PROFILE

Heidi Sax

Content Marketing Manager, CB4

Heidi Sax is Content Marketing Manager at CB4, a technology company whose proprietary AI and machine learning algorithms and app helps retailers like Levi’s and Barnes & Noble empower store teams, transform brick-and-mortar operations, and rise to the increasing complex demands of shoppers.

Heidi quite literally grew up in retail, picking up shifts at her mom’s local gift shop, and later moving to Manhattan to work as a retail marketer for some of apparel’s most iconic brands. Now, she uses that experience to help retailers use cutting-edge technology to better serve their customers.

Heidi holds a Master of Science in Professional Writing from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Emory University.

For more information, see: The CB4 blog

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  • Posted on: 07/18/2019

    Will Gap’s new loyalty program bring meaningful rewards?

    I totally agree with this. Exclusive experiences are what's missing from Bright Rewards. And even so, the value of experience should extend beyond Gap's loyalty program. Gap would be wise to take a cue from those aforementioned consumer direct brands--it's about long term relationship management and customer recognition. Birthday "treats" (read: a percentage off?) and extended offers are less about the customer and more about the retailer. It will be interesting to see how this loyalty program evolves over time and whether this focus on the customer extends itself to Gap's in-store experience.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2019

    Who owns customer service in an age of co-branding?

    I worked as a vendor for several years in Macy's. I couldn't help customers by doing things like looking up inventory levels or ringing up sales. I ensured that the experience when customers visited our shop-in-shop was as close to being in a branded store as possible ... but only to the extent of visual merchandising standards and sales associate training. This is simply the nature of selling your wares in a store that's not company-owned. Thus leading brands (like Nike) are culling their retail partners roster in order to exact more control over the shopping experience. With the rise of direct-to-consumer brands and the closures of underperforming stores across a wide range of retail chains, more retailers will be bypassing this problem by only having a retail presence in places they can tightly control the in-store experience.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2019

    Will free, same-day pickup give Sam’s Club the edge it has been looking for over Costco?

    I'm sure Sam's Club BOPIS will prove popular with existing members. But it's something that Costco can easily duplicate, so I don't assume it will give Sam's Club an edge, or at least a long-lasting one. And I agree with previous comments that Costco's appeal isn't primarily about increased convenience. On a side note, I have some concerns about the 15-item cap.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2019

    When does marketing cross an ethical line?

    Knowingly concealing important information (particularly regarding risks and/or danger associated with using a product) may be the most egregious offense. Targeting or exploiting vulnerable groups has a wide range of connotations. Marketers strategically target prospects' pain points. But to deliberately capitalize on the weaknesses of the vulnerable is downright predatory. Exaggerating the truth seems to be general practice.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2019

    Are ‘veggie burgers’ and ‘oat milk’ confusing to consumers?

    I don't believe oat "milk" and veggie "burgers" are so named in an attempt to confuse the people, nor do I believe consumers are confused by the nomenclature. These vendors are merely marketing their products by using common industry terms for cloudy liquid substance and flat, round patty. What's wrong with attempting to satisfy those who won't eat meat but still crave a burger?
  • Posted on: 07/08/2019

    Target expands its college tour

    Yes, I suppose they need the necessities as much as anyone else. ;)
  • Posted on: 07/08/2019

    Target expands its college tour

    Retailers should see college campuses as a huge growth opportunity. Co-eds like to acquire products that help define them as they define themselves. I imagine treasure-hunt experiences are perfect for this subset. For that reason, I'm not sure BOPIS should be a top priority for retailers seeking to woo college kids. Gen Z has expressed a fondness for in-store shopping. Beyond this, most college kids are only in class for a few hours a day, and are often looking to escape off campus for excitement. I'm not sure convenience is at top of mind for them as much as it is for, say, working Millennials.
  • Posted on: 07/03/2019

    NRF study says customers dig retail tech

    Yes. But it's more than consumers becoming more savvy and the technology evolving for the better. The role of the store manager is more demanding and complex than ever -- they need to be (and are) more adept at using the tools they're given. Retailers shouldn't adopt technology for technology's sake, or because they assume their customers will like it. Retailers need to be wary of technologies without proven ROI and meaningful improvements to customer experience. Any technologies that are hard to implement, have long implementation horizons, or otherwise distract from the customer experience should be avoided. The best technologies may be those customers are never even aware you're using.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2019

    Are offline experiences becoming more important to online performance?

