The Only Channel That Matters: How To Win Shoppers Over With People-First, Digital-Led, Customer-Obsessed Experiences

07.06.2021 Blog
By Briagenn Adams, Content Manager

We’re halfway through 2021 and retail is getting back into the swing of things. However, it’s not business as usual. In fact, it’s business like never before. Modern shoppers are everywhere – in-store, at home, in apps, and on-the-go, so modern selling needs to happen ANYWHERE that buyers may be. To make that possible, people-first, digital-led, customer-obsessed experiences will be key to influencing decisions on the customer journey of today. Speaking of customers, there’s only one channel that truly matters – THEM.

HypeHour #9 took place on Wednesday, June 16 and featured some excellent guests from various industry organizations to discuss topics such as the rise of the Anywhere Ambassadors, why it’s important to truly know who your customer is, and how brick-and-mortar stores are meeting modern expectations through digital transformation. Meet our panel of experts who joined us for HypeHour #9, “Connected Commerce Part II: Retail Rebirth With People-First, Digital-Led, Customer Obsessed Shopping Experiences.”

  • Andrew Catapano – Chief Digital & Marketing Officer at BDS
  • Briagenn Adams – Content Manager at BDS
  • Fred Gerantabee – CXO at FGX International
  • Jason Jones – Director of Client Services at BDS
  • Shannon Curtin – CEO of New World Natural Brands
  • Trevor Sumner – CEO of Perch Interactive

You can watch the livestream video above, or you can read the detailed transcription below. Or – if you just want the top five takeaways – here are the highlights from HypeHour #9. Enjoy!

1)    The Customer Is The Only Channel That Matters

Omnichannel has been a major buzzword in the retail industry for years now, and it’s defined as “a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience, whether they’re shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone, or in a brick-and-mortar store.” While omnichannel tactics still apply, that term is slowly but surely getting replaced with a new-and-improved version: Connected Commerce. No longer is it “good enough” to have a sales and marketing plan that incorporates different channels of communication. Now, companies also need to ensure all their channels of communication actually communicate with each other to provide a seamless, integrated shopping experience – in-store, online, and on-the-go. Instead of worrying about how to publish messages across every channel, brands and retailers need to think about the customer as the ONLY channel that matters; wherever they are, the brand reps need to be as well. However, companies can’t make the switch to “Connected Commerce” blindly. Different industries have different target audiences, so what works for one won’t work for another. Instead, they need to pay attention to customer feedback and develop unique solutions to meet their needs.

2)    Brands Should Connect Various Experiences In Varying Contexts

In today’s “Connected Commerce” environment, mail-order shoppers, online shoppers, and in-store shoppers are one and the same. It’s proven that a shopper interacts with a brand in many different ways, regardless of where they eventually make a purchase decision. The old school “Marketing Rule of 7” states that a prospect needs to “hear” the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action. Today, according to Adobe, the average customer journey requires a higher degree of consideration than ever before – approximately 8.3 touchpoints, to be exact. For brands and retailers, the key is to focus on how they can connect various experiences in varying contexts. For example, FGX International is the world’s leading designer and marketer of non-prescription reading glasses, optical frames, and sunglasses, and they have invested heavily in virtual try-on solutions. Not only are virtual try-ons touchless, but they also mimic the in-store “experience” mindset that people already know and love. It’s important for all companies to start thinking in that way and consider how their customers want to shop. After that, they can confidently change up their sales and marketing tactics.

3)    Introducing A New Kind Of Team: The Anywhere Ambassadors

Shopping happens everywhere. So, it only makes sense that selling now needs to happen anywhere. That’s why BDS Connected Solutions is proud to introduce the Anywhere Ambassadors – a new kind of team that’s equipped to change the selling game. Anywhere Ambassadors are prepped to sell any time, any place, and in any way a brand needs them to. The idea of “Anywhere Ambassadors” came to Andrew after he visited a big-box retailer to buy a new pair of headphones. Andrew wanted black headphones to go with his sleek wardrobe, but the store only had white ones in stock. Instead of looking online for a black version, the sales assistant that was helping Andrew apologized for the inconvenience and sent him on his way. Before he even got back to his car, Andrew had already opened the Amazon app and purchased the exact headphones he originally went in to buy. And in his words, “Jeff Bezos got a little richer that day.” That experience sparked the idea of the Anywhere Ambassadors; a team of brand reps who can sell products to people no matter the method.

4)    To Compete With In-Store, E-Commerce Needs Personalization

Shannon Curtin has been in the beauty business for 30 years, but everything she thought she knew changed in March of 2020. Pre-pandemic, Shannon would get a massage and a haircut/color every quarter. Once a month, she’d get drinks with friends. Her entire life revolved around in-person experiences, and so did her line of work. According to Shannon, 95% of her company’s revenue came from salons, so when they shut down due to COVID-19 safety precautions, she was forced to find another way to sell. Not only that, but she also had to figure out how to imbibe the online purchase process with a little humanity. The beauty industry is very personal; people gossip with their hairdressers and share secrets with their makeup artists. So, the only way to replicate that emotional connection was to invest in digital technologies that bridge the gap – in Shannon’s words, “you don’t have to smell it to sell it.” Interestingly, the fragrance industry has seen a major boost in revenue recently, which Shannon attributes to her team’s ability to describe their products through the written word and other forms of captivating content.

5)    Digital Media Belongs In Brick-And-Mortar Environments

E-commerce is a hot topic right now, but it’s estimated that 85% of transactions still occur in-store. However, only 1% of digital media is spent where 85% of transactions occur – how can that be? It doesn’t make sense that the one place products actually are is the one place that shoppers can’t easily access information about them. According to Trevor Sumner of Perch Interactive, the problem is that most signage is designed to interrupt the shopping experience vs. enhance it, and the #1 reason why digital signage struggles is a lack of data. In order to truly popularize digital media in-store, brands and retailers will have to improve their understanding of shopper behavior and leverage that information to design better planograms and advance merchandising strategies so they can hit shoppers with the right message at the right time. With interactive displays that incorporate digital media, brands and retailers can also collect first-party information about the people who shop in their stores, and then use that data to send re-marketing messages via email and social channels. It’s all about creating a holistic experience with multiple touchpoints, starting in-store.

We hope you enjoyed “Connected Commerce, Part II.” Did you learn anything new about the rebirth of retail environments? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below, or on our social media channels. Until next time!

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How To Win Shoppers Over With People-First, Digital-Led, Customer-Obsessed Experiences, Video Transcription:

Voiceover:

BDS presents The HypeHour with your host, Andrew Catapano and Briagenn Adams featuring today’s special guests: Fred Gerantabee, Trevor Sumner, Shannon Curtin, Jason Jones. Today’s topic, Connected Commerce Part II: Retail Rebirth with People-First, Digital-Led, Customer-Obsessed Shopping Experiences. Here are your hosts. Let’s get started.

Andrew Catapano:
Welcome to the show.

Briagenn Adams:
Hello, thank you for staying around. Some technical difficulties today, but that’s what happens when you’re live.

Andrew Catapano:
Media livestreams. Media livestreams. But thank you to Mitchell and Rachel in the studio, pivoting, figuring it out and getting us live because then what would you do without me and Miss Briagenn Adams?

