"I've never seen anything grow faster than our mobile transactions," said Ben Fischman, president and CEO of Retail Convergence, which operates online sample sale site RueLaLa.com. "The opportunities we see with mobile technology are literally jaw dropping."
Mindy Grossman, the CEO of HSN, agreed that tapping into mobile phone technology is an amazing opportunity. "It's the ultimate way to be on the go," and gives retailers a leg up on targeting demographics. "Say there's a giant snowstorm in Minneapolis. We can send out a message offering a limited offer on snowblowers to customers in Minneapolis," she explained. "It will require us to think about what people are doing."
Grossman and Fischman were part of a panel that also included Michael Gould, chair and CEO of Bloomingdale's, that spoke on the "Retail Revolution: Transforming the World's Biggest Industry," at a recent luncheon organized by the Fashion Group International.
Though the still-not-recovered economy was the first topic of conversation for this panel, all three of these retailers admitted that their businesses are healthy, though they've learned to grow more nimble and focus on service.
"Speed is the defining in retail," Fischman admitted of his business. "Our customers can't touch and feel our products, so we must make everything else experiential. Great retail is exciting, so people will come and go regularly."
Grossman admitted that service and the psychology of what a customer wants is something HSN thinks about constantly. And "when we have a negative," she explained, describing a return or unsatisfactory experience, "if we can turn it around, these customers become our evangelists," spreading the word about the new HSN.
Bloomingdale's Gould admitted that his business is synergistic between the stores, the catalog and Bloomingdales.com. "The customer who uses these channels are 3.3 times more valuable than a one channel customer," he admitted, and the best of these customers shops these places 36 times each year.
Meanwhile read about how reusable shopping bags are bad for your health.