Features, Radicals Awards

Introducing Two More Radicals

We are pleased to introduce you to the last two of our 10 finalists, all of whom will be celebrated at the Radicals Awards breakfast, to be held on March 5, during Shoptalk, including an inspirational message from Steve Sadove, former CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue.

There is no shortage of awards for business disruptors among startups. These are typically investor-funded technology-driven companies, launched by next-gen innovators. But what about the innovators within the traditional “old world” heritage companies, established before the year 2000, who are implementing radical changes in their companies to successfully compete in the “new world?”

Our Awards, launched last year in collaboration with SAP, focus solely on radical innovators in the legacy retail and brand sectors where the hurdles to transformation are much higher than the so-called tech-driven startups.

Read more about what these two finalists have accomplished. We continue to highlight the innovative accomplishments of our ten Radical Awards finalists. We celebrated eight over the past three weeks. And, these will be the final two.

The 10 finalists were selected through a process that involved submitting a nomination form and a first-round screening by an objective third-party panel of retail and brand experts. A distinguished jury of industry veterans will select the final winner. All 10 of our finalists, whatever their titles and roles, get it. Whether leading a team or the entire company, they are enlightened. And they have mentally jumped out of their legacy “boxes” and are creating new words and concepts, and therefore, new realities. They have been inducted into our inaugural Radicals Hall of Fame link.

GRAHAM POLINER, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Analytics, Macy’s

With a PhD in electrical engineering, Graham has led Macy’s through evolving customer expectations by envisioning a future where fundamental business operations could be run through a precise balance between computer algorithms and human decisioning. He has the rare combination of visionary strategic acumen, deep analytical expertise, and the business leadership to win over skeptics and enact change.

Some recent innovations that Dr. Poliner has led include: a new cost-based omnichannel fulfillment optimization logic used to fulfill online orders from a combination of stores and distribution centers; a complete overhaul of the replenishment system with no change in service levels; a pragmatic customer-segmentation technique that can both drive corporate strategy (e.g. Loyalty) as well as enable precise customer targeting; an algorithmic approach to markdown optimization that recommends pricing decisions based on seasonal expectations and sell-through targets; testing a KVI/KVC-based pricing strategy and a dynamic online pricing algorithm that includes competitor monitoring; personalizing product recommendations and marketing messages on the website and via email; and exploring applications of visual machine learning and conversational machine learning. The Data Science team has helped revamp fundamental algorithms driving key decisions across the business, including marketing, pricing, fulfillment, and replenishment. Additionally, Dr. Poliner has also encouraged test-and-learn and analytical thinking across his operational divisions.

DAVID KATZ, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Randa Accessories

At Randa, the world’s largest men’s accessories company, David works with global brands including Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Columbia Sportswear, Ralph Lauren & Dickies; and leading retailers: Macy’s, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Amazon, Costco, Walmart, and Target to conjure radical outcomes in disruptive markets. David’s initiatives catalyze Randa’s digital, physical and strategic transformation, and he plays the role of “wizard.” With degrees in neuroscience and marketing, he shapes quantitative and qualitative insights on consumer behavior through a combination of neuroscience and behavioral economics. His laboratory includes a “sorting hat that distills actionable information from massive pools of opaque data.” Combined with well-honed skills in persuasive storytelling, he is able to generate sustainable growth in revenues and profits, while delighting consumers.

David’s team created a highly effective insights program, focused on identifying and leveraging evolving consumer desires, which “hide in plain sight under massive layers of obstructive data and legacy thinking.” He explains the results of such quantitative and qualitative insights shout out “touch me,” and consumers touch them, increasing the turn and AUR of selected styles. For example, data-led Randa to revise the layout of neckwear departments to match ties to occasions (interviews, weddings, dates) rather than to clothes or brands, thereby increasing sell-thru, decreasing markdowns, generating satisfied, even grateful, customers. Awareness of Randa has increased 10X. This recognition aids the company in its evolution to include women’s classifications, new brands, expanded distribution, acquisitions and customer loyalty.

Please join me at Shoptalk on March 5th to congratulate these three finalists and find out who will be the winner of the 2019 Radical of the Year Award.

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