Retail NaviGator

The Retail NaviGator - our communication to you about our research on retailing issues and the activities of the David F. Miller Center. This ongoing media change creates a direct connection to the retailing community in a way that keeps information current, direct and GREEN!

September: Issue 1, 2014

In this issue:

Retailing Smarter 2014

By Lauren Sanchez

The 2014 Retailing Smarter Conference brought retail executives, faculty and students together for two days of cutting edge retail. Hosted by the David F. Miller Retailing Education and Research Center at the University of Florida, the event featured educational updates on the industry as well as breakout sessions for further, detailed discussion on issues important to everyone. Attendees learned the specifics on the economy, marveled at the development of companies and gathered the lowdown on millennials and social media. Enjoy the brief synopsis and join us next year for Retailing Smarter 2015!

Matt Hieronimus

Keep it Simple

By Julia DiCesare

Kevin Moffitt, Office Depot Vice President of eCommerce, initiated his presentation by comparing his science fair project at the age of 10 to his son's fifth grade science project. Mr. Moffitt's project consisted of a tri-fold poster board with drawings of cells, while his son's project was a remote control car he constructed in robotics class. The point of this analogy was to note the technological changes in schools over the past 40 years, and technological understandings of today's youth. With this, he said the future of e-commerce is vast because youths only understand the internet and modern technology and are not exposed to older non-digital models of learning. He is amazed by the endless wonders of technology and has one goal: To leverage technology and attempt to bridge the gap between physical and digital space. Mr. Moffitt enlightened the audience on his five key points to reach success in e-commerce.

  1. Keep it Simple
  2. Make Connections Easy
  3. Make it Relevant
  4. Connect the Dots
  5. Take Time to Explore

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Supporting his first key point, Mr. Moffitt advised that the best way to keep a website manageable is to watch people interact with the website. "Make it a sport!" he said, and watch closely where the mouse goes and what format is easiest for natural tendencies. Secondly, he modeled his next point after a quote by Mark Zuckerberg. The founder of Facebook stated, "By giving people the power to share, we are making the world more transparent". Recent trends that are making connections easier are using Facebook logins for a multitude of applications such as access to other websites and creating/ sharing your own content. With the expansion of available connections, it is crucial to make e-commerce relevant. As you are probably wondering, how do you make something so broad such as technology relevant? Well Mr. Moffit said it concisely, "Personalization is what makes e-commerce relevant and growing". For example, personalization means making advertisements relevant to the customer and sending mass personalized emails addressing customers by their names. In fact, through individualized follow-up emails, the response rate increased by 700%. Now that personalization and relevance has been reviewed, it is important to connect the dots through an Omni-channel of connections. This means the incorporation of devices such as mobile apps, iPads, etc. to make information easy and available to the customers via many pathways. These tools such as technological advancements, websites, digital coupons, etc. help intertwine all forms of information to provide the customer with quick ways to shop. Lastly, he notes it is important to take time to explore. By this, he means nothing is defined in technology and the future of e-commerce is endless. Like he said in his introduction, the future of our children is centered on technological knowledge and it is necessary to continually innovate and explore.

His presentation was very entertaining to watch, yet concise. The bottom line is easy. Make it simple, personal, and fun and you will be successful in e-commerce.

Julia Arnette

Issues in Cyber Security

By Carlos Monesar

Julia Arnette, Vice President of Security Services for IBM, is responsible for the growth and delivery of IBM's Security Services portfolio for North American clients. Arnette has more than 30 years of management consulting, new business development and program management experience, and more than 15 years of IT leadership for large US-based retailers. Her focus has been primarily in infrastructure implementation and management, application software implementation and maintenance, systems integration and process improvement. Arnette earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida with a concentration in Finance and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of South Florida. She is also an IBM and PMI Certified Project Executive.

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In Arnette's presentation her main focus was on Cyber Security and the increasing risk it has become for businesses. Data Security is the highest demand position, however, there remains a shortage in skills. Hacking is a huge problem and cyber protection is highly important. A new security reality displays these facts as follows. 61% of organizations say data theft and cybercrime are the greatest threats to their reputation. 70% of security executives are concerned about cloud and mobile security. Mobile malware grew 614% in one year from March 2012 to March 2013. 83% of enterprises are have difficulty finding the security skills they need. Today's threats are more sophisticated requiring stronger capabilities to provide the necessary defense.

