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Retail Industry Updates

Retail Leaders Form Alliance to Get Things Done — Digitally

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The DTC Collective might sound like the name of a new Marvel movie. It’s not, but a la the Avengers, this new alliance is about getting things done.

Announced earlier this week, the newly formed DTC Collective is an industry think tank and unified change-driver, created for and by digital retail executives. The new alliance was founded by retail leaders from companies including Tapestry, QVC, Jockey, Estee Lauder, Tamara Mellon and others. The growing group said it has come together to navigate industry-specific matters, including the external forces that influence the trajectory of digital retail’s evolution.

The DTC Collective was conceived by Fayez Mohamood, co-founder and CEO of the retail technology company Bluecore, who works with more than 400 retail brands that sell direct-to-consumer. Its first gathering took place virtually early in the second quarter. According to the group, members openly shared otherwise behind-closed-doors strategies for dealing with the effects of the global pandemic, supply chain crisis and the hard-hit economy.

On June 26, the group reconvened for its second virtual gathering to discuss how holiday planning will shift in light of unpredictable store strategies and a mass migration to digital shopping channels. The result was the release of the new report: Retail Executives Explore How New Shopper Behaviors Will Influence the Digital-First Holiday Season.

The DTC Collective’s founding members, listed alphabetically by company name, include:

• Belk, Richard Spencer, group vice president of IT, e-commerce, data and applications;

• Bluecore, Fayez Mohamood, CEO and co-founder;

• Bluecore, Sherene Hilal, senior vice president of marketing and operations;

• Brooks Brothers, Mohit Gulrajani, senior vice president of omnichannel strategy and operations;

• David’s Bridal, Callie Canfield, vice president of marketing and communications;

• DXL Group, Ujjwal Dhoot, chief digital officer;

• Eddie Bauer, Mike Africa, vice president of commerce;

• Estee Lauder Cos., Doug Jensen, vice president of CRM and corporate marketing analytics;

• Google Cloud, Carrie Tharp, vice president of retail and consumer;

• Hammacher Schlemmer, Ann Marie Resnick, vice president of marketing, and Nick DiMarco, general manager;

• Jerome’s Furniture, Scott Perry, executive vice president of digital;

• Jockey, Tim McCue, vice president of e-commerce and digital technology;

• Lane Bryant, Eric Gohs, vice president of marketing strategy;

• NOBULL, Todd Meleney, vice president of marketing;

• Oriental Trading Co., Dave Lokes, vice president of marketing;

• QVC, Annette Dunleavy, vice president of digital commerce;

• RTW Retailwinds, Tim Mack, chief digital officer;

• Tamara Mellon, Bryan Elliot, vice president of growth marketing; and

• Tapestry, Roshan Varma, vice president of digital.

According to the organization, the need for such an organization has become imperative over the last three years, during which the retail industry has witnessed — and been directly affected by — three force majeures in rapid succession: 1) the onset of general data protection regulation (GDPR) in Europe, which sent retailers scrambling to comply with guidelines that weren’t designed in response to companies like theirs; 2) the ongoing elimination of third-party cookies by companies like Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple, and soon, Google; and 3), the onset of coronavirus, which expedited what many analysts had previously predicted would be a three-year journey to a 50-50 online/offline shift in retail.

Seemingly overnight, all retail business models — from traditional department stores and chain stores to digital natives — were suddenly operating on the same playing field for the first time in history, according to the group.

The DTC Collective said its larger mandate is to set forth new approaches to operating in a fast-approaching all-DTC world. It seeks to guide the trajectory of digital retail by getting ahead of issues likely to affect e-commerce. The group said it believes it can affect industry-wide change by driving adoption of the following three tenets:

Retail Autonomy — In order to preserve retail’s autonomy and ability to influence the direction of the industry for itself, retailers must uphold the highest standards of conduct.

Policy Change — Change should come from retailers themselves, not external governing bodies.

Consumer Respect and Data Transparency — Retailers will hold consumer data in the utmost regard knowing that consumers’ reaction to industry or brand practices directly determine the trajectory of the industry and retail businesses. Retailers will do what they say they are going to do with data and nothing more.

To access the DTC Collective’s reports, find out more about the organization or to apply to attend an upcoming session, please visit the DTC Collective microsite.

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