Briagenn Adams:
Hi guys. I am super happy to be here today, filling in for Kelly Campbell. Pretty big shoes to fill, but I’m going to do my best.

Andrew Catapano:
Absolutely, Bri again. We’ve done this before.

Briagenn Adams:
Kind of. In a way, for sure.

Andrew Catapano:
We’ve done this before. We are not new to the livestreaming genre. I think we have either a picture or a clip of Briagenn doing some livestream fun. Do we not Mitchell? There she is. Briagenn and a literal dumpster fire for a brand. That was a hot day not to mention the hot dumpster.

Briagenn Adams:
Yes, that was, I think, two months into my career here. So, it’s funny, because at the time when Andrew said he wanted to light a dumpster on fire, I thought he was crazy and it wasn’t going to work. I still think he’s crazy, but now I kind of think his ideas are going to work, so there’s been a change of heart for sure.

Andrew Catapano:
There’s been a change of heart, thank you. Briagenn, before we get into the show, beautiful name, Briagenn.

Briagenn Adams:
Thank you.

Andrew Catapano:
Tell us a little bit about the origin and what’s going on there.

Briagenn Adams:

It’s Irish.

Andrew Catapano:
Irish.

Briagenn Adams:
Irish Catholic, yes. I come from a big Irish Catholic family. We all have weird names. I just happen to have the weirdest, so.

Andrew Catapano:
Wow. It’s a beautiful name.

Briagenn Adams:
Thank you.

Andrew Catapano:
Welcome to the show.

Briagenn Adams:
Thank you.

Andrew Catapano:
And on that note, I think DJ Tiësto says it best.

Andrew Catapano:
We’re all getting down to business, the business of Connected Commerce Part II.

Briagenn Adams:
We’re still dancing.

Andrew Catapano:
We’re still dancing.

Briagenn Adams:
Okay. It’s okay.

Andrew Catapano:
All right, let’s get back. Let’s get down to business. Today, we are talking about Connected Commerce Part II.

Briagenn Adams:
Part II.

Andrew Catapano:
Right?

Briagenn Adams:
So nice, we got to do it twice.

Andrew Catapano:
So nice we got to do it twice. As we know, omnichannel ambassadors are evolving, omnichannel marketing is evolving into connected commerce and we don’t talk in terms anymore of channel execution marketing. We talk in terms of the customer being the channel and where we have to meet them, anywhere, anytime, any place, any device, on their journey, on their terms, regardless of the channel, we need to connect to the customer and we need to connect all those points of commerce to the customer. So, today we are talking about it because we are truly excited to talk about some innovative things that people are doing, including BDS Connected Solutions because we love to drink our own Kool-Aid. All right. We’re not immune, to see how we can be people-led, but digital-first in this world of connected commerce and what many of our partners are doing to connect this customer journey at retail, online and on the street. Right? Who do we have to talk to us about this today, Bri?

Briagenn Adams:
Wow. We have four awesome guests that are kind of from all over the board. I will go through them quickly and then we’ll start the chats. So, first we have Fred Gerantabee. Fred is the CXO, chief experience officer, which I had to Google, I didn’t know what that meant. I thought it was pretty cool.

Andrew Catapano:
That’s embarrassing. There’s people watching.

Briagenn Adams:
Oh, well, it’s my first time. Okay? It’s my first time.

Andrew Catapano:
All right. Fair enough, don’t let it ruin this.

Briagenn Adams:
Fred is going to be talking about how brands and retailers are starting to recognize the customer as the only channel that matters, like you were saying, and servicing them seamlessly via experiences, online, offline, and on the go. Then we have Jason Jones. He is the director of client services at BDS, and he is talking about the rise of the Anywhere Ambassadors and the importance of having passionate, hardworking people on your team who can sell anytime, any place and in any way a brand needs them to. Then we have a Shannon Curtin. Shannon is the CEO of New World Natural Brands and she’s going to join us to talk a little bit about why it’s so important to know exactly who your customer is and how you can connect with them no matter where they prefer to shop. And then lastly, but not least, we have Trevor Sumner. He is the CEO of Perch Interactive and Trevor is going to talk about how brick and mortar stores are meeting new buying expectations, through digital transformation and data connections.

Andrew Catapano:
Yeah and I got a chance to meet all of these people. Shannon, unfortunately, I did not get a chance to meet, but we’ve got the video of Shannon and her interview I believe with you or Kelly?

Briagenn Adams:
Ah, Kelly.

Andrew Catapano:
Kelly. Kelly did the interview.

Briagenn Adams:
Kelly will be back for a little bit.

Andrew Catapano:
Kelly will be back for a little bit. With that, let’s get Fred Gerantabee in here and let’s get down to business.

Andrew Catapano:
Fred, you didn’t get a chance to dance.

Fred Gerantabee:
Oh, I’m going to wait until after the show. I have to build up my excitement and let it out at the end, but you guys have the team covered, so thank you.

Andrew Catapano:
You didn’t get a chance to dance.

Fred Gerantabee:
No, not yet.

Andrew Catapano:
All right. Fred Gerantabee, I got a chance to meet you obviously a few months ago when we were talking to doing some work with you and your brands through Patty Morehouse, heck of an individual. Then I got another chance to meet you as you were prepping for this show. Fantastic guy, hard name to say, but an easy guy to love. So, Fred, welcome. And Fred is part of Luxottica and the marketing leader in sunglasses, readers, and special eyewear. Its 100-year legacy continues new partnerships, cutting edge designs, industry leading innovation in areas of sustainable material, blue light, and multifocal lenses. That’s the context they make me read, Fred, but now let’s get authentic and tell me, what exactly do you do and what is your responsibility at FGXi?

Fred Gerantabee:
So I was laughing when Briagenn said she had to Google it because I had to do the same. Pretty fine and good to go. Now, I’m kidding. So, I’m a pure play digital guy. I actually started in tech and engineering and most of my focus throughout my career has been product development. It has been building digital and technical teams and capabilities at different types of companies at FGX. That’s continued with really boosting our digital first mindset. It’s serving as a connector between our e-commerce and digital expertise groups, global marketing and our product development groups. And a lot of this has to do with the mindset that we’ve taken and others in the organization to really think about exactly what we’re talking about here, right? The consumer is the channel, the consumer comes first, and we really have to consider that not just from a go-to-market perspective, but when we make products, when we think about types of experiences, we’re going to create a shelf for online. These things can’t function independently.

Fred Gerantabee:

So my job is really pretty much a connector role and serving as someone who has been a pure play digital guy for my entire career, it’s been great because I’ve grown up into marketing first organizations, R&D-led organizations, so this is a really good combination of those things.

Andrew Catapano:
Well, Fred, I mean, so you said it, which is a great segue into my next question. A pure play digital guy who is now having to bridge this gap between this in real life and online experience and meeting the customer wherever they are. We’ve all heard of omnichannel, we understand that. I’m sorry of those who are still using it. I’m understanding it’s beginning to be a little bit per say, where omnichannel is more focused on the channel and connecting those experiences, but now we have to focus on the customer and connects all of their experiences wherever we meet them. What are you doing, specifically for people who are watching, to bridge that gap where you are in your role?

