the future. So being very purposeful and inspiring I think will be very good.
Andrew Catapano: (21:05)
Well, Sean, those are two things that you are. Purposeful and inspiring. You know I appreciate you not only as a leader but as someone I’ve come to call as a friend, so thank you for your time. Stick with us and we’ll see you in a little bit at the end of the digital, okay?
Sean Ludick: (21:20)
Andrew Catapano: (21:21)
For the digital. Thank you.
Sean Ludick: (21:22)
Thank you. Thank you.
Andrew Catapano: (21:23)
All right, guys. My next guest is going to be why BDS is going to regret giving Andrew Catapano a live platform. See, I had my boss and now I have my partner.
Johnathan Margolis: (21:40)
How can I follow him? How can I follow Sean? That’s not fair.
Andrew Catapano: (21:43)
Very, very different conversation, my friend. Watch out. All right.
Johnathan Margolis: (21:48)
That’s all right. Sean’s on mute. Sean’s on mute, so we’re good.
Andrew Catapano: (21:52)
My good friend and partner on the experiential side, Johnathan Margolis. Before I actually get him talking I will tee up. Everyone listening on this call, and I’m going to really call Johnathan out on the sense of this is a guy whose entire model is based on human interactions. Right? So is based on experiences. Is it based on how do we get that connection to a brand and a retailer to the consumer? If anybody who’s got something to say and is anybody who could answer some tough questions for me, it is Johnathan Margolis, SVP of Experiential, and I will tell you, one heck of a guy. Hailing from my background, which is New York, New York, but spending time in the Hamptons.
Andrew Catapano: (22:42)
Johnathan, before we start I’m going to put you on the hot seat right now about this book that you’ve written. You literally wrote the book on guerrilla marketing strategies, which apparently is required reading at some of the better institutions in America. Somebody had to actually … It was required reading in a course for her. She didn’t know it, interviewed, and suddenly is working for you, and you made her do what?
Johnathan Margolis: (23:11)
I made her read the book all over again to the whole company because I’m not sure she read it the first time.
Andrew Catapano: (23:19)
Or if she got it because if she didn’t she would’ve maybe not …
Johnathan Margolis: (23:22)
Andrew Catapano: (23:23)
But here she is, and she’s a fantastic person. Let’s jump right into it. I know we only got 10 minutes left. I got that from the production room here, but, guys, we’re going to stay on a little bit to make sure we get through this if you can hang with us. We knew we might be a little bit long. We want to get through a lot of this. We are going to continue and if you can stay on we’d love to have you stay on. Johnathan, we are going to jump right in and I’m going to put you right at odds here. Why is the in-person experience still important for brands?
Johnathan Margolis: (23:53)
Look, we’ve always … I know we’re tight on time. I’m going to talk a little fast. We always say when it comes to promoting a product one of the benefits of experiential is that it gives consumers the chance to touch it, to try it, to even taste it. All these other mediums, as great as they are, they don’t offer that, so as an agency right now we’re asking ourselves, how do we safely engage the consumer? To Sean’s point, safety is priority because I think once people feel safe and confident in returning they will crave these types of experiences. As I’m talking to colleagues, we just need to take a different approach to how we look at experiences both within retail, as well as what we do on the street and other venues.
Andrew Catapano: (24:35)
Well, Johnathan, you know we’re personal friends. We talk all the time. We exchange ideas both personal and professional. I’ve got to ask it, man, what … How will social distancing reshape the way shoppers interact and engage moving forward? I mean, we talk about the experience still needing to be connection, but now we have social distancing, so how is it going to impact?
Johnathan Margolis: (25:01)
I think we’re seeing it already, right? You got to a drugstore, you go to a supermarket they figured out pretty quickly how to pivot in order to provide that safe experience for the consumer. Things like one-directional aisles, or markers six feet apart, or heading up to the cashier there’s a glass partition between you and the cashier. Even something thoughtful now about letting seniors shop an hour earlier and retailers-
Andrew Catapano: (25:23)
I saw that. I saw that.
Johnathan Margolis: (25:23)
… sending emails out. Yeah, they’re sending emails out, newsletters outlining their plans. I think we’re going to continue to see even more measures put into place as more stores open and as more people come back to shop.
Andrew Catapano: (25:36)
What’s that journey going to look like for the new customers? I mean, we’ve talked about it in hyperboles and we’ve said what the strategy might be, but what is that journey really going to look for the new customer?
Johnathan Margolis: (25:49)
That’s what we’re talking about all day in the office. Right now I think we’re still figuring it out. I think first and foremost like everyone knows, is safety, and then we want to supply the best possible experience for the consumer. Keeping those same values that you talked about from the very beginning. I mean, to us, it’s about keeping things educational and entertaining. Right? Those are the two key factors to an experience. You want to learn something and you want to enjoy the process, so even with these new guidelines in place, I do think we can find ways of launching new products, providing demos, and ultimately driving sales.
