Saks Direct President Denise Incandela came from McKinsey & Co., where she consulted on Internet retailing, to launch Saks Fifth Avenue's Web store in 1999. The operation numbers about 400 people, including fulfillment and customer service. This year it will be Saks' second-largest store after the Fifth Avenue flagship. Here, Incandela talks about video, social media, the economy, and Saks' innovative multichannel campaign with Theory, which concluded Monday.
WWD: How is Saks using video online?
Denise Incandela: The editorial portion of our site in the last year has really changed the way people shop. Especially video. Ninety-nine percent of our customers are now on high bandwidth connections. So it's more like TV and it's much closer to the in-store experience. We've incorporated video into our trend coverage. One thing we're doing that we're really excited about is designer interviews. For example, we had an interview with Christian Louboutin up in December. It generated over half a million dollars in sales. Think of it as a store personal appearance, but in the store only so many people get to go. This concept is taking technology and using it to expand beyond what we could do in the store.
WWD: Video is a big piece of your campaign with Theory.
D.I.: We're doing a promotion with Theory that is a multichannel event, which is why it's so powerful. You tell us your point of view on fashion. The winner will win a $3,000 shopping spree. We held events in five stores last month in the Theory areas. People could make a video in the booths. About half of the entries so far were submitted through the stores. About half were submitted through our outside partner Brickfish. [Entries can be viewed at the Brickfish site.] We also used Facebook. You can send a link [an application that shows the user's favorite Theory outfit] in Facebook. It's viral, you can pass on the link. We also had Theory video in New York store windows.
WWD: What are the results so far?
D.I.: We absolutely saw a lift on the in-store piece. For us, it was also a question of how do we reach a customer segment we're not reaching today. There is social media out there that we think is cannibalizing our shoppers' time. We need to be involved. Our online customer tends to be 10 years younger than in the store. Shopping used to be a form of entertainment and now with social media there's competition for that form of entertainment. We don't see a lot of retailers partnering with social media companies or sites.
In honor the @CFDA’s announcement of @iamnaomicampbell receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2018 #CFDAAwards, which will take place on June 4, here’s a #tbt of the supermodel on @michaelkors’ runway in 1991. #wwdfashion #wwdarchive (📷: George Chinsee)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.