PROFILE

Marge Laney

CEO, Alert Tech

Marge Laney has one thing on her mind – Retail Customer Service. Marge has developed the market for in-store customer facing service technology with her company Alert Tech. With a keen eye for common sense solutions to customer service challenges she has evangelized empowering the customer to access assistance when they need it. This paradigm isn’t all about technology! Marge has not only empowered customers, but reinvigorated retailers. Through progressive and practical training and integration techniques developed at Alert Tech, Marge works with the top chain retailers to capitalize on customer initiated interactions to increase brand loyalty, value perception, and KPIs.

Marge goes out of her way to spread her optimistic and upbeat vision for retail customer service and the retail industry in general. People will spend their hard earned dollar with the retailer that shows them they value the customer, and Marge is excited to help top retailers react to customers in a profitable and efficient way – in the fitting room.

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  • Posted on: 06/15/2018

    Retailers stand out by vetoing the ‘pink tax’

    Well said, James! Women should vote with their wallets and their feet. On the sales tax added to feminine hygiene products issue, that's a state and local government issue.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2018

    Can mobile apps put an end to disgusting store restrooms?

    I just did a quick poll around the office and 100% of the Millennial women think it's a brilliant idea and grabbed their phones to find if it's available in Houston. Finding a clean, available bathroom when shopping can be challenging. Notwithstanding all the issues raised, Good2Go seems like a pretty interesting idea.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2018

    Robots are not the answer to store challenges

    Brilliant! Nikki nails it! Retailers seem to be hell bent on providing their customers with online experiences in-store. As I've said many times, if I'm going to make the trip to a store only to be met with an internet experience, why bother? Not only is this fascination with robots irrational, it's financially irresponsible. Instead of investing time and money on removing human interaction from the store experience, retailers should be investing in tech that encourages and enhances personal connections. Once you remove the faces and emotional connections from brand interaction, you're left with a value proposition based on the lowest price and the fastest transaction. This neither builds loyalty or a viable business, unless you're Amazon.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2018

    Amazon Go goes live

    I'm with Paula and Sky on this one. Margins in grocery are pretty tight. If inventory starts walking out the door unpaid for, how long can this model make economic sense? On the convenience side, if I'm spending an additional five or 10 minutes reviewing my receipt what time have I actually saved? And finally, do we really need another experience that keeps us head down on our phones and disconnected from the people around us?
  • Posted on: 01/22/2018

    Does Whole Foods have a backroom problem?

    As a long time Whole Foods shopper I started noticing differences late last summer. Product I could only find at Whole Foods, and a driver of why I shopped there, began to disappear. Deterioration of the quality of the produce and empty shelves became noticeable just before the holidays. I'm now shopping at H-E-B's Central Market.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2017

    Can in-store experiences save retail?

    I agree with Prof. Fader, to a point. Retailers need to know their customers and that means understanding why and how they shop their stores. And, they need the data that tells the story of how their customers shop their stores. I disagree that the sole focus should be high value customers. The low value customer today, could be the high value customer tomorrow if their experience meets their expectations. As he points out people shop to buy things and most want to get in and out as quickly as possible. A better focus would be to eliminate pain points that drive customers away or online. The fitting room is a great example. Make sure that the fitting room experience meets your customers expectation. I agree that magic mirrors and champagne are bells and whistles that retailers don’t need. What they do need is technology that helps associates run the fitting room efficiently, and provides real insight into their use. Retailers should implement technology solutions that solve problems and alleviate customer pain points, and use the data that these technologies generate to make changes and connect with customers in a meaningful way.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2017

    Will an AR try-on app cut down on online clothing returns?

    Have you ever said, "It fits, it just doesn't feel right?" No app can beat the try on.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2017

    Does Blue Apron’s ‘meh’ IPO spell trouble for meal kit services?

