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Up Close: In Conversation with Nexite CEO Anat Shakedd

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, Anat Shakedd, CEO and co-founder of product digitalization platform Nexite, shares how visibility factors into the shopper’s experience and why the brick-and-mortar store still matters.

Name: Anat Shakedd

Title: CEO and co-founder

Company: Nexite

Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn?

When it comes to supply chain, we see a mix of companies opposed to industries that are leading excellence. A digital-first attitude is an ongoing theme that I see in successful companies. Those companies understand that they need to digitize all aspects of the supply chain to support new business models, customer value propositions and now, sustainable “green” business programs.

In terms of the apparel industry, digitization is critical because many apparel companies focus on their digital business. However, their brick-and-mortar presence has been tossed aside and now requires that same transformation to enable things like experiential retail, immersive experience and a sustainable brand story. From the supply chain perspective, apparel cannot achieve a truly digital supply chain without digitizing their most expensive asset: their merchandise.

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How would you describe yourself as a consumer?

Thoughtful. I believe that product differentiation is no longer that “different.” With so many similar products out there, the true differentiation of where and what I buy is rooted in the customer experience, product journey, price and brand principles. Much of this is reliant on the supply chain. Think about product visibility. When I’m shopping, I want to feel and/or experience a certain product in a certain place. How many times have you searched for a product online and headed to your local store to feel it out, only to find they don’t have it in stock? Offering the consumer visibility into where the product is, from manufacturing onward, provides a strong sense of trust in the brand, which ultimately reflects on the overall experience and thus, brand loyalty.

As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?

To reiterate what I mentioned, for me, it’s all about visibility and convenience. This is what will drive me toward a specific brand time and time again. I think this is why Amazon had so much success when it first started. However, with companies digitizing their supply chain, placing the customer first and working in the “marketplace” mind frame, I expect to see an increase of brands who are managing to achieve that same trust and loyalty.

What’s your typical work (or weekend) uniform?

My typical uniform is super casual and to the point—jeans, sneakers and a blouse or sweater. Comfort puts me in the right mindset, and I definitely don’t want to be fidgeting with my clothes when I should be focused on my work. Extra points if it can get me from work to play!

Which fashion era is your favorite?

To me, the 1940s represented an important moment in history when fashion, politics, economics and social roles really came together and started a movement toward women “wearing the pants.” While pants were introduced earlier, it took about two decades to go mainstream and begin thinning the line of gender-based clothing.

What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?

We decided to expand our solution to be a full retail solution—from supply chain all the way to the retail business and stores. This enables more business functions to reap the benefits and allows for true digital transformation across the business.

How would you describe your corporate culture?

Much like my dress code: casual, agile, supportive and with purpose. We all have a shared goal that we’ve spent the last few years building together. That’s what makes all the difference. The company’s success is the success of every person who focused on a “can-do” culture.

What can companies learn from the pandemic?

That this too shall pass and when it does, we need to be prepared. Covid-19 hit the retail industry like a massive black cloud, with predictions of an entirely new normal and the death of the physical store. Fast forward a few years later and that too has passed. Stores are back to being leading channels, supply chains are gaining stability and consumers still crave physical engagements. Companies that took the time to prepare for the return of the physical store, digitize their supply chains and create a strong omnichannel business found themselves much better set up to meet “the day after.”

What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?

Digitizing their stores to better understand today’s consumer. Stores are apparel brands’ No. 1 sales channel. It’s where they meet their customers head-on and provide the most opportunity for influence. That being said, most brands don’t have eyes in their stores, meaning they lack the data to really understand how their customers are buying or not buying. Without the data, brands become reliant on sales sheets to make decisions regarding merchandise, store layouts, checkout experiences, etc. Unfortunately, sales data alone lacks the human element that has the most influence on consumers.

What keeps you up at night?

Staying stagnant. If there is anything that worries me, it’s the state of immobility. We are always faced with challenges at home, work community, politics, you name it. If I am up at night, it’s because I’m thinking of solutions to turn indecisiveness, fear of failure and apathy into action plans that may or may not work, which is OK as long as we are moving forward and learning along the way.

What makes you most optimistic?

The determination and dedication of my team makes me feel the most optimistic. I know success comes with time and hard work, and I have the right people surrounding me to ensure that. That’s what makes me believe that truly anything is possible.

Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction:

Nexite’s Connected Merchandise solution connects physical merchandise to the cloud, collecting data on your merchandise from manufacturing through warehouses, stores and beyond. Data is aggregated from a product’s location, availability and performance, and aligned to customer journey behavior like engagement, intent, abandonment and conversion, offering the same real-time sales funnel analytics traditionally used in e-commerce. Using this data, Nexite quickly identifies why something isn’t selling or what can sell more and offers actionable insights to act fast and increase sales. The solution also enables frictionless secure mobile self-checkout, returns and BOPIS (buy online pick up in store), driving omnichannel sales and in-store customer experiences.