FIYB Presents Chris Morton of Lyst at Shoptalk on TopTalk with Liz Bacelar

Chris Morton of Lyst on business growth, development, funding and balance…

Chris Morton, the CEO and cofounder of Lyst (a social curation platform for online fashion – (bio), joins Liz Bacelar (global expert in the intersection of fashion and technology) for this installment of TopTalk and an in-depth interview presented by Fashion Is Your Business on location at Shoptalk 2017 in Law Vegas.

Company origins and growth, the pivot, and what matters now

Morton recalls Lyst being the first of its kind when it launched 15 years ago, from working from a shed at the end of a golf course and 1.5 employees to growing to more than 100 employees and more than $200 Million in sales in just seven years. He discusses how people used Lyst for reasons not intended, how they have 4 million products online, users are now coming to search, and it is a discovery journey. The challenge is that the customer over time knows she wants this stuff, but how does she get it? Moving products from the head to the hands, and the search platform they built that solves that problem. Bringing clarity to a mature market, and how other countries are starting to do more online selling, which means preparing for more coming fashion ecommerce.

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179 – Ryan Broshar of Techstars – Targeting Star Tech Startups

Retail tech startup accelerator with Techstars working with Target…

Ryan Broshar, Managing Director of Retail at Techstars (a global ecosystem of entrepreneurs revolving around a startup accelerator program in Minneapolis, working primarily with Target) – (bio), joins Pavan Bahl, Rob Sanchez, and Marc Raco on location in Las Vegas for Shoptalk 2017. This episode is powered by Olapic.

The draw and density of the Minneapolis ecosystem, why the retailers’ ears are open, and qualities of successful Techstars companies

Ryan’s background as a VC, the draw for startups to Minneapolis, how Techstars has no state run incentives, and how Minneapolis is a hot bed of innovation, with Target, Best Buy, and domination of nearly 20 Fortune 500 companies, the highest density in the world. Startups are paired with more than 150 mentors, providing R and D and new thought processes, the retailers’ ears are open. Looking at the goal and putting the pieces together to find and support amazing entrepreneurs, giving exposure to Minneapolis market, and finding retail companies who want to work with big box retailers. How 70% of all startups can get involved in the program in some way. Five qualities they look for are team, team, team, market opportunity, product (team is important). Enterprise platforms that support the retail machine, notable participants such as Inspectorio (a mobile-first inspection platform replacing pen and paper inspections in factories for apparel, adding transparency) and Branch Messenger (a private communications tool across employees of a store).

The next frontier, brand/startup communication, and impressive stats

What’s coming next, Broshar’s perspective that the final frontier is the return industry and how to get things returned, an attention on retention, and customer experience to creating a reason for people to come to and return to the store. Collaborating with other accelerators, how the engagement levels of major retailers is stepping up, and how Target realigned with Tech Stars. Helping brands communicate with startups and innovators, and vice versa, and how less than 1% of applicants get into Techstars, looking at the fact that 1,000 companies have gone through Techstars so far to solve problems of major companies, how they’ve raised $2 Billion, and created a portfolio value at $7 Billion.

Give first, the Techstars business relationship, and playing the MBA card

Considering Techstars is stage agnostic, how the application process impacts the other 99%, what’s consistent about the winning companies and founders, and the ethos of” give first”. Plus, the business relationships for companies with Techstars. A round of Off the Grid Questions hits the personal side with the first idea Broshar ever acted on, trading up, shenanigans, smashing pumpkins in rural Iowa, playing the card of being an MBA student to access amazing people, and starting a business as an undergrad.

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178 – Mindy Grossman of HSNI – From Selling to Storytelling

Editorial program commerce brought to life on many platforms with HSNI…

Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSNi, (an interactive multichannel retailer and content driven portfolio of brands, with strong direct-to-consumer expertise among its two operating segments, HSN and Cornerstone) – (bio), joins Pavan Bahl, Rob Sanchez, Marc Raco and guest host Lisa Marie Ringus, EVP and Head of Global Sales for 24 Seven (a multi-vertical global talent recruitment firm) on location in Las Vegas for Shoptalk 2017. This episode is powered by Olapic.

From selling to storytelling, being consumer centric, digital content to commerce, and recruiting the right talent

Grossman shares her impressive background in significant roles with immersive storytelling brands such as Ralph Lauren, Nike, and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few, and now for years with HSNI which also offers five catalogue and ecommerce brands. She reveals how she saw explosion of mobile in other countries, realizing that the future won’t just be about broadcasting on screen, but as a part of everyone’s life. She led the transformation of the business from selling to storytelling, from what the story was vs. what it will be, and at the tipping point of best opportunity HSN has had. Tech married to media can enhance people’s lives. Transforming HSN itself plus the capacity of helping others to transform their lives. Mentoring, launching, empowering, distributed commerce. How it is important to be platform agnostic and audience centric, which takes storytelling to a whole new meaning, and to transmedia storytelling, Why HSNI does not allow the word “channel” in the business, and how channels are limiting. Being consumer centric and getting out of old behaviors. HSNI launches a product per minute, and plans their business by the minute, with a lot of complexity.

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177 – Stuart Silverman of RaterBee – Rating Retail

Customer feedback reinvented with actionable data with RaterBee…

Stuart Silverman, Founder/CEO of RaterBee (a company recreating customer feedback using technology in brick and mortar stores – bio) joins Pavan Bahl, Marc Raco , and guest host Brian Laney (VP of Retail at Alert Tech) at the Alert Tech booth at NRF Big Show.

A retail family, associate-centric feedback, and survey challenges

Silverman reveals a background as a third generation professional retailer, growing up remembering his dad’s Sunday mornings’ supermarket news. He focused on disinterested associates, not getting trained, people coming into store and leaving without being attended to, how it bothered him that customers felt unfulfilled, associates were unfulfilled. How he created a gamification platform creating challenges, expectations, measuring performance, and rewarding performance. Currently no effective way to measure interactions between associates and customers, Silverman says RaterBee solves this. Like Uber, the ability to rate service while emotion is fresh, and great that it is associate-centric. Current challenges are the delay between receipt-based surveys, customers don’t care, perceive no value, customers don’t feel that their feedback will be heard. Transactional surveys must be person to person in the moment, and are not scalable.

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