This month sees the appointment of Kenneth Hannah, a seasoned executive with a long track record in retail, to Aisle411’s advisory board, a position that will allow Hannah to assist retailers in understanding — and grasping — the exciting opportunities at the intersection of convenience and context.
Hannah has over 20 years of executive leadership experience and has held leading roles at major retailers including executive vice president and chief financial officer of J.C. Penney, and senior vice president, operations and senior vice president, finance for The Home Depot. Ken’s responsibilities have included corporate strategy, finance, merger and acquisitions, stores, supply chain and communications. Prior to this Hannah held leadership positions at SunEdison, formerly MEMC, The Boeing Company and General Electric.
More recently, Hannah was named Chief Financial Officer at Brown Shoe Company, a $2.5 billion, global footwear company whose products are available virtually everywhere — in the over 1,200 Famous Footwear and Naturalizer retail stores it operates, in hundreds of major department and specialty stores, on 13 branded ecommerce sites and on many additional third-party retail websites.
Based on his experience Hannah says the opportunities for bricks-and-mortar retailers to remain relevant center on their ability to harness mobile, as part of a wider omnichannel strategy, to boost customer loyalty through offering a better shopping experience. “Omnichannel is top of mind in every boardroom and retailers are looking for ways to use technologies in-store and on devices to create an experience that will keep customers coming in the store — and coming back.”
A big part of that experience is increased convenience and the benefits retailers can provide time-crunched shoppers when they make it possible for shoppers to find the items they need using their mobile phones. “Everyone wants to create a phenomenal experience that drives loyalty and incremental value and my message to retailers is this can be done without having to entirely re-invent retail,” Hannah explains. Added value comes from added convenience and great customer service.
Mobile shopping assistance and apps that allow shoppers to easily navigate through retail stores to find deals, offers and items they want quickly is core to delivering a shopping experience like no one else, Hannah observes. “Brick-and-mortar retailers realize this, they just need better tools to reach their target audience — in the appropriate context.”
This is where Aisle411 comes in with a platform that collects, organizes, and monetizes retailers’ product inventory and location data to provide shoppers what they want, when they want (and therefore appreciate it) most.
As a new member of the company’s advisory board Hannah sees his role as a “connector” in the conversation between retailers and enablers like Aisle411. ” I have been on both sides and so I understand the experience retailers want to deliver and where indoor mapping and search capabilities fit in to make that happen.”
More importantly, Hannah can do more than help retailers understand the benefit of removing the friction from shopping with mobile in-store; he can also help them quantify it.
“Making and tracking the link between an advertisement and the consumer action it triggers is something retailers and brands have always struggled with,” Hannah says. Aisle411 closes that loop because its platform allows retailers to calculate the return on their investment, providing granular insights into how shoppers interact with deals and advertising they receive and how they interact with brands in-store as a result.
At one level, visibility into what shoppers search, buy and how long they spend at points in the store is powerful analytics that allow retailers to plan the strategies (and physical store layout) that will maximize and optimize the shopper visit to their store.
At the other end of the spectrum, Hannah says, the platform also has the potential to level the playing field between physical stores and digital rivals like Amazon.
Mobile has already transformed shopping and a good example is the many click and collect schemes that have streamlined the process, allowing consumers to do their pre-shopping on their device, buy online and then pick up the items in-store or at a collection point.
“Aisle411 can build on that behavior to the benefit of the retailers, facilitating a more convenient experience whereby —once the shopper knows what they want and have even added that to a list on their mobile phone — the platform can guide them to find those items very efficiently,” Hannah says.
It’s all about reducing the friction to increase customer loyalty — and this is a message that resonates with retailers more than ever before.