Fred Gerantabee:
Well, the first thing I think is from the mindset perspective. I think you just said it is, omnichannel is kind of an assumption at this point or it should be anyway. But historically, there’s been bad and good Omnichannel. Bad Omnichannel meaning, we’re spending money in a bunch of different places at once with less regard for connectivity. I think really the mindset we should form, it really informs a lot of the work that we’re doing, is understanding that it’s not an online consumer, it’s not a retail consumer, it’s not a mail order consumer, it is all the same consumer. In the very end, it’s proven that this consumer interacts with the brand in many different places regardless of where they purchase and sometimes that purchase could be made at first in a store, it could be made online or both.

Fred Gerantabee:
And so, your being cognizant of that, a lot of the solution design that we focus on is really, how do we connect these different services to different contexts? So a good example is, like many companies in eyewear and beauty and apparel, we’ve invested a lot recently in virtual try-on. Obviously, AR is not new, but continues to pick up steam and during COVID I think even more so because this was really both a touchless, as well as this remote shopping mindset that people were traditionally accustomed to going into a store, picking up a product, manipulating it, we weren’t really able to do that. And so, the original premise was okay, well, if we start to activate VTO in this way, this has become about health and safety, it has become a bad experience or both.

Fred Gerantabee:
And I think what we found really is about both, but ultimately it was a boost for us and I think other companies thinking the same way as to, “This is the way people want to shop.” And the thing is, if somebody is online, they have a great experience with AR virtual try-on, why would we deprive someone at the shelf of that same experience, knowing that they’re going to shop there? Right. So one of the things we’re starting to launch actually. A virtual try-on is based on people’s own devices in stores or big retailers. And I think the big shift there is, for a good deal of my career, I’ve worked in both fixed point of sales solutions and mobile solutions and anything in between. And I still believe in both, but I think part of the impetus for finding something that was scalable on the user’s own device is exactly that. It’s that, we didn’t know what kind of hesitation we were going to see around people handling a screen and definitely handling a physical product.

Fred Gerantabee:
I mean, for our category, we sell a lot of readers, a lot of sunglasses and blue light eyewear in every major chain. Foster Grant is everywhere in all of our sub-brands. So, historically, it’s a brand that you picked up and you look at it and you try them on there’s a little fixed mirror there, but knowing what we’ve been through this past year and a half, we didn’t want to take it for granted people were going to jump right back in that, but more importantly, it’s about getting people to adopt different ways of exploring eyewear and getting them excited about it versus this is a health and safety-only approach. So it did force our hand a bit early on, but I think both due to that, and just the, I would say a lot of rapid adoption of behavior, it really set us up very well for exactly that, which is starting to look at how do we bring these experiences, which are traditionally online experience to people at scale?

Fred Gerantabee:
And so, coming back to your original question, I think this is the type of thing that we are thinking about just natively. It’s always, how do we connect these things? We’ve got a great assistant shopping tool, a product selection tool, a way of teaching people about what the product does. Why would we make that an online only play when we can simply make any channel play and make it easily accessible to the consumer at shelf as well, understanding that any number of end points they’re going to engage with before they hit that particular product. Right.

Andrew Catapano:
I get the strategy, right? And you’re speaking my language and I could sit and listen to you and I love it. I’m going to jump down into your reliance on third party retail. So, what COVID has done is accelerated, it’s made us ambitious about having to connect with a customer online more than ever before even if we should have before COVID became our CTO and said, you must do it. However, we know that there is no substitute for the in-store experience. Yes. Eyewear is a lot of try-on, but it’s also a lot of feel, it’s a lot of touch, it’s a lot of weight, it’s a lot of fit, right? So, when nothing can replicate that in-store experience about marrying those two, you’ve hit those strategy points, are there specific? I mean, I think in our pre-roll, you were talking about QR codes and some different things that you might be doing in the physical displays. What are the specific things you’re doing to help support getting to understand the strategy? What’s the tactical things that you can tell us that you’re doing to support your third party retail partners?

Fred Gerantabee:
So, I mean, there’s a couple of things. I think the first thing is from just the CTA in a pick-up standpoint. Yes, we’ve been talking about the or predicting the death of QR codes for years and they’re not going anywhere. Right? And there’s some new standards evolving, I think. Especially again, during this last year and a half, most of us who braved a restaurant or an outdoor café, they’ve seen menus or any other information being… there’s no more physical menus. It is a QR code on a table tent. That’s the way you pick up your menu. So, once again, this inherent behavior, plus the fact that any modern smartphone has a camera that automatically recognizes a QR code connection. It makes sense as an easy pickup point.

Fred Gerantabee:
Now, it’s beyond that though, again, talking about really the connecting consumer anywhere aspects, when we work with, let’s say a Costco or Target, or one of our Coty retail partners, we’re doing things in a number of channels. It’s not just at display. What we’ve started to actively do really is, if we’re doing something at the shelf, how do we start communicating that through other media and other places? Right? So, we’re talking about the same product online. Each one of these channels has a different role. And I think the best way to do this and good omnichannel, is really to make sure that all of these channels are contextually aware of each other. So, if we’re doing something great online, bring it to the shelf. If we’re doing something that really activates in a big way at the shelf, connect people to it online, or at least, enlighten them that that is available. Right?

Fred Gerantabee:
The end goal is awareness, but the other end goal is, let people shop the way they want to shop. Like you said, there’s people who are, they’re fine with picking up the product and handling, and if they want to do that, that’s perfectly fine. But I think beyond just utility, there’s an excitement factor and there’s a bit of a magic around good virtual try-on that gets people excited about the product. And that’s really what it’s about. It’s not just selling the product. Of course, it’s about selling the product, but the best way to sell the product is to get people excited about it. And so a lot of these technologies normally are accessible ways for people to do that, but at the same time, there’s a lot of ways to address this and make it magical for people, which is a great bad fellow to the traditional experience of picking something up and buying them. Right?

Andrew Catapano:
That’s right. So, you’ve talked about the strategy, you’ve talked about the tactics, and I have to believe in your role and quite frankly, in any role that has to be responsive to behaviors, data is extremely important. We know it’s the holy grail online. I’m a pure play digital guy, too. Right? And that’s been in my beginnings and in my origins, and I’ve lived the same worlds you have. Taking now my talents into the walls and then beyond and onto the street, I understand the importance of data online. For whatever reason and I’ll just ask this point blank, I feel like we’ve got this missing gap of all this great data that’s available to us in-store. Right? Point of sale decision making, why, why not, reviews, recommendations. Why are those left just to the online customer when we could open that gateway to the in-store customer too and collect that data? So, I’ll just ask you point blankly, point blankly, is that on your radar in your role? And if so, how important is it and what are you doing?

Fred Gerantabee:
Well, I mean, the answer is absolutely yes. And how important is it? I mean, I think you just said it’s paramount. And there are some challenges there. I mean, I think that there are lots of great fixed point of sales solutions that do everything from dwell time tracking to traffic, utilizing computer vision to understand who’s standing at the display. That’s not always readily available so what you do see are some of these gaps, the data tapestry that you have to fill in. Sometimes the answer is, you can’t fill it the way you would in a pure play for it to be online environment. So what you have to do is, you have to create as many diagnostic points really as you can. You have to learn as much about the environment as you can.

