Few career paths lead from toys to cannabis… In this episode, Tony hosts Cheri Mara, former Chief Commercial Officer at Ontario Cannabis Store. Cheri shares her retail career journey from Canadian Tire, to Walmart, to Ontario Cannabis Store, and highlights the omnichannel lessons learned along the way. Cheri discusses her thoughts on the importance of knowing customers’ buying behaviors, becoming an early adopter and finding like-minded peers, learning from other business models and not being afraid to venture into an emerging industry.
Understand what motivates your customer
Customer sales can be driven by many factors, and it’s not always price. Cheri stresses the importance of understanding why and how the customer chooses to buy, especially during the holiday season when product availability often matters more than price (especially in the toy segment). Digging into customer behavior and seeing that they were interacting seamlessly between in-store and online, built a strong case for creating an effective omnichannel model that aligned with demand and customer purchasing patterns.
Embrace what’s next
Omnichannel and digital transformation are regular conversations in today’s business world. But that wasn’t the case 10 years ago when key stakeholders weren’t as enthusiastic about building an omnichannel model. In Cheri’s case, it was pinpointing the processes, resources and people who could support omnichannel that led to her division piloting a global omnichannel integration that ultimately set their brand apart from the competition.
There’s data to glean–even in emerging industries
When an industry is relatively new, setting up strong data practices is a foundational step, but may be overlooked in the drive to build the business and become profitable. Transactional data can be a great place to start about the data connections between category, product and consumer, to gain a better understanding of what products will resonate with customers.