June 29, 2001, 12:00 AM

SPONSORED SUPPLEMENT: eTail 2001

Driving Profitability, Loyalty And Operational Efficiency To Meet The New Standards Of Multi-Channel Retailing

Six

months ago, the talk around Internet retailing already was moving beyond the

year’s well-publicized dot-com crashes to focus new interest on the survivors.

Who were they, how did they do it, and what winning traits did they share? A

new category of merchant has stepped into the spotlight with a firm handle on

those answers. But then, they’re not really so new after all. Once criticized

for being too slow or too timid about getting onboard the online train-at least,

compared to pure-play supernovas that shone then fizzled-the land- and catalog-based

e-retailers are now in the driver’s seat and going at full-throttle.

 

 

If you have any doubts, just take a look at the line-up for the eTail 2001 Conference set for July 31-August 2 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. The conference title, “Driving Profitability, Loyalty and Operational Efficiency to Meet the New Standards of Multichannel Retailing,” zeroes in on the path Internet retailing has taken to emerge from last year’s bashing and pick up steam. And it has: forecasts show that the woes of individual retailers haven’t turned shoppers off the web. U.S. consumers will spend $74 million online at retail this year, up from $45 million last year.

 

 

Zeroing in on tactics

A full half

of the 10 major morning presentations from retailers, vendors and researchers

will focus on winning multi-channel or clicks-and-mortar strategies; as well

as four of the afternoon concurrent sessions. The others will discuss how multi-channel

retailers are using new technologies to attract and keep customers, how they’re

redefining customer service, and mining customer data to boost conversions and

sales. Presenters include some of the best-known names in retailing, online

and off. In-depth case studies from 19 retailers will show how they tackled

key issues such as integrating multi-channel operations from storefront to back

end. Top technology and market intelligence providers will share their views

as well, bolstering their presentations with real life dispatches from the e-commerce

front. (A complete vendor list and presenter list are available below)

 

 

Pre-registration for the conference will be followed by a welcome reception for those arriving on the evening of July 31. This networking opportunity will offer conference attendees the chance to meet each other as well as the speaker faculty and fellow delegates in a casual, informational setting while enjoying complimentary drinks and snacks.

 

The morning sessions will focus on strategies and tactics to make multi-channel e-retailers successful, in key areas such as designing a fulfillment program that works across all channels, restructuring business models to meet changing goals, building customer loyalty without breaking the bank, and raising customer service to new levels. Retailer presenters will explore how customer data can translate into dollars, and how the right partnerships and alliances can boost retailers’ power and presence online.

 

 

Creating ’Web-Tainment’

 

 

David Lauren, chief creative and marketing officer of Ralph Lauren Media and Polo.com, will headline the program on August 1 with his presentation, “Transforming Your E-Commerce Site into ‘Web-Tainment’: A Compelling Medium for Customer Acquisition and Retention.” Online only since November 2000, Polo.com already has become one of the most innovative retail destinations on the web. Through a unique blend of merchandising and online entertainment provided by Ralph Lauren Media, a joint venture of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. and NBC, Polo.com leverages the web’s interactive capacities to bond shoppers to the site without losing sight of the metrics most critical to e-retailers. Lauren, son of designer and Polo founder Ralph Lauren, worked with Ralph Lauren Media to create the Polo web site, and now oversees the development of its editorial content, services and products. He will discuss how to create an engaging environment online that promotes repeat visitors and shoppers while maximizing the power of the brand through community. He’ll also discuss how Polo.com determines the right amount of personalization through customer service, content, and interactive features, as well as multi-channel marketing campaigns that have driven web site sales and increased ROI.

 

On the conference’s second day, August 2, Bill Bass, Lands’ End senior vice president for e-commerce and international, will lead off. Web sales at Lands’ End have only gone up - 40% over a year earlier in the first quarter of 2001 alone. Lands’ End says it’s put the customer at the center of everything it does, an approach it calls a key driver in the company’s success, and Bass’s address, “Devising a Customer-Centric Approach : Differentiating Your Business Through the Delivery of Superior Customer Service to Build Loyalty and Instill Brand Confidence,” shows just how. Bass will share information on how his company has integrated customer service touch points across all channels, trained customer service representatives to meet the demands of multi-channel retailing, and cut the costs of customer service without cutting quality by nudging shoppers toward self-help. He’ll also discuss integrating real-time inventory data and fulfillment data across multiple channels, extending the cross-channel integration of customer service to outsourced partners, and synthesizing all customer data into a single view.

 

 

Moving to the web

 

 

The afternoon’s sessions, which focus in on more specific topics, will give conference-goers a choice between two concurrent tracks. They’ll choose from either track A or track B to meet in less formal, more interactive sessions led by vendors and retail executives on such topics as overcoming the challenge of expanding brand across the channels, moving offline brands onto the web and developing a real-time inventory management system. Other topics will include e-mail marketing, a look at the latest online visualization technology, emerging trends in personalization, and more. Among the presenters of the concurrent sessions will be Cathy David, general manger of Target.com; Ann Acierno, senior vice president and general manager of Estee Lauder Cos. online; Melanie Agnermann, vice president of marketing for JCPenney.com; David Towers, director, customer experience for e-commerce at J. Crew; Sean Kaldor, vice president, e-commerce, at Nielsen/NetRatings and others.

 

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