Debunking Data Myths for Digital Transformation | Megan Lunde & Rasmus Hyltegard

In this episode, host Carl Boutet sits down with guests Megan Lunde and Rasmus Hyltegard to discuss digital transformation and bust a few myths about customer data and marketing. They’ll also weigh in on a few recent digital transformation stories that have been making headlines in the news.

Megan Lunde is a Solutions Consultant at Amperity, an Enterprise CDP trusted by the world’s most loved brands to accelerate their shift to first-party customer relationships.

Amperity has revolutionized the way brands identify, understand, and connect with their customers by leveraging AI to deliver a comprehensive and actionable Customer 360.

Rasmus Hyltegard is an AI & IoT Retail Lead at Avanade, where he leads a team that provides retail and consumer goods clients with actionable insights using data and AI specific technologies.

Founded in 2000 by Accenture and Microsoft, Avanade is a leading provider of innovative digital, cloud and advisory services, industry solutions and design-led experiences across the Microsoft ecosystem.

Host info: Based in Montreal Canada, Carl Boutet brings his 25 plus years of retail leadership experience to StudioRx a strategy advisory firm he founded to support retailers, business leaders, b2c solution providers, and researchers focused on how to tailor the best solutions according to consumers’ rapidly evolving needs and build the effective commercial strategies to meet them.

If you enjoyed this episode, please let us know by subscribing to our channel and giving us a 5 star rating us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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Hosted by Carl Boutet
Produced by Gabriella Bock
Edited by Chase Atherton

TRANSCRIPTION

Carl Boutet:
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the RETHINK Retail podcast. I’m your host, Carl Boutet. And today we’re going to be diving into the topic of digital transformation and how retailers are utilizing data to create powerful marketing activations to meet today’s new customer. Joining me today are our guests, Megan Lunde and Rasmus Hyltegård, which I’m sure I got those names wrong, but anyways, we’ll get a chance to correct those shortly. Megan is a solutions consultant at Amperity, an enterprise CDP trusted by the world’s most loved brands to accelerate their shift to first-customer relationships. Amperity has revolutionized the way brands identify, understand and connect with the customers by leveraging AI to deliver the comprehensive and actionable customer 360. Rasmus is an AI and IoT retail lead at Avanade, where he leads a team that provides retail and consumer good clients with actionable insights using data and AI-specific technologies. Founded in 2000 by Accenture and Microsoft, Avanade is a leading provider of innovative digital cloud and advisory services, industry solutions and design-led experiences across the Microsoft ecosystem. Megan, Rasmus, it’s great to have you both on the show today.

Megan Lunde:
Wonderful to be here. Thank you.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
Thank you, Carl. A pleasure.

Carl Boutet:
All right. Well, let’s jump right into the questions here, because that’s what the people are here for, to get the insights and get your perspective on this exciting topic around transformation. Can you kick us off by telling us a little bit about your experience with retail brands and the work you do at your company? Megan first.

Megan Lunde:
Sure thing. First and foremost, I approach retail as an enthusiastic consumer shopper. I totally love this space. Love being able to get, especially, the constant inspiration from my day-to-day life, but I’ve spent the last half dozen or so years in the retail business world. After spending some time in the biotech and telecom industries, I jumped into retail head first when I joined the marketing team for the Plenty loyalty program, which was the first coalition loyalty program in the United States. I was really focused on couponing and offer optimization. A super fun role where I collaborated with supermarkets, drug stores, department stores on identifying the best audiences and offers to grow their business and customer loyalty. And that’s really where I caught the retail data bug, in that role. And then I continued on into a retail partnerships role at American Express, working with brands like Wayfair, REI, Best Buy, on data driven partnerships to acquire new customers and delight their existing fans.

Megan Lunde:
And now, I’ve been with Amperity for just over three years, just celebrated my anniversary earlier in April. I’ve held a variety of roles here in customer engagement and now in solutions consulting, where I work with enterprise retail brands to introduce them to the Amperity solution and help them understand if and how a customer data platform can help them grow their business and strengthen their relationships with their customers. And I think it really just comes full circle for me. It’s always been about knowing who your customers are and using that to earn their loyal and their continued support.