Johnathan Margolis: (26:20)
I mean, things like more space between the brand rep and consumer or cleaning things more and making sure the consumer sees that we’re cleaning those things. Connecting with consumers online. I don’t mean online digital, we’ll get to that. I mean online getting into the store. That’s now a captive audience that we never had before. Adding safety signage and to Sean’s point also, that pro-social initiative like benefits for first responders and frontline workers. Again, I think the more we do it the more we see what works, and the more we see what makes sense.
Andrew Catapano: (26:52)
Johnathan, you raised that point earlier and I want to go back to it because I want to hear … Our audience wants to ideate. This is their chance to hear from the experts of literally, Johnathan, what would I do? You brought up that thing and I was like, “Man, that’s the …” Yeah, we don’t want to benefit or seem like we’re being opportunistic from situations, but you brought up the thing of saying, “Listen, we can engage people that are waiting in lines, waiting now outside the store.” That’s a captive audience we didn’t have.
Johnathan Margolis: (27:20)
Andrew Catapano: (27:21)
Stuff like that, what else you got for me? Because that one is … I didn’t even think about that one.
Johnathan Margolis: (27:26)
We picked that up basically from the food trucks that we do. We had people waiting in line as they get their free food and we said, “Hey, they’re waiting there.” Now, sometimes we have a screen, excuse me, running content, but there’s nothing wrong with having a brand ambassador walk up to them and perhaps sign them up for something or enter a sweepstakes or demo a product or things like that. People are using this time now, Andrew, to reassess what they’ve been doing in the past. How they’ve been doing it and, in the end, changing things, which we hope for the better. Because I think in the end, as long we can successfully deliver that message in a safe way the consumer will actually appreciate it and come to expect it.
Andrew Catapano: (28:10)
Unbelievable. Johnathan, before I bring Sean back in because we’re going to segue into digital … I know we’re running out of time, but I think it’s important. How are you doing in New York, man? I know you live in the city, you work in the city. I think you’re in the Hamptons today. What’s going on out there? You doing okay?
Johnathan Margolis: (28:26)
Oh, thanks for asking. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we are. We watch our governor briefings and we stay in touch on Zoom, and everyone’s hanging in there working remotely like you guys. We just can’t wait to get back.
Andrew Catapano: (28:37)
Well, listen, man, I think about you a lot. You know I was born and raised in New York, so it’s close to my heart, but stay safe, my friend. Okay?
Johnathan Margolis: (28:45)
Thank you. Thank you.
Andrew Catapano: (28:45)
Hang on. I’m going to bring Sean back though real quick and we’re going talk a little bit of digital. All right, Sean, we just had Johnathan kind of run us through a little bit of the experiential. You ran us through, obviously, the in-store experience. Something close to my heart, which I know that obviously, I’m biased about, we’re going to talk about some innovative strategies the next live stream of what we can do, digital transformation, but as we have social distancing, as we have this new consumer journey, the new normal we know we’ve got to work on some digital transformative strategies and we know we’ve got to embrace these capabilities moving forward. Let’s start with Johnathan. How are you using the digital space to foster retail experience and re-ignite your customers’ journey in shopping? Sean, I’m going to have the same question back to you as soon as Johnathan answers.
Johnathan Margolis: (29:41)
Look, for us, live and digital, that was always the plan. For anyone else, I think the situation simply accelerated it. You had no choice. You’ve got to go virtual. You’ve got to go digital. Countless ways we can use digital in the path to purchase. I’ll rattle off a few that we were talking about. Creating a microsite, which is either a separate landing page or a page on the current site where there can be an FAQ section. What is this store doing to provide that safe, clean environment? Then maybe some mobile incentives like a digital prize wheel that you can redeem in-store. Everything to Sean’s point, touchless. It’s on your phone. You’re pressing it. You don’t need anything to do when you’re there.
Johnathan Margolis: (30:21)
As consumers are walking down the street, we can send them geo-targeted Tweets, right? Letting them know that the store around the corner, “Hey, it’s open now for business. Come on in. Click here for some know before you go messaging,” which is what we like to provide in advance to let them know the store hours, or the seniors can go an hour earlier, or when you get to the store be prepared for A, B, and C. I think just some examples, but there is obviously so much more.
Andrew Catapano: (30:47)
That, I love. I mean, we talked about that, man. We can spend a whole timeframe talking about know before you go. I don’t know if that’s trademarked. If it’s not, we need to get somebody on that. I don’t know if … But know before you go I think is fantastic. Sean, same question to you. How are you embracing digital in this new customer journey?
