RTIH: What are the top five retail tech Twitter/LinkedIn accounts you can’t do without, and why?
JF: I have to admit, I’ve never been the best on Twitter but given I work in the MarTech industry, spending time on social (mainly LinkedIn) has become a lot more natural for me.
With a large customer base in the fashion/apparel space, Business of Fashion provides great updates on twitter and is always breaking news on the industry. A great resource for me when I’m short on time.
I also want to shout out David Kohn, ex-Customer and eCommerce director at Heals. David is a fantastic thought-leader in digital retail, with over 15 years of experience.
He’s now acting as an advisor and consultant to forward looking brands and retailers. His LinkedIn is a great resource for some of the best insights in the industry.
Next for me, would be Oliver Banks. Not only does he hit the mark with the latest retail trends, he’s great to listen to via his podcast.
Finally, Elon Musk. I know not really a retail tech account as such, but his tweets and activity have the ability to impact global markets.
Just this week he’s been in the news after he tweeted that he was buying Manchester United. Turns out this was a joke, but just goes to show his influence.
And last but not least, Retail Technology Innovation Hub. You guys are always sharing great articles and keeping me up to speed!
RTIH: If you could have a dinner party with any five retail pioneers, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
JF: My first dinner party guest would have to be Elon Musk. Many wouldn’t think of him as a retail pioneer, but he reinvented the car buying experience with Tesla “stores” (not showrooms) and led a game-changing go-to-market strategy that competitors are still trying to catch up to.
Plus, his tweets and general activity literally move global markets – imagine what he’d say or do at a dinner party.
Secondly, I’d invite Sir Jony Ive. He was instrumental in designing not only Apple’s products, but also the brand’s retail environments that have shaped our shopping experiences today.
It’s a vision to reality story which has changed the way we live and made Apple one of the largest global companies today.
Next on the list is Steve Jobs. He pioneered the AppleCentre concept, creating a standalone Apple product store for major cities in the late 80’s before Jony Ives joined and developed it in the early 90’s.
These stores were targeting more business (remember Desktop Publishing) and educational users than the current design of consumer stores we see today. Apple Centres were very much the forerunner concept.
My fourth guest would be Scott Weavers Wright, who founded haatch.com.
I worked with Scott on a couple of projects and saw retail innovation firsthand. Scott was recently awarded an OBE for technology and retail e-commerce entrepreneurship and is now a business angel guiding startup organisations as an investor.
And last but not least, Dame Margaret Barbour. Under her leadership, the iconic fashion retailer Barbour has been transformed, growing from 100 to more than 1,000 staff.
Plus, the Barbour Foundation has awarded more than £20 million to charities and good causes across the North-East. She has transformed a traditional British brand into a global fashion phenomenon, all while putting the customer first every step of the way.
RTIH: What have been your best and worst retail experiences in recent weeks?
JF: Let’s focus on the positive, as there’s so much great work happening to deliver really great retail experiences.
For instance, I had a cool shopping experience recently using the concept of a Quiz. A short engaging online Q&A session that allows the retailer to quickly understand me and my requirements.
Thereafter the shopping experience is really tailored to my unique needs allowing relevant products, ideas and content to surface.
I’ve now seen this in fashion, food and healthcare. In my opinion this contributed input is really useful to quickly aid personalisation especially for things like health goals and ingredient management.