    The Blue Apron IPO suffered at the hand of the Amazon purchase of Whole Foods. Blue Apron and the others have proven that meal delivery is something people really like, but the price from these providers can be prohibitive. If anyone is going to do meal kit delivery cost effectively and well, it’s Amazon. The market believes in Amazon’s last-mile prowess and rewards accordingly. Again, advantage Amazon.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2017

    Can fitness classes wake up retail store traffic?

    On June 21st, Women’s Wear Daily posted and article about how Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe "is a direct assault on the fitting room." From this article: "'For a traditional brick-and-mortar specialty apparel or department store retailer, one of the only places they had the opportunity to differentiate was at the fitting room,' said Joel Bines, co-head AlixPartners’ retail practice. 'That is the one place inside a brick-and-mortar retailer where their investment in salespeople and infrastructure could actually make a difference in the sales process.' If Prime Wardrobe leads consumers to no longer even go to fitting rooms, Bines said, 'this is a huge issue for apparel retailers, much larger than the surface level impact of, ‘Oh, this is Amazon taking another shot at brick-and-mortar retailers.’ This one would be really impactful.'" Retailers need to get back to their knitting and sell clothes.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2017

    Will Amazon Prime Wardrobe change how Americans shop for clothes?

    There are three things that need to be considered when addressing the fitness of the fitting room; design, service and technology. The biggest improvements have been made in the design arena which includes cleanliness. Most retailers are making an effort to remove unwanted clothing from previous shoppers and keep the fitting room clean. I would include Macy's in that group. The hard part is fitting room service and technology that supports that process. That's where the retailers need to understand their customers' expectations and deliver on that day-in and day-out without fault. This is also where the opportunity exists for them to emotionally connect with their customers as they make their buying decisions. Few have scratched the surface of these opportunities.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2017

    Will Amazon Prime Wardrobe change how Americans shop for clothes?

    The in-store experience that retailers had best become aware of is the fitting room experience. Retailers are aware of this opportunity and for the most part have ignored it. The truth is that the buying decision is made in the fitting room or the bedroom. The customer who tries on is more than 70 percent likely to buy. Retailers who service customers while they are in the fitting room by bringing them the sizes and options they are looking for have customers that buy three times as much as the non-serviced customer buys. The fitting room is a huge pain point for the customer and is the area of the store that will make or break brick-and-mortar apparel retail. Maybe now that Amazon is saying it, they'll believe it.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2017

    Will Amazon Prime Wardrobe change how Americans shop for clothes?

    70 percent of online apparel purchases are returned due to fit issues which is a big deterrent for most consumers. It’s too much of a hassle and too expensive to return unwanted items to make purchasing apparel online worthwhile. Amazon just changed that. The other pain point with online apparel shopping is the wait. Most people don’t want to wait days for an item, they want it now. Amazon’s focus is the last mile, isn’t it? Advantage Amazon ... again.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2017

    Can humanizing self-checkouts reduce theft?

    There’s an old axiom in retail that says; the higher the level of customer service the lower the incidence of theft. Humanizing self-checkout will definitely help reduce theft and, as a bonus, will increase service when needed. Self-checkout is fast and easy when everything goes well. The trouble comes when things go wrong and you can’t find anyone to help. Having an associate assigned to the self-checkout area will increase service and reduce theft; win-win.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2017

    Did Amazon just patent tech that could end showrooming in its stores?

    Did they patent the technology to keep others from doing so? Or do they intend to use it? Either way the giant can, once again, manipulate consumers in the name of convenience.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2017

    Why are so many associates being deprived of tech by their employers?

    Yes, cost, distrust, and training are all factors but those reasons can’t stop the adoption of technology tools that help retailers compete. Isn’t it enough watching brand after brand struggle and fail holding on to the old no-tech model? Retailers need to embrace technology that helps them relieve the pain points of their associates and customers. Retailers need to move beyond the shiny object syndrome with tech pilots and implement technology that is simple to use and solves problems. Most technology that fits that bill is intuitive for both the associate and the customer with minimal training required.

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