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: 11/16/2018

    Apple-inspired Glossier opens ‘adult Disneyland’ flagship store

    Glossier approach is perfect for the brand. Make the place an experience that encourages social media in the stores and education. This is a marketing expense and from what it sounds like, a great use of marketing dollars especially as they start to plateau with what they can do in digital. As long as they don't need to turn a profit on this store -- it will work great. I bet lots of brick and mortar retailers in NYC wish they did not have to make a profit.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2018

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Best Buy

    Pretty simple campaigns:
    • Amazon = millions of brown boxes
    • Best Buy= helpful people
    I like people more than boxes. Amazon highlights what makes holiday shopping at Amazon so boring and tries to tie emotion to it, getting brown boxes -- lots of them -- in the mail. No one stares at a truck full of Amazon boxes with joy except maybe the thieves who plan to steal them off the porch when they are dropped off. The only saving grace is that at least they showed real humans in their warehouses this year instead of robots and the song is a great commercial jingle. I am still singing "can you feel it?" Best Buy kills it in this match up. Explains what makes them stand out from others and focuses on it. Real people helping you with two real world problems -- a difficult Christmas list and home technology set up. It showcases popular products like the drone and Nintendo Switch but no mention of discounts which is great. The CTA highlights free shipping and the second ad highlights free in home help and expertise which are great reasons to shop at Best Buy. Even the use of black and white and then the blue to focus on the "blue shirts" and cement the ideas that blue shirted people are here to help is great. Sadly- I will still spend more money with Amazon this year then with anyone else and certainly more than at Best Buy regardless of creative campaigns.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2018

    What’s missing from everyday fashion rental subscription services?

    I think there is definitely a place for apparel subscriptions, but can't see them really succeeding on the low end of the market where you can just as easily buy from a discount or fast fashion retailer or even try Amazon Wardrobe. There is also something special in finding that perfect outfit for an occasion that these rental type programs from these specific retailers who all use the same platform don't quite hit on enough. As Nikki articulates, the experience needs to be special and continually prove value for someone to continue to subscribe.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2018

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Kohl’s vs. Macy’s

    My critique of both of them is that neither make me think for a second that I should spend my time and money shopping with them online or in store for any reason. They both might as well be ads for Amazon. At least the Kohl's ad contains the give and get Kohl's cash which is nice thing to brand and start to get into the minds of consumers as they consider their options. The Macy's ad is wonderful and heart warming, but does nothing to make want to shop there and not sure how relatable having an astronaut mom is to most people. I guess being away from and missing your loved ones is something relatable, but not something that makes me want to go shopping for a snow globe at Macy's.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2018

    What are the omnichannel challenges facing e-tailers opening stores?

    The biggest difference in many of these cases is what the actual goals of the stores are. For some, they are marketing and branding and may or may not need to turn a profit in the long term as standalone businesses. That will change as they scale and they will run into many of the same challenges of all retail.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2018

    Why haven’t CPG giants figured out what makes small brands so popular?

    Large CPGs have just been way too slow to react to change. The food, beverage and skincare verticals are probably the most impacted. There are still smart people leading these huge CPG companies who assume that the 3% historical growth rate will continue, even though the opening of new retail stores which created the lion's share of this growth is now heading in the other direction. Small CPGs can now use easy-to-use platforms (Shopify), marketplaces (Amazon), media (Instagram) to build to a decent size without spending massive investment on TV media, inventory to stock 1,000 doors, and in-store marketing.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2018

    Brands are simply guests on Amazon’s platform and that’s okay

    Amazon is not overstepping its bounds because its mission is not to be a great partner for brands -- its mission is to be the most customer centric retailer in the world and offering lower cost alternatives helps with competition which helps the consumers. Brands (big and small) and 3rd party sellers just need to understand that if their product or category is successful, Amazon will enter it with a private label, customer info and Amazon marketing muscle. You may get some much needed volume by being on Amazon, but you can't rely on them in the long term. Brands needs to build direct, meaningful and hopefully ongoing/recurring relationships with their customers to win over the long term. Amazon needs to be one channel, not the only channel for e-commerce and retail strategy in general.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    Eddie Lampert is the worst

    Eddie Lampert is not the worst executive ever in the retail industry. Someone who tanked a thriving business would have my vote over someone who sped up the failure of a declining business. He is however a person who only cares about himself who used a story of a turnaround as cover for selling off assets that only helped shareholders like himself. I wish he was more transparent about his plans to stuff his own pockets and leave others--especially people losing their jobs and pensions--holding the bag. Sears was not long for this world even if it had the best leadership team in the world. He is an old school corporate raider--simple as that.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2018

    Cannabis-infused drink and food makers are high on grocery opportunities

    With the various laws and still high level of education needed on the consumer side to distinguish CBD from THC-focused cannabis products, it will be slow going for large "mainstream" retailers to start to sell these products. The consumer demand is growing, but even for a big proponent of the cannabis space, the claims that CBD can cure and help with just about everything are a bit too broad. I do know that in the pet space they can barely keep CBD products for dog anxiety, certain skin conditions and issues with aging on the shelves.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2018

    Will Best Buy’s golden years strategy deliver long-term success?