Sean Ludick: (31:07)
Look, I don’t want to steal the thunder for the next HypeHour, but HypeHive is going to be very key. But it comes down a few things. We have to boost consumer confidence again. How do we get people off their couch, feeling safe and secure to come into store? It starts with virtualization of what we do today. How do we find that seamless shopping experience or that connected seamless shopping experience? It starts with a simple, let’s call it a virtual sales rep that is talking to you online like we are talking now. But that rep could be actually standing inside the store and the customer is seeing this person in the store and is getting a live demo of a product.
Sean Ludick: (31:54)
There’s some exciting innovation happening around this. Live streaming is just another good example of this, so I don’t want to steal too much of the thunder, Andrew, for next week, but we have to figure out ways to get people from their couch now back into the store. It starts with the URL experience. It starts with the consumption of your online experience and, how do we start infusing some of that humanity back into online that it’s not just about a bot? It has that humanity element that we all love and trust, and people like to buy from people. We know that, so I think that’s going to be a key thing for retailers and companies to think about.
Andrew Catapano: (32:40)
I appreciate you not taking all the thunder for next week for the hive, but you, and I, and the team have been working diligently on those new video-first strategies that are going to create that connection. Gentlemen, we did have a question earlier when Sean was talking. I think it’s kind of a poignant question. Actually, I can’t believe the production room sent it from a standpoint that it might be a dangerous question, but it’s a question nonetheless, so I’ll ask it and then we’ll go from there. But, Sean, you may be in the best position to answer this, but I’d love to hear, Johnathan, maybe from your perspective too with live events.
Andrew Catapano: (33:14)
But the direct question is, with consumers not wanting to go into stores because of apprehension that the store may not be clean … This comes along of know before you go. Coming into contact with others, can we assume … And that’s a tough word. The word that, can we predict, can we assume, can we think, is it debatable that big retailers may not make it in the long run? They’re going to have more of an uphill battle.
Andrew Catapano: (33:51)
That’s a question … I’m going to start to answer that because that’s a tough question, but I will tell you pivot and adapt. We can’t predict the future, but I will tell you that there will be a definitive customer journey and it will start with apprehension. Then it will get into a little bit more of optimism. Then we will get back. We’re Americans. We’re resilient. Sometimes we have short memories, but at the end of the day, that is the lifecycle. Will big retailers make it because they can’t pivot to the first phase? I say absolutely they will, but the job is on them to do some of the stuff that Sean had talked about. Will they be responsible in their approach? Will they adapt in their approach? I think the fundamentals stay the same, but to assume they won’t exist, that would be a bold statement that I am not willing to support. Sean? Your response?
Sean Ludick: (34:49)
Yeah. Yeah, I’m not going to predict the future anyway, but I will say this. I will predict retailers going nowhere. Brick and mortar are here to stay. There’s no doubt in my mind. I think retailers will survive this, but do they have to start re-imagining what that is? Do they have to adapt? Do they have to have an entrepreneurial mindset to this? Do they have to drive more better experiences? Yes, yes, and yes.
Sean Ludick: (35:16)
We have to think of this URL to IRL strategy, in real life strategy, and there’s lots of ways you can start building that confidence again. Like getting people off their couch wanting to come back into the store. I think BDS has a whole bunch of solutions to be able to do that. I know, Johnathan, you had one where you talked about the seal. Why don’t you talk a bit about the seal?
Johnathan Margolis: (35:38)
Yeah, you’re absolutely right, is that we talked about either in an official or unofficial capacity is letting consumers know that the retailer is prepared for you to come back and shop in a safe and clean environment.
Sean Ludick: (35:52)
Johnathan Margolis: (35:53)
We can basically go around and approach retailers, and it doesn’t need to be governed by anybody political. It could just say, “Look, here are the things that we’re doing and we have some guidelines in place.” I’ll also compare it to my world of live events. I mean, there are so many benefits of live events. Live events are not going to go away, but we’re going to adapt and we’re going to just find ways of doing them differently. I think it’s the same thing about an in-store experience. You just can’t compare it and we’re going to find ways to make it work.
Andrew Catapano: (36:18)
Well, great responses, and I’m remembering one of my favorite quotes being through some of my COVID calories that I’ve taken in. But there’s one of my favorite quotes from the movie Goodfellas was, “Paulie moved slow because Paulie didn’t have to move for anybody.” Now, the bigger you are the harder it is to move. We know that. Right? Whether it be big events, whether it be big retailers, but the time is now and you will have to move. Right? Whether you’re a Titanic or whether you’re a nimble boutique you will have to pivot. You will have to move. The ones that can adapt to that quicker and be more innovative they’ll win. It’s as simple as that.
Andrew Catapano: (37:03)
Having said that, guys, before I let you go and wrap this up. Is there any key takeaway that you say, “Guys, at the end of the day, the journey back to retail, I’d love to just … This is what I believe I want to close with and this is what I want the audience to think about and remember as they leave this first stream”? Johnathan, we’ll start with you.
