Women in Retail: Innovation at Sam’s Club, Henkel & PGA Superstore

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At the Brand Innovators Women in Retail livecast event, female leaders from across the retail business talked about innovation and digital growth in their business.

Innovation is key to retail brands navigating the new hybrid shopping model that is emerging post-pandemic as consumer demand drives digital options mixed with retail experiences. After a year of digital acceleration, many retailers are focused on how to create more compelling experiences for their customers both online and offline.

At the Brand Innovators Women in Retail livecast event, female leaders from across the retail business talked about innovation and digital growth in their business.

Sam’s Club does not innovate just for innovation’s sake. Instead, the retailer thinks about innovation as a way to drive convenience for members.

“At Sam’s Club, it’s not just members at the center; it’s people at the center,” said Natalie Hite, Marketing Director at Sam's Club, during the event. “When I think about it from a member perspective, it has been clear to me from day one that we are a member organization and that is a core value driving the decisions that everyone makes across the board. It has continued to be a focus. Since the beginning of COVID last year, we started doing focus groups with our members every two weeks. We had a ton of small business members who were experiencing loss, closings and lots of different obstacles at that time and we have continued checking in with them throughout the year and they really help us drive decision making on everything we do.” 


For Henkel Beauty Care, the pandemic helped accelerate digital programs in order to keep in touch with consumers where they were spending most of their time.

“Like most industries, digital was already a big deal, but COVID really pushed a lot of people, where digital wasn’t at the top of their list, to really prioritize it,” said Melinda V. Johnson, Director of Marketing at Hair, Henkel. “Especially in CPG, if you weren’t engaging with digital commerce in a meaningful way already, everyone was forced to. Our media plans are practically 100% social, digital and online videos. With data, we’re always looking at our return on spend. To dig deeper, we’re also looking at what our engagement levels look like. I am personally a comment reader. If you're targeting Gen Z, you need to dig into social listening and the comments. It’s the new age way of doing focus groups, and really crowdsourcing that feedback.”


PGA Superstore had a banner year during the pandemic as consumers looked to golf as a way to get some safe outdoor exercise. As consumers maintain their hobby, the retailer is working to personalize the experiences of its customers.

“It’s been a record and historic year for our business,” said Jill Thomas, Chief Marketing Officer at PGA Tour Superstore. “We’ve really been able to provide an outlet for people in this time of turmoil and need. Whoever came up with the term social distancing had good intentions, but the mental health of our communities really struggled with that idea. With golf, people have discovered it’s a place to be physically distanced, while staying socially connected in a safe, healthy, outdoor environment. In a time where people are looking for a way to separate and focus on their mind, body and spirit, golf has provided that outlet to over 25 million people in this country. And it has been discovered by a completely new group of people and rediscovered by that core audience who had maybe lost touch with the game. It’s an exciting time to be in the golf industry.”

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