Carl Boutet:
Awesome. Wow. That’s quite the background. You seem very much connected with today’s topic and how we’re trying to keep up with customers and maintain the top of mind that we need to, with the data that’s behind it. Rasmus, tell me a bit about what your background is.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
Absolutely. Like so many, my first real job was in retail. And I think for me, this speaks to the power of retail in terms of how many of us it touches, be it professionally or as consumers. Like Megan, I’m an avid consumer, but I also find that working in retail is a common theme amongst many of my friends and colleagues. It’s almost like being part of retail is a rite of passage. You start there, you might end there, you might go somewhere in between, but we’re all part of it and touching it almost every day in our lives.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
Professionally speaking, I’ve spent the majority of my career trying to help solve the business problems using technology. I like to see technology as a lever. Typically, I’ve been in the space where you talk about AI, IT, cloud, edge compute, all that jazz. I think the interesting part there for me is there’s a lot of untapped value that is sitting out there. My question and my quest really is about how do I unlock it? And how do we partner? And who do we partner with to make that happen?

Rasmus Hyltegård:
So ever since joining Avanade, I’ve been fortunate enough to speak to senior stakeholders across the retail spectrum, ranging from CEOs to CMOs and CIOs to innovation leads and shift managers. And I think ultimately at Avanade, we believe that we can help with retail clients rethink the role of the store as we help connect the physical individual, or [“phydual” 00:05:00], I like to call it. And in doing so, we like to partner with the best of breed out there, industry leaders, like Amperity, for instance, who are here with us today, a partner who really revolutionized the way brands identify, understand, and connect with customers through AI to unlock action makes sense. So, that’s pretty much me.

Carl Boutet:
So after all that, what sticks out to me is you’re both big consumers. So that’s, I guess the core to this wonderful world of retail is we need to appreciate sort of what that journey looks like. And coming from a place where we all like to hopefully consume responsibly, it brings a nice perspective to our next question, which is historically customers only expected fair prices and good service, but that’s no longer the case and consumers have needs that are more complex than ever before. Can you describe some of the shifts you are seeing and how retailers are responding to them? Rasmus first.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
Certainly, I mean, at Avanade we have is saying, and that is that the customer is the only channel. We find that omnichannel, while it still has a place, the question is now about if I’m a customer or consumer, where am I today? Like right now, I’m on this podcast. Maybe I can be on the app and go shopping there. I have three kids and a wife. Sometimes I don’t want to bring my kids to the store, even. I might buy something and drive over later, and pop open my trunk and pick it up. I’m not going to go into the store. But this weekend, maybe I want to go shopping, and I want to go and touch, and play, and feel physical products. And I think that’s really the change we’re seeing is that you need to capture the customer in their moment of truth, whatever that might be.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
So today’s savvy, connected customers, we don’t go shopping anymore at predictable times and places. We expect to shop when, where, how we want, be it fast, cheap, convenient, whatever, delivered to our home, store pickup point. And we all expect, and I think we’ve learned this over the last couple of years, that there is this sort of digital and cohesive experience that can connect better, digital and physical, the convergence there, that have ultimately allowed us to move seamlessly between online and in store shopping.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
And what we see a lot right now is that there’s partly that motion, the customer is the only channel, what’s the role of the store? And then you have the customers. We find that they are searching. They’re looking for the next best thing. And your loyalty as part of that might be challenged because, “Hey, I see something that’s better. Can’t you offer me this also? And why can’t you do it that way?” Otherwise, I might start shifting slowly and I’ll start dating someone else. And eventually that might be a relationship you don’t want to lose. So I think that’s a big thing that we see right now in terms of where we see the motion in the market.

Carl Boutet:
Excellent. Well, the “customer is the channel” resonates loud and strong with me. Megan, what’s your perspective on this?

