Global E-Commerce Leaders Podcast

Catherine Hoffman Seaton, VP Marketing at Windsor Fashions & Caroline Nuckolls, Head of Sales - Americas at Bambuser live from GELF 2023 in LA

Episode Summary

Greetings and welcome to a special episode recorded live in the on-site Stream Commerce podcasting studio at the Los Angeles Global eCommerce Leaders Forum in early 2023. In this episode, we meet Catherine Hoffman Seaton, Vice President of Marketing at Windsor Fashions & Caroline Nuckolls, Head of Sales - Americas at Bambuser

Episode Notes

Greetings and welcome to a special episode recorded live in the on-site Stream Commerce podcasting studio at the Los Angeles Global eCommerce Leaders Forum in early 2023. These episodes are presented by Stream Commerce, a full-service Shopify Plus eCommerce agency delivering world-class Shopify Plus digital storefronts & growth marketing solutions. Stream Commerce can help you navigate the new Markets, Markets Pro and Global-e international capabilities native to Shopify and work hand-in-hand to help you drive profitable global sales.

And if you have questions about whether or not your international Klaviyo email marketing and paid performance marketing with Meta and Google is working as hard as you are, call the experts at Stream Commerce; they can help you maximize your return.

The Global eCommerce Leaders Forum LA 2023 offered retail professionals strategic insights and actionable takeaways about how industry leaders are tackling their top Global DTC and cross-border eCommerce challenges – and how they are successfully making a case for investing in global retail growth. 

In this episode, we meet Catherine Hoffman Seaton, Vice President of Marketing at Windsor Fashions & Caroline Nuckolls, Head of Sales - Americas at Bambuser 

If you liked this podcast, you can follow it on Apple iTunes, Spotify, Google, the Amazon Music podcast channel or your favourite podcast platform. Please rate and review with a five-star rating and be sure and recommend us to a friend or colleague in the retail and cross-border commerce industry.

You can learn more about the Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum and continue to keep up with the latest on cross-border commerce online at   Be sure and block off your calendar for the next GELF event in New York City on October 12, 2023!   I'm your host Michael LeBlanc, strategic retail advisor, keynote speaker and podcaster, and you can learn more about me on LinkedIn. 

About Catherine

As head of the global marketing team at Windsor, my focus is on engaging and inspiring customers across all touch points to drive brand awareness and loyalty. This includes leading all strategy, budget, operations and team across:

-Performance Marketing (seo, sem, pla, display, paid social, affiliate)
-Customer Marketing (crm, loyalty, email, sms)
-Community Marketing (owned social, influencer, blog)
-Brand Marketing (pr, partnerships)
-Retail Marketing (in store marketing, local marketing, mall marketing) 
-Creative Graphic Design and Copy
-Windsor Live

With over 20 years experience in leading data driven customer centric marketing teams for multichannel retailers, I have held roles at brands such as Gap, Harry & David, Harbor Freight Tools, HSNi, Torrid and Windsor. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and my MBA from Dominican College and currently reside in southern California where I enjoy the year round sunshine.

About Michael

Michael LeBlanc  is the Founder & President of M.E. LeBlanc & Company Inc and a Senior Advisor to Retail Council of Canada as part of his advisory and consulting practice.   He brings 25+ years of brand/retail/marketing & eCommerce leadership experience, and has been on the front lines of retail industry change for his entire career.  Michael is the producer and host of a network of leading podcasts including Canada’s top retail industry podcast,       The Voice of Retail, plus  Global eCommerce Leaders podcast, and The Food Professor  with Dr. Sylvain Charlebois.    You can learn more about Michael   here  or on     LinkedIn. 

Be sure and check out Michael's latest venture for fun and influencer riches - Last Request Barbecue,  his YouTube BBQ cooking channel!

