As you’ve learned in Chapter 9 “Online Retail and Services”, the traditional store-based retail business is in trouble as more shoppers buy online. While some retailers such as Walmart, Target, Costco, and Dick’s Sporting Goods have bucked the trend, major retail chains such as Macy’s, Sears, and JCPenney are in the process of closing hundreds of their stores. Many older malls have closed and many niche retailers have declared bankruptcy. But while retail store sales have flattened or declined, online retail is growing at 10%. To cope with online competitors, stored-based retailers are turning to omni-channel strategies by investing heavily in new websites, mobile apps, and social media, and mobile apps, encouraging in-store shopping and online buying, and same-day local pickup of online orders.
As a result, there are an increasing number of jobs involved in retail e-commerce. For example, from 2007 to 2017 almost 400,000 new jobs were created in retail e-commerce, compared to an overall loss of 76,000 in traditional store-based retail. E-commerce jobs also have higher wages, paying about 30% more than traditional retail jobs (Sorkin, 2017).
The company is a luxury fashion retailer and department store that operates over 260 stores throughout the United States and Canada. The company sells apparel, shoes, jewelry, handbags, and home furnishings. The firm has several websites, including a clearance site, and a focused luxury site for designer fashions, as well as a Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest presence. While sales at its stores have languished along with other retailers, its website sales are growing at 10% annually, and currently account for about 20% of its retail sales. The company is planning a major expansion of its online digital operations to compete with pure online retailers and to develop a more robust omni-channel presence.
POSITION: ASSOCIATE, E-COMMERCE INITIATIVES You will be working on the E-commerce Initiatives Team with a number of internal departments to ensure the delivery of an effective online customer experience and driving e-commerce revenues.
Please provide your answers to following four possible first interview questions:
Hint: how to prepare for this interview?
Do background research on the firm and the industry in which it operates. How does it compare to competitors?
Re-read the opening case on Blue Nile, as well as Sections 9.1 and 9.3 (with a particular focus on the sections that cover omni-channel retail).
Also review Section 9.2 so that you can demonstrate some basic knowledge of strategic and financial analysis. It would also be worthwhile to closely review the E-commerce in Action case on Amazon, as understanding Amazon and the impact it has is imperative for anyone working in online retail.
Finally, re-read the Insight On case in Chapter 6 on marketing to the luxury audience (“Are the Very Rich Different from You and Me?”) to understand the success factors, and challenges, of online marketing to an affluent audience. Do back-ground research on the luxury goods marketplace, and marketing to the affluent.
In “Files”, you can find the opening case on “Blue Nile” and “Are the Very Rich Different from You and Me?”
Please try your best, -Professor Dai
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