What does “digital transformation” actually mean these days? These phrases tend to be thrown around often, but when the rubber hits the road, and work needs to be done to bring the retail industry into the present and the future, what does that look like? Lucky for us here at Gap Inc, we have Noam Paransky, Senior Vice President of Digital at Gap Inc. who is leading this charge from the inside.
Coming out of his recent talk at Palm Springs’s eTail West, and in anticipation of his upcoming talk at Shoptalk in Las Vegas (March is a busy month for retail conferences!), we sat down with Noam to get the low-down on what the latest buzz is when it comes to digital solutions for retail, and the ever-expanding world of enhancing the customer experience.
Here are his “rules” for building a culture that allows for true digital transformation, and his advice for anyone wanting to build a forward-looking, risk-taking team ready to take on industry change.
Realize that brands matter, and stores aren’t going anywhere: A large majority of our apparel purchases are still made in the store, but customers are researching their purchases online ahead of time. What our industry has to focus on is the connection between physical and digital so they feel like one seamless experience.
Know your customer needs: We’re nothing without our customers, so we have to know what they’re looking for. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking them, other times it’s about using web analytics and clickstream data. And then it’s about identifying those implicit behaviors through consumer insights and predictive models.We pull this information together to create a hypothesis, test that and then validate or adjust.
Establish customer goals & understand their value economics: We know what our customers need, but how do we prioritize? Establish goals. For us it’s about making the experience smooth, eliminating ‘competition’ between our store and online teams around sales and instead think about the lifetime activity of our customers. At Gap Inc., customers who shop cross-channel are 8x more valuable in one year than those who shop just once, and that increases to 10x when they also shop across our brands.
Evolve how you work & create your game plan: Mission Control, our digital operations center, brings together a cross functional team in one space to with team members in production, development, UX, UI, data science and digital commerce to work faster and solve problems in real time. With a direct and clear look at the digital activity across our business, we’re able to pull clear data and insights, move quickly and focus on even more relevant and personalized experiences.
Deliver digital capabilities: To further facilitate that fast movement and help us bring the best capabilities to market, we’ve opened ourselves up for more partnerships. Not only have we engaged in more to build out our technology stack, we’ve encouraged those partners to work together to make integrations more seamless and enabling more value.
Continue to test and learn: You hear it a lot these days but that’s because it’s important, we must test a lot and fail fast. Just in the last year we’ve piloted a Buy Online Pick Up in Store program in Old Navy, subscription boxes for babyGap and Old Navy Kids and a new loyalty program for Gap Inc. This is only the beginning.
Create the foundation for the future: The takeaway here is that we’ll never be ‘done.’ What we’re doing is building a strong foundation for the future work that will take place. We’re now setup to be nimble, to iterate and to deliver the experiences and connection our customers want.