Episode Transcription

Michael LeBlanc  00:05

Greetings and welcome to a special episode recorded live in the onsite stream commerce podcast in studio at the Los Angeles Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum in early 2023. These episodes are presented by stream commerce a full service Shopify Plus E commerce agency, delivering world class Shopify Plus digital storefronts and growth marketing solutions. Stream commerce can help you navigate the new markets, markets Pro and global e international capabilities native Shopify, and work hand in hand to help you drive profitable global sales. And if you have questions about whether or not your international claim to email marketing and paid performance marketing with meta and Google is working as hard as you are called the experts to stream commerce, they can help you maximize your return. The Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum la 2023, offered retail professional strategic insights and actionable takeaways about how industry leaders are tackling their top global DTC and cross border e commerce challenges how they're successfully making a case for investing retail growth. On this episode, Catherine Hoffman, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Windsor fashions, is joined on the mic by Caroline knuckles, Head of Sales for the Americas from bamboozle. Let's listen in now. Ladies, welcome to the podcast. Thank you for joining me how you doing this morning? Doing good.


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton 01:18

Thanks for having me.


Michael LeBlanc  01:19

Well, it isn't actually this morning, right? The days marshaling along, we're already early afternoon. So thanks for taking the time to stop and chit chat. For the podcast. Let's start at the beginning. Let's talk about each of you and what you do for a living and a bit of your background. So Katherine, let's start with you. Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do for lunar surface. I'm


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  01:37

the VP of Marketing at Windsor stores. We've been around since about 1937 have about 325 locations throughout the US. I've been doing marketing for a long time, over 25 years started off on the data side. Way before data was sexy.


Michael LeBlanc  01:51

Yeah. Fantastic. Now how did you get into that? How did you we all were you always interested in retail or back into it from data like some people describe retail as the accidental career a little bit?


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  02:02

It was totally random. Not at all. But I went to school for got a job as an administrative assistant actually receptionist work in the front desk, moved into an account manager role and then moved over in house and have just kind of always said yes, to try new things. And that's how you keep growing.


Michael LeBlanc  02:19

And where are you basically based here? You're in LA, you're in LA and lifelong. You Born and raised, or did you move here army brat, so lived all over a bunch of different places. Right? Let's talk about Windsor a little bit. You know, who's your typical customer? What's the parallel look like? Where do you trade you're here to global conference. So you have physical stores in America.


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  02:36

We have physical stores in the US and Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico. Okay, we're about to open stores in Canada this year. Oh, yeah. Exciting. Welcome. I'm


Michael LeBlanc  02:42

based in Toronto. So we're about where we're starting. Very good. There we go. Okay, you got you got to reveal. Where are you going? Are you going to one of the malls are standalone. Okay. We'll come to the city. And you know if anybody needs a tour, take you around. Fantastic. So you started to branch out both physically and obviously,


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  03:03

shipping internationally or many commerce perspective? For sure.


Michael LeBlanc  03:06

Right, on, right on. All right. So let's talk. Let's talk about bamboo. Now, Sophie has been on the podcast before, but we haven't met. So let's start the beginning. Tell me about yourself and what you do. And then we'll talk to the folks not everybody heard the last interview talk about bomb Bowser. And then we'll talk about what brings you two together? Sure. In that context. Yeah,


Caroline Nuckolls  03:25

sounds good. So Hi, I'm Caroline knuckles. I'm head of sales for the Americas at BM boozer? I've been with the company just over two years. My background is in SaaS. So I've been in retail SAS technologies for going on 10 years now. And I guess, yeah, retail kind of is the accidental career. I did several things before that was in publishing at Conde Nast, some other media companies and kind of found my way here. I've always been interested by the intersection of sort of fashion and technology, and found a way to build a career in that


Michael LeBlanc  04:00

interest. Okay, let's talk about demo. So now I've always I immediately, I kind of liked the company. I spent seven years in interactive TV retail, basically the Shopping Channel, which is like the QVC in Canada. So I'm very, I have a great understanding of that format. But tell me about what Bombay was a dozen. Yes,


Caroline Nuckolls  04:18

yeah. So Bambuser were a Swedish company headquartered in Stockholm, but global now. So our US offices in New York, but we are specialists in video commerce. So we've had our kind of heritage and live streaming, since all the way back in 2007. Were the first to develop the ability to livestream from like even pre smartphone on the old Nokia phones. But since 2019, we pivoted after seeing what was going on in Asia with social commerce and the explosion of live streaming there. So built in the interactive and shoppable elements, package ourself as a SaaS solution and have been focusing on on the retail industry.


