"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." -Churchill

John Funnell

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Believe in the Brand

So far this quarter online retail sales in the US have increased to $32.1 billion

This week the leading names in retail met at a closed meeting at the NGR US summit, in Miami.

The Meeting began with the NGR20, a closed-door session for 20 of the most senior retail representatives who specifically focused their discussions on e-commerce, customer experience, social media and mobile commerce.

So far this quarter online retail sales in the US have increased to $32.1 billion, a nine percent rise from the same quarter last year. The single-digit increase represents the fourth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth following a full year of flat or negative growth rates. To continue this growth the representatives such as Macy's - Keith Enright, Chief Privacy Officer, AT&T - Frank Foster, VP Media Insights and Product Development, KFC - Tom Romano, CIO, Gucci - Rodney Woodruff, Chief E-business Architect, Pier 1 Imports - Sharon Leite, EVP Stores and Sears Holdings Company - Kevin Lyons, Divisional VP Multichannel Strategy discussed the following:

"Knowing your customer, being "customer centric", driving loyalty; these are core retail strategies that rely upon oceans of data in their execution.  Some see it as an IT concern: maintaining and managing information systems such that they preserve the confidentiality, accuracy and availability of this, the most valuable asset of your organization. Others focus on the legal risks. What data can we collect? How can we use it? With whom can we share it? How must we dispose of it? Still others recognize data as the key to competitive advantage" Keith Enright - CPO, Macy's

The representatives also discussed the importance for retailers to develop strategies to present trends to heighten relevancy of product offers and develop seasonal campaigns as a strategy to engage consumers emotionally. Future growth will depend on creating consistent graphic communications that are repeated in all media expressions and in-store collateral. To do this, companies must avoid clutter and barriers to navigation throughout the store environment which in turn will maximize sightlines with careful editing and storytelling.

Another topic of discussion was the need to consider the role of architecture in expressing a brand. Exterior signage comes first with brand logos and wherever possible, within the increasingly regionalized color and material criteria for developments, consistently applying design solutions that live up to the brand promise, insuring that lighting is both flattering and sufficient and improving customer amenities to extend the "shop time" and encourage lingering.

With the probability of a slow economic recovery, there will be limited new retail developments to spur growth in stores, so retailers will need to pursue and develop an inward looking strategy that redefines the consumer experience. Corporate assets are being redirected in this direction now and this trend will continue.

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John Funnell has worked in online media for over ten years, after achieving his First Class BSC Hons Degree (BBC Sponsored), John won Bos 18-21 Princess Trust Entrepeneur of the year at 21, setting up Clean Living Records Ltd (including www.BeatReview.com) with great success having many acts that charted in Europe and Canada. After selling the business John looked for a new challenge and joined GDS International, having a successful career in sales and Delegate acquisition, he worked up to Event Director EMEA, forging contacts with some of the biggest technology names in the world, this lead to John having a lead role in the creation of MeettheBoss.com and MeettheBoss.tv – the worlds largest business IPTV channel. John then took over as Marketing and Communications Director and ran a multifaceted global Marketing team for GDS International in New York, Sydney, Kuala Lumper and the UK.. John joined Global in 2011 with the challenge of supporting its growth by developing a solid Marketing foundation through various Digital, PR and brand initiatives.