Plus, a look at where Amazon alums are bringing their expertise, and leadership hires at KDP, Shipt and UNFI.
Plus, a look at where Amazon alums are bringing their expertise, and leadership hires at KDP, Shipt and UNFI.
Welcome to On the Move. Every week, The Current is rounding up the coming and goings of leaders at brands and retailers across the ecommerce, retail and CPG landscape.
This week, Hormel Foods named the leader of a new innovation hub, Bonobos has a new CEO and Amazon veterans joined Squarespace and Hims & Hers. Plus, new supply chain leadership is coming aboard at Keurig Dr. Pepper and UNFI.
Here are the latest arrivals and departures:
Scott Aakre was named senior vice president of Brand Fuel at Hormel Foods. The leadership promotion follows Hormel’s announcement that it would evolve its operating model and stand up Brand Fuel, a new center of excellence that serves as the hub for innovation, consumer and shopper insights, brand diagnostics and supporting technology. The center will also house the company’s digital experience group, as well as the ecommerce and digital content team. Aakre joined the company in 1990, and was appointed to his most recent role of vice president of corporate innovation and new product development in 2011. Hormel Foods is a Fortune 500 company that oversees 30 brands, including Planters, Skippy and Spam.
Scott Aakre (Courtesy of Hormel Foods)
John Hutchison was named the new CEO at Bonobos, which he called “the OG digitally native vertical brand,” WWD reported. Hutchison joined the Walmart-owned apparel brand after roles at The North Face and Nike, and was most recently the president of fitness company TRX, and led a turnaround effort there. Hutchison succeeded Micky Onvural, who left the company in January. COO/CFO David Meir Sasson had been leading the company in the interim, and is now set to depart, as well.
Alison Loehnis is set to step into the interim CEO role at Italian fashion ecommerce platform Yoox Net-a-Porter on Oct. 31. Loehnis succeeds Geoffroy Lefebvre, who is stepping down to pursue a “private equity-backed entrepreneurial career” after 11 years with Net-a-Porter owner Richemont. Loehnis currently serves as president of Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter and The Outnet. She will serve in the interim CEO role until the closing of a deal that will see Richemont sell its stake in Net-a-Porter to Farfetch and Alabbar. At that point, an external CEO will be named.
Alison Loehnis. (Courtesy of Yoox Net-a-Porter)
Anne Bramman will step down from the role of chief financial officer at Nordstrom, effective Dec. 2. Bramman became the retailer’s CFO in 2017, and CEO Erik Nordstrom said her “leadership has been vital in helping us in many areas, particularly navigating the numerous challenges of the last few years.” Michael Maher, who is SVP and chief accounting officer, will serve as CFO in the interim while the company conducts a formal search.
Nathan Gooden was named chief financial officer and treasurer of Squarespace, the website builder that offers online selling tools. Gooden most recently served as CFO of Amazon Alexa Worldwide, and has more than two decades of financial leadership experience through firms including PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young.
Hims & Hers, the telehealth platform that provides access to treatment in areas including hair loss, dermatology and primary care, made two leadership appointments:
Masiar Tayebi was promoted to the role of EVP, chief strategy and information officer at food solutions company SpartanNash. Tayebi joined the company in April 2021 as chief strategy officer, and is now gaining the additional executive title overseeing the IT function. Tayebi previously served as Global Head of Corporate Strategy and Business Development at Whirlpool Corporation, and COO of Yummly.
Masiar Tayebi. (Courtesy of SpartanNash)
Mary-Farrell Tarbox was hired as VP of physical stores and retail operations at REI Co-op. REI chief commercial officer Cameron Jones called Tarbox “a proven leader in omni-channel operations.” Tarbox previously served as a regional vice president at Bed, Bath and Beyond, overseeing 370 stores. She also held senior leadership roles at Crate & Barrel, Petsmart, Inc. and Target Corporation.
Shipt, the on-demand delivery company owned by Target, made two key executive moves:
Alia Kemet. (Courtesy of Shipt)
Keurig Dr Pepper announced a reorganization in its supply chain structure. This included the promotion of three leaders into new roles:
Plus, check out peak holiday shopping weekend results shared by Klaviyo, Wayfair and Ace Hardware.
At Amazon, 2022 delivered the "biggest ever" Thanksgiving weekend to date.
ustomers purchased a record number of products from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, the company said in a news release Wednesday. Amazon did not disclose sales figures, while sharing that “hundreds of millions” of products were purchased.
"This was a record-breaking holiday shopping weekend for Amazon,” said Doug Herrington, Amazon’s CEO of Worldwide Stores, in a statement. “Customers shopped millions of deals this weekend and we have many more amazing deals to come.”
It came as record sales and traffic were reported for US ecommerce as a whole during the peak shopping weekend.
