PROFILE

Jeff Miller

Director of Marketing, OceanX
Jeff Miller is a world traveler and curious mind, as well as an experienced digital commerce leader with a diverse background in both B2C and B2B sales and marketing. Jeff is the Director of Marketing for OceanX, a subscription commerce platform running over $1B in direct to consumer sales for some of the largest retailers and CPGs in the world.

Prior to OceanX, Jeff had marketing and e-commerce roles at the national yoga studio chain, YogaWorks, the direct response agency, Launch DRTV, global watersports brand Body Glove and helped found MWRC Internet sales an e-commerce platform company. He is also the President of the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation, a Los Angeles based non-profit that works with wounded military and at-risk youth to feel the healing power of the ocean through surfing.
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  • Posted on: 07/20/2018

    Retailers and brands collide

    Yes there will be increased competition between brands and retailers moving forward. It is still a bit of a "frenemy" relationship for many brands and retailers. The key here for both retailers and brands is that they need to offer something different and provide a real value. The retailers and brands that are disappearing quickly are ones who pretty much sold the same exact products as every other retailer and the only way to compete was on price. Price is now so transparent so brands and retailer now need to find better ways to differentiate. Not all retailers need to own private label or launch private brands but they do need to find some products, categorizes or services where they can stand out from the crowd.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2018

    Walmart and Microsoft team up to slow Amazon’s roll

    I see this more as a battle for the cloud between Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Oracle than a battle for the shopper between Amazon and Walmart. Good technology partnership and press release for both companies but nothing that moves the needle for where people choose to shop.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2018

    Direct-to-consumer brands key to Nordstrom’s assortment

    Is there really any magic for a retailer like Nordstrom's to carry quality brands that consumers want? Just because some of these new brands started as direct to consumer, it does not really change the decision process for the retailer. Does a new brand resonate? Will it bring in new consumers? What are the margins? Does it match with our brand? The questions are similar regardless of where a brand originated. I would ask the same question of Allbirds as I would of Adidas. For the direct to consumer brands, the questions are also the same as other brands but reverse of the questions above. Does this retailer match with my brand? Will it conflict with other channels? Is the added volume, loss of the direct connection to the consumer and over time loss of control worth the risk?
  • Posted on: 07/13/2018

    Nike launches digitally-led store

    Nike has always been experimental in both digital and in their stores. Even the big Niketown concepts, which may seem out of date now, were a good disruptor at the time. The features aimed at real sneakerheads and core athletes that tie digital to real people in the store who are also passionate are the keys to me. This brief overview also leaves out one of the key elements of this store test: it is based on a very specific local geography and they plan to launch others that also pull in the data from that very small micro-region which should make these a hub for passionate people in their community. People will travel and like novelty shopping but a brick-and-mortar store really depends on local repeat visitors and connecting the store and digital to local is a powerful move.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2018

    Google and Shopify team up to blunt Amazon’s digital ad push


    I am not sure if the teaming up of Google and Shopify in this way actually solves a real problem. I don't think the core issue for the hundreds of thousands small mom and pop stores on Shopify to advertise on Google is the difficulty of using Google Adwords or its lack of connection to their e-commerce system. The issue is budget, skill, tracking ROI and all of the other challenges. Some do it great and for many it is a challenge. For the larger Shopify Plus like clients I don't think they need this integration since they already run in house or via agencies and media buyers fairly sophisticated digital advertising programs on Google and others. I do however see great opportunity for an overall more streamlined and connected Google advertising platform as the disconnect between some of the services was a challenge and I think Amazon's and Facebook's entry into the marketplace was the kick in the rear that Google needed to step their game up.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2018

    Amazon to start new Christmas tradition with its own toy catalog

    I love it when Amazon goes against mainstream thinking and an expensive print catalog with harder to measure ROI is certainly against the tide. If Amazon was concerned about ROI or marking a profit from a print catalog marketing campaign then I would question the move but since quarterly profits are not the the goal and dominating yet another industry like Toys over the long haul is the goal then I can see this fitting squarely into that strategy.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2018

    WeWork doubles down on member-based retailing

    Almost every office I have worked in had some form of convenience/snack/coffee retail and in almost every instance, they lacked quality and imagination. WeMRKT can for sure stand out in that space and provide quality for WeWork members and as a cool way to test new products are brands. This seems like an easy place for disruption and presents another marketing tool for WeWorks as they expand their locations.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2018

    Supreme Court rules e-tailers must collect state sales taxes

    Great overall points, but you are missing one negative from this decision. Yes, there are plenty of solutions for sales tax calculations and reporting, but unfortunately for many small- to mid-size e-tailers who will fall into the current guidelines of over $100K or over 200 sales in state, there is not a system to file and pay taxes in these states. Great business opportunity to solve this problem!
  • Posted on: 06/21/2018

    Are Stitch Fix and Trunk Club toast?

    Amazon, after a year of testing, has decided to focus on what they do best -- convenience and wide product offering. Interesting that they moved away from discounting. I imagine through testing they figured the offer did not move the needle on adoption or perhaps hit the bottom line too hard. This is the opposite of Stitch Fix and Trunk Club who focus on curation and personalization. They solve different apparel shopping problems. I am still a bit unclear what problem Amazon Wardrobe solves since I can always order from a wide selection and return what I don't want. So it may be successful, but I don't see the goal as competing with Stitch Fix. If I was to highlight one goal for this it would be to continue to push private label for Amazon. Whatever onsite personalization and guided buying that will occur within the platform will be 100% focused on showcasing private label brands for Amazon.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2018

    Retailers told to forget social media

    I agree with this for many brands, but this is hardly new information. Facebook especially stopped being about organic reach, content and audience years ago and Twitter never was. I will argue that Instagram and YouTube can make a huge impact when combined with paid spend either on the platform or via influencers. Everyone loves to point to Kim Kardashian or Rihanna as great examples and they are. They have huge organic audience built up and when they launch a new product -- it goes nuts but their audience on social is not their only channel. Organic social is not the ideal direct response channel but it is part of an overall strategy that helps you tell your story and is another signal to consumers of trust, values and product information. The question for me is not a "should you have a social presence?" -- which is an obvious yes but how much time, effort and spend you should allocate to it compared to other channels and that answer is different for every brand and retailer.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2018

    Is data-driven marketing holding back storytelling?

    I think in a broader scope the issue is not only a storytelling or narrative hurdle but a decision making and prioritization issue. Once you have a significant data set, what decisions do you make after, what story you tell and how important that story is to your overall goals are really the keys. A simple data set on what marketing channel is performing best or which target market has higher LTV does not help inform you of the message you need and what story you tell moving forward.
  • Posted on: 05/30/2018

    MealPal brings subscription savings to lunch

    Cost saving and simplicity will always be in style so I see a good chance for MealPal to succeed as long as they partner with the right restaurants and help people will diverse food tastes get what they want. I look forward to testing this out when they come to Los Angeles. I find it interesting that the founding team came from ClassPass which worked in a very similar way for gyms, yoga studios and other fitness businesses. I ran marketing for a large yoga chain that tried to hold off from using ClassPass for a long time because in the long term, it was a race to the bottom and lowered expectations of what people thought they could pay. But like Groupon, which was mentioned in a comment below, the new user acquisition at low cost was too tempting and we focused on converting ClassPass users to better paying studio users. Will be interesting to see how this competes with so much food delivery options and how restaurants feel it works for their business over time.
  • Posted on: 05/25/2018

    Millennials spend like crazy on their ‘fur-babies’

    Millennials as a group value experiences more than products compared to prior generations. Pets are the ultimate experience. That along with getting married and having kids later in life are the core reasons why spending has increased. There is also a simple economic reason that applies to all pet owners not just Millennials. We have learned that quality food is much better for the health of our pets than mass produced kibble of dubious origins and that food costs more which is part of increased dollars spent. 3 simple ways for retailers to create deeper connections with customers:
    1. For pet retailers - they need to stand out from mass merchants and provide high touch, high quality, helpful service and education along with in store experiences. Healthy Spot which is a smaller chain on the West Coast is amazing at this. Best in store employees across almost any retail experience.
    2. Online retailers in the pet space need to create an ongoing and recurring relationship with their customers.
    3. Retailers and even restaurants and others businesses need to acknowledge that pets are becoming family and find ways to create safe spaces for them to included in the shopping experience.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2018

    Will Target Restock undercut Amazon’s Prime Pantry?

    Combing all of these steps is a great move to stay competitive while also testing and learning. They will need to keep this pace moving forward to stay competitive and continue to use their biggest advantages (retail locations and people) to battle. The biggest challenge to Target is that they are held to an entirely different standard than Amazon. They need to show profits, growth and same store sales while Amazon has zero expectations of anything aside from growth. Target actually has to make a profit in retail as they don't have massive profit generating other businesses of AWS, and advertising.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2018

    Should Starbucks acquire Blue Apron?

    I am not sure that there are any real synergies here in this multi step approach. Starbucks can certainly test more ready made foods on their own and brand them Starbucks as opposed to having Blue Apron on their shelves and menus. Blue Apron does not have a better brand than Starbucks and I don't think they have any true operational efficiencies beyond what Starbucks has. I would agree that a Starbucks partnership would be preferred to Costco but not sure that was an offer. Seems like perhaps this analyst is trying to use storytelling and PR to move Blue Apron view in the market.

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