Showing posts with label Saks Fifth Avenue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saks Fifth Avenue. Show all posts

## April 11, 2012

### Saks and Robotics: A 21% Sales Increase?

You probably read the article in the NRF SmartBrief about how robotics helped Saks achieve a huge sales increase via robotics.

There is one sentence in the article where a link between sales and robotics is made:
• It seemed to make a difference: Saks Direct reported a 21 percent increase in fourth quarter sales from the same period in 2010.
What fraction of the 21% increase in e-commerce sales would you attribute to a warehouse robotics system?

Well, you might look back to Q4 of the prior year to see what happened.  In this article, we learn that Saks e-commerce division posted a 36% increase in Q4 of 2010.

So this tells us that e-commerce was on a major updraft in 2010, and the rate of improvement slowed in 2011.  Regardless, there is momentum, momentum we cannot attribute to warehouse improvements.

On Twitter, @richardfergie suggests that customers who know they can order up to December 23 will spend more than customers who lack confidence that their order may not arrive in time for Christmas.  Ok, this is a good hypothesis!  How would we test it?
• We could have offered up a messaging test ... 80% of the audience is told that they can order up to 12/23, 20% of the audience is told that they can order up to 12/18 or whatever the old date was ... then measure the incremental lift between the two groups.  This would tell us what impact the robotics system was likely to have.
• Analyze the distribution of orders in 2010 and 2011, to see how many orders were pushed late (i.e. after 12/18), then give credit for those orders to the robotics system, assuming that these orders would not have happened otherwise.  In other words, if a customer was going to order on 12/12, then orders on 12/19 because of a promise of delivery by 12/23, the net financial impact is \$0.  If a customer was not going to order, then orders on 12/19 because of a promise of delivery by 12/23, then the robotics system (and marketing messaging) get credit.  If the customer was going to spend \$100, then elects to spend \$200 because of a promise of delivery by 12/23, then the robotics system (and marketing messaging) get credit.
Now, via analytics and testing, we might prove that a robotics system more than pays for itself. I'll bet somebody in Finance / Operations would love to have an estimate (and it would be an estimate).  That would be a good thing!

We can also measure how much more accurate pick/pack/ship activities are when using a robotics system.  Knowing the improvement in accuracy, we can calculate a cost savings per order, multiplied by annual orders, yielding annual cost improvements.

We have the tools and techniques (you probably have more ideas for how to analyze this than I have, offer them up in the comments section) to measure the impact of a robotics system on the profit and loss statement.  Let's go measure it!

## March 09, 2010

### Point of View: Saks Fifth Avenue

A visit to the Saks Fifth Avenue homepage begins to point us in a new direction. Here, you get to see a brief story hosted by Diane Von Furstenberg (click here).

Now, what would you trust more ... copy in a catalog, or a video that comes right from the source?

You can literally see where all of this stuff is heading ... e-commerce and video and content and social and mobile all fused together.

Social Media is going to require an almost unthinkable amount of content to "feed the beast". As video and content and social and mobile and e-commerce fuse, it will be critically important for e-commerce merchants to be outstanding at content creation, and to be excellent at propelling that information "into the cloud". This becomes the "new marketing" that ultimately complements and then consumes classic direct marketing and brand marketing.

## March 25, 2008

### Saks Fifth Avenue Video Catalog: Fashion In Action

Some retailers see the internet as a modern version of television. Saks Fifth Avenue debuted a video catalog, called "Fashion in Action".

One might envision how Saks or other retailers will morph their websites into entertainment/media divisions. For retailers, e-commerce may not represent the future of the internet.

Catalogers: Third parties and the USPS are crimping our ability to market via paper. Nobody is stopping the catalog industry from experimenting in this fashion.

## June 24, 2007

Fifteen weeks as an independent multichannel strategist provide me with a new perspective on multichannel business models. I can see that there are at least six ways that retailers/catalogers are leveraging the online channel, the channel responsible for the "multichannel" moniker. Each business model has unique advantages, and unique challenges.

