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News and Events

  •  PayPal President Shares His Vision of the Future

    Thursday, Jun. 2, 2011
    Imagine walking into a store without any cash, not a single credit card, not even your wallet. When you go to check out, you pay with your phone number and PIN number. This is the vision of the future that Scott Thompson, president of PayPal.
  •  Hand Made in San Francisco

    Tuesday, May. 3, 2011
    Walking the streets of San Francisco, you'll be sure to see a Timbuk2 bag somewhere.
  •  The Digital Payment Industry

    Thursday, Mar. 31, 2011
    Scott Thompson (President - PayPal) Presents: The Digital Payment Industry: Where It Is & Where It's Going. April 18th
    PayPal
  •  NY visit to Calvin Klein

    Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011
    On Tuesday, January 11, 2011, we had the pleasure of visiting Calvin Klein's men's sportswear showroom and CRK, which is Calvin Klein's internal advertising agency.
  •  A Day in the Life at Hugo Boss

    Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011
    Today we went to the Hugo Boss office to meet with Mark Brashear, CEO and President of Hugo Boss Americas.
  •  Williams-Sonoma VP Shares E-View From the Top

    Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010
    RMI students had a special guest in late October. Angela Caltagirone, vice president of e-marketing at Williams-Sonoma Inc.
 
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News and Events

News and announcements from the Retail Management Institute.

The following postings have been filtered by category Company Visits. clear filter
  •  PayPal President Shares His Vision of the Future

    Thursday, Jun. 2, 2011

    Imagine walking into a store without any cash, not a single credit card, not even your wallet. When you go to check out, you pay with your phone number and PIN number. This is the vision of the future that Scott Thompson, president of PayPal.

     

  •  Hand Made in San Francisco

    Tuesday, May. 3, 2011

    Walking the streets of San Francisco, you'll be sure to see a Timbuk2 bag somewhere. Treasured by bikers and commuters alike, the recognizable three-tone style of Timbuk2's messenger bags stand out against all other bags worldwide. Their product line has expanded to include backpacks, larger and smaller shoulder bags, and even cases for computers or products like iPad. Though they may not be the largest brand offering a visit to students in the RMI program, the February tour of Timbuk2's headquarters in San Francisco made for a unique visit and peek into the world of e-commerce for small businesses.



    10 SCU students, including Anthony Prieto, a recent addition to the RMI program, spent the morning touring the corporate offices and manufacturing facility of T2, lead by CEO Mike Wallenfels. Mr. Wallenfels and two members of the online marketing team also presented an in-depth overview of the company's strategy, analytic and social media platforms, and outlook on the future.



    A unique portion of Timbuk2’s business allows for individual customization of each bag that customers or corporate partners order. Customers can pick colors or materials for each of the parts of the bag and decide on different orientations (left or right-handed) for each feature. "Timbuk2's unique style and ability to customize bags online distinguishes them from the competition, and their attention to detail in the manufacturing process allows for a streamlined production timeline," Prieto remarked after the visit. When presenting their social media strategy, the team stressed the importance of tying giveaways to participation in each service, in an effort to improve traffic and increase followers. Their social media platform also publishes pictures of each custom bag, as they are ordered, in an effort to inspire subscribers to pick out their own on an impulse-buy.


    Students were impressed with Vivian Tsai's presentation on Internet marketing and online advertising campaigns. It was fascinating to see how various web analytic tools identify which parts of the website were clicked most frequently and how the site layout was adjusted to maximize conversion rates. The company also recently offered a Groupon promotion to customers in New York City to drive volume and gauge interest for new opportunities in the area. As online discounters and coupon sites become increasingly important in the e-commerce space, it will be important to keep an eye on such trends and apply concepts to other business models in the market.



    Inspired by the incredible value of a peek inside T2's business, some students expressed interest in applying for summer internships with the company. If you're interested in applying, check their website frequently as jobs have yet to be posted.


    For more info on the company or to order a bag, visit Timbuk2 online at their website. You can also visit the company's retail store in San Francisco or inquire with the RMI office to find out about the possibility of future tours for other students

  •  The Digital Payment Industry

    Thursday, Mar. 31, 2011

    The Digital Payment Industry: Where It Is & Where It's Going.

    Presented by: Scott Thompson, President - PayPal

    April 18th
    4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
    Lucas Hall 126

    Sponsored by the Retail Management Institute & Department of Marketing

    To register email - dgustafson@scu.edu

    PayPal
  •  NY visit to Calvin Klein

    Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011

    On Tuesday, January 11, 2011, we had the pleasure of visiting Calvin Klein’s men’s sportswear showroom and CRK, which is Calvin Klein’s internal advertising agency that manages all of the brand’s advertising and marketing endeavors. We were able to catch up with Ken Duane, the Vice Chairman of Phillips-Van Heusen, Calvin Klein’s parent company, and member of the Retail Management Institute’s Advisory Board. In addition, we met with Molly Yearick, the President of Calvin Klein sportswear. After hearing about Calvin Klein’s wholesale business and how Molly ended up in the industry, we walked down the block to CRK to visit with Michael DeLellis, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Advertising. Michael and his team showed us a video about the history of Calvin Klein’s advertisements and walked us through their new media endeavors, including their recent QR Code billboard where people could take a picture of the billboard with their smart phone and then automatically see the new Calvin Klein video on their phone. The entire experience was beyond exciting, helped us gain a better experience of the Calvin Klein brand, and exposed us to what the company has done to remain one of the most respected and relevant brands in the world for more than forty years.

  •  A Day in the Life at Hugo Boss

    Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011

    Today we went to the Hugo Boss office to meet with Mark Brashear, CEO and President of Hugo Boss Americas. We were able to speak with him about his career path as well as one of his colleagues, Chelsea, about what direction Hugo Boss is going in. Mark Brashear began his career working for Macys, followed by working for Nordstrom. He then branched off to work for Facconable when Nordstrom decided to part with the brand, taking him to work in Paris. Two years ago he came to work for Hugo Boss Americas. Mark was also kind enough to offer some career advice. He emphasized that it is important to recognize that you must take wonderful opportunities that you are presented with and that your main goal must that you desire to achieve can be obtained through all of the experience and the path you take that leads up to it.


    Mark was kind enough to give us a tour of the Hugo Boss Showroom as well as a presentation overview on the company. Chelsea informed us that Hugo Boss has a 96% brand awareness in the United States and that they are greatly focusing on e-commerce. They have recently been very much looking into paying a lot of attention to Facebook, Twitter, and Hugo Boss TV. They are looking to target consumers through these channels in order to be able to keep up with the new trend of using mobile phones, as well as being able to target a wider range of consumers and expose the product.


    There are several different lines that they manufacture, including Boss Black, Boss Selection, Boss Orange, Boss Green, and Hugo by Hugo Boss. As we walked around the showroom we were able to see pieces from these collections. Hugo Boss is currently preparing for customers to come in and view the new product in the showroom, so we were able to see how they are preparing to display these items in this season's showing, coming up in a few days.


    The Hugo Boss office was AMAZING. It looks right over the Hudson River, and Mark said that he actually saw the plane when it crashed into the river. It was right after he had moved into the new office. You can see the Statue of Liberty from the other side of his office, and the showroom, though always changing, is also amazing. Mark is SUCH a nice man and is part of our Advisory Board. If you ever get the opportunity to meet him, don't hesitate to take it.

  •  Williams-Sonoma VP Shares E-View From the Top

    Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010

    Santa Clara RMI students were treated to a visit with a special guest in late October. Angela Caltagirone, vice president of e-marketing at Williams-Sonoma Inc. and an SCU alum herself, talked about her current position, where the industry is headed, and what to expect next.

    “I really encourage you guys to take a look at the Web aspect of retail as an area of interest because that’s where things are going,” advised Caltagirone to her eager student audience. After her junior year at SCU in the early 1990s, she interned at electronic retailer Good Guys.
     
    “I really think it paved the way to get the position at Williams-Sonoma right after I graduated,” she said – a position she took upon graduating from SCU. Caltagirone has been with the company for 18 years.  
     
    The petite and energetic businesswoman described the growth she witnessed at the company.
     
    “I was there in the late ’90s when we launched our e-programs. I think it’s been a fascinating decade – so much has changed at Williams-Sonoma, and so much more is to come.”
     
    The things that have changed include the launch of a sufficient e-mail program that includes a 50 million customer database and an 18 million e-mail address file. Aside from e-commerce, Williams-Sonoma’s other retail channels include stores and catalogs. Instead of isolating each channel with particular market segments, the company tries to get these three channels to work together, as two-thirds of its sales come from multi-channel shoppers. “The more we can get them to cross-pollinate, the better,” explained Caltagirone.
     
    Regardless of change, Caltagirone says the company stays true to one business fundamental.
     
    “We do not blend brands,” she said.
    Williams-Sonoma houses six brands within the company: Williams-Sonoma, Williams-Sonoma Home, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teen, and West Elm. “Each brand has a distinct customer…to blur them would be poor customer service.” Each endeavor for each brand has three goals: Conversion, Attribution, and Acquisition.
     
    Caltagirone also touched upon search engine optimization, better known as SEO within the industry. She explained the difference between paid and natural search and how to optimize Williams-Sonoma’s presence in the world of Google.
    Natural search refers to a company’s “natural” rankings within the Google results list. “It’s all about winning the popularity contest with Google to get your search result to the top,” she explained. In order to win the contest, a combination of good, descriptive coding and URL names and having your Web site linked on other prestigious sites is needed. “Having our site linked on credible Web sites such as cnn.com, or .gov’s and .edu’s is huge for Google rankings. We should probably work out some sort of link on the Santa Clara Web site,” she said with a wink.
     
    Paid search is a different beast. When it comes to paid search, “We love Google and we hate Google,” Caltagirone said. With a 50-cent charge per click, paid search ads do not come cheap. “We’re always telling our employees, don’t click! don’t click!” she said with a laugh.
     
    Williams-Sonoma does have some advantages in its relationship with Google. Currently, Williams-Sonoma is part of a new local search initiative in which it sends Google daily inventory reports so potential consumers can see what is in stock in their area.
     
    The company has also created its own YouTube channel for the various brands, which was an instant success.
    As far as what is to come for the e-marketing facet of Williams-Sonoma, the future looks bright. Caltagirone and her 15-person team have dabbled in Facebook ads, a fantastic tool that provides a ton of demographic insight given the nature of the social media site.
     
    Additionally, a few months ago, Williams-Sonoma launched mobile sites. The sales aren’t huge – yet.
     
    “We get 5 percent or less of our sales from mobile, but we expect to see it grow dramatically. I’ve heard that by 2015 mobile will completely outpace the desktop.” Caltagirone’s strong leadership can clearly be credited with anticipating the trend and getting in front of it.
RMI 
 
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