Retail Redefined: Everything Begins and Ends With the Customer, Part 3
Local retailers serve a critical role in our lives as places that feed and nurture us, supply our basic needs, and contribute to the local and national economy. This interview is the third in a three-part series with my friend and mentor Jocelyn Mangan, CEO and founder of CEO and founder of Him For Her, a social impact venture aimed at accelerating diversity on corporate boards. Jocelyn serves on the boards of directors of ChowNow and Papa John’s Pizza, spent 10 years as senior vice president of product management design at OpenTable, and knows a few things about the business. (You can read parts one and two of this series.)
Kashyap Deorah: Here’s a thought experiment: Jocelyn starts a new store in 2021. What does that look like? What’s the ideal retailer of 2021? And what’s the role of technology?
Jocelyn Mangan: Let’s take restaurants, which are built around the concept of hospitality. Rarely do you talk to a restaurant owner who says, “I started this business for financial reasons.” There’s always a heart in that story.
I’d have to go think creatively about the story of this restaurant I'm going to start, and how I deliver that story beyond its four walls. Of course, it would have delicious food and craft cocktails, and an amazing in-person experience. It would also have an outdoor space. I think having an outdoor space is going to be very important going forward as we continue to live with this virus for some time.
It would also have takeout and delivery options. However, I would avoid partners with high take rates from online and takeout orders, because I don’t think that is restaurant friendly. As with delivery experiences like Goldbelly, I might get a little bit creative with that takeout and delivery experience.
This past New Year’s Eve, we ordered an appetizer from one of our local restaurants. They called me that day and said, “Staff’s leaving a little early; can we hand deliver it to your door?” It really felt like that neighborhood restaurant moment. We were able to see each other with masks on and wish each other a happy New Year’s Eve, and it felt good to know my money was supporting this local business. They were delivering an experience that, quite frankly, I couldn’t cook at home.
When you think about that takeout, it wasn’t just food in a box, delivered by people with masks on. It was an extension of that restaurant’s story — going out of its way to make that extra connection.
KD: People are going to go back to stores, and the consumer shift to delivery and takeout is also real. You’re moving to a hybrid world and it all starts with the story of the brand and how you bring that experience to the consumer.
JM: Take a big brand like Papa John’s. Papa John’s means something to people. When I tell people I’m on the board of Papa John’s, they tell me a story about what that brand has meant to them. And the same with ChowNow for small, independent restaurants. They’ll tell me a story like the one I just told about New Year’s Eve.
There’s a huge opportunity for us to rethink retail and restaurant experiences as we go forward. I don’t think the craving for an experience has gone away. In fact, it’s probably going to explode when this pandemic is over. When they lifted the California dining ban, the first thing I did was make an outdoor dinner reservation for Friday night. I think there will be a surge in the craving for these kinds of hospitality experiences.
Kashyap Deorah is founder and CEO of HyperTrack, the live location cloud for deliveries, visits, and rides.
Kashyap Deorah is founder and CEO of HyperTrack, the live location cloud for deliveries, visits, and rides. Hundreds of retail, service, and ecommerce companies from every inhabited continent use HyperTrack to power operations efficiency, field productivity, customer experience, and financial payouts. Deorah is a four-time founder who previously sold companies to OpenTable and Future Group. He is also a best-selling author and investor.