Target online veteran to head up inRetail, new omni-channel retail agency
San Jose, Calif. — Lance Thornswood, longtime general manager of user experience, e-commerce and creative for Target.com and interactive marketing, has been tapped to head up inRetail, a new division being launched by The Stephenz Group, one of Silicon Valley’s largest independent branding, marketing and digital agencies. The specialized division will address the growing consumer demand for omnichannel retail.
“Retailers have never had it tougher,” said Thornswood. “Consumers want everything to be connected, and they want a single, seamless experience from their tablet to their desktop to the aisles of your stores, where they’re pulling out smartphones to compare your products and prices to everybody else’s. inRetail is a powerful new ally. With our insider knowledge of the retail industry and our ability to do everything it takes, we’re set to help retailers thrive in the face of a massive retail revolution.”
Barbara Zenz, president and CEO of The Stephenz Group commented: “There aren’t many agencies out there today with both a proven track record in retail technology and the in-house retail expertise required to enable exceptional consumer experiences across all touch points. We’ve combined the services of a world-class digital agency, a creative studio, and that of an IT consulting firm with the unique talents of industry experts to deliver the kinds of services retailers need to stay ahead of the omnichannel curve. Lance has worked inside the walls of some of the world’s most admired retailers, and this unique inside-out expertise will drive inRetail and offer something missing in the market.”
American Girl to expand to Canada via in-store boutiques
Middletown, Wis. — American Girl, a division of Mattel, announced its first expansion outside the United States, with plans to open two experiential in-store boutiques in partnership with Indigo Books & Music Inc., Canada’s largest book, gift, and specialty retailer.
Opening in spring 2014, the new American Girl retail stores will be located in Indigo’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Toronto, and Robson Street, Vancouver.
“For nearly 30 years, American Girl has been celebrating and encouraging girls through age-appropriate dolls, books, and experiences,” said Jean McKenzie, executive VP of American Girl. “Now, for the first time, we are thrilled to take the American Girl experience beyond the United States and inspire a whole new group of girls to achieve their personal best. We’re equally excited about partnering with such a well-established and creative company like Indigo.”
In addition to the brand’s signature doll lines, the Indigo American Girl store-in-store boutiques will carry Dress Like Your Doll girl-sized clothing and a variety of best-selling American Girl books. Fans can also treat their dolls to a new hairstyle or ear piercing in the Doll Hair Salon and enjoy free girl-and-mom-friendly events and programs offered throughout the year.
“I’ve loved American Girl since its inception,” said Indigo’s founder and CEO, Heather Reisman. “My daughters grew up with American Girl. My granddaughters are growing up with American Girl. We at Indigo are thrilled to be bringing this iconic and inspired brand to Canada.”
HSN launching multi-platform holiday campaign
St. Petersburg, Fla. — HSN (HSNi) is leveraging the cumulative power of its portfolio of leading lifestyle brands, which include HSN, Frontgate and Ballard Designs, to launch More the Merrier, a multi-platform holiday campaign. The campaign will include digital gift guides; special promotional offers, contests and sweepstakes.
As part of the campaign, HSN will host its biggest holiday sweepstakes ever, a nine-week, multi-platform program that will offer consumers the chance to win an array of prizes through the HSN Arcade gaming portal on HSN.com or by using their tablet or smartphone via HSN Mobile.
Frontgate’s popular annual “Inspire Holiday Pinterest Challenge” will return again this year, on Nov. 15, with pinners describing their most beautiful Christmas celebration ever through pictures posted on the popular social site. Frontgate customers will get to cast their vote for top Pinterest boards with the top 10 pinners receiving Frontgate gift cards to make their holidays even brighter.
In conjunction with Southern Living magazine, Ballard Designs is hosting The Ultimate Holiday Hostess Sweepstakes now through Dec. 31. Holiday shoppers can enter for a chance to win $10,000 in merchandise and decorate the party of their dreams.
Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Grandin Road, Chasing Fireflies, Garnet Hill, Improvements, HSN and TravelSmith are collaborating to create the ultimate More the Merrier holiday Pinterest board with products pinned from each of the brands.