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Remodista Interview Series: The Importance of Women Leaders in Retail Commerce
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Remodista Interview Series: The Importance of Women Leaders in Retail Commerce

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Interview #2 with Rose Hamilton, EVP & CMO of Pet360: Women will continue to contribute their unique skills to the retail industry, challenging the status quo and pushing the envelope on innovation. …

Interview #2 with Rose Hamilton, EVP & CMO of Pet360: Women will continue to contribute their unique skills to the retail industry, challenging the status quo and pushing the envelope on innovation. As the female consumer becomes increasingly powerful, understanding what motivates her will be imperative. Women rely on their friends and family members to make decisions on a daily basis. The brands that embrace the female consumer, listen intently to her needs and respond to her busy lifestyle and desire for connections will thrive. Female leaders responsible for designing consumer experiences will continue to push the envelope on social shopping, community building and mobile conveniences, disrupting the direction of etail as we know it today.

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  • 1.   Remodista Interview Series: The Importance of Women in Retail Commerce Rose Hamilton, EVP & CMO, Pet360 Interviewed by Kelly Stickel, President and Global Community Builder, Remodista September 30, 2013 Why did you choose to take on the challenge of a new commerce company? I’ve always had a passion for pets, and I understand the emotional connection pet parents share with their four-legged family members! I truly believe there is more to serving pet parents than simply “selling pet supplies.” When I met Brock Weatherup, CEO of PetFoodDirect at the time (today Pet360, Inc.), I saw an opportunity to leverage my entrepreneurial spirit and contribute my expertise in consumer behavior, strategic marketing and building digital customer experiences to help break new ground in the pet industry. Over the past 18 months, we have evolved from a pure play E-Commerce business to a lifestyle brand focused on making pet parenting easier. The company has been re-branded with the launch of Pet360.com – the only experience (digital or offline) that truly improves pet parents' lives by offering expert information, an active community of pet parents and a vast assortment of products all in a highly personalized manner. Today, our network reaches over 12 million pet parents a month!
  • 2. You have a lot of experience in the area of commerce and retail. How has being a woman framed your perspective on this topic? What do you think you do differently than men (if any)? Several of the brands I’ve worked for over the years have had a predominantly female audience, Pet360 included. Understanding what motivates the female consumer has been critical to my success as a marketer. Over the years, an increasing number of women have joined the retail leadership ranks and are introducing new perspectives that will continue to influence the future of retail. Several articles have been written lately that suggest female leaders have a more collaborative, inclusive, team- building style related to decision-making and problem solving. In a world of constant change, finding ways to unleash the strengths of everyone around you is important. A leadership style that encourages engagement will motivate individuals to contribute in their own unique ways and provide everyone a sense of ownership. By creating open forums for engagement, leaders can unlock innovation on a daily basis. What do you see as the key drivers for increasing growth in the retail sector today? In today’s world, consumers are in the driver’s seat, and they expect brands to surprise and delight them with experiences that go beyond promotional offers in email campaigns. The ability to leverage technology, content and data to create unique experiences is critical to success. By harnessing the power of digital and community, brands can create valuable and relevant ways to engage with their customers. This engagement will help build trust and loyalty and drive profitable growth. According to a March article in RetailWire, Forrester Research expects e-commerce in the U.S. will see another string of double-digit gains over the next five years, albeit barely at a 10 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). What role do you see executive women playing in this growth? Women will continue to contribute their unique skills to the retail industry, challenging the status quo and pushing the envelope on innovation. As the female consumer becomes increasingly powerful, understanding what motivates her will be imperative. Women rely on their friends and family members to make decisions on a daily basis. The brands that embrace the female consumer, listen intently to her needs and respond to her busy lifestyle and desire for connections will thrive. Female leaders responsible for designing consumer experiences will continue to push the envelope on social shopping, community building and mobile conveniences, disrupting the direction of etail as we know it today. The retail industry is innovating quickly. As a CMO of a very innovative company, do women approach innovation differently? What are the pros / cons to their approach?
