Jerry Storch on Hudson's Bay's ‘All-Channel’ Strategy
Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) prides itself on being a global, all-channel retailer, featuring diverse brands such as Hudson's Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Gilt and others. CEO Jerry Storch says it's not his company's job to choose how its customers want to shop, but rather be there for them wherever, whenever and however they want to buy. Storch believes HBC's fleet of stores and its salespeople are true advantages over other retailers in this all-channel world. Tying the offline experience together with online is something HBC continues to innovate for.
In this Q&A with Total Retail, Storch discusses HBC's all-channel strategy for creating a seamless shopping experience for its customers this holiday season and beyond.
Total Retail: How is Hudson’s Bay Company creating a seamless shopping experience across all channels for its brands?
Jerry Storch: We find that customers aren’t really choosing one channel over the other; they're choosing what brands they want to do business with, like Saks or Lord & Taylor. Whatever it is, they're choosing which ones they want. It’s our obligation to meet their needs whichever way excites them.
Some of what we're doing is working on things like buy online, pick up in-store; ship from store; or buying in-store and ship to home.
Beyond that, we have some unique propositions. For example, if you go to Saks Fifth Avenue's website, a widget will pop up and you have the choice of shopping with a personal stylist in the store nearest you. It’s not just someone in a call center somewhere; this is someone at your neighborhood Saks store that will shop with you online if you want, or in person. If you want, just pick up the phone and call them, or stop in the store. It’s a very unique way of getting you tied in with an individual in-store to provide a service for you.
Another great way we're doing this is, say you already have an established relationship with a sales associate, they can send you a curated selection off the website that you could shop from. Essentially, they send you lookbooks that have exciting products picked especially for you, and you can buy it right on the site or go into the store, try it on and buy it there.
TR: Why is a seamless all-channel experience an important initiative during the holiday shopping season?
JS: It’s an important issue of every holiday season. It’s not a new push; we’ve been working on it for years. It’s the key to the future for all retailers. Store-based retailers are getting better and better at the internet and all-channel model, and internet retailers are adding physical spaces. It’s not just this year’s issue; it’s the path to the future.
TR: What issues are you hoping this solves for consumers?
JS: [Customers] choose whenever and however they want to shop. If they're on their mobile phone and want to buy something, then we make it easier for them to do that. If they simply want to find out what the store has, we make it easy to do that. It’s all about making it easier for the customer.
TR: How is Hudson’s Bay Company making gift-giving easier this holiday season?
JS: You can buy something from Saks.com and send as a gift without knowing the size of the recipient. We’ll contact the recipient to get their size and color preference, too, if there are multiple color options.
TR: What results are you hoping to see this holiday season?
JS: The internet is a large part of the growth of retail today. Even though internet sales as a total percentage of retail sales are still in that 10 percent range, with 85-90 percent done in-store (industrywide), the internet is growing more rapidly than stores. We expect that will continue for some time to come, both in the market as a whole and with our customers.