Cover Story: The Top Women in Cross-Channel Retail
Diane Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Brown Shoe Company
Diane Sullivan is president and CEO of Brown Shoe Company, a $2.5 billion global footwear company. Sullivan joined Brown Shoe in 2004 after nearly two decades in the footwear business, holding titles including vice chairman of the footwear group of Phillips-Van Heusen and president and COO of the Stride Rite Corporation. She was elected to Brown Shoe Company’s board of directors in 2007 and currently serves on the boards for BJC HealthCare and Enterprise Holdings.
- Tip: The consumer shopping dynamic is constantly changing. You need to keep your finger on the consumer pulse and be where they want to shop when they want to shop.
Erica Thompson, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Stride Rite
Erica Thompson has almost 20 years of experience in retail marketing, specializing in customer analytics, database marketing, loyalty programs and credit card marketing. As senior vice president of marketing for footwear retailer Stride Rite, Thompson is responsible for providing strategic direction around Stride Rite’s global branding initiatives, including advertising, marketing communications/PR, retail and wholesale strategy, CRM, e-commerce, and digital marketing. Thompson previously held senior-level marketing positions at PetSmart, Tweeter Home Entertainment, New York & Company and HSN. She also spent seven years at the Walt Disney Company in various business strategy and marketing roles and is a member of the Global Retail Marketing Association advisory board.
- Tip: To be a successful cross-channel retailer it has to be part of the company’s DNA. It can’t be forced tactic by tactic by one department. Everyone must be goaled against success in all channels to gain alignment.
Vicki Updike, President, Miles Kimball
Vicki Updike was named president of cross-channel gifts retailer Miles Kimball in February 2010. Updike has 20 years business and marketing experience with direct-to-consumer and business brands. Miles Kimball manages five direct-to-consumer brands: Miles Kimball, Walter Drake, Easy Comforts, As We Change and Exposures. Prior to joining Miles Kimball, Updike held direct marketing positions at American Girl and Lab Safety Supply. Updike is a board member for Wisconsin’s Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.
- Tip: Build your marketing strategy around a clear value proposition for customers, then continually fine-tune products, messages and channels to fit their ever-changing needs.
Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-Founder and Chief Merchandising Officer, Gilt Groupe
With over 12 years of international experience in luxury goods and retail, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, founder and chief merchandising officer of flash-sale retailer Gilt Groupe, is at the forefront of revolutionizing and innovating the landscape of luxury e-commerce. Prior to co-founding Gilt Groupe, Wilson managed retail operations at Bulgari, overseeing 15 North American stores, as well as managing leather goods sales for Louis Vuitton.
- Tip: In order to succeed in cross-channel retailing, it’s important to continually surprise and delight your customers. Now more than ever, customers expect constant newness and innovation. To continue “as is” is to appear outdated and stale. One of the best ways to keep customers engaged and on their toes is to listen to them and allow their valuable feedback to influence business decisions.