  • 3. Innovation requires embracing change and a desire to go where no one has gone before. It requires us to break the rules. Along with innovation come risk and uncertainty. Innovation requires building a culture that embraces both risk-taking and failure. Recent articles indicate that female leaders are more likely to engage in risk-taking and have a greater urgency to get things done. The positive side to this tendency is that female leaders will push to find innovative approaches and solutions to challenges. The risk is that mistakes will inevitably happen. Innovative companies balance risk and reward. What industry trends excite you most today? Where do you see the most opportunity for growth? I am most excited about the trends in data and social media/community engagement. Turning customer data into patterns and patterns into insights helps fuel rapid innovation at every touch point. Smart brands are learning how to listen to customer insights and react/respond quickly, building their brand with social media and engaging the customer along the way. As a result, brands are being built overnight through word of mouth “sharing” – and on very small budgets! What do you believe is the most pressing issue retail currently faces that inhibits growth? The true practice of customer centricity opens up additional revenue streams; however, it requires changing legacy business models to get there. When the customer is placed at the core of the decision-making process, new investment strategies and success metrics are needed. This is not an easy change, and it requires brands to take risks! Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, encourages women to work collaboratively to talk about what they can do, rather than what they cannot do and support one another by sharing challenges they face as females in the corporate workplace. How do you see this playing out in the retail sector? Creating differentiation through innovation is key in retail today. Learning new and different approaches to difficult challenges can help inspire innovation. Finding a community to help you think through the challenges you face is critical to success. As they say, “two heads are better than one.” The Remodista community is a great example of women in retail sharing their experiences and learning from one another’s approaches. What advice do you have for women in retail? What is one piece of advice you would like women to take away from your experiences? The only constant in the world is change! With change comes great opportunity to make a difference in the world. You can’t do it all yourself, so invest in building a strong, diverse
  • 4. network and growing your leadership skills every day. The more people you can effectively influence, the more you will accomplish in this constantly evolving world. Rose Hamilton, EVP & CMO, Pet360 As Pet360’s EVP & CMO, Rose is responsible for consumer strategy, vision, product development and marketplace positioning, as well as overall resource allocation and budgetary decisions. Pet360 is the leading online resource for pet parents, providing pet owners trusted information from a team of experts, connections to other pet parents, and easy online ordering solutions for pet food, meds and supplies. The Pet360 Network now reaches more than 12 million visitors each month and powers industry leading sites such as Pet360.com, petMD.com and PetFoodDirect.com. Rose previously served as the Vice President of E-commerce for Ann Taylor and LOFT, where she oversaw online marketing strategy and analytics to drive multi-channel customer acquisition, engagement and conversion. Prior to joining Ann Taylor Stores, Rose led online marketing, merchandising and loyalty programs for a variety of leading retailers and financial services organizations, including Chico’s FAS, Best Buy, Wilsons Leather and US Bank. She sits on the Board of the Pennsylvania SPCA and holds an MBA from the University of St. Thomas Graduate School of Business.
  • 5. Kelly Stickel Co-founder, Global Community Builder and President For over 15 years, Kelly has built many rich partnerships focused on community, content, and commerce. She is proactive in building alliances with key leaders that are helping to lead the way. Kelly is experienced and passionate about researching emerging markets, innovations in technology, business drivers for transformation, and consumer behavioral shifts due to thinking with mobility. With the business objective to create an educational forum elevating women and collaborating on new strategies that integrate content and commerce, Kelly founded Remodista, June of 2010. Kelly continues to share innovative thinking with mobility. New strategies stemming from community are creating paths that have large cost saving dollars, increased efficiencies, and new revenue streams attached to its growth. For the last 6 years, Kelly has been an active leader, calling out trends, and supporting the expansion of mobile and social commerce through curriculum, collaboration, video, consumer behavior research, articles, and mentoring programs for young tenacious leaders. Kelly continues to expand thought leadership through various initiatives and programs. For the past 15 years, Kelly has also worked as a mosaic artist and teaches classes in the community. Remodista is a collaborative forum with three primary goals: to elevate women, educate brands, and mentor a community focused on shaping universal best practices for global retail mobility. By connecting industry leaders with innovative ideas, who are ready to learn, share and bring visionary strategies to the market, Remodista has built a strong brand community.