Where is the Retail Revolution Heading Next?

Susan Lyne serves as Chairman of Gilt Groupe. Susan joined the company as Chief Executive Officer in September 2008, less than a year after Gilt’s launch as a women’s apparel and accessories business. Today the company has over three million members, 500 employees and operates six distinct business lines in the US, as well as the leading flash sale site in Japan. Lyne assumed the role of Chairman in September 2010.

From November 2004 to July 2008, Ms Lyne was President and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO). In that capacity, she steered the company’s recovery and return to profitability, led by a three-fold increase in advertising revenue and the diversification of its merchandising business.

Before joining MSLO, Susan spent eight years at Disney/ABC, rising to President of ABC Entertainment where she oversaw the development of shows such as Desperate Housewives, Lost, and Grey's Anatomy. Her early career was spent in the magazine industry. She was managing editor of New Times and later of The Village Voice and, in 1987, created and launched Premiere magazine for News Corp.

Ms. Lyne serves on the board of AOL and is a trustee of The New School. She lives in New York City.

  • Transcript


Adam Bryant: Help us see the future a little bit, the future of online retailing. Part of your job is to sort of peer over the horizon. So what do you see? What are some big ideas there?

Susan Lyne: I’d say, one, they’re about curating, right? They’re about taking all the noise out there and saying we’re not going to bring you everything, we’re going to bring you some things that we think are really good. And that’s hugely valuable. I think one of the things that truly paralyzes people right now is too much choice. If you can bring a point of view and you can give people enough choices but not too many, I think it really helps them.

I think another thing is that there’s clearly a convergence of editorial and commerce, and I think you’re going to see more and more of that. We’ve always had magazines that were great at inspiring people and giving people ideas, but they could never allow you to make that last piece of it happen, which was the commerce part.  I think there’s growing frustration for magazine editors that they can’t participate in that, and I think that there are more and more commerce companies that are realizing the content in the commerce flow can actually help people to make a decision.

And I think Game Dynamics is another one.  And you see that everyplace, you know, whether it’s appointment shopping, limited cart times so you have to make a decision fast.  You’ve got Groupons--the deal’s not on until 250 people say yes--all these things that drive a person to move to the next level.  What good gamers do is to design a flow that takes you from Point A to Point B and then from Point B to Point C, and it’s all about levels and more and more of that is coming into the commerce world as well.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock