OPERATIONS

Overstock.com promotes five execs, one resigns

BY Dan Berthiaume

Salt Lake City – Overstock.com has promoted one executive to the position of senior VP, general counsel and also promoted four other executives to VP positions. The company named VP and general counsel Mark Griffin to the position of senior VP and general counsel, and promoted four other executives to VP.

Griffin has been responsible for the strategic direction and operational effectiveness of the legal team. As a private attorney, Griffin represented the company and in 2006 joined as its general counsel. Prior to Overstock.com, Griffin was a partner in the Salt Lake City law firm Woodbury & Kesler. Griffin also served in various roles in state government.

Overstock.com also promoted the following executives to the position of vice president:

• Seth Moore was promoted from senior director of analytics, search and personalization to VP, website and mobile. Moore joined Overstock.com in 2006.

• Terry Jensen was promoted from senior director of training and quality to VP, customer service and training. Jensen joined Overstock.com in 2006.

• Michael Skirucha was promoted from controller to VP, finance and controller. Skirucha joined Overstock.com in 2010.

• Alec Wilkins was promoted to VP, application development. Wilkins joined Overstock.com in 2011 as a consultant, and joined full time in 2013 as acting VP, application development.

In addition, senior VP Stephen Tryon has resigned from his position to pursue interests related to his book, "Accountability Citizenship.”

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OPERATIONS

Sears rolls out new pickup service for online purchases

BY Marianne Wilson

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears has debuted In-Vehicle Pickup, a new service powered by the chain’s Shop Your Way mobile app that enables customers to pick up their online purchases at any Sears store within five minutes of arrival, without ever leaving the car.

"The In-Vehicle Pickup option takes our ‘Free Store Pickup – Ready in 5’ guarantee even further and out to the parking lot," said Leena Munjal, senior VP, member experience and integrated retail, Sears Holdings. "In-Vehicle Pickup on this scale is an industry first and another example of how we are constantly innovating and adding benefits that make shopping a more convenient experience for our members."

To take advantage of the new service, Shop Your Way members shop online, completing their purchase via computer or tablet. At check-out, they choose In-Vehicle Pickup and input details of the vehicle they’ll arrive in, then sign in to their Shop Your Way mobile app and enable location services before leaving for the store. Upon arrival at their local Sears, members:

1. Pull up to the In-Vehicle Pickup spots located conveniently outside of the merchandise pickup location.

2. Use the Shop’In feature in the Shop Your Way mobile app to initiate In-Vehicle Pickup – a timer will start on the phone.

3. In five minutes or less an associate will bring the purchase to the car and verify the purchase using the payment method used online.

"When the transaction is complete, members can easily provide instant feedback on their experience through the Shop Your Way app," Munjal said. "This feedback is extremely valuable as it helps us further enhance our capabilities across all channels."

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News

Staying Social With Millennials

BY Dan Berthiaume

It’s no secret that today’s teens and twenty-somethings have grown up on social media and see it as an extension of their everyday lives. But retailers who think they can just display a bunch of wares on a social media page and attract Millennial shoppers are sadly mistaken. A panel of five exceptionally bright and well-spoken Millennial consumers ages 16-21 (all offspring of prominent retail IT figures) at the recent Retail ROI “Super Saturday” event in New York gave some frank insight into how Millennials view social media. Retailers can ignore the following nuggets pulled from that commentary at their own risk of social irrelevance with the younger generation.

Think Visual
In a column published last year, I exhorted retailers to follow the example of The Kinks and “Think Visual” when it comes to digital retailing efforts. Old Kinks albums probably don’t mean much to Millennial consumers and their social habits, but video definitely does. All five Millennial panelists agreed that Instagram is their favorite social media network, and several also mentioned Snapchat.

Interestingly, all five agreed Facebook is not relevant to their generation (more on that momentarily), and only the two college-aged panelists even still have Facebook accounts, just to keep in touch with their parents. There was also mixed opinion on the relevance of Twitter to young consumers. If you want to reach Millennials through social media, do it on video-friendly platforms and through visual campaigns.

Aim True
The number one reason all five Millennial panelists gave for their generation’s general lack of interest in Facebook is an excess of spam. Young consumers are incredibly media-savvy and have been bombarded with marketing messaging their entire lives, starting with all the toys and games that tied into the TV shows and movies geared toward them as young children. They are not opposed to receiving marketing messages via social media, but they are opposed to generic messages for products they don’t want or need.

Retailers targeting Millennials with social media efforts need to take extra care they are targeting those efforts correctly. Investments in intelligent marketing solutions that track consumer behavior and preferences, preferably across multiple channels, are essential to avoid turning off potential Millennial customers. Older consumers screen out noise, younger consumers shut it off altogether.

Stay Young
The other reason all Millennial panelists agreed Facebook is not their generation’s choice social network is that it is seen as the social network for their parents. This is not to say retailers should abandon all efforts to reach Millennials through Facebook, but it does mean that retailers must keep a young mindset and be aware of trends among young consumers when designing social marketing campaigns.

Having Millennials as part of your social marketing team is essential, and processes and systems supporting social engagement of Millennials must be lean and agile to allow quick pivots in response to the fickle preferences of teens and twenty-somethings.

Younger generations are always a bit of a mystery to older generations, but mysteries can be solved. And when it comes to social engagement of young consumers, retailers need to apply leading-edge strategies and technologies to become a 21st century version of Sherlock Holmes.


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