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09/07/2022

Tech Transformation Podcast: GNC CIO Scott Saeger On Amazon Partnerships and Mobile Tech Investments

In this episode of Tech Transformation, we’re digging into some trade secrets with Scott Saeger, SVP and CIO of retailer GNC. Saeger shares why GNC recently teamed with Amazon for same-day delivery and how that kind of decision can impact a retailer’s IT operations and infrastructure. He also talks about some of the new ways they’re using their mobile app to drive sales, and where they stand when it comes to their hybrid data strategy. 

Listen to learn: 

  • Some of the recent consumer behavior changes that are proving to be sticky for GNC
  • What this has meant from an IT perspective
  • Details about GNC’s expanded partnership with Amazon 
  • Insight into how GNC views the potential of machine learning for demand forecasting 
  • Some of the biggest obstacles for GNC and some of the most promising things in its future
  • What more people should know about being a retail CIO and some of the biggest misconceptions about the role

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Excerpts

On store fulfillment: “About 95% of our purchases that are made on GNC.com are now fulfilled and shipped at a store level. That helps us improve not only the accuracy and ensuring that we really have the product, but end delivery to our consumers, which is first and foremost. There's [also] a monetary gain for GNC, knowing that we can ship in the same zones. It reduces our shipping cost.”

On their investments in improved store communications: “This is a new way for us to connect with our consumers on GNC.com. We can do live chat with coaches at a store, as well as video calls, and it's really helping our consumers build a routine and really complete that whole transaction virtually, in the event that maybe somebody is still not really comfortable about going into a brick-and-mortar. On top of that, it also allows us to now take those same devices to events where our customers are, and transact as if we were in the store. 

“One thing I'd like to say is, it's a little bit more difficult now to get people in your brick-and-mortar stores. But if we go to events that our customers already at, it's a win for them and a win for us.”

On their improved mobile app: “We launched a new mobile app at the end of last year. We revamped it and relaunched it, and we're seeing an increase of about 23% in mobile sales, just because it's a much easier process to transact. … The new solution is a headless solution. It is composable; it allows us to interact with all of the other applications and integrations that we've done on GNC.com. The one before was very rigid. It was almost this template website that you couldn't call outside APIs. You had to live within their four walls. And it was very transactional. It wasn't experiential. So that was one of the reasons why we knew we needed to exit that platform, and then go to one that really allowed us to open up the mobile site, just like our new GNC.com.” 

On the potential of machine learning: “We're keeping our eye on machine learning and the data sources, and we're really focused on adapting our tech solutions to capture customers based on their changing behaviors. As you know, COVID, and subsequently months thereafter, behaviors have changed greatly, and so some of the data points that were relevant then may not be as relevant now. So we're really, again, watching, learning, iterating, and then going back to the data points.”


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