Cyber Risk is becoming a more common board room discussion. CFOs are even calling out information risk explicitly in their financial reports to shareholders, recognizing the importance of security. 30% of breached consumers won't return (major problem for retailers). There are two types of people in the world: People whom have been breached v. people whom have been breached but don't know it. From 2011 to 2013 the target attacks/breach that shake business and governments has grown 100%. Half a billion credit card records were stolen in 2013. Comprehensive security program approach is needed, criminals will not relent and every business is target. Use an Intelligent Security Operations Center through Security Risk Management creating a Hunter Team (find wholes, create compliance) and Response Team (always ready, highly skilled). Security essentials include: build a risk aware culture, manage security incidents with greater intelligence, defend the mobile and social workplace, security-rich services, by design, automate security "hygiene," control network access and assure resilience, address new complexities of cloud and virtualization, manage third-party security compliance, secure data and protect privacy, and manage the identity lifecycle.

Tips for protecting a company's most private information include using five IBM Central Data Protection Program: define, discover, baseline, secure, and monitor is key for maintain trade secrets and a successful business. As for when using BYOD (bring your own device) idea be careful and follow rules. Install internal software to all these external devices to insure protection. Follow team policies for security. Employees want to use their own devices more and more. When using consumer data ask consumer to opt-in to avoid privacy issues. And when deleting emails, do so when characters are visible, first names alone, or click links/downloads. Overall, her presentation provided an insightful look of how businesses need to be aware and conscious that their business is being protected effectively from cyber-attacks.

Ed Crenshaw

Publix's Philosophy of Giving

By Jeremy Ambo

From a stock clerk in Lake Wales, Florida, to the CEO of Publix, Ed Crenshaw exemplifies the meaning of retail leadership. He has dedicated over 40 years to strengthening the Publix brand and ensuring that its commitment to customer satisfaction is upheld. In his address to the Retail Smarter Conference, Crenshaw talked about George Jenkins, Founder of Publix. He talked about how the philosophy of giving and how it has shaped Publix into the business it is today. According to Crenshaw, "giving of time, money and resources is not an expense—it's a responsibility and a privilege."

This cultural belief has fostered a community of associates who celebrate the goodness in people and find pleasure in serving their community. Crenshaw credits this philosophy of "giving" to Jenkins, a man who gave quietly and generously. Once when Jenkins was asked, "If you hadn't given away so much, how much do you think you'd be worth today?" Jenkins replied, "Probably nothing." This attitude of caring is the essence of the Publix brand, Crenshaw said.

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Publix's product quality, pricing and customer service has separated it from the competition. Crenshaw is keenly aware of the communities that Publix serves and strives to build customer value by providing a pleasurable shopping experience to its customers and by upholding its corporate responsibility. Last year alone, Publix contributed $50 million to the annual United Way Campaign and has aligned itself with sustainable practices in order to balance the needs of today with the needs of the future. Crenshaw does not consider sustainability a competitive advantage for Publix, but rather a standard that should be adopted by all.

Publix's rich history of giving, healthy associate relations and customer focus has allowed it to transcend boundaries. "It is about being invested in a shared vision," Crenshaw said, "…a vision that values the well-being of its associates, customers and community in which it serves."

David Ober

Global Outlet Management Recognizes the Power of Grandma

By Melissa Mainelli

Early Friday morning at the Retail Smarter conference, David Ober woke the audience up with the statement "Retailers need to start asking women for their opinion and stop asking men." As president of Global Outlet Management, David focuses his business on giving women the time and place to go shopping through the development of outlet malls around the world.

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One of the most interesting topics of David's speech was his discussion of the demographic focus of outlet malls. David described an outlet mall's largest customer group as "grandmothers and mothers willing to spend money on their children." Outlets have these faithful shoppers to thank for their resilience during the recession, as mothers and grandmothers continued to shop for their children during these hard economic times. As a father of two teenage daughters, David understands the intricacies of the female mind much better than many other men in his field. Using his knowledge of the female shopper, as well as his experience in developing outlet centers, David is able to focus on appealing to women by "defining retail development by what consumers expect it to be." Despite his understanding of the American outlet mall shopper, David noted that the success of outlets in countries such as China is much more challenging because "there is little repeat shopping in China," as many shoppers choose to purchase luxury items outside of the country.

