We’re always thinking, sharing, and growing.

May

15

Even though women comprise half the retail workforce, they are often underrepresented in management roles. We’d like to turn the spotlight on these Premium women tackling key areas of the business to deliver innovation and results for our clients.

 

Melissa Raethka, EVP, Field Operations

Melissa started at Premium as a Regional Operations Director back in 2010. She took a temporary hiatus from the company for an overseas assignment in Italy due to her husband’s job in the United States Air Force.

However, shortly after her return to the States, Melissa relocated to Premium’s St. Louis headquarters for an expanded role as our Vice President of Operations. As an Air Force veteran herself, Melissa brings unparalleled focus and rigor to the task of ensuring our field team is set up for success. She’s been instrumental in formalizing processes and metrics-based scorecards designed to ensure capacity, proficiency and quality assurance for our clients. Melissa also advocated for Premium to collaborate with a geospatial expert to create efficiencies in routing our reps in relation to store locations.

In her current role as EVP, Field Operations, Melissa oversees about 4,500 personnel from field reps to managers and directors as well as Premium’s Operations Support Center and all of Recruiting. That’s nearly 1/3 of Premium’s total employees! Essentially anyone at Premium who finds, onboards and manages day-to-day operations of our field workforce is impacted by Melissa’s leadership.

Premium President David Yenzer says “Melissa’s deep thought to ensure we are setting up our clients for success has been absolutely instrumental to our growth.”

Melissa is a perfect example of how professional growth opportunities are attainable within the retail service industry. She started as a field rep and credits the many years she spent directly managing reps for the essential perspective she has as a leader today.

Melissa says “I firmly believe that success requires an equal mix of attitude and passion. It directs our thoughts, our energy, and most of all, the actions we take.”

 

Kris Ventimiglia, VP, Enterprise Compliance

Kris has worked in the retail industry for nearly 25 years. When she joined Premium 20+ years ago as a Regional Manager, Premium was a much smaller company. Kris has climbed the ranks at Premium, moving into an Account Director role, then Team Director, and most recently, Senior Director of Strategic Accounts. This perfect mix of expertise in client service coupled with a background in field operations positions Kris well for her current role as VP, Enterprise Compliance.

Universally regarded as one of Premium’s most knowledgeable resources, Kris ensures Premium’s standardized processes are followed as well as continuing to build out the infrastructure for our continued growth. Kris personally reviews service requests for accuracy, a process that delivers quality assurance to all client MSAs and SOWs. She proactively identifies contract issues related to store visit length, project instructions or billing, and validates that issues have been corrected prior to the execution of service. And no, she’s not Premium’s Chief of Police. Kris is also the 2021 Executive Sponsor of Premium’s Culture Team.

Kevin Travers, Premium’s Co-CEO, says, “Kris’s methodical approach to driving consistent business processes are a key part of the ROI we deliver to clients.”

 

Jessi Curtis, VP, Strategic Accounts

Prior to joining Premium as a National Training Manager in 2012, Jessi worked as a Field Sales Development Manager for Echostar Communications and spent seven years as Hewlett-Packard’s Training Manager. Today, she continues to lead our long-term and valued partnership with Lenovo operating under three core tenants – decisions based on data, passion for the brand and the product, and people as the #1 resource. After five years of excellence, results continue to get better and stronger with key selling seasons delivering 85x ROI.

Premium President Dick Doyle believes “Jessi’s can-do attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes for our clients’ success is at a bar that everyone should shoot for. I am always blown away by the high level of praise and partnership that she’s been able to achieve with her clients and her field teams. It’s a testament to her passion and commitment to the business and her team.”

“Jessi’s can-do attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes for our clients’ success is at a bar that everyone should shoot for.”

Jessi is known for visiting stores personally, training herself on every product, and reaching out to every single person on the program regularly. Her focus on respect and genuine care for one another, as well as fostering an environment for learning and growth, is noted by many on the team who describe their program as a family.

 

Kathy Risch, VP, Consumer Insights and Analytics

Kathy has over 20 years of experience at major CPG companies, holding Consumer Insights & Marketing leadership positions at P&G, Neutrogena, Taco Bell, Paramount Pictures, and Anheuser-Busch.

At Premium, Kathy’s focus is wide-ranging. In addition to leading a team of 20+ analysts, Kathy directs Premium’s best practices for consumer insights and analytics tools and methodologies. A day for her can consist of authoring and leading a shopper survey, conducting 1:1 qualitative interviews with field teams to add context to market data, and uncovering actionable insights from consumer path-to-purchase research. With our diverse toolbox, Premium is able to add layers of insights on top of retail sales data and Esri MPI (market potential index) data to optimize field coverage for the largest possible sales opportunity. She also regularly consults with clients to ensure Premium’s business intelligence dashboards are effective and actionable for the various needs of leadership and field teams down to the market, retailer, and store level.

Kathy’s broad marketing and consumer insights expertise, combined with her strategic thought leadership, have contributed to the growth of several Premium clients. You can read more of her perspective on business intelligence here.

 

Emily Cacic, Director, Digital Strategy

Emily’s expertise in driving 1:1 engagement and customer loyalty in retail evolved over the course of a decade producing integrated marketing campaigns. With her brand and retailer clients, Emily led the deployment of innovative initiatives blending experiential and digital tactics.