Michael LeBlanc  04:56

And Kevin, did you go looking for that in terms of a company capability or was it just something that, you know, you, you saw that there are providers doing the kind of thing because I know how hard it is I see on your site, you've got hosts, you're obviously doing live streaming. So I really want to pick a part of that. So how did this come together to begin with, did you


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  05:14

it was very intentional for us. So during having stores, right, that was how we really connected with our customers. And then COVID happened. And we realized in 2020, that we really needed to find ways to connect even better with our customers digitally, right. So we set about launching Windsor live. And we launched it two years ago, native on social platforms. So we were live streaming on Facebook, and Instagram and TikTok. And that was that was great. It was a great introduction, we stepped into it very intentionally, we built a studio, we hired a producer, we hired three hosts. And we went right out the gate with five shows a week. Wow. So lots of we were really open in testing and just trying things. But we were very intentional. And we are going to do this and see if we can make it work. And we know it's not going to work right out the gate. But we're going to invest in it very seriously as a business because we think that it's a really important experience to give our customers and then about, I'd say probably 910 months ago, I started really looking at migrating that experience on site. So that it was exclusive content that we gave our customer when she came to visit us on Windsor looked at probably 10 different players in the space Bambuser being one of them, and ended up landing with Bambuser for a host of reasons. functionality, pricing, ease of implementation, kind of all of those pieces and have been lived with them now for a little over a month.


Michael LeBlanc  06:43

So let's step back a bit when you talk about hiring hosts. So I'm very again pretty familiar with hosts and hiring hosts and talent. And people both on the the modern platforms and existent talents take a couple of ways. So some retailers will go look inside. First sometimes have you decided to hire hosts that were professional on air people like what was your talk about your thinking and your approach and your strategy, but then


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  07:07

they were and there's we have hosts in a couple of different ways. So one of the things we do as part of marketing at Windsor is we work with a lot of influencers, and a lot of influencers do a lot of live video. So we definitely looked within that space to find hosts. Because a lot of them are already naturally doing live video are very comfortable in front of the camera, love fashion, because that's what they do. And so it was a very natural fit to just kind of carry that over into our relationship and partnership with them. We also looked really intentionally at people who are hosts and totally different type of recruiting, right, very different sites to recruit from types of job descriptions. And so we brought in a little bit of both, and we have a mix of hosts that are really more traditional from that side of the business. And then we have guest hosts that are influencers and so every month we have a little bit about what's going on.


Michael LeBlanc  08:01

It is a real real skill. Carolyn, when you when you talk to clients, you know, I know a bit about this skill of it's one thing to talk about a product, it's another to kind of move through, you know, like the product ladder of you know, functional technical emotional benefits and then start all over again and then actually do the sell part of the


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  08:19

customer and not sound like a salesperson


Michael LeBlanc  08:21

and and bring energy to it. Because there's not energy that just exists around you like it's it's a hard role to fill. What do you find is kind of what are the best practices that you could share around?


Caroline Nuckolls  08:31

Yeah, in terms of finding a great host. We've seen a lot of interesting learnings I think, to Catherine's point, influencers can be great, but it has to be the right. Photos and video. And selling in a video is a specific skill set. And one of the things we've also found is outside of influencers, internal staff can be great, you know, you know your brand better than anyone and that passion is going to come through founders and really internal employees, we have some clients that are actually doing like auditions of their own staff and kind of building that out as a new career path, which I think is very cool.


Michael LeBlanc  09:14

cannot be taught. I mean, is it a skill that can be taught or is it I mean, some people just arrive with it.


