Former Saks CEO Says It’s Omnichannel Or Bust For Physical Retail

He may no longer be the Saks chairman and CEO, but Steve Sadove still has plenty of ideas for saving the floundering physical retail industry this holiday season.

Appearing on CNBC‘s “Fast Money” last week, Sadove presented three essential practices that he believes department stores must undertake if they wish to bring shoppers back into their stores.

First and foremost among his recommendations is for physical retailers to offer their customers a full omnichannel experience.

“A lot of companies are innovating right now, but they have to do it faster,” said Sadove. “They have to invest in the store base, and they have to invest in the technology.”

Referencing Amazon’s recently announced plans for drone delivery and launching its own fleet of trucks, Sadove described that retailer as “setting the tone” for what others must do. “[Other retailers] have got to be able to do what Amazon does in terms of delivering the shopping experience,” he continued, “and that is what the consumer expects.”

Next recommendation on the list, according to Sadove? Department stores need to become more serious competitors to fast-fashion retailers — such as H&M and Zara — that are increasingly eating their lunch.

“[Department stores have] got to shorten the supply chain and adjust to the consumer’s taste. [They] can’t buy for an entire half a year,” commented Sadove on that issue.

Sadove’s third and final recommendation for department stores seeking to stay afloat is that those businesses need to provide not just products but experiences for shoppers, with the goal being to effectively turn the stores into destinations, which will draw in more consumers and keep them around longer.

“You see online companies like Warby Parker opening up inside a Nordstrom,” Sadove added. “That’s where the innovation is coming.”


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