Meet The #RICE24 Digital Marketing & Ecommerce Advisory Council  - Retail Innovation Conference & Expo

Meet The #RICE24 Digital Marketing & Ecommerce Advisory Council 

This week, I’m excited to spotlight Meagen Johnson, CEO and Co-Founder of Stumbl, a marketplace to discover bargains and hidden treasures from designer brands and boutiques! 

Meagen is an experienced executive with over 23 years of marketing, commerce and marketplace experience. She is a passionate marketer who operates at the nexus of business, brand, and consumer insights. Meagen stands out because she does not take a conventional approach to marketing but rather sparks innovation by taking strategic risks. She is always looking for new approaches to marketing and is interested in disruptive strategies.  

Get to know more about Meagen and her thoughts on the evolved customer journey in the Q&A below!

Retail Innovation Conference & Expo (RICE): In your opinion, how would you define the evolved customer journey? 

Meagen Johnson: The customer journey is dynamic, spanning multiple channels and not following a strict, linear path. Customers can enter, exit, skip, or revisit various stages based on their unique needs and preferences. Thus, brands need to adopt a responsive and adaptable approach to engagement. Given the non-linear nature of these journeys, customers can engage via a myriad of channels. Brand interactions occur through various touchpoints, including social media, websites, mobile apps, physical stores, and more. These customers demand a consistent experience across all platforms, making customer experience (CX) a critical differentiator. For a brand to cultivate loyalty and advocacy, it must deliver exceptional CX throughout the customer journey, which includes seamless interactions, prompt issue resolution, and surpassing customer expectations. 

Today’s consumers are informed and empowered, with the ability to access extensive online information, compare products/services, review feedback, and seek advice from influencers or peers. This empowerment influences their decision-making at every stage of the journey. 

Personalization is a critical component of the modern customer journey. Consumers anticipate experiences tailored to their preferences, behaviors, and past interactions with the brand.  

The customer journey extends beyond the point of purchase. Post-purchase engagement is vital for nurturing enduring customer relationships. Data is pivotal in comprehending and enhancing the customer journey to cater to these evolved needs. Through data analytics, brands can gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and challenges, refining their strategies, personalizing experiences, and yielding better outcomes. 

Brands that adapt to these shifts and stop thinking of the customer journey as a funnel will achieve greater success by delivering value at every touchpoint. 

RICE: Is there a challenge or trend you’re most excited to tackle? 

Johnson: Addressing the issue of excess inventory and returns is a challenge that I am most excited to tackle. The off-price sector is booming due to an overwhelming abundance of inventory and returns and escalating prices, driving consumers to hunt for bargains. By 2030, the off-price industry is predicted to grow fivefold faster than full-price sales. The fashion industry is naturally prone to surplus, making it impossible to avoid leftovers altogether. 

Technological advancements like AI have paved the way for the digital replication of the unique treasure hunt experience associated with shopping. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores such as TJMaxx, Ross, Marshalls, Burlington, and outlet malls have long been the go-to for off-price consumers. Even though these stores have moved to online platforms, consumers are still on the hunt for more. The desire for online options has driven consumers to live shopping platforms like WhatNot and ShopShop, where they can snag incredible deals on their favorite brands, but only some people want to sit through a live shopping show to find that deal.  

Various e-commerce sites sell new-with-tag returns and excess inventory. However, until now, consumers have been unaware of where to find such inventory online due to the absence of a dedicated platform. This is precisely the gap that Stumbl aims to fill. Stumbl is an off-price marketplace that sells designer brands for less, enabling consumers to discover hidden gems through site discovery and live shopping at discounts of up to 85% off retail prices. Stumbl provides a platform for brands and retailers to offload their surplus inventory, extending the apparel’s lifespan and reducing landfill waste.  

RICE: What is your top tip to prevent burnout? 

Johnson: My top tip to prevent burnout is to remember it’s crucial to understand that you can’t pour it from an empty cup. This means that one can only give what they have. So, to ensure that you can consistently deliver your best, it’s essential to invest in yourself. Only when a leader is invested in improving themselves can that leader add value to others. This also sets a positive example for others on your team to follow, preventing burnout. This investment can take the form of time and resources dedicated to self-care. Self-care could include activities that relax you or activities that recharge your energy. It could be as simple as walking, reading a book, exercising, taking a break or vacation, or practicing mindfulness. The bottom line is that to prevent burnout, you need to take time to relax and recharge yourself regularly. This will keep you at top performance and reflect positively on your team and your leadership.  

RICE: What do you believe is the most underestimated leadership trait today? 

Johnson: The importance of altruistic leadership cannot be overstated, yet it fosters long-term growth, trust, and collaboration. Empowering your team and ensuring their success can drive the organization to achieve its goals through motivation and engagement. Such leaders inspire confidence and trust, and their support and care reassure employees, increasing productivity, fostering loyalty, and decreasing turnover costs. Rather than indicating fragility, selflessness demands the courage to put one’s ego aside for the benefit of the team or organization. 

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