From the C-Suite: Kathy Doyle Thomas, Executive Vice President, Half Price Books
As a feature in its Winter 2017 print issue, Total Retail's Editorial Advisory Board shared their expert opinions on what they believe will be the top trends to impact the retail industry in 2017. In part one of this series, we talked with Kathy Doyle Thomas, executive vice president for Half Price Books.
Total Retail Executive: What's the trend that you're most closely watching for the retail industry in 2017?
Kathy Doyle Thomas: Since we're concentrating on our website, we're looking at mobile trends. I know that mobile is important, but finding the budget for upgrades and making improvements isn’t always easy. I'll also be following email content and personalization trends. We're always trying to find ways to make our email campaigns more effective.
TRE: Conversely, what's something that you believe will be of less importance to retailers in 2017?
KDT: I think retailers have to worry about all aspects of retailing. We all understand omnichannel and the importance of being available when and where the customer wants to shop. The problem is we can't do it all. The idea of omnichannel is important, but constantly hearing about it can be frustrating. I’m concentrating on developing initiatives that our brick-and-mortar stores can easily implement. We're putting too much pressure on our stores to implement programs that we don’t see the return on.
TRE: What's the technology you believe will impact retailers most in 2017?
KDT: Analytics is always important, and will continue to be in 2017. As retailers’ online business increases, we'll use analytics more than ever to determine the viability of a program.
TRE: What's the key priority for you in growing your business this year?
KDT: Targeted digital advertising.
TRE: What advice would you give to retailers to help them have a successful year?
KDT: Simplify all your programs. Retailers tend to have complicated sales programs and many different messages to customers. We're constantly trying to finds ways to provide the customer with a great deal of information. In the past, Half Price Books has shortened its emails to be less confusing. However, in the past several months we've found a way to lengthen our emails and increase clicks. Half Price Books has started producing longer emails with multiple messages in a template format. We've found people who do open our emails are reading through most of the email. The longer emails do take longer to produce, but we’re seeing an increase in clicks.