Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 6814 STATE OF THE MAJORS 2016 According toWD Partners, that wave now is receding as technology and “digital native” consumers push retail into its third wave, characterized by a desire for quality items, an outstanding shopping experience and personal- ized customer service, says Lee Peterson,WD Partners’ executive vice president of brand strategy and design. “The third wave is all about what we are calling ‘better is better,’” better product, better employees, better store design, he says. That means it’s not just about online vs. off-line but, rather, which companies are better at checking all the boxes, delivering the right product at the right time and in the way the customer wants to receive it. That’s why brick-and-mortar retailers are upgrading their websites and giving customers the chance to buy online and pick up in store, or buy online while in the store and have it delivered to their homes. At Signet, CEO Mark Light said in an email interview with National Jeweler, its goal is to create an omnichannel experience that’s best in class, knowing that “customers interact with us first online.” The focus online is on personalization, showing customers products based on what they bought or looked at and aligning the online and in-store buying experiences. “At the end of the day,” Light says, “we must be able to engage our customers wherever and whenever they choose to (shop).And therefore we see omnichannel being a critical part of the jewelry experience.” The need to provide the desired experience also is why online-only retailers have been experimenting with brick-and- mortar spaces. As of this writing, Amazon reportedly is planning to open more pop-up shops and Blue Nile is set to have a total of five “webrooms” by the end of 2016. “It’s becoming clear that a segment of our customers wants our … experience in a physical environment,” Blue Nile CEO Harvey Kanter, who declined to be interviewed for this story, said on the company’s August 2016 earnings call. “We are bringing the online and off-line worlds together.” DIRECT DISTRIBUTION The desire to deliver a very specific experience to consumers also is why many formerly wholesale-only suppliers and brands say they are now selling direct online or opening their own stores. Giuliano Iannaccone, a partner at the New York law firm of Tarter, Krinsky & Drogin LLP, who chairs the firm’s international and retail practice groups, points to a pivotal scene in the movie Joy to explain why many brands are taking their business direct to consumers. In the film, Jennifer Lawrence plays self-made millionaire Joy Mangano, who puts her family’s security on the line to produce the self-wringing mop that she invented. But Mangano’s big break on QVC almost is ruined when the home shopping host selling her mop is a terrible flop. He doesn’t know how to “push” the mop, both literally and figuratively, so Mangano takes control. She convinces QVC to let her present the mop to the public; she is the one who invented it, after all, and she is the one who knows exactly how to sell it. It works. “That exemplifies in a very simplistic and very direct way what drives the shift from letting someone else handle your mop and doing it yourself,” Iannaccone says. Brands say they know that today’s consumers, partic- ularly the all-important millennial crowd, are much more selective about the brands with which they do business. Their reasoning for going direct, through an e-commerce “At the end of the day, we must be able to engage our customers wherever and whenever they choose to (shop).And therefore we see omnichannel being a critical part of the jewelry experience.” —MARK LIGHT, SIGNET JEWELERS 20 16 BLUE NILE #19 on $100M TJ MAXX #25 on $100M