PROFILE

Gib Bassett

Retail and Consumer Goods Industry Principal, Oracle

Gib Bassett is a Retail and Consumer Goods Industry Principal with Oracle Corp.  His role involves helping Retail and Consumer Goods organizations take advantage of big data analytics and applications to adapt their businesses to the new world of connected consumers.

Gib has a BA in Public Relations from Purdue University and an MBA from DePaul University.  Connect with him on Twitter @gibbassett.

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  • Posted on: 06/20/2017

    How effective are Jet.com’s efforts to better understand its customers?

    I'm sure Jet does a very nice job using data and analytics to understand their online customers' journeys and architect the experience to be be enjoyable. I do think however that the organizations that work on the e-commerce site probably have little appreciation for physical retail -- either from the customer's point of view or the store associate's. I sense a real opportunity to provide a better omnichannel experience if the workers behind the online and brick-and-mortar stores have a lot more formalized collaboration.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2017

    What happens now that Amazon is acquiring Whole Foods?

    Whole Foods will become a test bed for all of what Amazon has been wanting to test in physical retail at scale. To really understand and scale ideas like Amazon Go, Amazon needs access to real physical retail businesses and this is a fast path. Amazon then has the ready platform and real estate assets to scale what works and continue their retail growth path by taking share from slow moving traditional grocery retail. It’s starting to get a bit cliché, but retailers like those in the supermarket space need to start thinking more like technology and information companies. Otherwise, the lack of other businesses to hedge against like Amazon has will result in wishy-washy efforts that don’t yield any gains and the outcome becomes inevitable.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2017

    Are pricing bots a boon or bane for consumers?

    Price is never going away as possibly the top consideration for most products and this technology will only reinforce this reality. It places immense pressure on retail to be super efficient and responsive and equal pressure on retailers to understand their customers. Some retailers will try to get out in front of price by proactively engaging their customers in a value-added relationship based on interests, life-stage or lifestyle. If they don't then it's too easy for a customer to transact with the lowest-cost provider.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2017

    Has Fabletics bridged the digital/physical divide with its omnicart tech?

    Seems like it creates too much friction, process wise, to be a really high-scale activity. It's a good test however, and I would expect part of their goal is to simplify the experience based on what they are learning. That's as good an objective as anything.
  • Posted on: 05/01/2017

    Is omnichannel a retail margin crusher?

    Another way of looking at this is the cannibalization of in-store sales by e-commerce channels. That is the flip-side of the cost problem described here. It suggests to me that retailers need a finer understanding of how their individual customers want to transact with them and design a business around that which can adapt over time. I know that's very hard, but the future of retail seems all about greater specificity in terms of a market/demand focus that is powered by data and analytics.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2017

    Is Walmart’s Store No. 8 breaking boundaries or bonds with its core customers?

    I do think Walmart is the right company to lead this sort of initiative for the industry. They have the resources and ultimately the most business at stake. I think Amazon has really shaken the foundation of retail business models and this is an example of that. Amazon's forays into different businesses like self-service brick-and-mortar are mistaken as major bets on their part. Amazon have embraced test-and-learn and are willing to place bets and make the requisite investments (and they can afford it because they can hedge with businesses like AWS). That makes it really hard for traditional retailers to compete -- their legacy businesses are like a boat anchor on innovation. As a result, you see some like Target moving away from innovation to short-term ideas aimed at fixing what are really foundational problems. Retailers different from Walmart, with far fewer resources, should band together, work with NRF or otherwise figure out a method to collectively work on innovating. I don’t think Walmart’s core customers care, except in the event that the company starts to struggle like many retailers because innovation experiments that add value never see the light of day in the stores.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2017

    Why is digital advertising underachieving?

    From my experience with customers, the problem is that advertising in a digital context has remained a separate function, budget and activity apart from the broader digital marketing efforts of retailers as well as consumer goods organizations. While targeting messages at select audiences is a benefit of digital ads over mass media channels, when it’s not stitched into a broader customer acquisition and engagement strategy you lose a lot of the potential benefits that extend into the dialogs and orchestrated marketing that is possible on the back end of converting an eyeball to a known consumer. The problem is that silos persist among paid, owned and earned media channels in many companies and needs to be resolved at technical and business process levels. This is challenging because agencies tend to control the dialog around media, while internal staff control direct digital consumer engagement. These groups need to work in unison.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2017

    BrainTrust throwdown: Is it inevitable that tech companies will dominate retail?

    I think they are both correct. The problem with technology is that it’s often positioned as the difference-maker by itself (remember the history of the CRM market and the challenges companies have with their Big Data projects). Instead, it takes the logical use of technology along with people and processes to make a difference in retail. From what I’ve observed, I think part of the challenge traditional retailers face is the distinction between the cultures of their e-commerce/analytics operations and their brick-and-mortar stores. The staffing of the groups, the pay scales and general work environments are so different that it’s hard to achieve the omnichannel benefits everyone is shooting for. I’d expect retailers who survive the current storm to do a good job of resolving these differences to create one face for the market. It will start with some combination of people and technology.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2017

    Has Walmart found a digital answer for empty store shelves?

    It's curious that they chose the toy department to use as the pilot. In my experience, shopping for toys is typically around a birthday gift for one of my children's friends. That being the case, I can't make the time for delivery since I'm buying the day before the party. I like the idea, but other categories like patio furniture might be better. I also don't think it's a completely useful solution to the out-of-stock situation since the reason shoppers most often visit the store is to buy at that point in time. Delivery later isn't very convenient unless it fits the category.
  • Posted on: 03/07/2017

    Are chains cannibalizing their own in-store sales with e-commerce?

    I think it's becoming a bigger problem as market trends accelerate (online sales) at the same time that investments in online channels increase. Anticipating growth, retailers are being let down by slowing in-store sales that offset gains in online channels. I think it's raising the issue of integration and working to architect the retail business as a unit, as opposed to operating stores and online separately. The places where integration is happening (click and collect, buy online/pickup in store, buy online/return in store) are not sufficient from a leverage standpoint. It highlights to a large degree how retailers are not using insights into the online to offline shopping journey to optimize their operations fast enough.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2016

    Will sales promotions be the death of department stores?

    The problem with this news is that it's old. For many years now we've been talking about retail discounting being core to the structural issues the industry faces. Instead of continuing to identify the problem and say customer experience must be job number one, it would be best for retailers to instead start asking the tough questions about their business, customers and competition to figure out how to change course. This is a fundamental analytics problem retailers must fix. Honestly, I think discounting is now expected by all consumers so it cannot be undone. Instead, retailers must figure out how to embed discounts into an overall strategy to improve the customer experience. Either this, or become explicitly entertainment or experiential businesses with retail embedded within them -- maybe that is the strategy?
  • Posted on: 11/30/2016

    Can engagement replace transaction rewards?

    It's a terrific idea, but it probably must be very low friction to see much adoption. So packaging this in the form of creative and relevant programs is important. In the end, you can see how those who drive the purchase points-based loyalty effort must partner with marketing/creative agencies to make this work at scale.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2016

    Why isn’t in-store tech focused more on full-service?

    This discussion is similar to this one.I think the challenge for many retailers is viewing their associates as part of an overall strategy, not just a necessary expense to operate the physical store. Starting small by focusing on what makes a store associate's job challenging, which also plays a role in shopper satisfaction, makes sense from a store-tech prioritization standpoint. When the pay is relatively low, I think you need to work especially hard to have employees act consistently as brand ambassadors. So you have to focus as much on the associate's job satisfaction as on the shopper's in my opinion.

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