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The Future Of Retail, Interview With UNTUCKit & Newstore

January 21, 2019

 

The article first appeared on The Lead.

 

At The Lead Summit in October, Brent Paulsen, UNTUCKit’s Managing Director and Head of Retail, laid out the company’s rapid brick & mortar growth strategy. And of course, UNTUCKit was selected for The Lead’s 2018 Foremost 50 List – recognizing the break out digital native brands reinventing and redefining the future of fashion & retail.

 

UNTUCKit is a unique story in our world, a company built methodically, using some traditional channels and waiting until the time was right before choosing to raise venture capital. That time came in the summer of 2017, when Kleiner Perkins – the legendary venture capital firm that backed companies like Amazon, Google, Netscape, Electronic Arts, Intuit and Spotify – invested $30 million in UNTUCKit.

 

As we looked deeper, we came to see that what separates UNTUCKit from many in the industry is not its trademarked untucked shirts, but its connected approach to technology and organization.

 

Stephan Schambach is a pioneer in this connected approach. He was the founder of Demandware, the cloud-based e-commerce platform that was sold to Salesforce in 2016 for $2.8 billion – becoming Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud offering. Schambach is now the CEO of NewStore, which recently partnered with UNTUCKit to implement the company’s omnichannel platform.  

 

We invited Aaron Sanandres & Stephan Schambach to interview one another about the state of omnichannel retail, what success looks like today and what type of a playbook they can offer for the future.

 

SS: UNTUCKit has experienced tremendous growth the last couple of years — why was it important to transition from being solely digital to incorporating a brick and mortar presence?

 

AS: As soon as we launched our ecommerce site, we were getting requests for physical stores. We knew that some of our customers would want to touch and feel the product but didn’t realize just how large this group would be. Opening our retail locations really gave us the opportunity to create a ‘trust bridge’ between the brand and our customers. Today, having a physical footprint allows us to grow in an omnichannel-fashion. We're always working to make shopping with us more convenient and fluid for customers, and having stores adds to that smooth experience. It offers us — and our customers — a new point for experiencing the brand and understanding each other better.

 

SS: What challenges did you face with those first few stores and how have those challenges informed decisions you’ve made today?

 

AS: One of the biggest initial challenges was forecasting the productivity of all the different locations, because starting from scratch means you have no benchmark or basis to work off. We had to become great at triangulating projections based off the data we did have available and trusting ourselves to make decisions based off what we were seeing. The other challenge any company faces when they expand is ensuring you hire the right people — people who promote your brand and your culture. Getting that mix right is challenging, but so worth the investment.

 

S Schambach: UNTUCKit has experienced tremendous growth the last couple of years — why was it important to transition from being solely digital to incorporating a brick and mortar presence?

 

A Sanandres: As soon as we launched our ecommerce site, we were getting requests for physical stores. We knew that some of our customers would want to touch and feel the product but didn’t realize just how large this group would be. Opening our retail locations really gave us the opportunity to create a ‘trust bridge’ between the brand and our customers. Today, having a physical footprint allows us to grow in an omnichannel-fashion. We're always working to make shopping with us more convenient and fluid for customers, and having stores adds to that smooth experience. It offers us — and our customers — a new point for experiencing the brand and understanding each other better.

 

SS: What challenges did you face with those first few stores and how have those challenges informed decisions you’ve made today?

 

AS: One of the biggest initial challenges was forecasting the productivity of all the different locations, because starting from scratch means you have no benchmark or basis to work off. We had to become great at triangulating projections based off the data we did have available and trusting ourselves to make decisions based off what we were seeing. The other challenge any company faces when they expand is ensuring you hire the right people — people who promote your brand and your culture. Getting that mix right is challenging, but so worth the investment.

 

Read the full interview on The Lead.

 

 

 

 

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