Charming Charlie on How Retailers Can Leverage Cross-Functional Teams

Fashion accessories retailer, Charming Charlie, is known for its unique way of segmenting their fashion accessories by color. The company’s VP of Ecommerce, Kim LaFleur, joined the team at eTail West 2013, to talk about how she helped build cross-functional teams at the organization to help implement strategies. In the below presentation, LaFleur demonstrates how vital cross-functionality is in order to make reasonable investments in mobile, social and general ecommerce strategies.

You can check out the video of the presentation below, or download a full transcript of it here.

After making the leap toward more investment in cross-functional teams, the company saw a vast improvement across the whole site and its various channels with more creative layouts, better product photography, more consistency and the development of an online persona.

The biggest challenge, LaFleur says, is to figure out the areas where you need to build the strategy around, then determine the KPI’s around those initiatives. For Charming Charlie, it came down to 5 key themes:

1. Understanding your Brand. Does everything lead back to the brand?

2. Understand the Consumer. Do you know who s/he is? Do surveys if needed to figure it out!

3. Understand the Channels
. Grab a baseline of performance on your social channels. Then figure out strategies from there.

4. Communicate with the Team. Lots of younger people with lots of skills don’t necessarily have certain experiences. You need to communicate and give context about why you’re doing something. What key people need to be involved in the day to day, and what people don’t?

5. Understand your own Goals. What are you really trying to achieve, and do your goals match your existing business plan? Organic vs. paid media? Which are you after?

Here’s an excerpt of the presentation for you – download the full transcript of it here.

“…Typically, what I have seen working with numerous brands over my career is they rush to do something because it is associated with a particular magazine or a particular website and they get enamored with it. They do not really think about why they are doing it or what the measurement of it should be. Then they are trying to justify why they did it after the fact, even though the results were not so great. Then you need to effectively communicate the cross-functional results: why is this a great thing for your retail store locations that are not online? Why is it great for your operations team? Why is it great for merchandizing or for marketing? Keeping people informed along the way is a big one…”