Model #1 = Simple Online Presence
• These businesses generate the vast majority of their sales by customers who send orders via the mail, or by calling a sales representative in a contact center. The order was stimulated by the mailing of a catalog. The online channel is not a significant driver of sales for businesses in this situation. The customer does not utilize the online channel as a shopping vehicle. At least eighty percent of the net sales happen via the mail, or via telephone. The average customer is at least fifty-five years old.
Model #2 = Online Order Form
• These are catalog businesses that use cataloging as the primary marketing vehicle, but provide a robust online experience that causes customers to place their orders online. These businesses struggle with the concept of being "multichannel", because all analytical work indicates that the catalog drives eighty percent or more of online sales. In reality, these businesses are not "multichannel", they are really catalog businesses that take orders online. Still, it is not uncommon for these businesses to generate half of all orders online.
Model #3 = True Catalog Multichannel Model
• It has been my experience that this is the least understood of all business models. These are catalogers that generate at least half of their annual net sales online. However, these catalogers typically believe that the catalog is responsible for driving the online sales. In reality, the online channel developed a foothold in these business models. If catalogs were not mailed to customers, online orders would happen anyway. This is very hard for catalog executives to understand, to digest, to develop strategies against. Company reporting and matchback reporting indicate that the catalog drives online sales. Mail/Holdout testing indicate that at least half of the online sales would happen regardless whether catalogs were mailed or not. These businesses have robust e-mail, paid search, natural search, affiliate, portal and online marketing programs that generate incremental sales. It is this business model that many industry experts and consultants target when they talk about "multichannel marketing".
Model #4 = Retail Business, Catalog Heritage
• These are interesting business models. Be it Coldwater Creek, Williams Sonoma, Lands' End or now Dell, these businesses practice true multichannel marketing, but with a strong focus on ROI. The catalog heritage drives measurement of all advertising activities across all channels. If an aspiring individual wanted the best multichannel lab to build multichannel skills in, I believe these environments provide the best place to gain valuable, portable experience.
Model #5 = Online Business, Retail Heritage
Model #6 = Online Pureplay
• These businesses are fundamentally different than the five models described above. These businesses were born online, and utilize a marketing strategy fundamentally different than other businesses. Traffic is driven by online marketing strategies. To compensate for what I call "channel disadvantage" --- not having catalogs or stores, these businesses utilize free-shipping, free-returns, and rock-bottom pricing to gain a competitive advantage. These businesses need to grow to a size large enough to overcome margin and shipping revenue shortfalls. Zappos is probably the best example of a business in this category. The online marketing departments in these companies offer spectacular laboratories for learning online marketing strategies. If I were a college student today, this would be one of my primary industries to target for employment.
Strategically, it is very important to understand where your business model falls on this continuum. The way you utilize multichannel marketing and advertising strategies is highly dependent upon the customer base you have, coupled with your heritage and objectives.

Cataloging makes less sense for business models five and six. Traditional cataloging strategies are frequently not congruent with brand-based retail models and online pureplays.

Online marketing makes less sense in the short term for business models one and two. These business models are supported by customers who are not willing to shop on the web without the benefit of catalog merchandise presentation.

Matchback and analytical expertise are probably most critical in business models three and four. Catalog businesses that migrated from model one to model two to model three have the best opportunity to overcome postal increases, because the customers shopping these businesses will purchase online if catalog frequency is reduced.

Your turn, my loyal reader! What e-commerce business models are missing from this list? How might you change these categorizations to make more sense?

## January 08, 2007

### Saks Fifth Avenue E-Mail Campaign

Today, I received the following e-mail from Saks Fifth Avenue, sent to their e-mail subscriber list.

There were tabs above this image that the customer could click through to visit specific merchandise divisions. However, the title of the e-mail was "Presenting A Fresh New Face Of Saks Fifth Avenue", so the purpose of the e-mail was to specifically tell customers that there is a new logo --- "Presenting our latest logo, a classic script rendered with a fresh, new face".

Saks has been around for an awfully long time, so they obviously know what they are doing. I guess I am confused how I, as a customer, benefit from this announcement. I am also confused as to how Saks sells more merchandise because of this announcement. What do you think?