Megan Lunde:
Yeah, I was just thinking, I love that saying, and I feel like I should get that on a plaque and put it above my computer. Love that a lot. I would echo that. I think moving to one-to-one relationships with your customers is something that’s been talked about for many years. I think if you look five, 10 years ago, the kind of saying, if you will, was like, “Personalization is a differentiator. You need to invest here.” And I think not so much anymore. Now this is the table stakes. Every customer expects that with every brand that they interact with, right? You either directly or indirectly are giving brands and retailers a lot of information about yourself. And the expectation is now there for retailers to show me that you know me and create curated, seamless experiences. I love the buy online, pickup in store. I feel like that’s one that folks have wanted for a long time. And now that it’s coming to life across so many different brands, huge way for a differentiated experience and that ease of shopping and getting that product into customers hands.

Megan Lunde:
When we think about personalization, it goes beyond just showing customers the products that they have the highest propensity to buy in their email or on your homepage. And I think we see this going a lot further than that, to taking that one-to-one approach to understanding things like customer lifecycle and buying patterns. So, as an example, think of a luxury retail brand. You have some customers with disposable income who will be in to spend a few hundred dollars every month or every couple of months. And then you also have shoppers that come in, consider an item for six months, finally come in and convert on Black Friday when there’s a super markdown. And even applying the same logic to things like welcome series and how you’re evaluating if that customer is looking to churn is very different in those scenarios and for honestly every customer that you have and taking a very fine look at what is the best for this customer in this moment is really what it comes down to.

Carl Boutet:
Yeah, absolutely. I think today with all the data we have access to, we’re quickly becoming irrelevant if we can’t find a way to at least personalize part of the customer journey. And I think soon enough that will be most of the customer journey to that specific customer and making sure they have a unique experience that means the most to them. Next question is what are some myth busters you want to share with retailers today when it comes to customer data and powering marketing activations? Megan.

Megan Lunde:
I am so excited for this question because this is something I love to pontificate on. And that’s really, I’m going back to loyalty, going back to my roots here. I think that when many, especially retail marketers, are considering their high value customers, people in your top 5% buy, lifetime value, or just your high spenders. There’s this correlation that happens in your mind that high value equals loyal. So if you see that your average customer is spending a hundred dollars a year, and here’s someone who’s spending 500, she’s super valuable. I agree with that. Is she super loyal? I don’t think so. You don’t really know. You don’t have all of the information to know that maybe she’s spending $700 a year at your competitor down the street. Think about how many, I don’t know, Athleta shoppers are also shopping at lululemon and Sweaty Betty. A lot. And I know personally, I shop at multiple grocery stores, multiple drug stores. We kind of go where’s most convenient, and we shop categories in different ways.

Megan Lunde:
And so I’ll be talking to specifically retail marketers who conflate this concept of high value and loyalty. And it’s easy to become almost blase about your high value customers. You think, “They’re loyal. They love us. They’re a given. We can count on them,” but they’re not. And I think, Rasmus, you were talking a little bit about what happens when you start to date someone else, and a relationship fades away. That’s exactly what’s at stake here. And the investment, continued investment, in your top customers, whether they’re loyal or not, and the ability to continue to serve them, give them differentiated experiences, needs to remain a priority. You can’t get complacent about high value customers and just think, “They’re loyal. I can count on them,” because otherwise your competitors will court them, and they will erode away from your brand. This is one of my favorite topics to dig in deep on, but I think this is a misconception I see kind of throughout the industry and something that folks need to take a hard look at how they conflate different concepts and whether it makes sense to.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
And if I may just build on that, what Megan just talked about, going back to your question, Carl, I think there are a couple of things here that you touched on earlier as well, which is, it’s not like we as consumers or customers are not aware of the fact that you have a lot of data. So, my question back to this sort of, “Show me that you know me,” is, “Why aren’t you using that power better? I gave you all this data. Why aren’t you using it better? Or why aren’t you using it all?” And I think that’s what we’re seeing as well is that some consumers or customers are starting to get frustrated with the fact, like, “I already gave you all this information online. I’m in the store. Why don’t you have it?” Or, “I gave you all this information last time. Why can’t you use it?” Or, “I’ve been dating you or being loyal to you for years, and why can’t you give me a better offering, a curated offering, that actually speaks to me?”