Fred Gerantabee:
And in certain cases you have to create correlations and make certain hypotheses and try your best to validate them. Right? So, we think about, the TV era was in trending and the TV era hasn’t gone away, it has evolved significantly, but back in the Nielsen days, right, how did advertisers make that connection before streaming TV to, “All right, well, we had this one chaired time, we saw this much sales lift.” Right? And there was a bit of, I mean, I don’t want to say voodoo, because that’s not fair, there’s science to it, but at that point, there was a certain fidelity of data that’s very different from what you would have in a pure point A to point B in a click to buy type environment.

Fred Gerantabee:
So, sometimes we are fortunate in the sense that we work with partners who have the ability to bring that technology to the shelf at scale and that really, I think, closes a lot of gaps, really just understanding who’s there. I know my friend Trevor is on here. I mean, Perch is a fantastic technology. It’s magical, right, but it tells us what we need to know. What we don’t generally know in a traditional retail environment, even with the best of intentions is, how many people touched that product before they bought it? In an online environment, I can tell you how many product detail page views I’ve seen.

Andrew Catapano:
And why aren’t they buying it? Right? So, if they touched it and don’t like it, “Tell us why you didn’t like it.” Right?

Fred Gerantabee:
So, that’s what is. Yeah. And I think so. So there are still cases, and there will be cases where your data tapestry, so to speak, especially across channels is going to have holes. And if you have good people, you have good experience and you have good BI folks on your side, you can really try and draw those correlations as best you can and derive insights from them and nothing is as great as really having data at each one of these points. But again, there are going to be cases where those two realms have a bit of a gap between them, so.

Andrew Catapano:
Yeah. I know we’re running out of time. I have one more question for you. I told you I wasn’t going to ask you, but I’m going to ask anyway because I’m just that kind of guy. But, I look forward to a world where we can embrace the ability and I try to sell it to the brands that I work with all the time in there. I don’t know why. I’ll be genuine and authentic with you. I don’t know why there’s this hesitancy. For the cost of printing a QR code, you could open up a world of content to your user and decision-making abilities right in the aisle when there’s no one available, help them make decisions and solicit two-way feedback and potentially connect to a virtual service rep that could help them immediately in aisle. I don’t know.

Andrew Catapano:
And I’m on your page, Fred of, “It’s not going anywhere,” but I look forward as we get even more ambitious and hopefully, maybe holiday is the key to the holy grail where people would just embrace it and we will start to see that digital opening, that gateway opened in aisle. I said I wasn’t going to ask, but I am going to ask because I just want to know, what do you see? I’ve got two or three minutes. I won’t even make you go on about it. What are you seeing about your competition? You know the elephants in the room, I know them too. We won’t speak of them here, but let’s speak of them in generalities and say, what are you seeing, Fred? What are people doing right, what are they doing wrong and how are you going to win?

Fred Gerantabee:
That’s a great question. So, I mean, let me try and narrow it down. I mean, I think, look, in any competitive environment, it doesn’t matter what the category, you always have this inherent sort of, it’s a little bit of formal envy, you look at what your competitors doing and you’re like, “Should we be doing that?” I think ultimately it is trying to understand the patterns that people are adopting, how those patterns relate to you. I don’t look to any of our competitors to make decisions for my business, but what I do like to look at is the creativity that comes with it. So more or less, I’m not privy to what some of our competitors marketing tactics are when I can’t see them, I don’t know what their success rates are. But what I do see is that, amongst our competitors, there’s a lot of smart people, good marketing people, good tech people.

Fred Gerantabee:
And so you see things out in the world, I think, watching how some of our competitors are really driving home the use of virtual try-on. I mean, that’s not unique to us. I mean, it’s a little more unique in our price point, but it’s interesting to see how they’re getting consumers excited about it. I love seeing design trends, I love seeing the communication style because I think that’s a big part of it, right? You are service experience and you are a part of your brand DNA. How does that then connect with your messaging? And I think when we look at some of four major competitors, you have a lot of respect for, you guys know who you are, we know who we are, you know who you are, so it’s good to see kind of how everybody is expressing their unique take in the market, because we will just go out there and we say, “[inaudible 00:22:55].” It doesn’t mean anything to people, but we can appeal to the category as much as we can appeal to the consumer and the things that resonate with them.

Fred Gerantabee:
And so, I love seeing how each competitive brand really kind of carves out a space for themselves. And so, they are competitors in the sense of, we’re all in the same category, but what I find more than not is that, we all occupy some unique parts of the spectrum. Right. And so it’s interesting for me to see how people, or rather specifically brands are expressing their unique take on the eyewear category and how they’re putting that out to market, whether it’s through technology, whether it’s through paid social, creative, whatever it may be. All right. So, I’m always looking at what people are doing. Ultimately, I do what’s right for my business, but I periodically do get inspired by what I see from a competitor, less about the, me too thing, but more about, “Yeah, that’s cool guys, props.” That’s a good way to go about it. Right? So.

Andrew Catapano:
Yeah. I do think, and obviously you’ve got it covered, you don’t need me to inspire you with any notes, but I do believe what I love about what you have here, maybe the ability to do that the others don’t. And one specifically that I think comes to mind, the brands you represent have unique ability to your point, identify with a specific lifestyle inside the overall category. And I love that nuance in what you have the ability to do. So, I don’t know who said it because I read a lot of the CEO books. I want to think, let me put it in the chat. Someone can correct me. It was either Gates, Bezos, or the former CEO of Starbucks that said, “When you’re running a business, it’s just as good to have an enemy as it is good to have someone you aspire to be.” Right? So you go get your enemies. Fred, it’s been an absolute pleasure meeting you and spending time with you here. You’re a heck of a guy and I look forward to spending some more time with you. Thanks for your time.

Fred Gerantabee:
Likewise, Andrew, thank you. See you soon.

Andrew Catapano:
Welcome.

Briagenn Adams:
All right. I’m coming back. Wow, you laugh. Killing here with the follow-up questions. I don’t know how to follow up with that, especially since it’s my first time, but thank you Andrew for that.

Andrew Catapano:
Don’t get up.

Briagenn Adams:
Well, you’re not done yet.

Andrew Catapano:
I’ve got no time for this. All right. I’m back in. All right. That’s it.

Briagenn Adams:
So to introduce our next segment, I know we’ve been talking a lot about anywhere.

Andrew Catapano:
Oh, we’re going to do BDS first? And actually, oh, perfect. I love it

Briagenn Adams:
Yes.

Andrew Catapano:
Aaah! You guys switched it up on me. I think I asked for this switch up myself.

Briagenn Adams:
Someone didn’t matter.

Andrew Catapano:
Fantastic. Let’s do it. Let’s do it.

Briagenn Adams:
So, we all know that shopping happens everywhere, on phones, in apps, in-store, online, you name it. So, it only makes sense that selling now needs to happen anywhere. Think about it. What could you do, excuse me, if you had a team of people, any time, any place, anywhere in the world who could promote your products, create content for you and be sales rockstars in-store and online?

Andrew Catapano:
Where could I find those people?

Briagenn Adams:
I don’t know, I don’t know. You tell me, Andrew. You tell me.

Andrew Catapano:
We might find. We might find. You’re right. Right? So, we did a funny video a day or so ago. We were promoting this, but the thought process is, where are you going to buy from? Right? You’re going to buy from social media, you’re going to buy from online, you’re going to buy from in-store. And with my fabulous friends out, Mag, you’re going to buy on the street. You’re going to buy experientially. You make anywhere the customer is, you got to be ready to connect and you got to be ready with the point of sale device and you got to be ready to sell. Right? So, I have a wonderful guest who works on and I’ll tell the story as soon as he comes on. But, I want to tell you a quick story to add context and we’ll go. Right?

