Justice Hampton | Merchandising In The Digital Era & How To Do It Effectively In China

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Topics Discussed and Key Points:

● How has merchandising transformed in the age of eCommerce?

● Justice’s typical day as Director of Merchandising at WPIC

● Examples of companies that exemplify effective online merchandising

● Why it is so difficult to master online merchandising

● Global merchandising trends, specifically focusing on trends in China

● The future of merchandising globally and in China

● Why did WPIC develop its merchandising capabilities?

Episode Summary:

Today on The Negotiation, we speak with Justice Hampton, Director of Merchandising at WPIC Marketing + Technologies.

Justice joined WPIC in March 2021, bringing with him 15 years of experience in merchandising. He previously held roles at a number of luxury apparel brands, including Lululemon, Abercrombie & Fitch, Coach, Ralph Lauren, and Club Monaco.

Justice speaks on how the world of merchandising changed forever with the rise of the digital era. At the same time, the fundamentals remain the same, and these fundamentals should, in fact, be the basis of all decisions made by the merchandising department. That is, social media and eCommerce platforms are at their most powerful when they are used to “amplify the things that you [already] do at the brick-and-mortar level”.

Asked for the best examples of digital merchandising done well, Justice points to menswear brand Mr. Porter for its masterful translation of the unique visual and tactile experience of shopping in-store to the online shopping environment.

Justice looks at the market in China as “aggressive” wherein consumer products are advertised—in large part by KOLs—as “need-to-haves” more often than not. Chinese consumers also spend a large amount of time on Tmall beyond browsing for products to buy. True to its name, Tmall is very much the new mall-going experience for the modern Chinese.

For every new social media platform adopted by the masses, the merchandising world evolves. From Facebook to Instagram, and now to TikTok, the online marketplace has found itself having to adapt to changing consumer trends at a faster rate than at any other time in history.

Key Quotes:

“Despite all the changes, what makes a really solid merchandising strategy is being able to use digital technology to amplify the things that you do at the brick-and-mortar level. You have all these amazing ways to accentuate your product story and meet the consumers where they are on multiple platforms.”

“One of the really cool things that certain online brands do really well is, they take best [practices for great] in-store experience and they figure out a way to replicate [them] as seamlessly as possible online.”

“You can localize a brand by having the right look that is appropriate for the country, having the right logos, having the right copy, and having the right visual experience online. But you also have to localize the assortment. This is where the merchandising role comes in.”

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