David noted that about six years ago, "the Federal Reserve began to notice the outlet retail economy," and since then, the outlet industry has changed to provide higher-end brands and better locations for customers. For many of these outlet stores, they provide 50-80% of net-operating income for the larger retailer, and according to David, are now seen as a "critical part of the business." Growth internationally is shown as outlet centers in Europe and Asia are becoming international tourist destinations, as well as with the opening of 29 new outlets opening by the end of 2015.

David believes that the future for the outlet mall industry is bright as outlets are becoming seen as a destination for shoppers who seek a larger variety of products, as well as service from sales associates who have a greater knowledge base than that of a department store. Innovative retailers such as Under Armour now use their outlet stores to test the performance of shoe lines before the shoes go to wholesale or smaller retailers. Outlet stores provide a way for the retailer to "cut out the middleman", and to focus on the value they are providing for the consumer. David also noted that this liberation of the retailer is seen in the drop in sales in regional malls, as he stated "25% of female consumers this year stopped shopping at regional malls," while foot traffic in outlet malls continues to climb.

Whether it's because of his master's degree in Marketing Research Strategy, his experience in researching where outlet malls should be developed, or his learned instinct from raising two teenage girls, somewhere along the way David has perfected the skill of creating a successful outlet mall. Lucky enough for him, value seeking mothers and grandmothers faced with the challenge of shopping during the recession have made his job easier along the way. David concluded his speech with the proclamation: "Ladies you can do great things when you don't let men hold you back," reminding the audience once again the importance of a females role in making decisions in retail.

Harris Rosen

Harris Rosen is in it for the Greater Good

By Blair Smith

Harris Rosen is more than just the President and COO of Rosen Hotels, Inc. Ask anyone who has worked with him, especially outside of his hotel empire, and this title is likely to be lower on the list, behind "role model" and "hands-on" philanthropist.

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As the head of a company consisting of seven hotels worth more than $1 billion, he has made many strides from his childhood in Hell's Kitchen and his days of living in a Quality Inn he managed to save money. However, he would not be where he is today without some struggles along the way, beginning with his job at Disney. Rosen began working there in the late 60s, working in hotels. While they were pleased with his work, clearly something was not right after not receiving a pay raise in three years. He finally got a solid answer when his superior asked him into his office one day and gave him the big "But," as in, "You're doing a great job, BUT you'll never become a Disney Executive." Rosen asked, sarcastically, if it was because his ears were too small.

While this would appear to be a set back, he realized he needed to be in control of his own life and fate if he truly wanted to be happy. He set out on a hunt for hotels in Orlando to purchase, and discovered a Quality Inn on International Drive in desperate need of some guidance. Rosen invested all that he had in the 256 room hotel on June 24, 1974.

The beginning was rough. Rosen wore many hats, not only manager, but also director of sales, food and beverage director and security with his dog, Rin Tin-Tin. With only 25% occupancy, he had to take up residence in the hotel to make ends meet and save salaries. He lived there for 16 years and moved out upon becoming engaged. He estimated that by living on-site, he saved about $250,000 a year in salaries. Today the hotel has grown to 728 rooms.

He has come a long way as the number of hotels and their worth is not what makes Rosen proud or happy. After listening to him speak, it was obvious that he sees success in how he is able to give back to the community. He helped UCF create the Rosen School of Hospitality, donating 20 acres and $18.2 million. The school has grown to be the largest hospitality school anywhere, from 75 students at its genesis to 3,500 today. The college has caught the eye of many other countries, including China, who is interested in replicating it.

His most notable philanthropic effort is the Tangelo Park Program. Education is a number one priority for Rosen, and this school program for underprivileged children is how he has accomplished this. Not only has he donated $10 million to date to make this planned schooling program a success, but he has also donated countless hours helping the children there. 99% of the program's participants earn a high school diploma, 77% graduate from college and it has been an A+ rated for the past six years. Crime is even down by 63%.

Rosen finds it sad that more programs like this have not sprouted up in other areas. "We are wasting minds that we can't afford to waste," he said. "My dream is that every undeserved neighborhood in the United States of America will one day have a Tangelo Park Program."

This philanthropic spirit is something Rosen tries to instill in his employees, whether it is through time or funds. After listening to him speak, he was also an inspiration to all participants in the Retail Smarter Conference. He is a smart business man, but that is only half of it. As someone stated, he is in it for the greater good and making Central Florida a better place in the world.

