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, Greg Alvo, CEO of relationship commerce software company Ordergroove, discusses the opportunity in personalized subscriptions and the impact of removing friction from the shopping experience.
Name: Greg Alvo
Which other industry has the best handle on the retail experience? What can apparel learn?
The fast moving consumer goods industry, as well as direct-to-consumer models have done a great job transitioning from traditional retail channels to online. They not only had to build these models from scratch, but quickly implement the technologies and capabilities to support and sustain this new revenue channel. Apparel can take a page from these industries when it comes to learning how to quickly adapt to new models.
How would you describe yourself as a consumer?
I’m all about convenience. I want my needs to be anticipated, and to get the products I need as quick and frictionlessly as possible.
As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?
It’s all about making my life as a consumer easier. If a brand makes it so that I don’t have to remember to buy something, or physically have to go into a store to buy it, I’ll choose them.
What’s your typical uniform?
Nowadays my work uniform consists of my Zoom shirt. It’s pretty similar to my weekend shirt.
Which fashion era is your favorite?
I’d have to say this era, 2020, is my favorite, because of its comfortable clothes.
Who’s your style icon?
I’m not sure I have a style icon, but I admire Mark Zuckerberg’s ability to remove mental friction each morning by wearing the same thing.
What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?
The best decision in the past year was to build and scale a partner ecosystem where we would be able to deliver on Ordergroove’s vision for frictionless consumer experiences faster with a network of partners versus going at it alone.
How would you describe your corporate culture?
We’re authentic and work to build a community within our company. Our hiring aligns to our four core values:
- What you see is what you get
- We’re in it to win it
- We drive results
- We’re comfortable being uncomfortable
Every month, we work to highlight a member of the team who has been selected by their peers for going above and beyond, and being extra “groovy.”
What can companies learn from COVID-19?
During COVID-19, companies—particularly brands and retailers—should have learned that they really need to be more in tune to their consumers’ needs. Store closures and quarantines have reframed shoppers’ lifestyles and purchase habits, and if retailers weren’t there to provide what they needed, shoppers will quickly opt for a retailer or brand who does.
What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?
2020 has presented unexpected challenges for brands and retailers in every vertical, and plenty of companies have had to come up with quick solutions and adapt to this largely online retail world. Now, apparel retailers must zero in on the holidays and beyond.
The increasing popularity of personalized subscription services offers a recurring gift option that demonstrates that the giver really knows the recipient and cares about their continued wellbeing. Though the holidays will certainly look different this year, consumers can expect increasingly creative efforts from retailers looking to provide safe, convenient and personal gift options.
What keeps you up at night?
Consumers are changing so quickly, expectations are changing quickly and landscapes change quickly. Staying ahead of, and on top of, the wave is challenging. We’re fortunate to have a team composed of smart minds skating where the puck is going to ensure we’re providing our customers with leading edge innovations.
What makes you most optimistic?
Ask me this question again around Nov. 10.
Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction/service:
E-commerce is completely personalized nowadays, so customer relationships, offerings and subscriptions should be as well. Ordergroove’s Anticipate AI engine is the only AI-powered subscription enablement platform to personalize the subscriber experience and improve retention rates. By anticipating which of your customers are at risk of churn, you can proactively engage them prior to the churn event with a personalized offer.