HERO® Presents 001: How rag & bone and John Hardy see the future of retail.

HERO® Presents… is a series of invite-only events bringing together changemakers, creators and innovators in global retail, fashion, technology and commerce.

On July 11 2019, an audience of 50+ industry leaders joined HERO® at John Hardy’s Tribeca offices for an evening of insight and discussion on the future of retail, and the convergence of online and offline shopping.

Speakers and panelists for the evening included Kareem Gahed, CEO of John Hardy, Aaron Detrick, VP Digital from rag & bone, Adam Levene, Founder of HERO® and Mathew Berhardt, Omnichannel Manager at Richemont. The night was hosted and moderated by HERO®’s Marc Hrushcka and Natasha Franzen.

We’ve rounded up our top insights from the evening (also available to view and download on Slideshare):

Insight 01:
The human touch, and the ability to tell a compelling brand story, remains the single biggest differentiator retail and consumer brands have today.

Kareem Gahed, CEO of John Hardy

In Kareem’s presentation, he shared the story of how the human touch has been at the heart of John Hardy since its origin, nowhere more so than in the workshops in Bali where multigenerational teams continue to create the brand’s beautiful, handmade jewelry.

It kept this philosophy front and centre of its expansion into brick and mortar, investing in store spaces and experts that would tell the unique the brand story. Now with 8 boutiques across the US, designed to invoke the 5 senses, John Hardy ensures store teams are empowered with HERO® to extend the human touch of the store experience to online customers in 220 countries.

“The way that we move the needle is with our people, ensuring they are motivated, ensuring they are trained and passionate about the business, feel part of the community and that they are genuinely excited to be able to grow and work for a beautiful brand like ours.”
— Kareem Gahed, CEO, John Hardy

Insight 02:
Stores and retail associates should be at the heart of ecommerce; empowered with the technology to turn every conversation into a sale, either in-person or online.

Adam Levene, Founder of HERO®

Adam’s presentation gave a unique insight into how retail business with ecommerce are transforming to fundamentally become digital businesses with physical stores.

Initiatives like HERO® and BOPIS (buy online pickup in-store) provide a way to reimagine the role of the store to be at the heart of ecommerce. From a smartphone or tablet, retail associates can become catalysts for digital growth — becoming omnichannel brand ambassadors — ensuring they can assist customers both online and in-person. Built-in attribution can ensure that stores benefit from ecommerce sales regardless of where and how the customer buys.

“Retail is evolving faster than ever before…stores have shifted to become hubs for digital and ecommerce, rather than necessarily a destination where customers buy then and there.”
— Adam Levene, Founder, HERO®

Insight 03:
Embrace Amazon’s reach for discovery, but double down on service and personalization across stores and ecommerce.

Aaron Detrick, VP Digital from rag & bone

During the panel discussion moderated by Natasha Franzen, HERO®’s VP of Customer Success, Aaron from rag & bone highlighted service and personalization as the unique differentiator for direct-to- consumer brands today.

With experience leading Digital Channel Strategy at Nike, Aaron also encouraged the room to embrace Amazon, but rather than see it as a channel for sales, view it as a channel for discovery. Its vast global reach gives brands, both new and established, a place to add limited collections while ensuring consumers can discover the brand that may lead to them buying across different channels.

“The key advantage of D2C brands is being able to provide better service, personalization and of course, product.”
— Aaron Detrick, VP Digital, rag & bone

Download and view these insights on Slideshare.

To request an invite to the next HERO® Presents event, please email hello@usehero.com along with your name, company and job title.