Cover Story: The Top Women in Omnichannel Retail
Senior Vice President of Digital, Benefit Cosmetics
After more than 15 years leading account management and strategic services, dishing out advice at interactive agencies, Valerie Hoecke is finally getting a taste of her own medicine. Fortunately, it comes with a spoonful of sugar at Benefit Cosmetics, where the tagline is "Laughter is the best cosmetic, so grin and wear it." Valerie presently serves as the senior vice president of digital at Benefit Cosmetics, a global prestige cosmetics company and an LVMH brand. At Benefit, Valerie is responsible for the growth of the brand's global e-commerce channel as well as all digital media strategy and online marketing. Immediately before joining Benefit, Valerie served as the general manager for Method San Francisco, a brand experience agency, and prior to that as vice president of client services or vice president of strategy for a number of interactive agencies.
TIP: Our customer should find it simple and fun to purchase our product, no matter where or how she likes to shop. Putting our customers' needs at the center makes it obvious we need a shared vision for omnichannel as well as helps combat channel conflict internally. The metric for success needs to be improved loyalty and purchases from our brand. Everyone needs to recognize this is the proper measuring stick, rather than growth of a particular channel. It's simple to say but tough to do.
, Vice President of Global Marketing, Patagonia
Joy Howard recently joined Patagonia as global vice president of marketing. She's responsible for marketing across all sales channels and communication platforms for Patagonia, as well as for the wider portfolio of Patagonia initiatives in food, media and new brand extensions. Joy joined Patagonia from Nike, where she was the global vice president of marketing for Converse All Star, the world's largest and most iconic footwear franchise and beloved youth culture brand. Prior to Converse, Joy was based in Zurich, Switzerland as global marketing director for Coca-Cola's joint venture with Nestlé. She began her career in marketing at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company. A Georgia native, Howard has lived and worked across Europe, Asia and Africa, and brings extensive experience in both developed and emerging markets. Prior to her career in marketing, Joy was a recording artist with Seely, the first American band signed to the '90s Britpop powerhouse label Too Pure. After hearing Ray Anderson speak and, at his suggestion, reading Paul Hawken's "The Ecology of Commerce," she was inspired to pursue her MBA in Sustainable Enterprise from UNC-Chapel Hill.
TIP: Pay close attention to what drives your customers to interact with your brand and each other online, then use those insights to drive interaction in-store. Keep it simple, useful and fun.
, Chief Executive Officer,
Avon Products, Inc.
Sheri McCoy is chief executive officer and a director of Avon Products, Inc., a company that's empowered and inspired women for more than 125 years. She's responsible for driving new long-term growth initiatives, developing earnings opportunities for women and advancing Avon as the world's premier direct seller of quality beauty products. McCoy joined Avon after a distinguished 30-year career at Johnson & Johnson. In 2013, McCoy ranked No. 20 on Fortune's "50 Most Powerful Women in Business" list, which she's been on since 2008. She serves on the boards of Partnership for New York, Catalyst, Stonehill College and FIRST, a nonprofit organization created to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology.
TIP: Find out what your customers need and when they need it; then create touchpoints for them to receive a fulfilling experience. Beauty is a word-of-mouth business, which makes our primary channel of direct sales - or the world's 6 million Avon ladies - so effective. But we also touch consumers with our brand through social media, Avon brochures, mobile and, in some markets, e-commerce.
Susan Neal, Executive Vice President
of Marketing, E-Commerce and
Digital Technology, Men's
Susan Neal is the executive vice president of marketing, e-commerce and digital technology at Men's Wearhouse, a $2.4 billion specialty retailer of men's apparel with over 1,100 stores. Prior to Men's Wearhouse, Susan was with Gymboree for 13 years, during which time she oversaw various divisions, including e-commerce and online media, direct marketing, public relations, international, strategic planning, and investor relations. Before Gymboree, Susan worked at Deloitte (formerly Touche Ross) in its management consulting division. She holds a MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France and a BA in Economics from Harvard University. She's served on the board of directors of Shop.org, the online retailing division of the National Retail Federation.
TIP: Start always with the customer. Define a seamless customer experience across all channels and focus the organization on working towards implementing and achieving this vision.
Michelle Peluso, CEO, Gilt.com
Michelle Peluso is the CEO of Gilt.com, the innovative online shopping destination. Prior to assuming the CEO role, she served for over three years on Gilt's board of directors. Michelle was previously the global consumer chief marketing and internet officer at Citigroup from 2009 to early 2013, and prior to that she was the CEO of Travelocity for six years. Michelle has received multiple awards for her business prowess and achievements, and was recently named one of Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business."
TIP: The world is shifting, and for the first time younger generations prefer shopping online to a physical store. Make sure your digital experience is front and center and awesome, and not an afterthought or extension of the physical environment.