Despite the growth, Amazon is still expressing a cautious approach that led it to forecast more tepid sales growth over 2021 for the all-important holiday quarter. According to Bloomberg, CEO Andy Jassy said Wednesday that inflation is leading shoppers to seek deals.
“Consumers are spending, but they’re being careful about trying to stretch their dollar,” Jassy said at the New York Times DealBook conference.
This year, Amazon sought to get an early jump on the shopping holidays to reach bargain hunters. It began Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving, as many shoppers turned to their phones after dinner. For Cyber Monday, deals started on Saturday.
Over the Turkey 5, the best-selling categories were home, fashion, toys, beauty and Amazon devices. Electronics including Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, and Apple AirPods were the best-selling items. Other top sellers included Hasbro Gaming Connect 4, Burt’s Bees Christmas gifts, apparel from Champion, apparel and shoes from New Balance, the Amazon smart plug, Echo Show and Nintendo Switch.
Amazon said that more than $1 billion in sales were generated for US small businesses through the weekend. This includes third-party sellers that offer goods on Amazon’s marketplace and access its logistics services through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
“If the news of Amazon having the best Black Friday weekend in company history is any clue, it was historic for 3P sellers in many ways,” said Jon Elder, who consults with Amazon sellers as founder and CEO of Black Label Advisor.
Elder said that the vast majority of FBA sellers experienced “tremendous” year-over-year growth through the weekend.
“Sellers noticed that customers were hungry for deals like never before and coupons played especially well,” Elder said. “Some sellers opted to not sign up for deals and still experienced historic traffic and sales.”
Sellers also ramped up PPC, or pay-per-click, in which brands and sellers access sponsored product space to appear in prominent positions on the highly-trafficked marketplace.
“With inflation on the rise, it was more important than ever to increase brand awareness through PPC ads, including video ads. Expect to see brands make this a ‘best practice’ going forward,” Elder said.
Despite all the sales ringing up, Black Friday did bring one curve ball, as a glitch in Amazon’s ad tools led to inaccurate reporting of spend that misled brands and advertisers. According to Business Insider, the sitewide reporting error caused agencies and other ad buyers to either overspend, or miss out on sales as a result of underspending. While a spokesperson said the issue was fixed, it caused a state of confusion on retail’s most important day of the year, as many were forced to wait for a fix.
Nevertheless, the weekend's overall results serve as a reminder that the Thanksgiving shopping period remains the largest weekend of the year for ecommerce, even as Amazon has introduced Prime Day and this year’s early October holiday kickoff event, which it dubbed Prime Early Access Sale.
The Prime sale events are “unique to the Amazon ecosystem, but many Americans simply don’t show up for those events as much because of the time of the year," Elder said.
"Black Friday weekend remains king and the numbers prove that."
Here are a few more key data points over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend that were shared this week:
How many sales do the volumes of messages being sent by brands account for? One of the largest platforms is offering hard numbers. Klaviyo, which serves direct-to-consumer businesses, said revenue attributed to its SMS and email marketing messages reached $2.2 billion during Black Friday-Cyber Monday. That represents a 46% increase in dollars over 2021, while total order count reached 34% year-over-year. The growth was even more staggering in SMS-attributed sales alone, which grew 200% in dollars and $190 in order count.
Black Friday was the highest day for message sends, but Cyber Monday closed the gap from 2021, with 47% growth.
This came after businesses using the platform sent a combined 10.7 billion emails and text messages—up 41% from 2021.
While Klaviyo’s growth is likely a factor, it’s a fair bet that a shift toward owned marketing channels following Apple’s App Tracking Transparency played a role in this growth.
A pair of retailers in the furniture and home improvement categories released sales results showing growth.
Wayfair, the furniture home goods marketplace, reported a “low single digit sales increase” over 2021 for Thanksgiving weekend. Over the five days, 73% of the orders were from repeat customers, while “hundreds of thousands” of new customers ordered from Wayfair for the first time. Wayfair said its revenue strengthened following an early November earnings call, in which the company shared its revenue was down 10% quarter-to-date.
Ace Hardware, meanwhile, may known for its local stores, but ecommerce was the focus of its holiday update. Black Friday brought a record online sales day for the home improvement and tools retailer, posting 45% growth over 2021. Cyber Monday also saw a year-over-year jump of 33%. Ace said demand spiked for grills and smokers, electric mowers and snow blowers, while power tools also remained a popular category. In all, Ace saw a 33% increase in ecommerce sales over 2021 during the five-day weekend.
Ace sells through its ecommerce site, but its omnichannel model remains heavily linked to its neighborhood-level stores. The company said that 90% of online orders are either picked up in store, at curbside or delivered by store associates.
“Our continuous investments in the digital and omnichannel shopping experience make it easy for customers to shop Ace any way they prefer," said Bill Kiss, head of digital at Ace Hardware, in a statement.