Briagenn Adams:
Okay.

Andrew Catapano:
And this is where the puzzle pieces to me all fit in place. I went, I won’t mention names, into a big box retailer. Okay? Looking for my headphones, won’t mention even, well, who’s they were. Okay?

Briagenn Adams:
Okay. Fair enough.

Andrew Catapano:
Wanted a specific color, walked up to the counter, asked for a specific color. Very nice young lady helped me to the counter. She was very helpful. She had a lovely blue shirt on. Right? So helped me, got me to the counter, looked at the headsets. I looked at them only white, no black. I need some black headsets.

Briagenn Adams:
They have to match your shoes or your…?

Andrew Catapano:
They have to match my glow and the hair. Okay? Too, which unfortunately I was completely let down in that moment. The wonderful young lady who was helping me said, “We don’t have black. I’m sorry.”

Briagenn Adams:
So what did you do?

Andrew Catapano:
Left.

Briagenn Adams:
Without buying anything.

Andrew Catapano:
Without buying anything and Mr. Bezos got a little richer that day. He got richer in the parking lot.

Briagenn Adams:
Yeah, he really needed that.

Andrew Catapano:
Like that. Okay? And they were at my house the next day. That’s got to stop. That’s got to stop and BDS Connected Solutions is proud to offer you a solution that we can make that to stop and we are proud to introduce today, our Anywhere Ambassador program.

Briagenn Adams:
You want to show them your poster?

Andrew Catapano:
I think Mitchell is going to change my background. All right. We have the Anywhere Ambassadors coming to you from BDS, launched June 14th. We’ve got special movie posters and is now live on the website. Let’s bring Mr. Jason Jones in here right now to tell us a little bit more about the Anywhere Ambassadors and what we are doing. Welcome.

Jason Jones:
Thank you.

Andrew Catapano:
We drink our Kool-Aid here at BDS with the Anywhere Ambassadors. Briagenn and I teed it up a little bit that these are people because we’re people-led, digital-first, these are people, but that are cross-functional, and cross-trained, cross-capability to sell, promote, interact-

Briagenn Adams:
And engage.

Andrew Catapano:
… engage, anywhere and create content. They can create livestream content. They can be in-store selling. They can do training videos. They can be virtual reps. Right?

Jason Jones:
Yes.

Andrew Catapano:
Tell us a little bit about how, I mean, I don’t know how much you can share, what names we can drop, but I’m going to leave it to you or you’re just going to tell us exactly how BDS is using people like this right now on campaigns you represent?

Briagenn Adams:
Thank you.

Jason Jones:
Well, really, BDS is taking the opportunity to reach out to the consumer really wherever they are, as you guys kind of mentioned earlier in the call today or in the show today. So, what we’re doing is training our people to be able to interact both virtually as well as in-person or in-store and utilizing the technology that we’ve developed at BDS. Like our Tap-a-Tech solution, we’re able to do that. We’re able to have our in-store reps actually connect someone with a virtual rep right there, if need be, or have a QR code where one of our reps can leave at the store and then when a representative from that store or a customer is interested in speaking to someone, they can scan that QR code and they can get connected to a rep right away.

Briagenn Adams:
Very cool. So, Jason, I imagine there’s been a way that you’ve trained your reps in the past to sell either in-store or online and now that’s kind of completely been upended. Like Andrew was saying, they have to be anywhere and be able to do it all. So, what does that transition look like and how can companies like BDS Connected Solutions look to hire people with that wide range of skillsets that maybe they haven’t had to have in the past?

Jason Jones:
That’s a really great question. First, when we’re in that recruiting process, we have to be very clear about the roles and responsibilities of the reps and then hire accordingly. So if we’re hiring someone that’s specifically for the field, we may be looking for a different type of person than if we’re looking for someone who’s virtual. And then, if we want someone who can do both, we’ve really got to look at a specific set of skills that can apply to both a virtual interaction and an in-person interaction. Some people feel really, really comfortable talking to people face to face, but if you put them on camera or you put them on a screen and they freeze. So you’ve got to have someone who’s really able to do it or you have to assign people and have specific people that are in roles that will work to their strengths.

Briagenn Adams:
That’s interesting. No, it’s kind of like me. I think I’m good talking to people in person than I get in front of a camera and freeze up a little bit, but maybe it’s something you can train and you can get more comfortable with.

Andrew Catapano:
Whiskey. It’s whiskey for your health.

Briagenn Adams:
Whiskey. Maybe not on the store floor though, but, no, it’s interesting. It’s definitely a learnable skill which is exciting for me.

Andrew Catapano:
Can I ask you a quick question?

Briagenn Adams:
Yeah.

Andrew Catapano:
Because I was out in LA and I got a chance to meet the people who are working and doing some content creation and doing some virtual rep. What I learned Jason is, we’ve not… Those of us who don’t know what the top of tech people are, they’re virtual service reps. Right? They connect via URL. But what I learned is, now when they’ve got downtime and potentially not taking the call or we’ve got them doing a BDS, is creating training video content. So, basically, they’re creating field training videos and direct consumer videos that are pushed from the brand, so that we’ve got this beautiful environment that they would normally only take indirect to consumer calls in, we now have them for the same bandwidth, now shooting videos for direct consumer and for training videos from the field so that we can get key learnings that we’re learning from a digital transaction, they can use those in-store as well. Do I have that right? We’re doing that right now. Correct?

Jason Jones:
Absolutely. The Tap-a-Tech team has done videos for Best Buy special events, for learning management systems for various clients. So we really are utilizing that team, not only for those virtual interactions, but for those video interactions or those video productions that you’re talking about. The spaces that we have available in what we call our bright shops are just really, really awesome, really professional looking and they’re really great spot for us to do those kinds of videos. And the team that’s there, has really learned, they’ve really become strong in their presentation skills, so they’re able to speak to people both face to face, or if we need them to get them on camera.

Jason Jones:
In addition, we’ve been utilizing that team as kind of a communication source within the stores and in a way to demo products. So, for example, if maybe we don’t have a demo product that’s available in-store, but we have one in the bright shop, we’ll have our rep that’s in-store call that rep that’s in the bright shop and the Tap-a- Tech rep will then demo the product virtually for the customer and then the rep in-store will then close the sale.

Briagenn Adams:
That’s awesome. Well, they say, in the past year and a half, that the digital transformation that the industry has gone through is kind of three to four years of acceleration, just smushed into 12 or 14, so months. So, there has been astronomical growth and acceleration in the industry and companies like BDS Connected Solutions, they’ve really come, met the challenge and developed these new services, like Tap-a-Tech and Anywhere Ambassadors. But for the average company, they’re still trying to play catch up and learn how they can adapt to this new buyer’s journey and connected commerce initiatives. So, in your opinion, what’s the one thing that any average company can do today to kind of address these changes and really address the customer as the only channel that matters?

