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Nov 19, 2017

Retail Touch Points: Hershey’s, Jo-Ann Stores, TechStyle on Future of Business Success

3 Retailer Perspectives On Future Business Success: Hershey’s, Jo-Ann Stores, TechStyle

Credit: Retail Touch Points

The onslaught of bankruptcies and acquisitions is motivating the smartest and most innovative retail businesses to find new ways to capture consumers’ attention, build brand loyalty and deliver on the omnichannel promise.

“I look at it as a time of disruption, not the end of the world,” said Brian Kavanagh, Senior Director, Insights Driven Performance and Retail Evolution, The Hershey Company. “It is waking up sleeping giants” — the traditional retailers and slow movers that have balked at innovation. “They are hard-to-move big battleships, but the jet skis are scooting by them.”

During 2017 in Los Angeles, three companies with completely different retail perspectives shared the secrets of their strong business future:

The Brand Perspective: Hershey’s
The Traditional Store Perspective: Jo-Ann Stores
The Online-First Perspective: TechStyle

Digital-First TechStyle Hits The Streets

Many of today’s digital-first retailers are breaking new ground by opening brick-and-mortar locations. TechStyle Fashion Group, which owns ShoeDazzle, Fabletics, JustFab and FabKids brands, is in the process of opening “many more stores next year,” according to Adam Goldenberg, Co-CEO and Founder of TechStyle. The company has opened 18 Fabletics stores as of mid-2017 and may be adding 80 more in the next few years.

With its digital-first foundation in mind, TechStyle is tapping invaluable data from its stores to help shape new products, pricing and merchandising. The company uses proprietary, internally developed technology solutions to achieve its goals. For example, its patent-pending Omnicart technology ties dressing room items to purchase rates.

“Dressing room data helps with product design and store merchandising, and it ties back to the web site to decide which products to show users,” Goldenberg explained. “We can retarget online shoppers with items they were trying on in the dressing room.”

TechStyle is committed to continuing to develop its own technology solutions. “Leaders in e-Commerce will be on their own platforms,” said Goldenberg. “The biggest reason is that you can attract better talent if they have a blank slate to work with.”

With an in-house team handling visual merchandising and photography, TechStyle is able to test new products and advertising in near-real time. “When we launch a new product, we know in the first 24 hours if it is moving,” said Goldenberg. “If not, we can re-do the photography within 24 hours.”

Additionally, using real-time data, TechStyle tests more than 35,000 different ads each year, and completes up to 3,000 “micro experiences” on the e-Commerce site.

But while keeping most functions internal is working for TechStyle, one area the company is outsourcing is its call center. After a less-than-outstanding experience with a U.S.-based call center, the company moved the unit to the Philippines. “Initially we had a call center near our headquarters that operated 24/7,” Goldenberg explained. But, he added, it was difficult finding committed part-time employees who wanted to work those hours in the U.S.