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: 09/20/2019

    Is AI at the center of the retail technology universe?

    AI in retail in the near-term looks like solutions that try to extrapolate actionable insights to drive sales from masses of previously indecipherable data, easing the considerable burden on retail IT, ops, and merchant teams. It will be deployed more broadly if solutions result in clear reduction of waste and/or revenue gains, and happily and seamlessly partner with human retail workers. Customer-facing innovations are less likely to take hold than their backroom counterparts.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2019

    Have U.S. malls lost their sense of community?

    Well said. I fear that thanks to their "connected" digital world, youngsters care less about being connected (and evidence shows they are more depressed and more lonely than ever before) in the physical world. And I think it feels to them like it checks a box in which they get the thrill of social interaction without actually experiencing in the physical world. I'd like to think that creating more community-building events in American shopping malls will draw crowds. Our conversation has me thinking that organizers should arrange events with the implicit goal of getting adolescents off their screens. They should raise awareness on social, and craft collateral so resounding and compelling that kids can't help but show up.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2019

    Have U.S. malls lost their sense of community?

    You're bringing me back to my Northbrook Court days, Georganne. But I have to ask: Did adults ever love a mall? Pokémon, Avril Lavigne, Santa... these all bring children flocking. My parents would drop me off with $20 and that was that. I feel like youngsters were always the driving force behind the success of America's shopping malls. And Gen Z has a much higher standard for shopping than even Millennials did. The evidence shows they like to shop in stores. Yet with the world of e-comm at their literal finger tips, why should they put up with messy stores, poor product availability, and lackluster service? And they can still have the "sense of community" that Instagram provides them. Unfortunately, it's mall stores that are most plagued by these issues. The experience at Zara in NYC's Bryant Park is night-and-day from Zara at Westfield's Montgomery Mall. If you don't live in a city, why not buy online? You can touch and feel the products from your bedroom and still return them for free.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2019

    Did Whole Foods just give conscious capitalism a swift kick to the curb?

    Whole Foods' workforce has already taken a nosedive in terms of engagement in recent years, and this will solidify that trend. It's particularly alarming that they're removing benefits from established employees. Couldn't they have been grandfathered in?! Whole Foods was perhaps an outlier in offering medical benefits to those working under 30 hours, but it reads as callous and careless to now strip loyal team members of such a critical benefit. As for whether conscious capitalism can work at scale, I'm not sure, but it seems to be working for REI and The Container Store.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2019

    Will Apple’s texting tool create more personalized shopping experiences at Burberry?

    I agree that the app aspect of this is far from ideal. Luxury shoppers are often "in a hurry" and don't want to get moved into some sales funnel. The magic of text is that there's no download required and a shopper only has to put in minimal effort to communicate with the retailer. In my days as a luxury retail store manager, I imagine many of the clients I texted with would have balked had I asked them to download an app. That said, this may change over time and perhaps Burberry will be ahead of the curve.
  • Posted on: 09/03/2019

    Will H&M’s ambassador program turn employees into social influencers?

    This is an easy win for H&M. They're demonstrating their faith in their workforce and capitalizing on a smart influencer strategy. Better to employ a smaller group of true brand evangelists (even if they have a smaller following) than to partner with less committed mega-influencers with wider reach. Smaller reach = greater engagement (and, ideally, conversion). I'm not surprised they've changed course -- earlier in the spring I noticed mega style influencer Arielle Charnas touting H&M in an ad. The partnership read as disingenuous -- there's no way luxury-loving Charnas is incorporating H&M into her everyday wardrobe and her followers know this. Using influencers who actually stand for the brand makes a lot more sense. And being that they are employees, H&M will be able to exert a little bit of creative control and keep them engaged in the partnership.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2019

    Social media antics cause grief at Walmart, Target, Home Depot, others

    As a baseline, retailers need to prepare their teams for everyday scenarios and the unexpected -- that means documenting best practices and engaging in role playing exercises and continuous training. Store teams are vulnerable to the bad behavior of anyone who chooses to enter their stores. When dealing with hooligans and criminals, or when in doubt, store teams should know management encourages them to call the authorities.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2019

    Will Disney shops entertain guests inside Target’s stores?

