Panelists Urge Omnichannel Players to Think Like Consumers

Silence the silos.

That was the message Tuesday morning at the FN Platform seminar focusing on omnichannel retail. The event was sponsored by the American Apparel & Footwear Association and MarkMonitor, a software firm that helps companies protect intellectual assets.

To successfully tackle today’s omnichannel world, Deckers Outdoor Corp. VP John Kalinich said his company has realigned its corporate structure and “refocused” employees on how they think about the shopping experience.

He noted businesses often are set up with their retail, wholesale and online divisions operating separately from one another. That’s not good, he explained, and it’s not how consumers view these companies when shopping for their products — they expect a consistent experience across channels.

“Our multichannel experience has always existed, but we’ve had to flip it horizontally,” said Kalinich. “We’ve had to align our people, processes and technology.”

Likewise, 42-year-old British brand Mulberry Co. has faced the challenge of moving from “multichannel to omnichannel,” according to panelist Kate Anthony Wilkinson, head of group legal for the firm.

She said the luxury player in the last year has reviewed its sales data to improve results and “portray the brand story in a consistent way.”

To that end, the company discovered that 11 percent of total sales came from the e-commerce channel. A deeper dive into the numbers revealed that in 2013 nearly 70 percent of its customers were women, transactions averaged one item per person and the bulk of sales came from the U.K.

“It showed where we had gaps,” Wilkinson said, “and it allowed us to be targeted in terms of product and geography.”

In July, Mulberry relaunched its website “so the desktop, mobile and tablet [experiences] would be consistent for the customer.”

As a result, sales have grown, she said.

Kalinich agreed: “Companies that use data from across channels are clearly growing at a faster rate.”

MarkMonitor’s chief marketing officer, Frederick Felman, moderated the panel.