Jason Jones:
Yeah. So, something that Andrew mentioned and was mentioned throughout the show so far, we’ve been talking about how that customer is the channel, right, how that customer is a walking and breathing channel, and basically anywhere the customer wants to make that transaction, that’s where it needs to happen. So, what brands need to do now to respond, are to really change their mindset and think that, essentially, you’re always on now. You’re not just selling when that customer is in store, that customer is being influenced all over the place. Their buying decisions are being influenced by the websites they visit, the social media channels, the videos they watch, the advertising that they see. So, brands really need to make that adjustment and think of the consumer that way, as someone who is everywhere and that the buying opportunities are always going to be there.

Jason Jones:
And then, they’ve also got to secure that technology. So, they’ve got to have that technological solution that’s going to allow them to connect to that consumer wherever they are. And then, last but not least, one of the things that has been challenging is ultimately connecting with our retailers to close that sale. So, if we have one of our reps, for example, that starts speaking with someone, we have to make sure that they have the means to be able to close that sale immediately, rather than send that customer to another website.

Andrew Catapano:
That’s what happened to me. That’s what happened to me, Jason. You’re nailing it right there.

Jason Jones:
Your best part person is that they should have gotten you on Atom and they gotten that blackhead set order for you, rather than let you walk out of that store and [crosstalk 00:37:27].

Andrew Catapano:
Across the road, we can get it delivered next day. There were so many opportunities, but I know we’re running out of time, Jason. I want to make sure I’m going to bring this up again. So, I’m so proud of this. Our team did this artwork here in Columbus, the digital team, but the thought process behind it, Jason, just so we are clear is, we’ve got virtual people, social media influencers, on-demand trainers, in-store advocates, experiential teams, all working together and some of which are cross-trained to do multiple functions and we’re calling them the Anywhere Ambassadors because to your point, and I almost, I should have maybe pulled Jason into the poll because I actually always like always on ambassadors too, because Anywhere Ambassadors not only they have to be anywhere, but I love your thought process, they always have to be on. Right? Because there’s always a point to be connecting.

Andrew Catapano:

But, I will end it with this and I will tell you that, content, we’ve all talked about digital, and we’ve all talked about virtual interactions, but content is the new currency and our customers want to digest it, they want to consume it, they want to eat it and they want to use it and it should be a currency we use to connect our customer to our brand. Right?

Jason Jones:
Absolutely.

Andrew Catapano:
But we don’t do nearly enough to create it. I want to tell you that not only will we be there and I love the work you and your team are doing with Facebook and I think it’s fantastic what we’re doing with multiple brands, but we talk about the content that needs to be created to affect that purchase decision and how we can help be there to connect those dots between retail expertise, experience expertise, and online expertise. I think the sky is going to be the limit. And like I said, and we will welcome Briagenn back in as I pushed her off with my-

Briagenn Adams:
You pushed me off with the poster.

Andrew Catapano:
We’re close to her. I love the work you’re doing. Thank you so much for being part of the show-

Jason Jones:
Thanks for having me.

Andrew Catapano:
… so that we can talk about Anywhere Ambassadors a little bit. We don’t like to plug our own stuff here on The HypeHours, that’s not what it’s about, but this is an innovative thing that I think everybody should get involved in and go to bdsconnectedsolutions.com and learn more. Jason, it’s been an absolute pleasure talking with you and meeting with you here. Continue to do the great work you’re doing. You are an industry leading team, and I’m proud to work with you.

Jason Jones:
Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Briagenn Adams:
Bye, Jason. Well, Andrew, speaking of us not plugging our own stuff, we have one more thing to plug, our hype bytes. So, this is where Kelly Campbell is coming back into the conversation because she actually had an amazing chance to interview Shannon Curtin last week, the CEO of New World Natural Brands. So, New World Natural Brands is a startup portfolio company that acquires and provides founder-led brands with capital for scale and she is the leader of the beauty and wellness and personal care aspect of that company. So, in this HypeBite from Kelly Campbell, we’re going to hear what Shannon has to say about why it’s so important to get to know who your customer really is and how she and her team had to pivot to kind of meet those challenges in this past year.

Kelly Campbell:
So today I’m very excited to have Shannon Curtin, CEO of New World Natural Brands here with us to talk about her startup portfolio company that acquires and provides founder-led brands capital for scale. And she is a leader in the beauty and personal care industry. She previously served as SVP North America Consumer Beauty for Coty Inc, group VP and GMM of beauty and personal care at Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and she started her corporate career with Walmart. I’m very excited to bring her on and talk a little bit more about what she does and how she’s had to pivot herself over this last year. So, let’s bring Shannon on. Hi Shannon?

Shannon Curtin:
Hi, how are you?

Kelly Campbell:
Good. So excited to have you here.

Shannon Curtin:
Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Kelly Campbell:
I can’t wait to dive into our conversation. I’ve been so excited to get into this. But first, before we dive in, I want to talk about your role, your company. What does a typical day in your life look like? What do you do? Can you give us a little story?

Shannon Curtin:
Well, I don’t think there are any typical days. So, at our portfolio business, we have three brands in our portfolio. We have the [Bodies 00:42:25], Super Skin Care, 18.21 Man Made. What we do is we acquire Founder Lab brands. We provide capital, resource, support, a lot of administration work, marketing, all the shared services that you would have at the bigger company and getting them ready for scale. So, there’s not any day that feels like the day before I assure you, especially this last year.

Kelly Campbell:
Yeah. I’m sure. Well, let’s just dive right into it because today we’re talking about the digital transformation of the beauty industry, right, and I’m excited to get your perspective on it, especially what you saw before COVID and then how it all changed since. So, what did you personally experience within your own company?

Shannon Curtin:
Well, I’ll tell you a couple of personal experiences too. I think that’s important as a leader of what you experienced during something such as this catastrophic event that we all went through. So during pre-COVID, I was very traditional. I would go to stores, I would smell products, I would touch products, I would interact with another human and that was something I really enjoyed. Once a quarter, I get a massage. Once a quarter, I go to salon. Once a month, I’d have drinks with friends. These networks and communities were available to me and having real human-to-human touch. And I’ve been in this beauty business for 30 years. So, over the last 30 years, we’ve found ways as an industry to get closer and closer to humans and we’d use digital technology as an enabler to connect us with humans.

Shannon Curtin:
And then, literally, last year we went from pre-COVID, which is hands-on, very close, in your face, literally touching your face, touching your hands, hugging that person, being there for them, being in the salon chair, being the person that is a bestie to the client, a bestie to the person that’s getting married, someone that was in their trusted circle, all hands-on to all hands-free and that changed the industry forever. So, we had to find a way in order to connect with consumers again. And the best way to do that was to borrow from the digital technology that make that the one that connected us altogether versus the one that just enabled new interactions with one another. So it has been such an interesting year. We’re all excited about getting outside again and doing things, but the way that we’ve changed our industry because of this, is for the better and we won’t go back. There’s not anything to go back to. It’s just going to be a better and stronger world that we’re moving into.

Kelly Campbell:
Yeah. There’s definitely no reset button, right?

Shannon Curtin:
No. We’re always moving forward.

Kelly Campbell:
We can’t go back to how it was. I think there are different things about this new world that consumers have become accustomed to, changing behaviors and now it’s second nature to us versus before it was very unfamiliar. So, definitely, I had a similar experience to you as well, where I would go into stores, testing out all kinds of makeup products and just really immersing myself in what makes sense for my lifestyle, but now it’s totally different.

Shannon Curtin:
Now you don’t have to smell it, to sell it, you know?

