How Retail Leaders Define the Store's Role in Unified Commerce

Produced by

Nikki Baird 

VP, Strategy

Ray Etzo

Vice President, North America Retail, Cole Haan

Michael Hines 

VP, Direct to Consumer Digital Technology, Cole Haan

In a dynamic landscape where the digital realm intertwines with physical stores, retail leaders are redefining the role of brick-and-mortar establishments in unified commerce. The discussion, led by Nikki Baird, VP of Strategy at Aptos, alongside Ray Etzo, Vice President of North America Retail, and Michael Hines, VP of Direct to Consumer Digital Technology at Cole Haan, delves into the strategies and technologies shaping the future of retail.

Nikki Baird sets the stage by emphasizing the enduring significance of physical stores in the retail ecosystem. She highlights the challenges of leveraging technology to enhance the in-store experience, a task more complex than ever before. As she aptly puts it, "Stores are here to stay and remain a central part of retailers’ unified commerce strategies."

Ray Etzo, with a wealth of experience in North America Retail at Cole Haan, underscores the importance of consistency in store experiences. He stresses the need to prioritize sales associates' experiences, ensuring efficient processes that empower them to deliver exceptional service. Ray's insights shed light on the intricate balance between technology and human interaction within the retail space.

Michael Hines, leading the charge in Direct to Consumer Digital Technology at Cole Haan, delves into the evolving landscape of retail technology. He delves into the potential of AI in transforming the store experience, highlighting the challenges and opportunities it presents. Michael's vision for the future resonates as he envisions a world where AI seamlessly integrates into the retail environment, enhancing customer interactions and streamlining operations.

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The conversation delves into the intricacies of unified commerce strategies and the collaborative efforts required to navigate this ever-changing terrain. Speakers emphasize the need for teamwork and alignment in driving a shared vision forward. Ray and Michael's partnership at Cole Haan exemplifies the power of trust and collaboration in steering the company towards success.

As the discussion unfolds, the speakers touch upon the rapid pace of technological advancements and the need for retailers to adapt swiftly. They stress the importance of building trust with vendors to foster creativity and flexibility in implementing innovative solutions. The dialogue underscores the critical role of employee buy-in and collaboration in successfully implementing unified commerce strategies.

In a world where consumer expectations are constantly evolving, retail leaders are tasked with staying ahead of the curve. The speakers' insights shed light on the challenges and opportunities inherent in this dynamic landscape. By prioritizing innovation, collaboration, and a customer-centric approach, retailers can navigate the complexities of unified commerce and thrive in an ever-changing market.

As the session draws to a close, Nikki Baird underscores the power of collaboration, innovation, and strategic vision in shaping the future of retail. With a shared commitment to excellence and a forward-thinking mindset, retail leaders are poised to redefine the store's role in unified commerce and drive success in the digital age.

APRIL 2024