Ariel Acosta-Rubio

The Humble Churro Man

By Emily Lowman

"They said nobody likes churros, but I knew, everybody likes churros," said Co-founder and CEO of CHURROMANIA®, Ariel Acosta-Rubio. Founded in 1997, out of opportunity and necessity, Acosta- Rubio and his wife Maria Bravo de Acosta-Rubio, took a 170 square foot property location in Plaza Mayor (Puerto La Cruz –Venezuela) and this small beginning has now expanded into more than 130 stores worldwide.

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After opening more than 25 stores in Venezuela the founders decided to open a store at the Dolphin Mall in Miami early in April 2001 as a pilot to test Churros in the US Hispanic market. It was a huge success. There are now 27 stores open in Florida and Texas, most of them in major malls and some in Wal-Mart Stores.

The next step presented itself quite clearly when Acosta-Rubio's brother, previously employed at Wal-Mart, suggested the placement of CHURROMANIA® inside of Wal-Mart. After pursuing this idea and offering his brother the management position of this undertaking if it was implemented, Acosta-Rubio persisted in achieving this partnership.

CHURROMANIA®'S main target market is the Hispanic and Latino demographic which parallels a great majority of Wal-Mart's target market. Suggesting this beneficial co-branding opportunity for Wal-Mart and the success story of a former employee taking a management position through CHURROMANIA®, Wal-Mart invited him to present this opportunity. This partnership is now fully functional with CHURROMANIA®'S continuing to enter more and more Wal-Mart stores.

Over the next four years, Acosta-Rubio intends to open 200 stores in the U.S. He asks himself "do I have the knowledge, courage and passion to grow and run the business," knowing that money is a consequence of everything you do he has the brand, product, people and clients to make the business work

From one small 170 square foot location to 130 stores worldwide, operating food trucks, receiving an offer from Disney, and partnering with Wal-Mart, Pepsi and Sysco, Acosta-Rubio has employed the power of visualization that he said is so important and has found great success.

Kristi Taylor

MonkeyWish and the Development of an Idea

By Blair Smith

Kristi Taylor has been on the hunt for the ideal Christmas, peaceful and stress-free, for a while. With her founding of MonkeyWish, a gift registry website and app, she is one step closer to making her perfect White Christmas a reality.

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It is currently a great success; however it has taken a lot of hard work from Taylor to get to where it is today. At the Retail Smarter Conference, she told us her story and everything that made her idea into a fully functioning product.

Taylor was a wife and mother of three, working in the family real estate business. After the housing bubble burst, she was no longer living comfortably and found it hard to face each new day. While she was afraid of being vulnerable, she also knew she couldn't wake up each morning doing the same thing and expecting new results. After a pep talk from her dad, she decided to take the plunge and make her idea for MonkeyWish into something real.

The idea came from Taylor becoming overly stressed at the holidays trying to buy gifts for family and friends. She would have a list of names with no gift ideas next to them, or even worse, duplicates from grandmas (described by Taylor as "first-world problems"). She also wanted to close the gap between retail and technology. Taylor went back to school and learned about the industry. She allowed herself to be mentored and created a wireframe of the app.

The result was a free, customer-centric, unbiased program that would allow customers to add items to their own wish list from any retailer for any occasion. They could also scan or take pictures of items' barcodes. This eventually led to a Pinterest-like browser extension and an iPad browser, creating vital cross-platform capabilities. The app and website have continuously evolved and MonkeyWish now has its own feed where members can follow a real time stream of others' activities. Her daughter has even helped contribute to the project, coming up with the concept of "re-wishing."

One of Taylor's greatest accomplishments thus far was reaching her goal of appearing on the Today Show, a goal she set for herself when the project first began. It happened only a few months after the launch of the site, and Taylor joked that it was easier to get on the national show than on her local media. Not only did the Today Show dub MonkeyWish as "the online and mobile app gift registry of the 21st century," but it was also a boost of confidence and credibility that Taylor hoped would lead to future partnerships.

MonkeyWish did in fact create its first partnership not too long ago with Evite and works with 18,000 affiliate retail partners including Amazon, Best Buy and Sports Authority. For the future, they are hoping to offer their own application programming interface for other retailers to create their own wish lists. Future plans also include a reverse price check, a private domain and shopping and item search capabilities.

It is clear that MonkeyWish has taken off and will to continue soaring higher. Regardless, this is not without a few bumps in the road. Taylor's advice for the Retail Smarter attendees was to focus on the opportunity, pay it forward, and think big. But most importantly, she says "if you have an idea, don't be afraid to try."