    Physical retail has always been, and will continue to be critical to a customer's connection to a brand. It's hard for me to see how this bigger question ties in to the offline experience described in the article, which is part of a marketing strategy/PR move. I'd be interested to know whether it had a meaningful impact on actual product sales. Online brands looking to develop an offline presences will need to match the level of convenience and simplicity that online provides. Warby Parker's stores are a perfect example of the ultimate goal.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2019

    What real value are influencers bringing to retailers and brands?

    Carefully vetting and using influencers is part of a smart retail marketing strategy, particularly for fashion and home goods. Effective influencer marketing helps reach more prospective shoppers, who can envision a brand's products as part of a greater lifestyle. That said, influencers themselves can't elevate a brand's online shopping experience. That's another animal. Additionally there are, of course, certain risks associated with influencer marketing. Amazon was left unscathed from the Olivia Jade scandal, but smaller brands need to be aware of risks associated with the influencers they select, as well as have a deep understanding of how credible their audience is and how their existing content is performing.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2019

    Are D2C brands reinventing Walmart or vice-versa?

    This may serve to change (improve) the public perception. I have reservations, however, about how it will impact the public perception of the D2C brands who partner with retailers like Walmart. D2C brands succeed by being obsessed with data and controlling every interaction to deliver an exceptional customer experience. If the physical experience of the brand doesn't match the digital one, the brand will no longer have an edge on any other traditional brand. Brand-owned D2C stores are deeply integrated with the brand's digital presence and are (almost as) data-centric. What happens to brand identity when these brands turn over control to large retail partners?
  • Posted on: 06/26/2019

    Is complaining about customer service becoming America’s national pastime?

    It's important to note that the mere presence of reviews, positive or negative, serve to legitimize a retailer's business. Would you rather purchase an item with a 3.5-star rating and 15,000 reviews than an item with a 4-star rating and 1 review? Regardless, retailers should strive to respond to as many of the (qualified) negative reviews as possible. They shouldn't be defensive but should communicate what they are willing to do, or did, to make the customer happy. And, hey, if you've got time, why not the positive ones too?
  • Posted on: 06/25/2019

    Toys ‘R’ Us prepares its American comeback

    The idea of experiential toy retail is a tricky one. On one hand, I have only fond memories of TRU from childhood. As a parent, however, the thought of bringing my son to such a place is daunting at best. If TRU can find a way to deliver an experience that inspires the same feeling in children AND successfully moves merchandise AND isn't a nightmare from a parent's perspective, they have enough brand equity to succeed. Millennial parents know that we're not necessarily guaranteed a spot in the same socio-economic rung as our parents. We want to see our kids grow up not just happy, but well-equipped to form meaningful relationships and have a career that allows them to take care of themselves and their family. My suggestion to TRU is that they look not necessarily to Walmart and Target for cues here, but to epic educational playspaces like Badlands Playspace in the DC-area, which is now (appropriately) occupies the home of some now-abandoned big box store in a local strip mall. Or, perhaps, if retail it must be, then I would have a look at the American Girl Store in NYC. The disappearance of McDonald's ball pits should be enough to tell us that a play area itself won't necessarily be a wise use of space.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2019

    Does experiential retailing play better on the Great, White Way?

    Times Square is unique among tourist destinations. It's loud, bright, and packed to the gills. Despite New Yorkers' general hatred for the area, it's reliably a source of delight for tourists. And unless you've got tickets for a Broadway show, there's not really much specifically to do there that's not shopping, save for Madame Tusauds and Ripley's Believe It or Not. It makes sense that iconic brands like M&M, COVERGIRL, and now Krispie Kreme would do well by staging attention-grabbing, Instragrammable experiential retail destinations there. Tourists are kind of just there looking for something to do. And given the price tourists have already paid to get there, these retailers offer fun at a nominal cost. There are certain other tourist destinations where experiential retail can strike big--Las Vegas comes to mind, perhaps. But I'm not sure the tactic is bound for success in other tourist destinations, and these stores likely wouldn't work in all areas of NYC.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2019

    Kroger sees rivals’ one-hour delivery and raises it a half hour

    It seems like this is less of a promise than a PR move to remind everyone that Kroger provides competitive delivery windows. As someone who often uses Whole Foods Prime Now delivery, 2-hour service is far from guaranteed within popular windows. And yet, it doesn't bother me one bit. I'm thrilled to avoid a painstaking weekend task and avoid Brooklyn's overcrowded Whole Foods on a Sunday afternoon with toddler in tow. I'll take the delivery when I can get it within a reasonably quick turn around. Additionally, I'm not sure offering only "must-have essentials" is the way to go here. Yes, Whole Foods Prime Now offers a limited selection of goods compared to the assortment in stores. But who's to say your AA batteries are more urgently needed than my organic fruit snacks?

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