REI names first VP of commerce and experiences
- Outdoor recreation retailer REI has tapped Dan Shull to become the company’s first VP of commerce and experiences, according to a press release.
- Shull, whose responsibilities include customer experiences across all technology platforms, will lead a team of over 100 technology specialists. His appointment follows a year in which the company’s first CIO Julie Averill left REI for Lululemon and Christine Putur was named the new CIO.
- Shull was previously employed by troubled retailer Signet Jewelers as CIO, and held he several information technology roles at Nike over the course of seven years. He first joined REI in May.
Shull is moving into a central role in the company’s competitive battle against experience-oriented outdoor retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shops, Backcountry, Gander Mountain and others.
REI is known for its creative and digitally-savvy marketing, as well as its socially responsible stances. For example, its long-running #OptOutside campaign increased brand awareness by 14% last year, consideration by 9%, purchase intent by 7% and in-store visits by 3.6 times. It also was a leader in the anti-Black Friday movement, in gender equality and in environmental issues. REI also recently released product sustainability standards for the more than 1,000 brands that it sells.
Beyond its 153 brick-and-mortar stores, REI has a robust e-commerce program, as well as a travel business called REI Adventures. All this is based on a knowledge of what REI’s customers care about, Matt Sargent, senior VP of retail for Frank N. Magid Associates told Retail Dive. "The key is, if you’re going to do this, you’ve got to invest in that understanding of the customer, what they’re looking for and test these ideas," he said in regards to the company's #forceofnature and #optoutside marketing efforts.
CIO Purur said in the press release that Shull’s "years of experience in both IT and retail and his collaborative leadership style make him uniquely suited to bring together our digital and in-store experiences."