Caroline Nuckolls  09:20

I mean, I think there's a level of natural charisma and comfort in front of the camera, but it certainly can can be taught and coached. And that is something we offer as well. So outside of real estate, our our SaaS solution, which is the core of our business, we do have an internal agency called bamboos there plus and Academy as part of that. So interesting, I'm teaching coaching, how to be a better host how to do the arc of a live show, script writing all of these kinds of things. Like our goal is to help fill the gaps for our clients and then let them you know, fly free and build a really successful program as Windsor has done


Michael LeBlanc  09:55

and Katherine do you look inside? Do you look to associates to kind of fill that role? mean,


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  10:00

we do so we also have members on our social team that create content, and they are hosts of Windsor live every now and then as well, our head of visual in stores, we go in stores and do lives in stores with her on kind of a four set monthly basis. And she'll talk about how she styling and what new product is writing that she's really excited about. Everybody, every, every host has a different way a different style, and connect differently with different inserts it for us, it's really more about showing our customers a lot of different ways to read the same item and figuring out what works best for them. So that it is great to have different people in different types of roles come in and do that.


Michael LeBlanc  10:43

Now. How do you measure success? You know, back in the TV retail world, it was DPM dollar per minute sales? Are you are you that measured about success? Is it a direct one to one, we've got to be moving product? Or we're just that product goes? And how do you measure it? What does success look like? We


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  11:00

started out with very clear sales goals.


Michael LeBlanc  11:04

From this channel, I need to generate X Did you


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  11:07

miss those completely and realize that it was really much more of a way for us to provide our customers with an experience, how to style what's new, what's trending, and give her that and so we started looking at more as as building a community and building our relationships with our customers and giving her that content and being that destination for her to come to for fashion advice, not just for fashion apparel. Now being on Bambuser, we can actually quantify it much more easily it was a lot harder to quantify it out on on organic social, which is great because I feel like we've kind of met in the middle now. And we're in this really happy spot where we're getting the experience. But we're also making it so easy for her to turns out that we're seeing the sales as well.


Michael LeBlanc  11:56

And Carolyn, I was you kind of took the words right out of my mouth, I was gonna talk about attribution, right? In other words, listen, you, you're gonna bring in a state of the art platform like yours, you want to know, what am I getting from it and talk about attribution. What are some of those? Yeah, best practices? Yeah. So


Caroline Nuckolls  12:09

I think the big thing with Bambuser is, this is something that you're implementing on your own e commerce. So unlike with social media platforms, or third party marketplaces, you ultimately control the entire user journey and the transaction. So you have the ability to actually collect all that attribution data and make it actionable for


Michael LeBlanc  12:30

now, I know some of that's happening in the stores, though, right? Because you're influencing store purchase from somebody watching the video. And that's not always a direct liner to connect those dots for me.


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  12:40

And, and that is exactly what marketing is. Because you have people that go in store and see something, but it's not available in their size, and they may end up transacting online as well, right? It goes both ways on that side of it. But to Caroline's point, there is marketing attribution now and it we get all of the customer data. And so we can continue our journey with that customer, and help her get to know us better when she makes that first transaction when she's just getting introduced to us. And so that's a huge added benefit than going through


Michael LeBlanc  13:13

an external and you still do the influencer marketing. So this is an add on it's not a it's not an either or Now, question for you, you got me thinking about something, you know, I talked to retailers who are trying to decide and sometimes they do both. If they hire social media, people who are good storytellers, or direct response experts, because initially it started at, you know, it started initially, as you know, whoever can figure it out. And then there was a big push for years is like, I want a direct response. I want call to action. It's all my social media, and then it became storytelling. So how do you think about that part? Because it's directly connected to what you're doing. With with TV media or with Bowser, right?


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  13:51

I think it's a mix of both. To be really honest, you can't have just one or the other. So in the team, you would have great storytelling, and you don't have a call to action, you told a great story, but you're not getting them. If you have a lot of calls to action, and no story, nobody's gonna follow your call to action, right? So it's really about finding people that can bring those two together. But the most important thing of all of it is, is authenticity. And finding influencers and hosts that naturally love the brand. Most of our hosts already knew who Windsor was they were they're already customers. And so that's a very natural extension for them. They're talking about us and what they love about our products because they truly love it. Not because it's just a job.


