Insights from Shoptalk Day 2: Digital transformation requires retail stores

March 29, 2022

Day two of Shoptalk was filled with discussions about cutting-edge technology. In PacSun’s keynote discussion, Brieane Olson, PacSun’s president, talked about the brand’s adoption of the Metaverse through Robox to meet their GenZ customers where they are. Jamie Salter, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Authentic Brands Group talked about Forever 21’s launch of Forever 21 NFT fashion items, inspired by pieces that are available in Forever 21’s physical stores and on forever21.com. 

But woven throughout all these conversations was the steadfast belief in the importance of stores, and store associates, for connecting the online and offline experiences. 

In her track keynote, Target’s EVP, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer, Cara Sylvester, talked about the importance of putting stores at the heart of any marketing strategy. She talked about the company’s 400,000 team members and the critical role that each one of them plays in bringing joy to customers. Despite huge digital initiatives, Target’s biggest investments are in its people, ensuring that they are compensated fairly and have the benefits they need. The investment is paying off, given some incredible facts that Cara shared.

First, 95% of Target’s digital orders are fulfilled by stores. Second, Target’s drive-up service ranks #1 in NPS. In other words, Target owes a great deal of its success in the digital space to the knowledgeable store associates who bring these initiatives to life. As Sylvester said, the beloved brand’s 400,000 employees are “the most important part of the omni-channel experience.”

Steve Miller, SVP, Strategy, eCommerce, & Analytics at DICK’S Sporting Goods had a similar message. He shared that despite having a database with half of the US adult population, the 800+ stores and team members are the most important resource for the brand. Not only is seventy percent of eCommerce demand fulfilled through stores, but the stores play a critical role in communities, helping their “athletes” (customers) get outside and enjoy sports through new format stores and their GameChanger app, which provides free scorekeeping tools, advanced statistics, live updates and team management solutions for sports teams.

The message was clear: Digital initiatives can’t be successful without the involvement of the store teams. All employees, especially those on the frontlines, need to feel connected to their brand’s strategies and initiatives and understand what their role is in bringing it to life. Maybe it’s delivering an e-commerce order to the curb for a customer. Maybe it’s explaining what an NFT is to a confused parent. Or, it might be as simple as helping a customer scan a QR code.

Zipline’s CEO and Co-founder brought this message home in her session yesterday afternoon. She shared her personal experience working for a retailer with over 1000 stores, focused on store communication, engagement and execution. Her role was dedicated to getting the stores to ‘do the things’ while being the best brand ambassadors that they could be. “But honestly, it was brutal,” she said. “I kept running into the same problem over and over, how do you get your store teams to deliver to expectation, consistently across all stores? How do I engage teams behind what we’re doing so they feel connected to the brand and can be the best brand ambassadors?”

The answer, of course, was Zipline. Melissa created Zipline to enable the hardest part of retail – the people. Zipline enables retail brands to connect with frontline teams, rally them behind key priorities, ensure they’re able to roll out all the initiatives you’re counting on them to do, and actually BE the best ambassador of the brand. 

And this is all done in service to store teams. Melissa said, “The people on your frontlines have the hardest jobs in retail. They’re trying to absorb it all and respond – – all while serving customers. They don’t know what’s important and what’s just noise coming from corporate. That makes it really hard to get things done.” 

Melissa could never have predicted the rise of the Metaverse, but the beauty is that the solution she envisioned and built would help stores be ready for anything, whether it’s a global pandemic, the closing of stores due to social unrest, new ways to fulfill orders, a new collaboration, or the rollout of new technology to improve the customer experience. Brands are more agile and enabled with Zipline.



From thought leadership with industry experts, conversations with retail trailblazers, and sharing ideas with up-and-coming change-makers… We’ve had such a blast at Shoptalk so far! Want to chat more about how your brand can be more enabled & agile? See how Zipline can retool your retail!

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