STORES Convention Daily - 2018 Big Show Day 1 - 29

2018 SUNDAY

29

Thriving
Continued from page 26

Meeting a marketplace need

In 2007, consultant Bill Mirabito was
in a strikingly similar position to where he
is now: at the helm of a brand-new startup.
Then, he left a position as a senior retail
analyst with Forrester Research to found
ecommerce consulting firm B2C Partners.
Now, his new company is Floorwatch, a
smartphone app that allows in-store shoppers to get the attention and assistance of
associates in more than 57,000 stores with
a single download.
In both cases, Mirabito met a marketplace need. He chose the consultant
path after spending half of his days on the
phone with clients wanting more detailed
advice, and founded Floorwatch after a
2015 survey of more than 1,100 shoppers
showed their primary in-store problem
was the inability to find help when they
needed it.
The concept for the app came
after customer feedback, not before
- which is an important point. Over
the years, Mirabito has seen numerous retailers touting technology in
the name of innovation, regardless of
consumer wants.
In leaner times, when this crop of

companies began, new technology was things lightly."
explored first as the answer to a business
Over time, that plan has paid off. If
need. Otherwise, costs would have been Green, who joined Indochino in 2015,
too high for flights of fancy.
was going to start the company today,
Indochino's Green echoes the senti- he'd enter a crowded field without much
ment. "I've heard of retail tech teams opportunity to differentiate. But starting
developing robot associates in stores lean - and holding on - helped place
with an iPad for a chest," he says. "I've the company out front.
seen stories about
So, too, with
piloting drones in
one other standout
To be sure,
stores, and using
2007 startup: Fitaugmented reality.
bit. Over the last
dissatisfaction, new
But I don't know
decade, Fitbit has
possibilities and
any consumer that's
grown from two
the
idea
of
"why
asking for this stuff.
30-year-old emcan't things be done
What they want is to
ployees trying to
connect to a human
inspire people to
differently?" have
being - a store aslead healthier, more
led to great changes.
sociate - who is
active lives to more
But some things have
knowledgeable and
than 60 million deremained
the
same.
attentive."
vices sold. In 2016,
"I find it over
the company posted
and over again," he
annual revenue of
says. "There's too much technology with- $2.17 billion. Along the way, it racked
out really relating to the customer experi- up numerous awards - and countless
ence and business return on investment." competitors.
In Indochino's made-to-measure
category, there are always new options Think different
for how a customer can be fitted, and it
Consultant Bob Phibbs, CEO of The
would be "easy to gravitate to that new Retail Doctor, looks back on 2007 as a
technology. But our belief is entirely in time when some had an inkling of what
the experience that we can drive, and not was coming, but no one had the full picjust the product ... . We don't introduce ture. That stands for both the economy

and the way technology - particularly
mobile - would influence retail overall.
Then, he says, traditional retailers still
held all the cards; there was no thought of
picking up a phone and scanning something, being able to purchase items online
24 hours a day or finding product knowledge somewhere other than the store.
Consider Rue La La, a member of the
online flash sale category of disruptors that
appeared near the start of the recession.
"Rue La La was designed to revolutionize the shopping experience," says Jeff
Steeves, senior vice president of marketing
for the company, founded in 2008.
"The objective was to develop a
curated experience of the best brands
from around the world and an exclusive
members-only environment, and bring
customers to the brands they love - and
provide a bit of theater while doing it."
Today, the company continues to innovate, and now sees more than 70 percent
of traffic and 60 percent of sales come
through mobile shopping environments.
To be sure, dissatisfaction, new possibilities and the idea of "why can't things
be done differently?" have led to great
changes. But some things have remained
the same.
"It still comes down to this," Phibbs
says. "Who is your customer, and how are
you going to reach them?"

Recognize

Premier face recognition technology for real-time video screening
and anonymous people analytics, supporting your security and loss
prevention measures and providing valuable statistics for in-store
ad placement, store design, and staffing managment.
www.cognitec.com

See it in action
at booth 548
887970_Cognitech.indd 1

11/4/17 2:05 PM

893249_Socal.indd 1

12/12/17 5:32 PM


http://www.fitbit.com http://www.floorwatch.com http://www.fitbit.com http://www.cognitec.com http://www.mimo-llc.com

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