Up Close is Sourcing Journal’s regular check-in with industry executives to get their take on topics ranging from personal style to their company’s latest moves. In this Q&A, Meyar Sheik, president and chief commerce officer of Kibo Commerce, discusses the silver lining of Covid-19 and how retailers can better meet consumers’ digital shopping needs.
Name: Meyar Sheik
Title: president and chief commerce officer
Company: Kibo Commerce
Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn?
The grocery industry has a very good handle on the supply chain, and this has been made even more evident during the pandemic. Supermarkets must deliver tens of thousands of products/SKUs, including perishable goods with special shipping and storage requirements, across a large geography, all sourced from hundreds or thousands of manufacturers and suppliers. This is a very complex supply chain that can teach valuable lessons and best practices in supply-chain efficiency and optimization for the apparel industry.
How would you describe yourself as a consumer?
I would describe myself as a multichannel shopper who shops 70 percent online, 30 percent in the physical store. I also conduct my shopping research on my mobile (50 percent) and on my laptop (50 percent). I am more likely to go into a store for a specialty or big-ticket item versus buying online.
As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?
Expansive product selection, good prices and a seamless and personalized product discovery, purchase and delivery experience. As well, a frictionless return experience goes a long way in maintaining my loyalty.
What’s your typical work uniform?
My typical work clothes are business casual, however, since I now work from home, my work style has become more casual. It now consists of jeans and T-shirts or activewear.
Which fashion era is your favorite?
My favorite fashion era is the late ’60s.
Who’s your style icon?
Tom Cruise and Jennifer Lopez both top my list of male and female style icons.
What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?
The best decision my company made last year was to fully embrace and heavily invest in personalization and omnichannel enabling technologies to empower brands and retailers to deliver customer-centric experiences to their shoppers, regardless of touchpoint or channel.
How would you describe your corporate culture?
Focused on goals, results and accountability. We are collaborative and client-oriented as well as focused on the well-being of our employees.
What can companies learn from Covid-19?
The silver lining of Covid-19 is that it has forced companies of all industries and sizes to holistically evaluate their business. Whether they are in manufacturing, distribution, retail or services, there is room for improvement in operational efficiency. Covid-19 is also a colossal force for digital transformation across not only retail, but many other industries where working from home will become the norm instead of an exception.
What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?
The top priority for many apparel retailers is to remain relevant to their shopper base. This can only be achieved by truly understanding their customers’ preferences as well as finding new growing market segments during these unusual times. Additionally, apparel retailers are working to cut their fixed costs, including store footprints, antiquated operational systems and slow product cycles. They also have to invest in more modern and extensible e-commerce capabilities, order management and personalization solutions to drive more conversion out of their fastest growing channels, which are digital and mobile.
What keeps you up at night?
What makes you most optimistic?
I believe we will have one or more vaccines ready for mass distribution by the end of this year, and the impressive pace of online growth and digital transformation within the apparel and retail industry is also very exciting to watch.
Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction/service:
We just introduced an innovative and easy-to-implement solution for retailers with bricks-and-mortar stores to offer easy and contactless curbside pickup for their web and mobile orders. This solution bridges the gap between home delivery of online orders or even buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) orders through an intuitive app that connects the shopper with the store that the product will be picked up at via curbside. This includes all the workflow, messaging and integration with the order management system (which Kibo also provides) as well the e-commerce platform, making it easy for retailers to generate additional sales through contactless buy online pickup at curbside (BOPAC).