Rasmus Hyltegård:
So I think there’s a little bit of that going on as well. And I think in that journey, then, if we go back a bit to your question here, that customer journey now has become almost like an infinity loop. There is no sort of distinct starting point, endpoint. My journey starts wherever it starts. I might be here right now. I’m going to be somewhere else tomorrow. This weekend, I’ll be in a total different location. And you need to be with me there, and you need to be able to provide me with connected, relevant experience throughout that journey.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
And that path has a lot of crossovers, because now we, of course, over the last two years, we’ve seen a lot of chatter about supply chain and all that. And that’s a similar asset where we know that there is a lot of data out there. “Where’s my stuff?” So, “Show me that you know me, and by the way, where’s this stuff that I just bought? I want to see it. I want to know when it arrived at the warehouse. I want to know when it’s in the store. I want to know when it’s on the truck that is on the way to my house. And I want to know that in 10 minutes it’s going to show up at my door because why not? Others can do it? Why can’t you do it?”

Rasmus Hyltegård:
So I think there’s a lot of that going on. And this goes to help strengthen that relationship. Because again, I think our belief here is that those players who can do that better, they will attract new customers. And that’s where, if you can keep that loyalty motion going and keep providing those data points to me as a singular customer, it’s a little bit of personalization, but it’s also, you’re teasing it out of me. It gets me excited. I’m here. That’s a super great offering. I’m excited. Let’s talk about it. Let’s ship it to me. I want it now. When can I get it? So let’s build on that motion. That would be my addition there to what Megan talked about.

Carl Boutet:
Yeah. I’ve been saying for a long time, and I keep hoping that we’re heading in a better direction, but not fast enough, again, with all the volumes and volumes of data as consumers that we opt into. We give, I guess, because it doesn’t seem like we’re selling it. We’re giving the data to businesses and retailers and others. There’s still so little that is actually being done with it that returns any real value for me to give that data in the first place. So I think as an industry, we’re going to have to pick up the pace, because the day might come where consumers are going to be less and less transparent with us if we’re not going to be able to deliver better experiences in return for that transparency they’re sharing with us around their tastes and wants if we don’t meet them, which brings us to question five. On the flip side, how can brands use data to capitalize on this moment of retail transformation? Rasmus.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
Yeah, good question. And I think it’s back to our mantra, if I dare use that word these days, which is the customer is the only channel, or truly channel is customer experiences. So I think for retailers, making sense of all the digital and in person data that you actually have, so you can get that clear view of how they act and what they like, and all that jazz, that’s what ultimately will empower the kind of experiences that will keep your customer eventually coming back more.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
And if you want to take that a step further by harnessing all that data that you have at your disposal, you need to start digging a little bit. Unearth those insights, make predictions. But also, and this is a key tenant in terms of what I like to talk about it, how do you make it actionable? What do you really want me to do? Because I’m right here in the store. I’m your educator, your frontline worker, your store associate. Give me the vehicle, the tools and the actions in terms of what do you want me to execute on right now?

Rasmus Hyltegård:
And I think that’s a little bit also, back to the last two years where a lot of us have been working from home who have been in this space, in that retail is still on the front lines. You are in that store. You are executing in the here and now. And while I might be multitasking in front of my computer every day, you can’t do that in a real life setting. There’s a customer, there is only one thing you can do. You need to guide me better towards those things that will actually delight today and retain your customer tomorrow, so you can keep them going forward.

Carl Boutet:
Amazing. Absolutely. Megan?

Megan Lunde:
Yeah, I love that. I have a recent story that I want to share of a retail interaction gone right. And it really gets to the core of what Rasmus was just talking about of truly understanding who your customer is and all of the data points that they’re giving to you, and using that in a really smart way. So here’s kind of the background. Last weekend, I was headed to a baby shower for a friend of mine, a childhood friend, and I don’t have kids. I’m pretty clueless when it comes to children and babies. So for the shower, I just selected a couple things off her registry that she had at a large baby retailer. And totally clueless, didn’t want to navigate the store, so did things like bought online and let them shop for me so that I could pick it up in store.

Megan Lunde:
So obviously there’s a bit of data that’s being collected on me to facilitate this purchase. So name, phone number, email for confirmation. And I get to the inevitable check box of, “Yes, subscribe me to your mailing list,” but they have a great spin on this. So below this, you can select, “What is your reason for the purchase that day?” And there’s three options. The first is, “Are you a parent?” Second is, “Are you expecting?” Or three, “Is this a gift?” And I was like, “Ooh, I’m going to check, ‘This is a gift,” and see what happens.”

