25 October 2022
On the Move: Red Wing Shoe's new CEO, Shopware names US lead
Plus, meet new executives at Purple, StockX and Xero Shoes.
Plus, meet new executives at Purple, StockX and Xero Shoes.
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, Red Wing Shoe Company appoints its first woman CEO, while Shopware adds a president for US operations. Plus, a look at the leaders taking key roles Purple, StockX and Xero Shoes.
Allison Gettings. (Courtesy photo)
Allison Gettings was named the next CEO of Red Wing Shoe Company. Gettings, who is currently the company’s president, will succeed Mark Urdahl upon his retirement. A 14-year veteran of the company, Gettings will be the first woman to lead the 117-year-old company. She played a key role in Red Wing's omnichannel adoption, led the launch of the Women's Heritage product line, served as president of the Vasque brand and stood up the company’s first corporate social responsibility department. Gettings is the great granddaughter of J.R. Sweasy, who served as CEO from 1921-1949.
Jason Nyhus. (Courtesy photo)
Jason Nyhus was appointed president and general manager of US operations for Shopware, the open source ecommerce platform provider. Previously, Nyhus served as an executive at ecommerce company Digital River. Earlier this year, Shopware raised $100 million from investors including Carlyle and PayPal to fuel international expansion. With this hire, the Germany-based company is preparing a stateside push.
“I look forward to helping us become well known in the U.S. market—where the sky's the limit—and further building upon our track record in Europe,” said Nyhus, in a statement.
Keira Krausz joined DTC mattress brand Purple as chief marketing officer. Krausz succeeds Patrice Varni, who stepped down to pursue other interests. Krausz gained direct-to-consumer experience in past CMO roles with digital health distribution platform HealthPlanOne and weight loss company Nutrisystem, Inc. The hire comes as Purple is weighing an acquisition bid from Coliseum Capital Management that could take the company private.
Paul Foley is the new head of brand protection at resale marketplace StockX. The role in part oversees product verification, which is a crucial step in ensuring items sold on the marketplace are authentic and deliver value. Foley brings prior experience in this area as well as supply chain and operations. He most recently served as Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Strategy at data intelligence firm Vi3, and also held senior positions at Nike, Converse and Reebok.
“Having built my career working with brands and in product verification, my focus will be on continuing to build StockX’s legacy through investing in new technology, building partnerships with brands, and further evolving its verification process to create the experience customers deserve,” Foley said, in a statement.
John Wadley. (Courtesy photo)
John Wadley joined Xero Shoes this month as VP of product development. Wadley came to the barefoot shoe brand from VF Corp.-owned Altra, where he was director of product innovation and sustainability. The brand said he brings “extensive knowledge and experience in performance running, trail running, and hiking shoe construction,” and will lead continuing innovation in Xero’s line of footwear.
Irina Mazur was appointed chief product officer at Revieve, a digital beauty platform that employs AI and augmented reality in modules for customers in areas such as skincare, makeup and nutrition. Mazur most recently served as chief commercial officer of Innit, and has also held executive-level roles at LabelInsights and SPINS.
Data helps Nike answer, "Who are the consumers we want to serve and what are they looking for?" said CEO John Donahoe.
Nike posted strong results in digital sales in its most recent quarter, as the apparel and footwear brand recorded 24% growth across apps and mobile.
At Nike, digital is a key part of the direct-to-consumer strategy that has become a priority for the brand in recent years as it exited or scaled back several important longtime wholesale partners.
“Looking ahead, [our Consumer Direct Acceleration strategy] continues to unlock our future growth potential by powering up our holistic offense across innovation, brand engagement and marketplace, all fueled by consumer insight,” CEO John Donahoe told analysts on the company’s recent earnings call. “As we know, consumers today have rising expectations and changing behaviors. What creates separation for Nike in this dynamic environment is our innovative product, brand scale and direct connections we have with our consumers.”
A key piece of this is customer data. This information is not only being harnessed to drive sales. Consumer insights play a growing role in the innovation process that creates new products. Talking to customers is nothing new among brands, but Nike's membership programs and other outreach efforts give it unique scale in identifying the next trends.
“Thanks to our consumers' love of our brand, we enjoy a high rate of engagement, fueling richer, deeper understanding,” Donahoe said. “Across the company, our insights model creates confidence in growth in ways that are uniquely Nike as we make the entire enterprise faster, more efficient and more targeted in the growth opportunities that we go after.”
Nike’s approach offers a window into how brands can leverage data that is gathered directly from customers. Known as first or zero-party data, this type of data is gaining increasing importance as third-party cookies and identity-based tracking tools fall out of favor due to privacy concerns.
Donahoe offered a look at three areas where Nike is using consumer insights:
In running, Nike is applying insight from the Nike Run Club app, as well as consumer feedback across brand touchpoints and marketplaces. When it found that Invincible wearers were putting more mileage on their shoes, it rolled out a new edition that was designed to provide more cushioning and comfort.
“Consumer response to the Invincible 3 was strong across our geos and throughout Nike Direct, strategic wholesale partners and running specialty doors,” Donahoe said. “And what really sets Invincible 3 apart is how we executed across the marketplace, driving consistent storytelling across channels, working closely with our partners to elevate our own retail presentation and theirs, all with a sharp focus on helping consumers find the right shoe for them.”
Runner feedback also led to the launch of a new shoe in complementary categories, such as the fast-growing trail running segment. This led to the launch of the Pegasus Trail 4, which is proving to be particularly popular among women.
In basketball, Nike is talking directly with athletes. They identified three key aspects of the game: cutting fast, playing long and jumping high. For instance, talking directly with WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu led to a shoe designed for cutting on a dime.
Air Max, which is an iconic Nike line, is “a great example of how we build significantly scaled businesses off our greatest performance innovations."
Using insights, the brand leverages qualitative and quantitative member data science as part of the brief process.
“We're able to ask ourselves, who are the consumers we want to serve and what are they looking for?” Donahoe said.
To create a shoe that is launching next week called Design by Japan Air Max 1 '87, Nike used polling data from the SNKRS app and local member surveys. At launch, the members who participated will be the first customers.
“Members who participated will be the first targeted for the shoe, creating NIKE's first full circle insights-to-shopping experience,” Donahoe said.
That’s how data shows up in what the consumer buys.