James Lewis

Big Data: Finding the Needle in the Haystack

By Alain A. De La Paz

Before anyone was talking about "big data," James Lewis ('91) set out on a mission to "transform vast quantities of data into meaningful, actionable opportunities" for retailers everywhere. The former buyer for J.C. Penney founded Enhanced Retail Solutions, LLC, in 2002, to help suppliers better meet the shifting demands of buyers.

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When we say "big data," we're talking about all the information about customers' interactions with businesses both online and offline. This includes information such as demographics, what they buy, when they shop, when they buy, how much they spend, and what discounts and sales they take use. Businesses collect, parse, interpret, and use this data to better understand consumer behavior and shipping habits in order to achieve responsive and targeted real-time advertising, control inventory, and improve the customer experience.

Lewis expressed a great need for "data scientists" to interpret this data on a large scale, connecting census data to point-of-sale data for not only forecasting but also index comparison to improve retailers' ability to serve and understand their customers.

Achieving the Ultimate Customer Experience

By Lindsey Locke

Mindy Gulledge, Vice President of Retail Sales, Headway Workforce Solutions, Debbie Brown, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Headway Workforce Solutions, Art Suriano, Chief Executive Officer, The TSi Company, Bob Swan, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Susser Holdings (Strips LLC) all spoke on Achieving The Ultimate Customer Experience.

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Mindy Gulledge gave us a little food for thought when she presented an article by The Retail Doctor listing the top things that "drive customers nuts" while shopping. The top three include: Talking to an associate who has no product knowledge, an associate not asking others for help while the store is busy, and the number one thing that drives customers nuts while shopping is when an associate doesn't smile. Everyone in the audience nodded their head in agreement as if they could all relate.

Art Suriano informed us that many components go into determining whether a customer has indeed felt "the ultimate customer experience." Did they leave happy? Will they advocate to others about their experience? All of these questions can help in determining whether your customer was satisfied. He also made the point that everybody claims to be the best in the business, but what sets your business apart? The bigger the business often means a bigger disconnect between what the vision and objectives are of the top executives and what is actually taking place with the front line employees who serve the customer. He stated "people think that training alone will teach customer experience, it won't, you need a good culture." You need to make employees feel good and involved. For example instead of using a Dos and Don'ts list, explain why something is done or isn't done.

Debbie Brown steps in to explain that to ensure your business has good customer service, you must start with your interview and hiring process. She stated, "…although there is no perfect formula for the perfect hire, there are things you can do." Knowing how to decode an applicant's answers lets you know where you should pursue further explanation. She also stated that you can hire the best applicant, but you have to give them a good experience for them to stay.

Bob Swan explained further on how to ensure keeping the best associates. He stressed managing for people and not managing for results. When you manage for people it will translate into results and satisfied customers. You need to start by giving your new hire a good feeling from day one. You should wait to do paper work at the end of the day and make it all about the company at the beginning.

While each speaker made different points on how to create the ultimate customer experience, the overwhelming idea that kept being presented is that you must invest in your employees as the results will pay off.

Christian Lindvall

Customer Experience versus Engagement in Today's Changing Retail Environment

By TJ Pyche

Christian Lindvall, director of hospitality and retail markets for AchieveGlobal, understands.

He understands that the retail experience is changing—that the consumers of tomorrow are vastly different than those of today and yesterday. He understands retail companies must evolve to serve the customers of both today and tomorrow, constantly maintaining the delicate balance between the two.

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His understanding comes from his efforts to drive the retail experience forward at companies like Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Company through his position at AchieveGlobal, a Tampa-based consulting firm with over 1,800 employees worldwide.

The way retail companies approach the customer experience—and their bottom line—is transforming. Lindvall believes the transformation begins with the growing role of retail associates.

"Employees are no longer just bodies to handle operational tasks," says Lindvall, "but a strategic differentiator of both brand and customer experience." Important to remember, he continues, is that "human interaction is not going away."

Both new and more-tenured employees—in addition to handling their traditional responsibilities—need to begin to see themselves more as "brand ambassadors," providing a human connection to the company, says Stephanie Swanz, the assistant director for employer development at the University of Florida Career Resource Center.

Customer experience and employee engagement go hand in hand: engaged employees give way to a better customer experience, which then leads to revenue growth. "There is a connection between experience and revenue growth," states Lindvall.

