Reinvent Yourself with Unified Commerce

Produced by

Tony DiPaolo

VP, Retail Solutions
Manhattan Associates

Shirley Gao


Todd Treonze

Brooks Brothers & Reebok

In an ever-evolving retail landscape, where technology and consumer behavior intersect and shift with dizzying speed, two industry veterans, Shirley Gao, Chief Digital & Information Officer at PacSun, and Todd Treonze, SVP & CIO for Brooks Brothers and Reebok, recently shared their insights on navigating these changes. Their discussion, anchored by Tony DiPaolo, VP, Retail Solutions at Manhattan Associates, unveiled the complex journey towards unified commerce, personalized customer experiences, and the importance of nimbleness and forward-thinking in retail technology.

Understanding the Digital-First Consumer:
PacSun’s approach to engaging Gen Z and Gen Alpha showcases a prime example of adapting to the digital-first consumer. Shirley emphasized the importance of relevance and staying attuned to trends on social media to capture their audience's attention. “Our customers, ranging from 14 to 24, are tech-savvy and influenced heavily by social media trends. Relevance is key to capturing their attention,” Shirley remarked. The success of this strategy was evident in PacSun's early adoption of TikTok, leading to a significant follower growth and the successful launch of a TikTok shop, setting a benchmark for engaging with the youth market through social commerce.

Blending Tradition with Innovation: Brooks Brothers & Reebok’s Omni-channel Strategies:
Todd shared a contrasting perspective from two iconic brands with different customer bases. Brooks Brothers, with its legacy of over two centuries, focuses on high-touch clienteling to maintain its loyal customer base. Meanwhile, Reebok leverages social media and influencer partnerships to appeal to a younger demographic. The diversification of strategies underlines the importance of understanding and catering to specific customer needs and preferences.

The Omni-channel Imperative:
Both Shirley and Todd highlighted the critical role of omni-channel strategies in providing seamless customer experiences. For PacSun, this meant leveraging technology to unify inventory and streamline fulfillment, thus ensuring that customers could shop effortlessly across all channels. Todd discussed the integration of RFID technology at Reebok, aiming to enhance inventory accuracy and improve the overall shopping experience. These initiatives underscore the industry's shift towards integrating digital and physical retail to meet customer expectations.

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Navigating Challenges and Driving Innovation:
The road to unified commerce is fraught with challenges, from balancing legacy systems with new technologies to ensuring inventory accuracy and optimizing customer experiences. Shirley outlined PacSun’s initiative to unify its point of sale and digital fulfillment systems into a single database, aiming for a seamless customer journey. Meanwhile, Todd underscored the potential of RFID technology in transforming inventory management and checkout processes, marking a significant step towards operational efficiency and enhanced customer service.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Retail Technology:
As retailers navigate the complexities of today’s market, the ability to adapt and innovate remains paramount. Shirley and Todd both emphasized the importance of agility, experimentation, and aligning technology initiatives with customer needs. The discussion also touched on emerging technologies, such as AI, and their potential to revolutionize customer engagement and inventory management.

Conclusion: A Unified Vision for Retail:
The insights shared by Shirley and Todd paint a picture of a retail industry at a crossroads, where traditional approaches are being reimagined through the lens of technology and customer-centricity. The journey towards unified commerce is not just about integrating systems but about fostering a culture of innovation, adaptability, and relentless focus on the customer experience. As retailers continue to evolve in this dynamic ecosystem, the lessons from leaders like Shirley and Todd offer valuable perspectives on embracing change and driving success in the digital age.

In conclusion, the dialogue between these industry leaders not only sheds light on the practical challenges and opportunities in achieving unified commerce but also emphasizes the strategic mindset required to navigate the future of retail. Their experiences and insights serve as a roadmap for others in the industry, highlighting the importance of customer focus, technological agility, and the continuous pursuit of innovation.

APRIL 2024