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CEOs, experts stress new retail strategies

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Will Ferguson
Will Ferguson / Arizona Daily Wildcat The University of Arizona Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing held the 16th annual Innovating Customer Engagement Global Retailing Conference at the JW Marriott Resort at Starr Pass on April 12-13, 2012. The Conference featured speakers such as Terry J. Lundgren, CEO of Macy’s, INC., and Frank Blake, CEO of Home Depot.

Corporate CEOs, technology experts and members of the UA community partnered up to address challenges in a new era of retailing on Thursday at the 16th annual Global Retailing Conference.

The UA College of Retailing and Consumer Sciences put on the conference at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort. The conference will conclude Friday at 1 p.m.

“The world of future retailing is constantly changing and if you are not changing, you are behind,” said Martha Van Gelder, director of the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing.

Presenters focused on future retailing strategies that would engage customers of the 21st century. The first day of the two-day conference included representatives from top global companies, including the president and CEO of Macy’s and the CEO of Home Depot, among others.

Throughout the event, speakers focused on the importance of developing stronger innovations through the use of technology.

“Figuring out the right mix of technology that gives you information about what consumers want and reconfigure your organization in a way that it is still affordable for costumers,” Van Gelder said.

Van Gelder said the most important part of the event focused on using the “omni-channel strategy.” Employing this strategy would bring together stores as well as online and mobile capabilities to serve customers whenever they shop, said Peter Sachse, Macy’s chief stores officer.

“Every three weeks something new comes up and we have to move faster to adapt to the new concept through visibility, flexibility and stability,” said Kasey Lobaugh, an expert in Omnichannel retailing.

Through omni-channel retailing, by the end of July, Sachse said Macy’s will increase its sales, gross margins and reduce the shipping costs throughout all 292 Macy’s locations.

In addition, presenters addressed how to reconfigure local stores to make it easier for consumers to receive their merchandise on time. Van Gelder said this requires the use of technology that blends personalization and focusing on today’s generational needs.

Cody Villanueva, a freshman studying pre-retailing and consumer science, said the conference was a great opportunity to see how people are involved in the retailing business field.

“It was interesting to see how technology is affecting our daily lives,” Villanueva said. “It shows me how fast the world is developing as a society.”

David Calhoun, CEO of Nielsen, focused his speech on connecting with multicultural customers. He stressed the importance of engaging with the customer.

“It is more about satisfying their demand by reaching out to them through ads that identify with their ethnicity,” he said.

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