Because of this connection, Lindvall's work concentrates on strengthening the customer experience, largely through increasing employee engagement, and thereby bringing new revenue to companies. In a retail environment with more competition than ever, it is essential to find new ways to generate revenue. Focusing on the customer experience, notes Lindvall, is a way to do that.

Christian Lindvall understands, and he is working to get us to as well.

Retail Real Estate: New Trends and Risks to Old Strategies

By Emily Taylor

Gary Ralston, managing partner of Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Ralston Dantzler Realty, LLC details the new trends in today's Retail as well as the innovations these retailers are utilizing to stay relevant in today's competitive environment.

Wal-Mart, which averages more than $1 billion a day in net sales, accounts for almost 10% of US non-automotive retail sales. There is continued concentration of market share amongst the leading retailers. The top 100 retailers account for less than 15% of the number of stores but almost half of store sales.

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The retail business life cycle is innovation, expansion, maturity, and then decline. One of the best indicators of position in the cycle is the same-store sales metric. When same-store sales stop growing so does market share.

Today's consumer is value focused. It is not surprising that the fastest growing/strongest retailers are primarily low-cost retailers – Walmart and Target, the dollar stores and of course the warehouse clubs.

E-commerce impact on retail is generally misunderstood. Last year e-commerce was about 6.5% of retail sales. As demonstrated by Walmart, retail is very much a logistics enterprise. As an example Amazon cost of delivery is (adjusted for media/other sales) is almost 12% of sales. The biggest internet impact on retail is an "informed consumer," which creates price match, and pressure on gross margins. Retailers will compensate using technology tools to better manage inventory. We expect small stores more focused on high selling and higher margin goods. Retailers will also expand "store pickup," consumers ordering online and picking up in the store.

Some people think that Circuit City lost their customers to the internet … but they actually lost their customers to Walmart, who entered the consumer electronics business in a big and highly competitive manner.

In summary, the current trends indicate that the internet has created a more informed consumer, technology has created a more efficient use of inventory and space, retail industry is increasingly dominated by stronger, national anchors. Consolidation in the supermarket space is lagging other sectors … but expect to see more dominance by market leaders. Retailers are also combating e-commerce with entertaining and fashion retailing as well as service. One of the new trends is grocery stores offering cooking classes.

Retail landlords are increasingly looking to non-retail businesses to fill up their space. About 25% of shopping center space is occupied by business other than NAICS 44, 45 & 722. We expect this to grow...perhaps to 35% or 40% over the balance of the decade.

With these diverse trends, retail is a changing environment that demands innovation and the ability to identify consumer trends.

Ginny Lawrimore

Retail Industry & Social Media: Highlights from 2013

By Catie Enright

With the ever increasing prevalence of social media marketing in today's world, it's no surprise that companies are quickly finding new customer engagement tactics across all platforms. Ginny Lawrimore, Social Media Manager for Univeristy of Florida's Warrington College of Business Administration, presented a few current statistics showing why organizations are moving into the age of social media:

  1. 50% of the world's population is under 30 years old
  2. 1 in 5 couples meet online
  3. Exponential word of mouth (WOM)
  4. Social media passed pornography as the #1 activity on the web

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Now, let's jump into a few of the year's most popular social media campaigns:

Ellen's Oscar Selfie:
  • Turned out to be a promotional stunt for Samsung who spent $20M on the idea but received a return of $800M worth of advertising
  • Quickly became the most retweeted photo of the time
Kmart's "Ship My Pants" Ads:
  • Created the hashtag "#shipmypants"
  • Became the 4th most popular ad of 2013 and was shared over 30M times on Facebook
Kenneth Cole's "30 Years Bold":
  • Created a social hub from all of their social media platforms to encourage consumers to share their own brand experience and see it pop up on the web page
Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" Campaign:
  • Latest ad in the "Real Beauty" Campaign
  • Became the most viral video advertisement of all time at release
  • Dove logo does not appear until the end; afterthought of the purpose
Wendy's "Pretzel Love Song":
  • Encouraged the usage of the Pretzel Bacon Burger hashtag on Twitter
  • Became a song, sang by Nick Lachey, all from consumer curated content
Urban Hilton Weiner:
  • Offered customers in store a $10 coupon if they take, and post, a selfie of them wearing clothes from the store

Ginny concluded her talk with a quick tip on how to maximize company effectiveness on Facebook, which has recently changed the way a business can reach its followers online. She advises to always use photo and links in a post in order to encourage customer "sharing", which reaches more audience and cannot be controlled by Facebook regulators.

