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Gilt’s in-store debut gets positive response following full-bodied introduction

BOSTON – Executives from Hudson’s Bay Company at eTail East 2016 walked through the company’s distinct process for implementing change to consumers and detailed how it brought Gilt’s mobile presence into the bricks-and-mortar space.

During the session, Driving Omnichannel Change And Adoption At Hudson’s Bay, the executive explained that generally across the board, consumers dislike change and while it is imperative for retailers to continue innovating in the space, they also need to get customers comfortable with the change. Hudson’s Bay has a specific process to make sure the change it is introducing is worth it and that customers jump on board, and after its acquisition of online flash site Gilt, it released a multichannel campaign to usher in its bricks-and-mortar presence.

“Typically a lot of the research out there is that we naturally have a biased against change,” said Lulu Ge, head of change management at Hudson’s Bay Company. “It is both the fear of the unknown, what might this bring, and it is also the fear of loss, our underlying subconscious assumption that when something changes you may stand to lose.

“The interesting thing is even though we have this naturally programmed biased against change, if you will, the world is set to be changing faster than any other time in history,” she said. “Forbes did a study where they looked at Fortune 500 organizations and found that within a ten year stretch four out of ten ceased to exist.

“So all of us in our organization should know that we must adapt and we must change.”

Flashing success
The flash sales site was recently acquired by Hudson’s Bay, and has a strong online and mobile presence of which the latter can benefit in attempts to compete with other discount competitors such as Nordstrom Rack. Hudson’s Bay decided to bring the strictly digital marketplace into a bricks-and-mortar existence, but needed to ensure consumers would adapt to the change.

Gilt has an extremely fine-tuned mobile and digital Q&A feature that Hudson’s Bay was able to tap into the help usher in the new experience. It expanded the tool for consumers to get all the information they were interested in regarding the acquisition and the new Gilt shop.

Campaign for change
Hudson’s Bay also leveraged the digital marketplace’s extensive online newsletter subscriber list to share informative emails, which helped raise awareness and walked customers through the new experience.

The company also first started accepting returns for Gilt as its Saks Fifth Avenue store to slowly introduce the new Gilt experience and bring customers into the physical space, and maybe even transfer them to Saks.

“Retail is going through massive transformation and massive change,” Ms. Ge said. “We always talk internally about how for the first time in history our customers are really ahead of us in terms of access to data and the advancements in consumer mobile.”