With high levels of curiosity and creative energy, Emily focuses on developing omnichannel and shopper-focused strategies for Premium and its clients. To hear more of her perspective, read Staying Ahead of Retail’s Continuing Evolution or The Myth of the One-Stop-Shop.

It’s an exciting time in retail, and at Premium! Meet more Premium leaders here.

Apr

16

You’ve certainly heard about the importance of delivering an “omnichannel path to purchase” or a “seamless shopper journey.” Frankly, these concepts can seem abstract and complicated, especially when you’re laser-focused on driving sales. But, if you think about what steps you take as a shopper, you’ll realize they are simply modern descriptions of how people shop (or would like to shop).

Imagine you’re in the market for a new tablet, a stroller, or even a hair styling product. You’ll likely start your path to purchase by gathering intelligence online. Feedvisor research found that 86% of all new product searches begin on Amazon or a search engine such as Google.

After you’ve gone down the rabbit hole of online reviews, endorsements, and videos, you’re probably headed to a store to find out if the product lives up to its online reputation.

Shoppers across all categories are doing their due diligence, researching online before buying offline (ROBO for short) and entering the store more knowledgeable than ever before.

Fifty-eight percent of health, fitness & beauty, 41% of electronics, and 36% of baby purchases are researched online before purchased offline.

At the same time, there’s still a crucial segment of showrooming consumers (more than 55%) who visit stores to browse or test products before purchasing online. In fact, a recent Forrester study found 60% of men and 52% of women visit 2 or more retailers during their product search.

All of this is to say, the physical store can be the end of the journey, the beginning, or one of many stops along the way.

These shifts in buying behavior prove it’s still important for shoppers to see products in person, validate their research, and seek answers to questions from a category expert. Without thinking, shoppers expect in-store staff to have category and product knowledge at the same level as AI. A knowledgeable customer expects that if they’ve done their research, a retail associate must also be an expert.

Getting to “We don’t care where you buy it.”

The change in dynamics and expectations requires a speedy shift in tactics and in mindset. Depending on your organizational structure and the partners you have in place, making this shift is easier said than done.

Brands continue to frequently drive internal teams to deliver on separate physical retail and online retail sales goals, leaving many of our clients pressured to illustrate direct ROI for brick and mortar spend. Accurate cross-channel measurement continues to be a challenge, as most attribution models account for a limited number of consumer touchpoints.

Measurement will only continue to challenge us because shoppers don’t give much thought to the benefit or consequence of where they choose to buy. They’re not thinking about whether their purchase will be attributed back to the field sales manager, the individual store, or to a physical retailer vs. an online marketplace. They’re thinking about how fast they can get it, their level of confidence it’s the best price and how easy it will be to return it if they determine it’s not the right item.

How to Accommodate the New Role of Stores.

To show ROI for physical retail, we must acknowledge the evolving role stores play in shoppers’ lives. Omnichannel is the cost of doing business with shoppers expecting harmony between the digital and physical shopping experience.

By 2023, 58% of U.S. retail sales will be digitally impacted, meaning those sales will either occur online or may occur in-store but will be influenced by digital technologies.

Bazaarvoice analyzed more than 4.5 million data points from 32 global retailers across key product categories to confirm that almost half (45%) of brick-and-mortar sales start with an online review, which marks a 15% year-over-year increase.

There’s an incredible opportunity to anticipate consumers looking for guidance on mobile and to accommodate them by answering questions and misperceptions in real time.

The low-hanging fruit is all the insight gleaned from online product reviews. Because reviews play a key role in consumer discovery and experience, brands and retailers need to pay attention to the content of those reviews. Using natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML), we can uncover customer perceptions, buying patterns and product use cases more accurately than by manual analysis.

Want to better engage your channel-surfing shopper? Premium is here to help with that too. We guide clients in testing a diversified mix of engagement tactics across social, online marketplaces, mobile apps and messaging platforms. It’s the holy grail of influencing shoppers in every stage and goes further to connect online efforts to offline sales (or vice versa). Contact us today!

Mar

1

On February 28, 2019, Premium Retail Services, in partnership with Best Buy, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis (BGCSTL), Gateway PGA Reach and Bellerive Country Club celebrated the grand opening of the first-ever St. Louis Best Buy Teen Tech Center at the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club.

“Together, we’re delivering an incredible Teen Tech Center for our hometown of St. Louis.”

The 1,100 square-foot space creates a hands-on environment with cutting-edge technology that community youths can use to learn critical tech skills and prepare for tech-reliant jobs in the future including multi-media production, video, graphic and web design, and music production. The center also provides teens with college and career preparation. Each center works to address the opportunity gap by giving youth access to tech education, relationships that build confidence, and a foundation for school and career success.

Kevin Travers, Chief Executive Officer of Premium states, “As a proud partner of Best Buy for nearly two decades, Premium has committed to not only supporting this worthwhile cause financially, but also to help bring our valued partners at PGA Reach and Bellerive Country Club into the mix. Together, we’re delivering an incredible Teen Tech Center for our hometown of St. Louis.”

View the Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis press release here.