Blurring the lines between e-commerce and in-store shopping is good for the bottom line, she says.

By Grace Donnelly
October 11, 2017

It’s a good time to be a consumer.

In a retail landscape with more choices than ever before, it’s all about catering to the consumer’s preferred experience, according to Kirsten Green, a general partner at Forerunner Venture.

Green joined Rebecca Minkoff, co-founder and creative director of Rebecca Minkoff and Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram at the Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to discuss the future of retail brands.

For Minkoff it’s about using technology to help create a personalized experience.

“We want you to tell us how you want to be treated when you get into the store,” she said. From touch screens when you enter the store to magic mirrors located in the dressing rooms, the tech aims to help shoppers control their own environment and blend in-store and online offerings.

Green said the word e-commerce, treating it like a separate experience, isn’t a term they use at Forerunner.”We call it commerce,” she said.

And they purposefully blur the barriers between physical stores and digital marketplaces. One way to encourage store associates to keep in touch with customers after an in-person visit: They receive commission on online purchases made up to six months after a customer visited the store.

This is how retailers have to think in a market dominated by Amazon where it’s difficult to compete on price or access. For Green and Minkoff, it means knowing the customer better and cultivating loyalty to the brands they love.

“There’s this element of having a relationship with a brand that didn’t exist before,” Green said.

All the strategies are focused on making sure shoppers are willing to seek out their favorite brands. It helps, of course, that Minkoff talks about these customers like friends: “I have to make sure my girl chooses us.”

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