Michael LeBlanc  14:39

Right, right. Well, we're here at an international cross border. So let's talk about that for a while. Let's talk about your role. You're obviously an internationally oriented organization to begin with, but you know, what are you doing here? And what do you what are you sharing what kind of knowledge you're dropping on people to show so


Caroline Nuckolls  14:53

speaking kind of to the theme of global we work with a lot of companies who are global and you need to come Add that message, you know, to different markets. And I think video commerce is a great way to do that you can use local influencers that resonate with different markets, you can have different currencies, different language in, in your video shows. So we're really here just to show the power of video, I think, you know, up to 80% of all content online now is video that is just the shift in consumer behavior. And we really encourage brands and retailers to get ahead of that kind of like digital transformation was the word a while back now it's going to be a video transformation. So so making that leap to bring video all across different points of your ecommerce.


Michael LeBlanc  15:38

Are you a sports fan?


Caroline Nuckolls  15:39

I am sports fan baseball. Yeah.


Michael LeBlanc  15:42

What inning are we in? For video commerce?


Caroline Nuckolls  15:46

I'd say pretty early, still, at least at least in the West in the US. Maybe like fourth inning for thinning? Yeah, I think there's a lot of room to grow, certainly not as mature as Asia. Now we're seeing that and also that we need to change the strategy a bit. I think people during COVID were very willing to try this. But they wanted to do it just the way it was done in China. And that wasn't really the fit here. And so now people, we have a lot more learnings we've done, you know, 50,000 shows with our clients. So we can tell you what's working, what's not. And ultimately it comes down to what works for your audience.


Michael LeBlanc  16:22

And Katherine, that's a great point, because I think there was a rush to well, if it works in this market, China, it's coming fast. And it's going to be the big thing. Well, not so much. Right. I mean, we're in the fourth inning, we're not in the you know, we're not in the top of the on the bottom of the eighth or bottom of the ninth year, we're not in the seventh inning stretch. So it's not always the case that things translate directly to China is a very different market. 50 60% ecommerce, like it's just a very different, markedly different


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  16:46

their, their shopping options. Nearby them are totally different, right? And through


Michael LeBlanc  16:53

the apps are different


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  16:55

super apps thing 100%. It's very different. And and as in any situation, whether it's email, or video, or whatever it is, you've got to take that and you've got to apply it to your brand in a way that makes sense for your brand. You can't just say, Oh, look, they're doing this over in China. Let's just go copy that, right? You can't, you can't just do a straight one to one copy, you've got to look at it and say, Okay, how do I craft that into something that makes sense for our customer? For our brand for our products? And how do we translate that? And so it's a it's like having kids, they're they're a copy of you, but they're unique in their own way. Right? Like, you've got to iterate. Hopefully, they're better, right? You got to iterate on, you got to iterate on that right? The next generation, right? It evolves.


Michael LeBlanc  17:44

So in this academy of yours, do you have them watch the QVC of the world? The HSN? I mean, you know, you can go to school 24/7 on those guys, right?


Caroline Nuckolls  17:52

Certainly, there's definitely something to learn from them. But again, it comes back to what are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish? And I think having a lens on every show you're doing, is this educational? Is this driving pure sales? And I need to incentivize it, am I looking for feedback, having clear cut goals and an arc to each event?


Michael LeBlanc  18:12

Very important, Catherine. Advice time to starts in one stop to fellow brand owners and marketing. I mean, you took a very, as you said, deliberate path to where you are today. So what did you learn and what maybe people should do less of or what you did that you said that? We shouldn't have? You know, maybe we shouldn't have done that or done that as much what what would you share? The two


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  18:30

starts I would say are don't ever wait for it to be perfect. Just start somewhere. Okay. But to plan it, right. So that that's a balance. Right? That's that poll right and Yang piece of right? Like, don't wait it, get it, get it close there, but just just start just start testing.