    I am a huge fan of this move and always appreciate brands who zig (go after boomers and senior citizens) when everyone else zags (go after millennials). The boomer generation may be getting passed up in numbers a tiny bit by millennials, but their purchasing power is somewhere in the 100X range. The baby boomer generation is the wealthiest in history and are still a inheriting massive amount of wealth from their parents. Targeting this demo with a combination of products, services and real, human, in-person help is a great move — specifically in this category of technology and electronics where the pace is fast and everyone in this generation could use a little help. In terms of rivals in this space for this target customer, the only viable one seems to be Amazon, but they lack (as of now) the people part of the process.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2018

    Will a new private label keep Target’s customers out of Aldi and Dollar General?

    Private label for large retailers can and should continue to grow. It will grow at the expense of the large CPG brands who can't just advertise on TV and spend on in-store marketing and merchandising to win. For Target specifically, I am curious how these brands impact some of digitally native brands they have brought in over the last few years when there is now a private label brand in direct competition. They have Harry's, Cora, Native and now even Quip in their stores. Will a consumer choose Gillette, Harry's or a Target private label brand? On Amazon, the customers have spoken and private labels are exploding (they even have a mattress now), so I assume the same will happen in Target. Not sure if this impacts Dollar General much, as there are like 13K of those stores now, so Target and Dollar Stores compete much less than even the management of Target thinks they do.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2018

    Will the Birchbox/Walgreens pilot deliver beautiful results?

    This does make sense for both companies, but I don't think it will be a game-changer for either of them. The new product lines and cool store within the store concept are positives for Walgreens and anything they do to up the knowledge base and skills of the retail employees is a plus. I also like the build a box concept which is the most compelling part of the current Birchbox stores. I am not sure it will bring in any new shoppers to Walgreens, but may convert existing shoppers or level them up for higher priced products in the beauty category. For Birchbox, this can be a good branding opportunity and a way to go a bit more "mass". I would have liked them to try this out with a retailer like Urban Outfitters (and maybe they did) as I think the core customer has more overlap while still providing scale.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2018

    Will Amazon disrupt retail again with its new 4-star store concept?

    Two things stand out for me on this. First, I like how they frame this store being localized in some way with popular products tied to the geography. Nike is testing something similar in Los Angeles and I think local and personal are the keys to quality brick and mortar retail for the next decade. Second, it's another great way to incentivize people to sign up for Amazon Prime, which I think is their number one goal even ahead of retail sales. In terms of how it impacts rivals, it will be interesting to see the product mix over time. Are they selling TVs that compete with Best Buy and Costco, computers to compete with Apple stores, toilet paper to compete with Target and Walmart, pet food, snacks, books, apparel, OTC medicine? I expect there will be a big push for Amazon private label products.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2018

    Is Eddie Lampert looking to save Sears or suck it dry?

    Not every business and certainly not every retailer stays on top forever and continues to grow. I think so many businesses would be better served by acknowledging that their growth time may have passed and that they are going to slowly wind down a business in the best way that serves shareholders while also trying a few new ideas with what capital they have available instead of trying to do mouth to mouth on what is truly a patient that already has a DNR. Sears and Kmart are so far gone that I can't see a turnaround ever happening. They last turned a profit in 2010 -- that is mind numbing to me.
  • Posted on: 09/24/2018

    Will the White House listen to warnings from Walmart, others about tariffs?

    It is interesting that a very short-term oriented current executive branch is trying a trade/economic strategy that really only works in the long term. Retailers are going to have to decide whether they try to respond to this with short term solution or really dig in and consider that this might be the new normal. Retailers with existing problems who now have to consider raising prices or lowering margins will probably be more swiftly bankrupted. Imagine if a retailer like Toys "R" Us was still around -- this would be a dagger and I imagine there are retailers who are in similar spots. The choice between higher prices to shoppers who can just go to Amazon or lower margins is brutal.

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