OPERATIONS

Lowe’s realigns leadership toward improved customer experience

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Mooresville, N.C. — Lowe’s Cos. said Tuesday it has realigned corporate personnel and responsibilities to focus the home improvement retailer more closely on customer experience strategies.

Lowe’s established a Customer Experience organization, led by chief customer officer Gregory M. Bridgeford, charged with creating customer experiences that will best serve customers and differentiate Lowe’s from its competitors.

Reporting to Bridgeford will be customer experience design executive Bob Gfeller, former executive VP merchandising; chief marketing officer Tom Lamb, former as senior VP marketing and advertising; and digital interfaces executive Mike Mabry, former executive VP logistics and distribution.

The newly named operations organization will be led by COO Rick Damron. Direct reports include: Dennis R. Knowles, U.S. stores executive, formerly senior VP specialty sales and store operations support; Brent G. Kirby, sales & service fulfillment executive, formerly senior VP store operations – north division; and Gary E. Wyatt, real estate executive.

Other personnel changes include: Richard D. Maltsbarger is now business development executive, previously serving as senior VP strategy; Brian Peace is now corporate administration executive, previously serving as senior VP corporate affairs; and Doug Robinson is now head of international operations and development, previously serving as senior VP international operations and customer support services.

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F.Dallson says:
Apr-21-2013 01:44 pm

Leadership is the main
Leadership is the main feature if you want to be successful and have a power. I think that it is very important if you want to improve customer experience strategies. I totally agree with your arguments and I have to admit that I really respect your opinion about this question. It would be really interesting to hear other people opinion about it. Sincerely, Frank H. from relationship problems

F.Dallson says:
Apr-21-2013 01:44 pm

Leadership is the main feature if you want to be successful and have a power. I think that it is very important if you want to improve customer experience strategies. I totally agree with your arguments and I have to admit that I really respect your opinion about this question. It would be really interesting to hear other people opinion about it. Sincerely, Frank H. from relationship problems

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Kohl’s expands cause line with Fila

BY CSA STAFF

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Kohl’s has added athletic merchandise from Fila to its exclusive of Kohl’s Care collection. Available now through the end of July, the collection offers chic and stylish athletic apparel, accessories and gifts which can be found in all 40 Wisconsin Kohl’s stores and online at Kohls.com, with 100% of the net profit donated to support the fight against breast cancer, the company said.

From tees, hats and shorts marked with colorful hearts and ribbons to ear buds, arm bands and duffle bags that show support in various shades of pink, gray, and black, all items are available for only $5 and $10 each. In Wisconsin Kohl’s stores, the breast cancer cause merchandise has its own center aisle display where all items are located in one spot to make it easy for customers to support the cause.

"We are excited to once again partner with Fila Sport for the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program," said Julie Gardner, Kohl’s EVP and chief marketing officer. "We featured Fila Sport last fall and the collection resonated so well with our customers that we are offering it again this summer, just in time for people to get outside, stay healthy and join together to support women’s health by participating in local breast cancer walks and runs."

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Where’s the loyalty?

BY Jeff Green

Has anyone else noticed that more and more consumers seem to be “cross-shopping” than ever before? I’m talking about those people who shop both the high-end luxury retailers and the discount or even dollar stores. I recently read an article that indicated one-quarter of all Nordstrom shoppers also shop at the Dollar Store. And, I started to ask myself if this trend is here to stay.

Two decades ago, shoppers were relatively loyal to one or two high-end retailers and wouldn’t have even thought of shopping anywhere else. Today, though, for any number of reasons, many shoppers (like the ones mentioned above) are buying from a wider variety of retailers. What could be driving this change? I think there are a couple of things: First is the basic economic motivation. People of all income levels are more driven to look for deals when times are tough. So, I think the recession played a major role in starting the trend. But, something else has happened to keep it going. The availability of “fashion-forward” apparel at many/most discount locations has certainly increased. Target offers higher-end goods and specialty lines, Kohl’s has discounted brand-name items, and stores like Zara and H&M have the latest styles at an affordable price. Think about it: There’s a broader range of alternatives for shoppers who are more price-conscious than ever before. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there isn’t a market for Neiman’s and Saks (luxury brands still provide better service, selection and quality). What I am saying is that there’s been a shift in loyalty. People just aren’t as loyal as they once were because they don’t have to be. There are other, often more affordable, options they can turn to.

I also think that retail brands themselves have changed. A few years ago, Macy’s was seen as a high-end brand name known for the occasional good promotion. Now, they are more of a bargain hunter’s venue, with deep and consistent discounting that, in my mind, moves them into a different category altogether. People are also doing more opportunistic buying and looking for that great find at a lower price; less “targeted” shopping in exchange for more browsing. I think Nordstrom has figured out the appeal of this needle-in-a-haystack approach and realized that their Nordstrom shopper is also a Nordstrom Rack shopper, which is why we’re seeing an increase in Nordstrom Rack locations in recent years.

Ultimately, I think this is fundamentally good news for the retail real estate industry. This allows more leasing, programming and design flexibility, making it possible to mix brands in ways that wouldn’t have been possible (or accepted) before. It really opens up the tenant mix and allows for centers to be leased based on what your market is looking for instead of on arbitrary labels, formulas and restrictions. While developers and retailers have been debating this for years, I think we are starting to see more acceptance from the development community. Take Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine, Calif., for instance. They’ve had great success adding Target to their mix. In their case, Target is right next to Nordstrom—something we would never have seen five years ago. There are also more Costco units going into regional mall environments than ever before. Maybe it’s time for all centers to have their own retail DNA based on market characteristics and market voids. Perhaps it’s time we have “hybrid” centers where shoppers can go from Target to Tiffany’s to Kohl’s and Saks. Maybe this is the start of our industry’s next evolution.

What do you think? Is this a trend that will last? Do you think we’ll see more “hybrid” centers in the future? Please make a public comment below or feel free to e-mail me privately at [email protected].


Click here for past columns by Jeff Green.

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