Innovative Retail Technologies

MAY-JUN 2017

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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While his current professional situation is fortuitous, perhaps even destined, it certainly wasn't taken for granted. Finnegan's prowess with a fly rod and his appreciation for wild places notwithstanding, it was his noteworthy 15-year tenure crafting differentiated customer experiences at Build-A-Bear Workshop that landed him his current gig. I sat down with Finnegan to find out how he got so good at creating brand- specific consumer experiences, and more specifically, experiences that can't be found anywhere else. I found out that his time at Build-A-Bear played a big role. His leader there played an even bigger one. Watch And Learn "When Maxine Clark hired me to head up the IT department at Build-A-Bear, we were operating just two stores," says Finnegan. He counts Clark, the recently retired CEO and founder of Build-A-Bear, among his life heroes. "She's the one who inspired me to think about customers the way I do, to observe them and the way they interact, and to treat them accordingly," he says. Her practicality, in particular, left an impression on him. "We didn't have a handbook, because we simply defaulted to 'yes' at Maxine's request," Finnegan recalls. "She used to tell us, ' There's nothing the customer can reasonably ask you for that will put us out of business, so just say yes.'" With that sort of latitude at his disposal, Finnegan's work at Build-A-Bear contributed to a truly revolutionary level of customization and personalized experiences there. In his work then, as it is now, technology is tertiary. Customers and associates tie for first, and processes are developed around their interactions. "I've spent a ton of time in stores, observing and watching customer interactions. Invariably, what I've noted is that an amazing human interaction is what drives the greatest return. It's not a touch screen interaction or engagement with an application. It's an acknowledgment between two humans making a connection." There's more formality than meets the 25 May-June 2017 THE SAFES WITH AN INFINITE NUMBER OF COMBINATIONS. Create the cash-handling and cash-reporting system that's completely your own. Validate, secure, dispense, manage, and account for every transaction on any combination of devices you choose — while enjoying flexibility, security, technology, remote serviceability and unparalleled quality. With FireKing, the options are limitless. See how Ascent can take you to the top. safes will get you there. Only once we had determined what sort of a connection and tone we wanted to establish between our associates and our customers did we begin to think about in-store technology. Dave Finnegan, CXO, Orvis

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