Megan Lunde:
And here’s what I really love. So the brand can see that I purchased items from a registry. They can see that I opted in to email as a gift giver. They can be smart about that and say, it doesn’t pay for them to bombard me with a welcome series or daily emails about the latest and greatest baby things. Think about it, right? When’s the next time I might actually buy? Maybe at holidays for a present, maybe a year from now for a first birthday.

Megan Lunde:
And so this brand can be very selective in when they email me and ultimately, again, getting back to that actionable point, this helps them maintain their contactability for me, maintain the health of that email list, their primary way that they interact with their customers, and ultimately just preserve me as a potential consumer down the line at a holiday or a year from now at first birthday.

Megan Lunde:
And so I really think kind of the actionable advice there, is that customers are willing to provide relevant data, as we’ve been talking about, alongside everything else that you’re kind of collecting automatically, like that this purchase was off a registry. And I think it’s really important for folks to dig through customer data and find the indicators that maybe someone’s going to be a less frequent purchaser, like myself at a baby store. I’m maybe a holiday only purchaser, or maybe it’s a super sale purchaser for a specific brand.

Megan Lunde:
And I’m telling you something valuable. And now it’s on you, brand, to use this information to inform how you market to me. And I’m more likely to do things like stay opted into email, and you have a shot of winning my business when it’s time to buy that holiday present. And if you bombard me with the kind of traditional welcome series, I might opt out, and then I’m kind of lost and way out of your universe by the time November rolls around. So the other way of thinking about this is in addition to getting really sharp on those insights of who to invest in, important to figure out who not to invest in it, just as important to sharpen that strategy kind of from both sides.

Carl Boutet:
Yeah, absolutely. And those are sort of some low tech, just good thought out ways without having to get into predictive analytics to figure out, just ask somebody what their shopping cycle or put a question in there that would be a key indicator. And I think the idea here is just think it through and try to actually do some of the complexity before even asking the data to do it for us. So, that’s a really interesting point.

Carl Boutet:
Next is just a couple rapid fire sort of in the news items that the team here at Retail Rundown asked me to… some of the latest news stories that kind of relate to digital transformation in retail and get your opinions on. So just very quickly, your thoughts on, let’s start with the Farfetch Neiman Marcus partnership, where Farfetch is invested 200 million in Neiman Marcus and Neiman Marcus is going to be using the Farfetch platform, especially in Europe and Asia. So Rasmus first, what’s your first thoughts when you saw that in the news and sort of the motivation and what can be gained from that kind of partnership?

Rasmus Hyltegård:
Good question there, Carl. Thank you. I mean, I think this is Neiman Marcus trying to go on the offensive, likely allowing them to enter new markets more freely, perhaps, and more easily expand their global reach. I think it’ll be interesting to see how they can use that to enhance the customer experience, similar to the narrative we’re seeing that we’ve talk about here today, the customer is the only channel. Make sure that journey comes forward for your customers.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
I think it’s also the continuing theme here, and we haven’t gone into the metaverse yet, maybe we’ll chat about that later it. So you have this entire demographic change in terms of the population and how it keeps going older, and sort of the experience and expectations you bring with you as you do that. And I think that means where are you going to go if you want to be everywhere? Customer information is the channel engagement from one day to another. How do you meet that?

Rasmus Hyltegård:
And then what does that mean for Neiman Marcus, when they come into the Farfetch marketplace, in terms of there’s so many different marketplaces, hence my little meta discussion there, and is this going to be the right one? I mean, it’s certainly a move in the right direction, and it will make sure their brand is really available also within these outside marketplaces. And then I think from the Farfetch perspective, I’m curious to learn more about what learnings will they draw from sort of learning out of Neiman Marcus and their fiscal footprint? We’ve seen a lot of digital natives going clicks to bricks, and I’m curious to see how Farfetch would use this sort of learnings here to expand their own bricks and mortar play potentially as physical and digital keep converging going forward.

