News Feature | January 13, 2014

Insights From Inside The Foot Locker Boardroom

Source: Retail Solutions Online
Jim Roddy

By Jim Roddy, Vantiv

foot locker store

By Jim Roddy, Integrated Solutions For Retailers

Candid insights by Foot Locker Chairman and CEO Ken Hicks highlighted the Jan. 12 afternoon keynote session at Retail’s BIG Show, hosted by the NRF.

Brick-and-Mortar Advantage: “We have to develop strengths that Amazon doesn’t have. We have 3,500 locations. How do we use those to better communicate with our customers? We can use our stores for returns instead of using UPS or FedEx. It’s like we have 3,500 warehouses.”

Store Advancements: “We have to make our stores more interesting and focus on the idea, not the price. We have to show customers how to put things together — show them collections of products you can’t get anywhere else. Customers will need to keep coming in to stay current.”

Customer Changes: Hicks noted that sparking change in the retail industry are significant customer changes, namely:

  • More informed: Customers are better informed because of the amount of online information.
  • Expectations: Customers want a wide assortment — what they’ve seen, not just what’s in store.
  • No regional product rollouts: Customers want every new product to be made available everywhere at the same time.
  • Delivery: Customers want product delivered wherever they need it.
  • Payment methods: Customers dictate the terms of payment — cash, credit, debit, and alternative payments.

Associate Technology: “We need to arm our associates with more information than the customer has. They need scan guns to see what inventory is in-store and available elsewhere. Tablets will help them look up information online. These will help the associates merchandise better. They can tell the customer which T-shirt is designed to go with the LeBron James shoes the customer will purchase.”

How To Innovate: “You have to talk with customers all the time and listen to your associates. Learn, and then be willing to test. If the prototype works, then see it it’s financially viable. If it is, roll it out in parts so the entire organization doesn’t tip over. That’s how you move into the future. Every week since I’ve had this job, I’ve been in our stores.”

Foot Locker’s #1 Challenge — Breaking Down Silos: “The biggest challenge we have is the need for more interconnectivity within the company. Retailers were siloed and now need to be more connected.”

Retail’s BIG Show and EXPO, hosted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and billed as the world's leading retail event, is being held Jan. 12-15 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. The event expects to attract 29,000 retail executives and 550 exhibitors from more than 80 countries.