Kelly Campbell:
That’s true.

Shannon Curtin:
I can’t smell something, do I like it, or does it work my body chemistry? And now we’re so great with our language of explaining where we have phenomenal sales online for the fragrance category for the first time in 100 years. Right? The internet has not been around that long. I know that. But in 100 years, over the course of making fragrances, this is the time that it’s actually growing again; in the last 20 years it hasn’t been. So, this is an interesting phenomenon that’s happened out of our industry specifically with the use of digital technology and language that we use to describe our products and being really understanding where the consumer’s coming from and speaking with her.

Kelly Campbell:
That’s a new thing. So, I know one of your brands is 18.21 Man Made, and it’s an awesome brand. I am so excited to go get one of those for my dad for Father’s Day and my husband. But, tell me about how you pivoted that brand so quickly last year?

Shannon Curtin:
Sure. This has been such a crazy story. So, New World Natural Brands is just three years old, so I’m the second CEO of the company. I’ve been a CEO of catastrophic event longer than I’ve been CEO of a non-catastrophic event. So, in October of 2019, we acquired 18.21. 18.21 as a high-end professional grooming brand. The predominant vertical of revenue was salons. Okay? So remember that, predominant, meaning 95% came of the business came from salons. And then, that was October of 2019. Quickly move forward to March 16th, 2020, between March 16th and March 22nd, 24th at the latest, of 2020, our entire business closed, all salons, all geographies, all Macy’s, all Ultas, Amazon deemed us professional, non-essential. The only store that we had was our small D2C, clunky, horrific user experience D2C site.

Kelly Campbell:
Yep.

Andrew Catapano:
Welcome back. Briagenn, let me change this real quick.

Briagenn Adams:

Ok, we’re just fixing the plane while it’s in the air. That’s Andrew’s favorite saying in the whole world.

Andrew Catapano:
Yes, exactly right.

Briagenn Adams:
That is awesome. I really enjoyed hearing from Shannon. I mean, I can’t imagine having to pivot in the beauty industry in the very beginning of COVID after just opening your company and coming on as CEO. That must have been the craziest time ever for her, but it sounds like she really helped lead that change and it was really cool to hear it from someone like that and in that space.

Andrew Catapano:
Just in the beginning, I used to remember that, hit hard and like she said, well, everything shut down. So, well, we’ve got a really exciting guest [inaudible 00:49:06]

Briagenn Adams:
Oh, yes, we do, the one and only Trevor Sumner from Perch Interactive and yeah, we’re excited to have him on the show and talk to him a bit. I know that you had the chance to have a conversation with him last week, so that’s going to go up as a HypeBite next week on LinkedIn, so stay on the lookout for that. In the meantime, let’s have Trevor on.

Andrew Catapano:
Let’s get him in here. Trevor, welcome.

Trevor Sumner:
What’s up everybody?

Andrew Catapano:
Welcome to the program.

Trevor Sumner:
Great to be here.

Andrew Catapano:
All right. Trevor, what the heck do you do at Perch?

Trevor Sumner:
So, fundamentally, Perch does digital signage, but and I’m a New Yorker, so pardon my language. Most digital signage sucks. It’s blinky texts saying, “Maybe it’s Maybelline, maybe it’s Maybelline.” It’s not contextual. It’s designed to interrupt the shopping experience. So what we do is, we actually use computer vision. So it’s like minority report, so the moment you touch a product on the shelf, it just wakes up and starts telling you the product. So, we just talked about this about online and doing research and we want ratings, we want reviews, we want videos and we want it for every product on the shelf. And the only way to do that, short of asking people to scan QR codes or download apps and do a bunch of kind of uncomfortable or onerous things, is to use computer vision and it’s like clicking on a product in-store.

Trevor Sumner:
So you guys talked about omnichannel. I think of it as kind of like unified commerce or connected commerce, you guys call, which I agree with as well. Now we can actually marry the best of both digital and physical shopping together and collect all the data about what people are actually touching in-store, which is the biggest black box considering 85% of transactions occur in-store.

Andrew Catapano:
I had a chance to listen to one of your livestreams a week or so ago and I have to be honest with you, Trevor. Unless it’s my livestream, I usually become disinterested relatively quickly. But I was happy to be as engrossed in yours and what you were saying about this digital revolution in-store and how the evolution that you saw on how the interactions with displays or the precipice is right upon us right now and that retail experience, it is really going to truly be an adapt or die from a sense of, from in-store interactions with displays and how our customer is actually going to participate and digital is going to participate in that journey. How are you seeing this customer journey evolve due to the rapid digital transformation over the last year. Bring some context to these statements that I’m making based on what I know you know about where retail is going.

Trevor Sumner:
Yeah. So people talk about e-commerce a lot and how eCommerce has grown. However, I think, again, 85% of transactions still occur in-store, and it’s such a fundamental piece of the customer journey. And it’s really odd to me that 1% of digital media is spent where 85% of transactions actually occur. And if you think about the ultimate digital desert, it’s in-store. How can that be? The place where we buy products is the only place I can’t get media about the products? It’s crazy. Right? And, fundamentally, I think we’re starting to unlock the technologies to understand shopper behavior in-store so we can leverage that to bring better organized planograms, better organize our merchandising and better hit them with the right message at the right time.

Trevor Sumner:
Right now, the reason I think that digital signage struggles is a lack of data, a lack of being able to personalize it to my journey, lack of understanding if it even works. And so, data is the underlying piece to a lot of this and that’s why 5G and all the sensor technologies and IOT, or the internet of things is so important to this technology adoption to help the shoppers in meaningful ways.

Andrew Catapano:
Can I ask you a question that’s kind of off the..? It’s not on the question list, but it just hit me, it just hit me. Do you think in your opinion, because we’re all talking to, Apple’s got their new ads out, right, about privacy and about, “get out of my data, get out of my information.” But, I’ve always been a, “But, we want personalized shopping experiences.” So, where’s the holy grail in between privacy and personalization, because a lot of times they’re at odds.

Andrew Catapano:
So, how do we get to a point where, and what are you doing? And is this a fair question to even ask you, how do I get over the fact that I’m giving up information, but it’s information that’s going to allow you to not maybe market me and barrage me and direct mail me, but personalize my shopping experience? It’s seamless from an online to in-store interaction. I’m willing to do it online hesitantly, but you’re right, it’s zero at store. How are we going to deal with that?

Trevor Sumner:
Well, I think first is understanding which signals actually matter, right? So when I go up to a shelf, does it matter that I’m a 44-year-old male? Sure. That helps, sends signal. Does it matter more that I have this product in my hand that I’m looking at? That is the ultimate signal. You can figure that out without knowing my age, my name, my purchase history. Those things are good for personalization. But I think, to me, the way I think about it is, online, you can click on a product to get more information, that we should do that in-store and you click this when you touch a product. And you can balance privacy just by instrumenting those clicks, right? You’re not forcing this trade-off. And I think a lot of people are collecting first party data in-store so that they can personalize, they can send you emails after the fact.

Trevor Sumner:
And truth be told, we do use that engagement to collect first party data where we can, but you can add so much value just by understanding context. And again, I think right now, I don’t know if, Andrew, do you know the origin of the word store?

Andrew Catapano:
I do not.