Carl Boutet:
Absolutely. Megan.

Megan Lunde:
I think this is a really great example of how retail technology is a differentiator. If your stack is behind, your business is behind. And I think what’s really interesting and kind of unusual to me in this particular deal is that these are competitors, right? These are kind of unlikely bedfellows in years past. And really interesting to see kind of their perspective of, “Okay, if I can’t beat them, join them. Let me invest in things like partnerships so that I can take advantage of this technology to deliver those great experiences.” And don’t be afraid to look at these unusual sources of technology, not just the big mega vendors, but kind of where are you seeing innovation and how can you tap into that?

Carl Boutet:
Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s probably an accelerant as well when you’re playing catch up. And interesting point, Rasmus, around what can Farfetch learn from, get out of their $200 million investment as well that’s going to allow them to maybe better integrate into physical, as we’ve been saying it? One cannot really subsist without the other. And I guess Farfetch and Neiman Marcus, plus a 200 million check always helps to make those partnerships get along better. I don’t have it in the list here. I’m going to see if I can catch you both off a bit, because this just was in the news yesterday. What are your thoughts around lululemon with their acquisition of Mirror and getting into membership, and the digital transformation opportunities that’s going to provide, even though some of that membership is going to play out in actual gyms. Would love to get your thoughts on lululemon, Mirror and membership. Megan.

Megan Lunde:
Yeah, sure. Ooh, I love this off the cuff question. I think this is awesome. The whole membership concept is something that has just exploded in the last couple of years. And I think lululemon is doing quite a bit in kind of alternative buying habits, whether it’s this membership. I also saw that they recently are in the midst of launching their used clothing, certified pre-owned lululemon clothing, for lack of a better term.

Megan Lunde:
I really applaud lululemon because I see these as larger shifts in how consumers want to buy, and they’re kind of meeting the market and testing out these ideas, and I look forward to seeing how they pan out.

Carl Boutet:
Absolutely. Rasmus, any thoughts with my off the cuff question?

Rasmus Hyltegård:
I think on the Mirror side, there’s been a lot of news about Mirror for years with lulu. And I think that they’ve been challenged a little bit in where they’re going to break in this. I remain curious about the concept. I can certainly see it in some places and spaces, including sort of going into a lulu studio and then have that engagement with the Mirror to understand, “Is this really the fit for me? What kind of workouts do I want to do?” And almost get similar to personalization in terms of based on my body, where I am and who I am, maybe you can offer me up some training activities that actually fit me better.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
So personally for me, I played soccer all my life, and then I had some unfortunate injuries and gave up eventually at older age. There might be things that I can get into that I’m not aware because I never did it. And then you couple that a little bit with the gear and all the things I need, active wear, to make that work. So I think there is a complimentary option there and I look forward to seeing lulu playing that out because their results in the past couple of years have just been phenomenal.

Carl Boutet:
Yeah. Well, so listen. They’ve even gotten to shoes now, into athletic shoes, so who knows? Maybe they’ll get into cleats to get you back on the soccer pitch.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
Yeah, absolutely. Let’s do it.

Carl Boutet:
So we’ll keep those other examples for another time, because I think we’re already over half an hour in, so I want to end question period here. What’s next for retailers in 2022 and how are Amperity and Avanade responding to these trends? And what kinds of results are you seeing? Megan.

Megan Lunde:
Great. Well, I think as we’ve kind of discussed throughout this discussion today, there are so many changes happening very rapidly in this industry. And Amperity’s kind of focus is to continue to stay grounded on helping retailers have a crystal clear focus on their customers, so serving our customers’ customers. So many changes, right? We’re coming out of the pandemic. We are seeing explosion of growth in e-com and digital retail over that period. And is there a little bit of a correction happening now? So changes in customer behavior are happening. Available data is changing, right? We didn’t even get into third party cookies, but that is a huge change on the horizon, state privacy regulations. So again, big change in customer behavior and potentially the data that you’re able to leverage for all these personalization efforts. And then as we just discussed with Peloton, retailers themselves… I just conflated Peloton and lululemon. So let me start that over again.