Michael LeBlanc  18:47

perfect is the enemy of success kind of


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  18:49

thing. You're never gonna get there. It's like when they say wait till it's the right time to have children. It's never the right time to have children. You just gotta have children. Right? Right. So it's, it's that same thing where like, don't don't wait, but be intentional and planful about it. If you're gonna go do a do it with intention. Really think think about it. The stuff that I would say is that I think you can come up with a million reasons of why to not do something. Focus on what it is that you are trying to accomplish, the point of arrival exactly where what's the story you want to tell in a year, and then just take a step in that direction. But don't don't think about every single roadblock that's going to come your way stop. You want to problem solve, and you want to be planful that if you think about every single thing that could potentially get in your way, you're never gonna go there,


Michael LeBlanc  19:37

right and find the right partner to because what have you looked at what 10 platforms? I mean, you've got a lot of competition right in the market, right? Yes, indeed. It's a busy market. Alright. So you have a lot of clients. So I love asking this question of the vendors so to speak, because you've got all that experience. So from everything and everyone you talk to, to start to learn stuff.


Caroline Nuckolls  19:56

Yeah, I think kind of iterating some of the points Kathryn made Be playful, you know, try things test and learn and don't let you know, good be the enemy of perfect or whatever that's saying is yeah, I also think frequency like people tend to get stuck behind this Oh, we don't have enough bandwidth to support doing multiple events, you really do you can find a way


Michael LeBlanc  20:21

right frequency is it should be daily should be weekly, there isn't a one,


Caroline Nuckolls  20:25

you know, it's different for every brand, but it does need to be more than kind of one off events. So finding what works for you. But there is a way I think people tend to be a huge production. Yeah,


Michael LeBlanc  20:37

doesn't isn't like you know, we struggled to create a what we called appointment TV. In other words, tune in at four o'clock for the beauty show, is it is there a soft spot between look, it's got to be some predictability regularity. But not it's not a tune in thing like how do you


Caroline Nuckolls  20:51

figure that hosting it on your own site is it can become on demand content. So I think that's my other kind of start is if you're going to put in the time to create this use it as much as you can.


Michael LeBlanc  21:05

That is effective low VP, because there's a magic to being live. But there's also you know, you create a lot of content, does it perform better live or


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  21:12

that is the beauty of Bambuser is that we there are certain times of the day where we're going to do shows there are certain times of the day when our customers are going to be available and our customers are all over the world. Right? What works for someone in the UK is not going to be what works for someone in LA. Right, totally different timezone. So the beauty with Bambuser and the on demand piece, and we watched the metrics because we have the metrics now with them. We can see how much of our demand is being driven when we're live and then how much of it comes in after and around the world. Right? I mean, what shows her she watching afterwards when she sees the first one and then she starts going through our library, which is really it's really great. Yeah,


Caroline Nuckolls  21:50

and as this becomes more of a long term strategy, you may have content you know from Valentine's Day that you can push again the next year so it doesn't have to be you know, immediate only.


Michael LeBlanc  22:01

Alright, well listen, great conversation and where do they go learn more about Brian Bowser and get Are you a LinkedIn person and


Caroline Nuckolls  22:10

in person so Caroline knuckles on LinkedIn and that's knuckles with an N. But you can go to our website BAM I know it's a funny name, but the a m pronounced about


Michael LeBlanc  22:21

three different ways. It Houser ban boozers funny Swedish name, but


Caroline Nuckolls  22:26

damn All right, fantastic.


Michael LeBlanc  22:28

And I guess Windsor, Windsor store doc Windsor. Okay,


Kathrine Hoffman Seaton  22:33

I'm on LinkedIn as well. Katherine Hoffman, Sita nice and long.


Michael LeBlanc  22:37

Fantastic. Well, thank you both for joining me here in the stream commerce podcasting studio. Thank you. Nice to see you both. I love talking about live streaming commerce. It's so interesting. And listen, I wish you both continued success. And once again, thanks for joining me. Thank you. Thank you. If you like this podcast, you can follow us on Apple, iTunes, Spotify, Google, the Amazon podcast channel or your favorite podcast platform. Please rate review with a five star rating and be sure to recommend us to a friend or colleague in the retail and cross border Commerce Industry. You can learn more about the Global E-Commerce Leaders Forum and continue to keep up with the latest on cross border commerce online at global E-Commerce leaders Be sure and block off your calendar for the next GELF event in New York City, October 12 2023. I'm your host, Michael Loblaws, strategic retail advisor, keynote speaker and podcaster and you can learn more about me on LinkedIn safe travels everyone