John Crossman

Development is about Community

By Abigail Tan

John Crossman is the president of Crossman and Company, one of the largest retail leasing, management, development and marketing firms in the Southeast region of the United States. As a top-producing broker in the Central Florida, Mr. Crossman has been in the real estate industry for over 20 years and has acquired a wealth of knowledge about retail aspect of real estate.

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The core of his speech was about community development, particularly a discussion of how real estate works with office, medical, education, religious centers and other commercial developments to create a sense of community for people. He started off by sharing a little bit of the history of retail real estate. There has been a cycle for consumers where people would lean toward shopping downtown or within a two-mile radius. Thus early on in the early 20th century, the development of shopping malls were usually built in intercity spaces and in the center of towns attracting the wealthier consumers who lived within walking distance of downtown. However with the explosion of suburbs and highways, there was an increased in mobility and there was a huge trend to spread out to the suburbs. Retail values consistency, and while enclosed regional shopping malls are consistent, they started to become more disconnected from their local community.

Consumers in today's society can be coined as busy and there is a high need for convenience to comply with their demanding lifestyle. Hence there was an explosion of neighborhood centers, town centers, community centers, regional centers, superregional centers and power centers. Town centers have a civic component, and are able to connect back with the local community. They are usually located within the neighborhoods and serve a primary area of a 2-mile radius.

Crossman stated that, "Retail follows, it does not lead." Retail will go wherever there is already a substantial population of consumers to support commercial developments. He used the example of a town center, located in The Villages, Florida. This town center has a high market penetration and actually does as much sales as mid-Manhattan. The reason for its success is the strong sense of community that the town center is able to provide. The town center holds free events every day that are geared to their older demographics, but are also welcoming to outsiders. The benefits are not strictly for residents. The town center also mixes dental offices, education services, medical offices and churches with the retail real estate. All of this activity attracts people to the town center. Moreover, they fully embrace the local community's culture by celebrating every religious and public holiday.

Crossman pointed out that there is a huge difference between tolerating and loving people. In order for malls to stay relevant, they need to listen to the needs of their local community because communities are the customers. The key for success in retail is to have a successful and happy community.

Don Unser

Millennials and the Changing Retail World

By Drew Zervos

From horse-driven buggies to #TBT posts on Instagram; the world has advanced rapidly. The technology advancements that has slingshot our world into the future has created a culture among us that some still can't even fathom. However, one thing is certainly clear and that is that it's the age of the Millennials.

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The Millennials are the generation of those who, including myself, were born prior to 1998 but after 1981. They are a generation that grew up with the advancing technology and are now heading into the workforce making real money; money that they are going to circulate back into the economy through spending. So where is this money going to be spent and how? That is the question that the major retailers of this world need to figure out.

According to Don Unser, Group President of The NPD Group, there are approximately 80 million Millennials in the US, all of whom spent $150 billion in retail last year. However, this isn't just the same old retail spending like other generations such as Generation X, the Baby Boomers or Seniors. Research suggests that this generation is more brand loyal, more diverse, socially conscious, more inclined to online shop, and less likely to convert from a shopping visit to a purchaser. Furthermore, this generation is very tech savvy, therefore making pricing transparent and available on demand for comparison.

So how are retailers using this knowledge of Millennials' personality and spending habits to win them over? For starters, retailers are becoming more personal and local with their marketing strategies, using social media to imprint their brand within the minds of the Millennials. Moreover, many retailers are connecting their stores seamlessly to an online experience as well as adjusting consumer experience to be more inviting to this generation. Some of the favored retailers among the Millennials include Walmart, Macys, Best Buy, Target, Dollar General and

In conclusion, it is apparent that the Millennials are far different from previous generations in all aspects of their lives from how they interact with one another to how they spend their money; the latter a crucial characteristic in which many retailers must adapt.

Retail Navigator

This electronic newsletter from The David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research is issued throughout the year to provide updates on what is happening in retailing at the University of Florida. Information regarding student outreach, jobs, internships, research and retailing connections throughout the country will be included. We hope you enjoy seeing what Gators are doing in the retail industry!


College Info

Warrington College of Business
BRY 100
PO Box 117150
Gainesville, FL 32611-7150
Phone: 352.392.2397
Fax: 352.392.2086

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