Megan Lunde:
And then as we just discussed with lululemon, retailers themselves are experimental by nature and there’s so many new messaging platforms and apps, and different subscriptions or channels to sell through. All of these points to kind of a proliferation of data that needs to be organized in a manner that makes it useful and actionable to marketers and others at retail brands. So, here at Amperity, we’re going to keep on keeping on, in our mission to help brands bring all of their customers together in a rapid, accurate, flexible way that lets them de-risk all of these changes and empower their teams with the right customer data to continue to make the best decisions and empower the strongest marketing.

Carl Boutet:
Excellent. Rasmus.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
Yeah, thank you. I mean, I want to build again off what Megan said. I think the experimentation within retail is phenomenal. And I think we see this through this digital transformation wave that is driving talent scarcity for everyone. And I think one of the things we didn’t talk today is the fact that many of our clients, they’re backed up. They are so busy because they all are trying to change the game. And I think the game changer we’re seeing and talking a lot about now and hearing a lot about is, what is that new experience? Who are we really, and who are our customers really? And finding that wedge, so that you can be unique and special in your own way, because everyone is different, special, unique, and different. But if you can call that up more clearly and drive that experience and drive that brand promise home, I think those are the retailers we see that do phenomenally well.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
And we can just drop some numbers here. Kohls talking about their omnichannel customer being six times more productive. Also, Target came out a few months ago with their results saying whatever it was, like 90% of their growth came from this sort of omnichannel approach and micro fulfillment. And I think that’s another tenant that we haven’t really talked about, which is that stores are almost like a common use product that must continuously refresh. So how can you take the physical store being instead of the harder retail?

Rasmus Hyltegård:
You need these new approaches. You need to figure out what experience you want to drive, but then you also need to think about your store operations and how do you deliver those experiences with impact, which then touches back on what Megan talked about in terms of personalization and which route is the right narrative. But let’s not forget about the frontline worker and the people out there giving them the right actions and the right signals as well, so they can focus on the right things and then use automation then to sort of take out the more menial tasks that we maybe can have computers do and figure stuff out for you.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
So I think part of our job as Avanade these days is to provide that unique ability for our clients to actually drive that interim transformation and do that through the power connected system. So if we keep that focus on the customer, the customer is the only channel. If we start working through the notion of the store, it’s almost like a product. It’s almost like an operating system on its own. What does that mean in terms of sort of getting those apps in there and the speed, the modularity, the orchestration of all that?

Rasmus Hyltegård:
And then actually delivering localized capabilities, because that’s another facet here is that your store might be a little bit different. I’m in Richmond, Virginia, you might be in Chicago. Well, they’re not going to play out the same way. So how do you match those capabilities with that experience using all the data you have about your customers and then feeding the right insights into your store and the employee so you can execute even better? And I think that’s really where we want to lean in here as we are through the first quarter of 2022.

Carl Boutet:
Love it. Well, that was a really great session. I think there’s a lot of great insights to unpack within that, and especially as we’re all trying to figure out how to better leverage our data and build more relevant and meaningful customer experiences. So thank you both very much for those great answers. And how can our listeners get in touch? Megan.

Megan Lunde:
Sure. Well, I must give a shout out to Amperity. So if you’re interested in learning more, come on down to Amperity.com. But I’m on LinkedIn, Megan Lunde, give a search for me, would be happy to connect and looking forward to making kind of new retail friends.

Carl Boutet:
Fabulous. Rasmus, and don’t give us your long Swedish name that we have to try to enter into LinkedIn, please, because I think we might lose a couple of listeners along the way.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
Yeah, that’s good advice right there. So LinkedIn, spread forward, Rasmus Hyltegård. Avanade.com is a beautiful way to engage as well. If you think about rethink physical retail, please do reach out. It’s a brave new world. Let’s face it together.

Carl Boutet:
Love it. Thank you so much, both of you, for being here today, and hopefully our listeners are going to be able to reach out to you indirectly and keep on learning through this wonderful retail world that we’re all a part of. So thanks again for your participation and look forward to having listeners back for another episode of the Retail Rundown. Thank you.

Rasmus Hyltegård:
Thank you, Carl. Thanks for having us.

Megan Lunde:
Thanks, Carl. A lot of fun.

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