Q&A: Maryssa Miller, CreateThe Group

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Maryssa Miller
Maryssa Miller

CreateThe Group hired Maryssa Miller in August as VP of e-commerce where she oversees client support for its e-commerce platform. Miller joined the e-commerce vendor from Lacoste where she also directed e-commerce for the luxury retailer. Her past experience also includes e-commerce roles at Scholastic and Simon and Schuster.

CreateThe Group's clients include Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan New York, DKNY, David Yurman, Juicy Couture and Alexander Wang, a new client, which was announced November 8.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): You have a new position with CreateThe Group. Can you explain it a little bit?

Maryssa Miller (CreateThe Group): My role is to help client implementation on our CTS platform which is propriatery e-commerce platform. We integrate into fulfillment platforms so we're on the front end. We help to build their business. Our platform differs from others in that it's very flexible and we have a creative in-house agency.

DMN: Part of your new role is to help retailers easily develop, manage and grow their online businesses. What are some key components behind a successful online marketing strategy for retailers?

Miller: There are some critical elements related to navigation that should be in place and then product photos are so critical to how you sell, particularly in high-end retail. You need to try to replicate that store experience. It's also thinking in terms of a consumer viewpoint, which is a challenge for a number of brands, finding out how [a customer] might searching, browsing and thinking.

As far as online marketing best practices, the bottom line is you need to be driving qualified traffic to your e-commerce site. Foot traffic that walks by online means being out there in search, having an e-mail program where you're pushing that track and then having the right links and navigation when you reach the site.

DMN: In terms of analytics, when you were director of e-commerce at Lacoste, what were your top metrics? What will you counsel clients today?

Miller: Conversion rate is a critical rate because it means your marketing dollars are more profitable. You can't look at it by itself but it's a good key performance. You might be using the site more as a marketing tool, but you still want the conversion rate to be going into a positive direction.

On the marketing perspective, I like to look at revenue per email delivered because it boiled down all the other metrics that you look at in an e-mail program, click-through rates, deliverability. It boils it all down to one easy to monitor metric.

DMN: What about m-commerce? This seems to be on every retailer's wish list for this year but when I talk to vendors they say that retailers are still woefully behind in terms of implementing all of the technology that is available today.

Miller: I've seen an openness among our clients and retailers in general about learning about the channel. I think if the usability of apps were there, more people would be using them.

A retailer should look at bringing mobile into the store whether that's replacing the in-store kiosk or training staff through apps. In training staff, there are so many times that there are in-store training tools, hard copies of product descriptions or where these products are being carried, and all of that material can be digitized and then it can be expanded out to all of those sales staff.

The real game changer will be when they can incorporate some sort of inventory toll with apps, so you can find a product wherever it is in your size, your color. There's some testing there now but there's still a long way to go.

DMN: Should every retailer be trying m-commerce?

Miller: It depends where they're at with their e-commerce site, which should be the priority. Look at your current analytics and see if you already have a heavy base of customers reaching your site through mobile. If so, it probably makes sense to go into m-commerce. Some sites have low usage of mobile.

DMN: What has impressed you recently in terms of retailer marketing?

Miller: One that I really love that comes to mind is using things like the augmented reality use at Legos where you can hold up the box of Legos in the store and see yourself building the product. It really engages the customer and shows them what's possible.

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