Wolverine appoints new president for consumer direct
ROCKFORD, Mich. — Wolverine Worldwide has appointed Jodi K. Watson as president of consumer direct, reporting to chairman, CEO and president Blake W. Krueger.
In her new role, Watson will be responsible for direct-to-consumer operations for the company, including stores and e-commerce.
Watson was most recently the company’s VP of e-commerce, leading Wolverine’s global digital strategy. She has served on its retail leadership team since joining the company in 2009.
"Jodi is a consumer-centric executive with a proven track record of success,” said Krueger. “She is an excellent leader and a student of the industry, but most important, she is passionate about our consumers and our brands. For the fast-changing, global retail environment in which we compete, Jodi is the right leader at the right time.”
"The opportunities ahead for Wolverine Worldwide are limitless — our portfolio is the best in the industry, and our platforms are second-to-none," said Watson. "It has been a privilege to be a part of the company through such a transformational period. I look forward to working with Blake, our industry-leading management team, and the entire organization as we enter a new era of opportunity for the company."
Watson has more than 25 years of experience in the industry. Before joining Wolverine, she was chief marketing officer for Bag, Borrow or Steal, an innovative marketing leader in e-commerce. Before that, Watson was VP of direct marketing services for Williams-Sonoma Inc.
Watson graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in marketing and management from Portland State University and holds a master’s in design methods from the IIT Institute of Design.
Wolverine World Wide, Inc. is a leading marketer of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport, athletic, children’s and uniform footwear and apparel. The company’s portfolio of brands includes Merrell, Sperry Top-Sider, Hush Puppies, Saucony, Wolverine, Keds, Stride Rite, Sebago, Cushe, Chaco, Bates, HYTEST and Soft Style. The company also is the global footwear licensee of brands including Cat, Harley-Davidson and Patagonia. The company’s products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in approximately 200 countries and territories.
Jos. A. Bank warns of Q2 decline
New York — Wall Street is reacting to Jos. A. Bank’s news that it is cutting its second-quarter profit and sales outlook, sending shares spiraling downward.
Company CEO R. Neal Black said, “While our total sales declined in Q2, we achieved stability in our gross profit margin rate. Customers did not respond as well to some of our highly promotional, high sales volume marketing campaigns as they did in the prior year.”
Total sales declined 11% in the second quarter.
RFID Fits the New Retail IT Perspective
RFID has occupied a curious position in the retail IT landscape for the past decade. Most observers acknowledge that RFID holds great potential to offer expanded supply chain visibility and collaboration from source to shelf, but aside from a few high-profile programs run by retail heavyweights like Wal-Mart and Target, RFID’s potential still remains untapped after all these years. That may finally be changing.
As recently reported on Chainstoreage.com, American Apparel is automating in-store inventory tracking processes with a wide-area RFID system using technology from Senitron and Impinj, eliminating the need for handheld readers. On a continual basis, the system transmits data from RFID inventory tags with Impinj Monza chips through fixed antennae to a database providing real-time RFID coverage across the store. Benefits to the retailer include improved inventory accuracy, on-shelf availability, security, analytics, customer service and the ability to locate merchandise.
American Apparel deserves kudos for this effort, but here is nothing going on with this program that could not have happened in 2003. However, retailers’ perspective on the role of IT in the enterprise is shifting as IT functionality evolves, and RFID’s capabilities actually fit this new perspective quite nicely. Here’s how.
RFID Works on the Same Concept as the ‘Internet of Things’
The “Internet of Things,” or Web 3.0, is based on the concept of non-computing devices such as appliances and automobiles being connected to the Internet for purposes such as automatically notifying the owner when maintenance is needed. Web 3.0 is also being realized through innovations such as Google Glass that turn wearable objects into mobile computing devices.
RFID is basically the Internet of Things minus the Internet. It turns items in a retailer’s supply chain, or other objects such as store shelves and fixtures, into automated sources of information about themselves and their surroundings. In some ways, the rest of the retail IT world is finally catching up to RFID.
RFID was ‘Big Data’ in 2003
It may seem like retailers have been obsessing about solutions that can filter, store and analyze exponential volumes of data for only the past few years, but RFID has been posing this challenge and opportunity since well before data became “Big.” Much like Big Data, the constant stream of information about item location and movement created by RFID tags and readers also requires sophisticated data warehousing and analysis/reporting tools to be made actionable. RFID data is in fact generally considered part of the larger Big Data stream.
However, RFID data is more manageable than the overall volume of Big Data, and RFID solutions actually offer more concrete ROI than Big Data solutions as they provide hard benefits such as reduced shrinkage, faster inventory turns and automated inventory tracking.
RFID Eliminates Some Hardware
As demonstrated by American Apparel, RFID systems can eliminate the need for handheld devices used to track inventory. This nicely fits the pronounced movement away from hardware-based solutions toward software-based and virtual cloud-based solutions that has been occurring in retail (and industry in general).
Of course, RFID does require the installation of hardware such as tags, antennae and readers. However, some vendors are starting to release cloud-based RFID systems that do away with at least some of the physical infrastructure associated with RFID, and most likely this trend will continue growing.
Was RFID simply ahead of its time? Time will tell, but the use case looks a little clearer in 2013 than it did in 2003.