Johnathan Margolis: (37:25)
I’ll just leave it at this. It’s to be open to change. Knowing that it’s not only necessary at this point but for the better. Right? I read somewhere it might not be the same, but it will be better. From innovation comes chaos, so I do think we can come out of this and just find a more efficient way of doing the things that we’re doing.
Andrew Catapano: (37:45)
Sean Ludick: (37:46)
Yeah, I think if there’s one thing … Well, two things. I’m going to say two things, is rapid adoption of digital transformation and driving this virtual experience economy I think is going to be pivotal in the recovery of what we need to do to get back to business. Again, there’s so many opinions and solutions out there and we shared a few with you today, but we’re in a good position now to really start rethinking, re-imagining on the way people want to go and shop and buy, and I think the digital transformation and this virtualization is an exciting new area. What COVID-19’s done for is really just accelerated that need for us to adopt quicker, faster this technology.
Andrew Catapano: (38:45)
Well said, sir. Johnathan and Sean, it has been my absolute pleasure to have you on as my guests on the first live stream from the hive, and I wish you guys well. Please be safe in other parts of the country. Guys, I have learned a ton from you and I wouldn’t have two people that I would work beside more than you two, so thank you for being you. Please stay safe and maybe we’ll see you next time on the Hive.
Johnathan Margolis: (39:17)
Thank you, Andrew.
Andrew Catapano: (39:18)
Sean Ludick: (39:18)
Andrew Catapano: (39:18)
Sean Ludick: (39:18)
Andrew Catapano: (39:23)
All right. Kelly, how’d we do?
Kelly Campbell: (39:28)
That was amazing. I learned so much. I hope everybody else did too. That was great conversation. Thank you so much for leading the way, Andrew. We got lots of great questions. We’re super excited to talk more about this subject later and with our follow-ups on some HypeHours coming soon.
Andrew Catapano: (39:50)
Well, I think that to wrap this up, Kelly, Sean said it best at the end there. I want to take a second to tell people, listen, we’re live. Right? We literally just had two people, three people that you’re not seeing just jump in and say, “Let’s do this. Let’s innovate. Let’s get out there.” Piggybacking off what Sean said is the quicker people can start to do things like this … I’ll tell you a quick story that’ll take a second, but my first job out of law school was working for an individual who taught me the importance of making mistakes. He taught me the importance of trying something and failing because through that attempt and potentially through that failure is the only way to innovate. It is the only way, so I am so proud to have leadership and people that are willing to do that.
Andrew Catapano: (40:45)
I know this entire team of professionals at BDS that’s not even on this call that they would’ve loved to be here and they are in that same position. Kelly, even you. From all the stuff you’ve learned, but I tell people all the time, “There must be a horn under that hat,” because you are an absolute unicorn. I could not have had more fun with the guests doing this and the people doing this and the great team at BDS.
Andrew Catapano: (41:11)
If you need any more information about what we do and how we can help obviously, reach out to anybody. But, Kelly, tell us a little bit about where we’re going to be in two weeks and what we’re going to talk about because digital is something I am extremely passionate about.
Kelly Campbell: (41:28)
This is your subject.
Andrew Catapano: (41:29)
I didn’t even get to talk about it that much today. Next time though. Tell us about it.
Kelly Campbell: (41:33)
I know. Well, it was great to have everybody on board for today. We’re so excited about all of these different subjects that we’re going to be bringing out through our HypeHours coming soon. In two weeks, we’re planning on doing another HypeHour. We’ll be talking about digital transformation. I know we brought up a little bit of that on today’s HypeHour, but we’ve got more for you coming soon, which is really exciting. What that means for businesses and some cool video-first solutions that we’ve built to bring your brand front and center with customers and consumers, so stay tuned for more information on that to come. We’re super excited to bring that out to everybody.
Kelly Campbell: (42:14)
But I do love all of the stories that have come out from today. Even getting to know some of our guests on a personal note, it’s great. It’s our BDS way of doing things, right?
Andrew Catapano: (42:25)
Absolutely. Fix the plane while it’s in the air sometimes and I absolutely love it. These are uncharted times and I am proud to be part of it and be part of a team that is willing to take the journey with whatever it takes. We hope all the brands and retailers out there feel the same way. We will see you in two weeks as we do a deeper dive. Do not miss that one. If you want to learn about real digital-first strategies that you can implement today, tomorrow, in the future, that will be the one you don’t want to miss and we’re very excited to bring them to you directly from the hive. With that, Kelly, the social distancing has kept us apart, but I look forward to seeing you soon in Irvine.
Kelly Campbell: (43:06)
Andrew Catapano: (43:08)
It has been an absolute pleasure. We’ll see you in two weeks. Thanks, everybody.
Kelly Campbell: (43:11)