Trevor Sumner:
So we’re all in retail. I just heard this and this is great. So, when the ships came in with the goods at the ports, they created a place, a warehouse where they would store the products on the shelves. And we’re now a couple of thousand years later, and we’re still just storing products on the shelf without the context of the experience, right? And so, we had to go past this notion of storage and more into a shopper journey and understanding the points, understanding the shopper, understanding how they interact. And that’s what gets me excited because I think COVID has accelerated the way we think about and that we normalize our data, our product information, our inventories. And now, with all of this data, all of this technology, we have a foundation to build these higher-level functions, to meaningfully change the shopper journey and create something that’s engaging, that gives them the right information and ratings and reviews and videos at the right moment, at the point of consideration in-store.

Andrew Catapano:
Trevor, I could sit and listen to you forever, because you are preaching something, your preaching and I’m ready to convert. But, how do we get brands and retailers to get on board? Everything you were saying makes sense. How are we spending? And let’s bring that stat home because it was one of my favorite stats you said in the livestream and I’m so appreciative you said it today. 1%… Will you say it again? I don’t want to misquote you. Say it exactly. How do we get that to change?

Trevor Sumner:
So Yeah. 1% of digital media spend happens where 85% of transactions occur, which is in-store. And I think it is changing and the challenge actually is a little bit of a danger of who chooses this. Is it the retailer who sets up these banner ad networks with digital signage on the walls and you hire a bunch of media people and ad network people? And it’ll be super profitable, so they’re like, “Oh, we did two screens that are profitable, let’s do six, let’s do 10.” And you’re going to wake up and effectively, if you think of it almost as an e-commerce site, as a little bit of an e-commerce site with a ton of banner ads around it, right?

Trevor Sumner:
The other option and I think this is where something like Perch comes into play, is where the brands through shopper marketing and the merchandising managers and the category managers at the retailer really are thoughtful about how to inject digital into the shopper journey and to do it in a way that’s contextual and helpful and not, “Maybe it’s Maybelline, maybe it’s Maybelline, flashing your blinky tech statue.” But literally try to provide the right information at the right time and that I think will create the best shopper experience of all. And the reality is, there are people with that vision. I think there’s short-term thinking, there’s long-term thinking, there’s lots of different groups battling for the notion. You’ve got in-store people going digital, you have digital people going in-store. These worlds are colliding and harmonizing and there’s going to be a lot of chaos, there’s going to be a lot of failed things and a lot of super big successes, but to the winners will go the spoils.

Andrew Catapano:
Well, I will tell you, luckily, there’s this entire team at BDS that can help you create that content if you are one of those people. So, I think that…

Trevor Sumner:
If I could interrupt, that’s the other piece is that, this stuff is hard to deploy into the real world and to physical world. And that’s why partners like BDS are critical, right? Like having fleets of people who you know, who you trust, who have apps, who can log, that the work that they’re doing will go through questionnaires, who take pictures of what they’re doing and all the systems that you guys bring into bear, who can monitor the devices in real time, that stuff is critical because people have tried a bunch of stuff without that and failed. And so, what you guys do to bridge the digital concept into the physical world is a critical piece that many people overlook with inferior partners.

Andrew Catapano:
Well, I will tell this and then, Trevor, unfortunately we’re out of time, I’m watching. I bring them up because it’s tremendous what he does with his division. He’s my good friend and partner, Jonathan Margolis and Linetta and Beth and their team up in New York with the experiential division. What they’re seeing in terms of growth and brands and retailers are coming to them and saying, “Do you know how important experience is to us?” But I will tell him, and I know he’s probably watching, why are we not taking those experiences, memorializing them and allowing them to live longer at the point where more customers can see them, which is in-store. Right? So, we’re talking right now of how we bring that to an evergreen type of environment where a customer can experience that brand on their terms, not necessarily if they were fortunate enough to be at the specific event or at the place where they’re found.

Trevor Sumner:
It gets me jazzed right now and we’re going to announce a very big 200-store deployment, is that this stuff used to be like, we used to do jam alone and high luxury where you pick a fragrance and it animates and a honey stuck on lemon and it was like, “Oh, this is custom. It’s high end.” We’re seeing the democratization of this technology into grocery, into the mass market retail. So, I think it’s coming. I think it’s going to come like a tidal wave. I think you’re going to see a multi-billion-dollar shift of digital media from online into store and we’re at the center of it all, so it’s exciting times.

Andrew Catapano:
Well, Trevor, I know we’re out of time, but I know we did a HypeBite with you. And Kelly was fortunate enough to conduct that. We’re going to post that on our social media so people can see the full interview of you and Kelly, but thank you so much for making time with us live and doing those videos. I always usually invite guests back. It is never disingenuous, but I will tell you in your situation, I would be remiss not to talk to you again and I look forward to having you on another show.

Trevor Sumner:
Awesome. Let’s do it. Thank you so much.

Andrew Catapano:
Thank you, Trevor. Thank you for your time.

Briagenn Adams:
That was awesome. I learned a lot, I think.

Andrew Catapano:
That guy is awesome.

Briagenn Adams:
Trevor, that’s really good.

Andrew Catapano:
I could have talked to him for a while. I think he’s dialed in. I think he understands where we’re going and he’s got real solutions on how to help us get there.

Briagenn Adams:
Yeah. It’s always funny to me. I was thinking as he was talking, I remember being 12, 13 years old and going to the mall with my friends, not because I had money, money to spend, but just because it was an experience, it was an experience destination. And it’s funny now to kind of see that coming back, especially when consumers are craving experiences above all else, going to stores because it is a destination too. And then, so.

Andrew Catapano:
That’s right. There’s no substitute for touching, feeling and experiencing.

Briagenn Adams:
Yeah, exactly. It’s a full circle moment and I’m excited to kind of-

Andrew Catapano:
It’s a circle of life.

Briagenn Adams:
Circle of life, exactly. Oooh.

Andrew Catapano:
All right. With that, I know we’re over time. Briagenn, why don’t you close us out.

Briagenn Adams:
All right. Well, thank you guys for tuning in. Thank you for sticking around with us through some early technical difficulties. We hope you enjoyed this episode of The HypeHour. We have some more connected commerce episodes coming up, so keep an eye out for those announcements on social media and your emails. And of course, check out the hype bytes with Trevor on LinkedIn. I think they’re posting next week.

Andrew Catapano:
All right. And with that note, we are going to watch a video clip from our very own president, Sean Ludick, who I know loves my horn.

Sean Ludick:
Personalization is still top of mind for consumers, is they want more of it. They want brands and retailers to know their names, recommend you options and know their purchase history. But more importantly, they want at least one personalized component integrated into the shopping experience. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples. At Sephora, customers can create beauty profiles. Within this, the hair, eye and skin color and products are recommended based on each brands color palette. They are then emailed when products they want are back in stock or to remind them of products they’ve left in their shopping carts. The Sephora app allows shoppers to try makeup on virtually via 3D augmented reality and a freestanding version of this was also offered in stores.

Sean Ludick:
H&M is taking a leadership position in personalization and sustainability in fast fashion. In their flagship store in Sweden, they offer a loop machine where customers can bring in their old clothing. The machine will disassemble the product and the material then gets cleaned, re-span into a new garment unique to each customer. Recommended re-manufactured garments are personalized based on both materials the customer brings them and what the customer wants it to be.

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