WWD Voices Podcast: Retail’s Responsible Reset Series

WWD Voices, the publication’s recently launched podcast, kicked off with a series supported by Accenture. The Retail’s Responsible Reset Series taps industry leaders to delve into the latest industry news and insights as retail, fashion, luxury and beauty resets and prepares to grow for a better future.

Hosted by WWD’s Evan Clark and Arthur Zaczkiewicz, with guest host Jill Standish of Accenture, WWD Voices has taken on topics including the state of the industry, reimagining the workforce, reengineering the supply chain, and refining data and insights, among other timely topics. So far, guests of the podcast have included leaders from Levi Strauss & Co., Tapestry, Macy’s Inc., VF Corp. and Michael Kors.

Kicking off the series, in episode one: “Re-setting Retail — State of the Industry,” Standish and Chip Bergh, chief executive officer of Levi Strauss & Co., discussed the state of retail and the important acceleration of technology and environmental, social and corporate governance.

“This year was one unlike any other we’ve had in our careers,” said Standish, applauding the strides that Levi Strauss & Co. had made in the last year, including prioritizing ESG and its recent acquisition of the athletic brand, Beyond Yoga.

Notably, Bergh said, Beyond Yoga was the first acquisition for the company in the 10 years he has been acting as CEO, but importantly, it was a strategic one for the times. “One of our strategies is to continue to diversify the company and we’ve been looking at acquisitions for a couple of years, but we had pretty stringent filters that an acquisition would need to pass through,” said Bergh. “We have a very strong culture, very strong values and principles and so that is a very important filter for us.”

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Episode two, “Re-setting Customer Experience,” focused on the importance of elevating the consumer journey with insights from Peloton chief marketing officer Dara Treseder. During the episode, Treseder shared the company’s experience from a boom during the pandemic, when people looked to work out at home more than ever before, to democratizing offerings at multiple price points that embraced the needs of all consumers.

“You have to make decisions based on what is going on around you,” said Treseder. “And having the right insights and the writing especially about what’s going on with the consumer and the culture that is known for making sure that you’re making the right decisions and I think that that is really exciting.”

In episode three, Joseph Taiano, managing director of marketing for consumer industries at Accenture, and Sarah Dunn, global human resources officer at Tapestry, joined WWD to discuss the disruption of the workforce. The duo agreed that companies are thinking about their workforce in new ways, handling new employee expectations and thinking about how those relationships shape an overall business.

Meanwhile, looking ahead at a holiday like no other, episode four takes on the supply chain with Dennis Mullahy, chief supply chain officer at Macy’s Inc., who assured everyone listening that Santa would make it to 34th street this year. “Partners are a really important part of the supply chain and building the right relationships with partners,” said Mullahy. “It’s also a big part of our fourth-layer strategy to modernize our supply chain to see it thrive in efficiency and productivity and allow ourselves the opportunity as business continues to grow to maintain that level of flexibility.”

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Episode five takes a deeper dive into data and insights, revealing key learnings from Velia Carboni, chief digital and technology officer of VF Corp. Knowing more changes everything, she said. And looking to the future she believes informing products that are built will become an even bigger part of leveraging data. “This whole thing around first-party data is absolutely critical,” said Carboni. “In some ways, I think everyone was stressed. I’m actually excited because I view it as an opportunity to own that relationship with that consumer even more so than what we had before.”

Upcoming episodes of WWD Voices premiere every Monday and will highlight topics including reinforcing ESG, the new generation of beauty consumers, inclusive and sustainable beauty and reinvigorating brand purpose. To listen to all live episodes, CLICK HERE.

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