STORES Magazine - July 2008 - (Page 24)

COVER PEOPLE EXECUTIVE SUITE / RETAIL STORY Making Retail Lemonade Social networking site offers fresh approach to squeezing sales Tom Zawacki Co-founder and CEO, Lemonade South Norwalk, Conn. ic chemistry I knew I wanted to pursue something else. So I changed to anthropology, which introduces you to cultural customs, religious beliefs and a global perspective on the world. I definitely apply those same research and societal analysis techniques to our work today. What one person most influenced your career? T he modern lemonade stand is virtual, always open and provides much more than a refreshing drink on a hot day. Tom Zawacki started Lemonade, a social commerce company, last September with other former executives of online advertising agency Modem Media. Its Lemonade Stand application is free, easy to use and makes its proprietors money by allowing them to start e-businesses merely by recommending their favorite products and services on their social network page, blog or personal website. Some 100 million people have created their online presence through blogs and websites; that’s a lot of digital real estate ripe for storefronts. Lemonade Stand owners can select from two million products from more than 200 retailers, including Apple, Macy’s, Wal-Mart, Nordstrom, Lands’ End, EBGames, The Sharper Image, Hotwire Travel, TigerDirect Electronics and MovieLink. There are more than 33,000 stands, with some owners opting to channel their revenues (which average $30 to $50 per month) to charity. Lemonade was named the top website of 2007 by both Time and CNN. Why do personal recommendations trump traditional advertising? My grandmother Ida Vavala. She came to America as an Italian immigrant, worked her way to the top of her high school class and learned English at the same time. She started a small business and over the course of 30 years grew it into a very successful real estate investment company. She’s 89 years old now and sharp as a whip. She represents my approach to life and business — family first, brilliant thinking and you can do anything if you dream and work hard enough. What’s in the iPod? I love all music and believe that life has a soundtrack — stuff I’m listening to right now includes Barenaked Ladies, LL Cool J, Panic! at the Disco, Pearl Jam, Snow Patrol, Citizen Cope, DMB, Dispatch, Jack Johnson, Plain White T’s, Daddy Yankee. If you weren’t running Lemonade, what passion might you have pursued? Trust and relevance. A personal recommendation generally comes from someone you trust. If it’s a review from another customer, generally you still trust that person more than the brand’s marketing messages. The other is relevance – I’m receiving recommendations from people like me, or people that I aspire to be like. Word of mouth is not new – it has always been the most powerful driver of purchase decisions and building brands. What is new is the way that technology is enabling that word of mouth on a global basis. You switched majors at Princeton — to what and why? Tragically, I found out at the young age of 19 that I was not going to make the Yankees. So, I did the next best thing and became a baseball coach. I’m currently a varsity baseball coach for a local high school. I love working with kids, especially in the arena of sports. So, if I weren’t running Lemonade I might be a teacher. Who knows, maybe someday I will. With a last name that begins with “Z,” how’d you feel about always being last in line in school? I started as a pre-med major. I wanted to be a psychiatrist; however, when I hit organ24 STORES / JULY 2008 I don’t know that it gave me a complex, but it probably gave me a little bit of [an] edge where I always wanted to move up in lines. Once in while, Miss Russell, my second grade teacher, would make it “Opposite Day” and I would get to go to the front of the line. And that was awesome. StORES — Janet Groeber WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - July 2008

STORES Magazine - July 2008
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Dearth of Retail Creativity
What Shoppers Think
Wow, Is That a Wawa?
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Merchandising Strategy
Point of Sale
Human Resources
Top 100 Retailers
Store Design
IT Operations
Systems Managements
LP Vantage Point
Cover Story
Emergency Response Systems
Background Checks
LOEB Retail Letter
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
Last Laugh

STORES Magazine - July 2008