Steve White and Andrea Wasserman

Andrea Wasserman, head of direct-to-consumer at Nine West, described the company’s distribution, which includes owned stores, international, e-commerce and wholesale accounts as “a collision of channels.”

You never know when or where a customer will buy, she admitted.

“Customers are shopping, even on Snapchat and Instagram,” Wasserman said. “The path to purchase has become much more squiggly.”

One thing is certain, however, “stories will be the long-term key to e-commerce success,” Wasserman said.

Bringing more functionality across channels can assist the sale. “Spontaneity leads to serendipitous discovery,” Wasserman said.

New ways of using stores have to be found, she added. Despite a migration of sales to online, “Nike is making unprecedented investments in flagships,” Wasserman said.

Giving store employees credit for sales from zip codes closest to them will go far toward improving morale, she added.

Steve White, vice president of commerce strategy at Razorfish, who shared the stage with Wasserman, cited Bonobos Guide Stores as an experiential approach to retail that builds loyalty. [Story,] a Manhattan retailer whose theme changes every six to eight weeks, represents “the store as a learning lab.” Meanwhile, White said Patagonia combines commerce with community and social aspects such as guest speakers and events.

“Reinvent your retail,” he said. “Look at your square footage. Leverage your store as a distribution center offering fast and flexible delivery and returns.”

What’s necessary for operating the new paradigm retail, White said, is consistency across channels and inventory transparency.

And Amazon, the 800-pound gorilla in the room, is changing its policy, White said. “Not all Prime deliveries will be two-day. It’s going to take longer or there’s going to be a premium on those deliveries.”

Following Wasserman and White, Lisa Pomerantz, senior vice president of global communications and marketing at Michael Kors, described how the designer translated the luxury experience online.

First, she said, was recognizing that the definition of luxury itself has changed. “It’s material things versus experiences,” she said. “It’s not about an outward display, but, rather, it’s about personal experiences. Exclusive has become aspirational and group-based.”

Pomerantz noted that Kors has 26 million fans on social media and is leveraging those fans.”

“We were an Alpha partner with Facebook with an immersive ad in June,” she said. “A year and a half ago, we were the first brand to advertise on Instagram. It’s where fashion is. Two years ago, we engaged with key influencers to raise awareness of our antihunger platform.”

More recently, Kors launched a Wechat and Weibo app in China and last week, and the company used Instagram’s new Lenses feature.

Kors produced an online film that introduces “the perfect shoe wardrobe with six styles for anywhere, any season, starring Lily Aldridge,” Pomerantz said. In the film, which can be seen on the company’s blog, Aldridge travels to Rio and lives the luxe life à la Michael Kors. The shoes and ready-to-wear in the film were carried through to store windows and in-store displays.

“We did an ad campaign across social media channels,” Pomerantz said. “It was an integrated campaign for brand equity and awareness as well as conversions. Michael Kors is a digital luxury pioneer.”

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