Shopper Marketing - February 2018 - 14
SHOPPER MARKETING FEBRUARY 2018
More than 125 consumer
and retail executives
are represented in this
year's list of noteworthy
all of whom develop in-store
solutions that stand up to
the challenges of today's
dynamic retail environment.
MICROSOFT: ERIN MINOR, U.S. Retail Channel -
Visual Merchandising and Marketing Manager
rin Minor fell into visual merchandising by accident. She worked for Esprit and started decorating the windows and remerchandising some
of its stores. Then she went to work for Macy's
as a visual manager. After moving to Seattle, Minor
became the visual district manager for Banana Republic stores in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Idaho,
followed by a stint at REI for merchandising, fi xture
development and new store openings.
Minor decided to change her focus from soft goods
to consumer electronics when an opportunity arose at
Microsoft to work with the Xbox team. After three years
as the Xbox U.S. visual merchandising manager, she
recently moved to the Windows and Office team as the
U.S. visual merchandising manager.
What are your current responsibilities?
MINOR: As the Windows PC and Office visual mer-
chandising manager for all U.S. retailers, I develop
marketing materials and fixtures and support product launches in the U.S. I support the brand and give
worldwide guidance for Microsoft.
Describe the structure of your organization as
it relates to merchandising, including how you
interact with shopper marketing and with insights.
MINOR: Everything begins with our business group/
brand team and is then shared with the worldwide category and visual merchandising teams to create brand-appropriate messaging, brand imagery and priorities. The U.S.
team then adapts the worldwide direction and customizes
it per retailer to fit into each one's retail environment.
How does your company deﬁne success for its instore marketing programs?
MINOR: We leverage our labor team to install and ex-
ecute programs and follow up with audits. We rely on
our retailers to share sales and are at their mercy to track
sales metrics and determine sell through of product.
Since we also have Microsoft Office products, we look
to attach sales of Office to every PC sale. In regards to
the visual merchandising team, we measure our success by allowing ourselves to explore, test and roll out
new programs to keep our ideas fresh and always on the
forefront of good design or better customer experience.
How has the emergence of the omnichannel shopper
inﬂuenced your overall approach to merchandising?
MINOR: Microsoft tries to tie a similar messaging, look
and feel of our online and in-store assets going to the
retail partners for consistency. We do try to incorporate
learnings on how customers shop online to influence
our tactics in recommendations for merchandising solutions at brick-and-mortar stores.
What are the important characteristics of a
mutually beneﬁcial merchandising collaboration
between a manufacturer and retailers?
MINOR: Trust and transparency. I need to know that
MINOR: One of my most memorable moments was
my ﬁrst visual merchandising job. It was a small company on the California coast with only 15 stores. We
didn't have a large budget but we had big ideas. I
knew some people on the Nordstrom's visual team
who were willing to sell me some previous displays,
mannequins and props. I drafted a proposal to our
CFO on why we needed this and what it could do
to our retail stores since we were in the process of
upgrading the stores, product and presence in these
small beach towns. Once it was approved, the visual
team (myself and one trimmer) painted, rebuilt and
added to the props. We were able to do window displays to launch a summer campaign that brought rave
reviews from customers and local newspapers.
they think of me as the expert so I can bring new ideas
and they are open to it. Having a trusting relationship
also allows them to tell me their struggles/frustrations
so we can work together to solve problems.
How has merchandising changed in recent years?
What trends are happening now?
MINOR: I used to do amazing window displays and
lots of trim 20 years ago. That has definitely changed.
Space is at a premium and used for selling product to
get the most out of sales per square feet. Visual merchandising has become more about product placement
and maximizing space. I think we will see the pendulum swing and see more retailers trying to tell stories
through visual displays. I believe this will be how retailers will be able to define their unique voice.
What role do you foresee the physical store
playing in the future?
MINOR: Maybe because I am truly a visual merchan-
diser at heart, I think there will always be a place for
physical stores. I don't think showrooming will become
the way of the future. I think people want to experience and play with product. I could see the retail space
becoming a place for people to learn, play and experience. Products will become curated with exclusives
and bring consumers back into the retail space on a
regular cadence to find out what is new.
- Institute Staff
MINOR: Best Buy had not updated the gaming section in its stores for a while. Since we were looking for
a completely new approach, I reached out to agency
WD Partners for concepts. Working solely with the
agency, we had a clear creative direction and were
able to sell it to Best Buy with the partnership of the
sales account executive. It allowed messaging for
new game and product launches. It took the interactive TV screen and created a shroud and call to action
for customers to engage with. We tested it in three
stores prior to the holiday and saw great results in
sales and customer engagement. Best Buy adopted
the new concepts and began looking at the next step
to reﬁne, value engineer for cost effectiveness and
roll out to the entire chain.
Photo by Jovelle Tamayo