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, Luke Kupersmith, CEO at logistics consulting company Lojistic, shares the importance of a human experience in e-commerce and why companies need to be ready for change.
Name: Luke Kupersmith
Which industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn from them?
From our vantage point, there are some real challenges in the supply chain of every industry. More so, there are individual players within those industries that have it really dialed in and others who encounter things that are more problematic. I wouldn’t say there’s one single industry that has their supply chain operations totally figured out. That assessment applies to apparel. There are some within the apparel industry that have it figured out and others who haven’t quite gotten there yet.
One of the most powerful things retail supply chain managers can leverage or learn from is by looking at others in the industry and themselves. You have to look to the past to get a good handle on what you’ve done well and where you have room for improvement. You can learn from your past to create a better future. Learn from the woes and successes of your own operations. Using Lojistic can certainly help retail supply chain operators get a grasp on their past and see what to look out for in the future. It’s all about seeing the bigger picture.
How would you describe yourself as a consumer?
I do not enjoy going into retail stores. Actually, I don’t like going out and “consuming” to begin with. Aside from food, I buy almost exclusively online—everything from electronics and housewares, to clothes and shoes. I’m simply much more of an online shopper than a brick-and-mortar consumer.
As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?
Winning my loyalty means having an enjoyable experience. I enjoy my experience based on the interaction with the people associated with the purchase or consumer activity. Since I’m an online shopper, that human interaction over chat or with the people helping me with a return is so important. The interpersonal experience for me is often the biggest variable when it comes to my brand loyalty. If I don’t enjoy the experience, I probably won’t come back for another purchase.
What’s your typical uniform?
My work and weekend “uniform” honestly looks the same. John Varvatos jeans and a stylish blank tee, paired with a graphically exciting or humorous pair of MeUndies and my chosen pair of Vans for the day.
Which fashion era is your favorite?
Probably the early aughts. The widest possible pair of JNCO jeans. The more I was able to swish and swirl when walking, the better. (Just kidding.)
Who’s your style icon?
I like to walk a fine line between Homer Simpson and Mick Jagger.
What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?
We made a conscious choice to embrace the opportunities that the Covid era opened up for us. But making that decision also meant we had to figure out how to navigate the monumental obstacles that it dropped in front of us. More succinctly, the best decision we’ve made in the past year was to carry on—and we’re growing as a result of that persistence to push forward. It’s a rough time for a lot of businesses, which is why it’s more important than ever for us to be a resource for companies—offering another way to help cut costs—so they, too, can carry on.
How would you describe your corporate culture?
We’ve built a culture where a bunch of smart people—who genuinely care about each other—can get together to knock out stellar work. We’re non-stop, but we don’t forget to have fun along the way. It’s a pretty special place to work. I can honestly say I always enjoy showing up to work.
What can companies learn from Covid-19?
Your plans and attentions are never safe from the threat of unexpected variables. Be ready for change. Whether it’s the change you intended, or the one that came a-knockin’.
What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?
I’m not really one to say since I don’t operate exclusively in that industry, but from my vantage point, the top priority is to continue to optimize and refine the end-to-end experience for buying clothes without having the ability to touch them and try them on before you swipe your card. There are a lot of really cool models that have come out in support of that virtual buying experience, but there are also still a lot of challenges for both operators and consumers. Working out those kinks to deliver exceptional experience is one of the most important things apparel retailers could and should be doing right now.
What keeps you up at night?
Coffee and/or my little son crawling into bed and kicking me all night.
What makes you most optimistic?
Nothing makes me optimistic. I’m just optimistic by nature. Because I love life. Whether it’s the good times or the bad times, I’m going to live it. I love the future, whatever it holds.
Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction/service:
I’m incredibly proud of the platform that we’ve built and the role it plays in the operations of so many businesses across all industries. The Lojistic platform helps businesses manage and reduce shipping costs. I’m really excited about what it has become and where it’s headed. And I really love that we’ve found a way to make the platform free and available in an instant for businesses to make use of.