Damon Sloane was born in Australia, but has called Montreal home for ten years now, the last four of which he spent as the General Manager of E-commerce and Digital at Michael Kors.
Last week, Kinetic Commerce, a leading retail design and technology firm with offices in Toronto and New York, announced the appointment of Sloane as its newly created VP of Retail Innovation & Client Success. The news about Sloane, who will continue to work out of Montreal, signals Kinetic’s commitment to the Montreal market and its vibrant retail sector.
“In my time running e-commerce and digital at Michael Kors, I’ve been very interested in this technology that’s bringing the digital experience to physical store locations.,” Sloane told MTLinTECH. “I’ve been aware of Kinetic and the work they’ve been doing for a couple of years now, especially the work did with Aldo. We got to know each other bumping into each other at conferences and industry events, and then the more we started talking the more I realized I loved the technology they brought to the industry. There’s no one in North America doing exactly what they do right now.”
While at Michael Kors, the company underwent a digital transformation, resulting in the brand being named a ‘digital genius’ by L2 Inc. It was one of only two fashion brands to receive that status. Michael Kors was also a finalist in the Canada Post E-commerce Innovation awards during that time, and Sloane was the opening keynote speaker at the 2017 Drapers Digital Festival in London.
“The entire Kinetic Commerce Team is thrilled to team up with Damon,” said Kinetic President and Chief Innovation Officer David Dougherty. “His experience helping global retailers plan and deliver significant retail technology transformation projects will be a real asset to our current clients, future clients and to the whole team here at Kinetic. Damon represents 15 years of accumulated retail innovation and technology platform experience with companies such as Michael Kors, Aldo and Reitmans that we can now bring to our current and future clients.”
Kinetic has already had a lot of success with retailers based in Montreal. Locally they’re working with Aldo, Rona, L’Oreal, and Reitmans to name a few.
“It’s still a very frustrating experience if you’re just trying to locate inventory. It could be a certain colour or a certain size, and if it’s not at the store that you’ve gone to where is it, how can you get it? The customer can have the information on our connected platform at their fingertips. They can have an app that has direct access to inventory. They really have the power to know what’s available at a store at that point in time.”
So what exactly is a connected store? Customers are probably already familiar with some connected components, such as connected fitting rooms or a connected mirror. Kinetic offers an entire platform for connected stores, with a holistic view of what a connected store can be.
“I think one of the great examples of what we’re doing is we’re really bringing in the power of knowledge and of the e-commerce experience to stores and putting it in the hands of the customers. It’s still a very frustrating experience if you’re just trying to locate inventory. It could be a certain colour or a certain size, and if it’s not at the store that you’ve gone to where is it, how can you get it? The customer can have the information on our connected platform at their fingertips. They can have an app that has direct access to inventory. They really have the power to know what’s available at a store at that point in time.”
The benefits of moving towards a connected physical location extend beyond the customer to the store itself.
“The flip side of that is the retail locations have to really change how they run operations, and there’s a lot of efficiencies to be gained here by empowering the employees with a similar application. This gives them access to customer data, inventory data, it really just takes a lot of the frustration and pain points out of the shopping experience.”
Sloane will continue to be based in Montreal, which is confirmation of Kinetic’s interest in further work with retailers within this city.
“The idea is that I’m absolutely staying in Montreal. That really is to provide a whole new level of strategy for our clients who are based her in Montreal. But my focus will also be more than that and involve working with the team in Toronto. I’ll be spending a lot of time there, but my base is definitely Montreal for now.”
Thinking about the advances made within ecommerce in the past ten years, it will be curious to see what changes come to physical retail location shopping in the next ten.
“It’s really exciting. I’m coming from an e-commerce background and joining what is essentially a platform to run connected stores. I feel like this is the new battlefield of where the invasion is going to happen next probably. The innovation in the last ten years has really been in e-commerce, but I think the shift is coming for innovation at the store level. It’s cool to start be part of starting something new with this new role.”