    Another win for Target. As for Disney, while it sounds like the shop-in-shop will be somewhat experiential, there's no way it can match the experience of a Disney Store. I recently visited the Disney Store in Times Square and was wowed by the assortment, the magic, and the customer service. Disney won't be able to give the Target locales the same love and attention. But what they might be losing in experience they're gaining in footprint. Score 1 for Target. Score 1 for Disney.
  • Posted on: 08/22/2019

    Will shoppers thank heaven for mobile checkout at 7-Eleven?

    Checkout speed is critical for c-store shoppers. 7-Eleven has a long history of setting the standard for innovation in convenience, and other convenience retailers will be eager to follow suit. Given the success of the initial pilot, coupled with the overall success of 7Rewards and 7Now, we can assume this will be a hit.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2019

    Is technology really making stores more like the web?

    Shoppers buy online for some combination of convenience, value, and product selection. Technology that helps retailers deliver on any of the above will make the in-store experience more like shopping online. For now, augmented reality, touch screens, robotics, and the like are bells and whistles investments for retailers already delivering on convenience, value, and product selection.
  • Posted on: 08/19/2019

    Will a rental subscription program lift Banana Republic’s results?

    Although more and more retailers are jumping on the rental bandwagon, I'm skeptical that Banana Republic is a good fit. $85/month is pricey. And, as fellow brains have pointed out, BR's product and prices aren't aspirational. BR's customer base also isn't particularly trend-driven -- their aesthetic is classic. RTR works because shoppers can take advantage of fleeting trends and walk away. I'll be more interested in seeing how Urban Outfitters' and Bloomingdale's subscription services perform over time.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2019

    Have emojis become digital’s ice breaker for consumers?

    There are so many things we learned in English class that don't serve us as professional communicators. For example, it turns out adverbs and adjectives don't serve our writing in the way we were once lead to believe. And I do an internal happy dance every time I begin a sentence with conjunction. Similarly, emojis have their place -- newsletter subject lines and social copy come to mind. Still, I recoil when writers use them in other contexts (i.e. in the article above). They're good for attention-grabbing and tone-setting, but less so for conveying actual points of view or distilling complex thought into digestible tidbits. We don't talk in emojis, so we probably shouldn't write in them for the most part, lest they break up our otherwise conversational tone. So for me it's less about proper English and more about getting our point across with as little friction for the reader as possible. Anything else is a distraction.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2019

    Is Nike’s new subscription program for kids a parent’s best friend?

    The kids segment is the ideal segment for the growing rental economy -- kids' shoe sizes are ever-changing and their shoes tend to take a beating as they wear them. But Nike will have to work out some kinks. It's not inexpensive, even at the lowest tier. And I wonder how easy they'll make shipping when you need to size up or down. Convenience will be key and parents can't invest time on the computer or on the phone and shipping packages back-and-forth. It's hard to imagine this will have a meaningful impact on creating lifelong brand-loyalists. Does anyone really wear the same shoe brand they wore as a tyke into the teenage years and then adulthood?
  • Posted on: 08/09/2019

    Is it a stretch for Target to carry Levi’s pricier red tab jeans?

    More and more consumers are buying clothes at the big box stores from which they buy their groceries. Levi's is right on to get ahead of the curve on this one by placing their product in the right Target doors. I expect this to be a win/win for both Target and Levi's.
  • Posted on: 08/07/2019

    Has Christmas arrived too early at Selfridges?

    Anyone who's worked in a store long enough knows that the longer you look at a product, the less you want to buy it over time. For retailers who rely on local, repeat shoppers, this strategy would stifle sales for holiday merchandise. The illusion of scarcity is a powerful thing. Selfridges, on the other hand, is targeting a large subsection of international shoppers on vacation, for whom access to these products is a novelty. It works for them, but shouldn't be mimicked in most other settings.

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