Nogin Names Jay J. Ku EVP & Chief Commerce Officer

Jay Ku Joins Nogin

Marketing and strategy executive to oversee brand management and content at leading Commerce-as-a-Service platform; will direct teams focused on driving exponential growth across 30+ brands

Veteran marketing and strategy executive Jay J. Ku has joined leading Commerce-as-a-Service (CaaS) platform Nogin as EVP and Chief Commerce Officer.

In his new role, Ku will oversee the Tustin-based company’s brand management and creative teams. These include ecommerce specialists, performance marketers, planners, buyers, retention marketers, writers, and designers focused on driving sales across 30-plus brands like Hurley, Kenneth Cole, bebe, FRYE, ModCloth, Justice, and Honeywell. He reports to Nogin President Geoffrey Van Haeren.

“Using Nogin’s proprietary Intelligent Commerce platform, Jay’s teams deploy store optimizations and targeted marketing tactics designed to boost sales and profitability through smarter promotions, sophisticated audience segmentation, and maximized conversion rates,” said Van Haeren. “The brand team sits at the center of the wheel — coordinating all efforts between brand management and creative, as well our product, engineering, fulfillment, customer service teams, and the client. Jay is uniquely qualified to direct those efforts, which are all focused on driving exponential growth for the brands on the Nogin platform.”

Ku brings over 15 years of experience in marketing, strategy, partnerships, and business development at Los Angeles-based companies. Most recently, he spent five years as SVP, Marketing & Strategy and Society6//Leaf Group. In that capacity, he directed all brand and performance marketing efforts for the company’s Society 6 artist-driven home décor brand, which generated over $150 million in annual revenue.

Prior to that, from 2014 to 2017, Ku was SVP, Marketing & Strategy, at Participant Media, where he led strategy and campaign development at TAG, the company’s social impact agency. During that time, he worked with everything from start-ups to Fortune 50 brands to drive consumer awareness, engagement and action around important social issues.

Previously, from 2007 to 2014, Ku was Head of Partnerships and Marketing at GOOD.Is//GOOD Corps//Upworthy. In that role, he oversaw all marketing to drive revenue for GOOD Magazine, GOOD.Is, and GOOD/Corps. He began his career in 2006 as Manager, Business Development and Content Marketing at Helio, LLC, a former, mobile virtual network operator on the Sprint network. The Los Angeles resident holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Harvard University. Ku also had a five-year career as a professional cyclist, racing for the TIAA-CREF team as well as the US National Team, He’s also a Board Member of the National Parks Conservancy.

Efforts to Match Amazon Can Be a Form of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ for Retailers and Brands

ecommerce stockholm syndrome img

Rapidly evolving Commerce as a Service (CaaS) model can give mid-tier operators in the fashion, CPG, beauty, health, and wellness industries a better way to keep pace with big retail and drive predictable profitability, advises tech veteran Jan-Christopher Nugent.

Too many retailers and brands suffer from “Amazon Stockholm Syndrome” — the unquestioning effort to compete with the world’s most dominant ecommerce company on its own asymmetrical terms, writes Jan-Christopher Nugent, CEO of Nogin, in an opinion piece for multichannelmerchant.com.

“If the Stockholm Syndrome theory were correct, you’d expect to see long-enduring captives parroting the propaganda of their captors and engaging in behavior that was not in their long-term interest,” Nugent writes. “This is exactly what we see.”

Indeed, companies routinely give up sizable chunks of their margins by trying in vain to play Amazon’s game, he contends. “While a healthy brand’s average discount should be no higher than 26%, we routinely see brands with average discounts of 50% once you factor in shipping and return costs,” Nugent writes.

In the Oct. 11 piece (“How to Snap Out of Amazon ‘Stockholm Syndrome‘”), the ecommerce sector veteran describes Amazon’s success in training consumers to expect free (or seemingly so) shipping and nearly instantaneous delivery. Amazon has also been able to drop prices and force competitors to cut their margins.

While going head-to-head with Amazon may be viable for a tiny number of true giants, for others the rapidly evolving commerce-as-a-service (CaaS) model creates new possibilities, Nugent writes. “In the CaaS model, specialty firms create, maintain and operate ecommerce stores on behalf of retailers and brands. These platforms can deliver superior ecommerce and increase sales, profits and conversion rates using advanced algorithms, data-driven intelligent promotions and discounts, and cloud-based R&D upgrades.”

But before retailers or brands can take full advantage of these gains, they may need to face some captor-induced fears. That could include reconsidering whether there’s truly only one way to please the customer, Nugent notes, and being open to using tech and analytics to win back the respect they have given away by selling at a loss.

For example, CaaS methodologies can reveal which customers are loyal enough to buy even without receiving free shipping, notes the executive, whose firm has delivered CaaS for such major brands as Kenneth Cole, Honeywell, Hurley, Bebe, Lululemon, True Religion, Yeezy and Charming Charlie.

Generally, the mid-tier “is where CaaS has capabilities and services that bolster competitiveness, including higher-order AI and predictive analytics,” Nugent explains. By running intelligent algorithms and multivariate tests, CaaS providers can ferret out which customers will balk at the removal of shipping, delivery and price giveaways, and which ones will keep shopping and stay loyal.

“When CaaS technology is carefully applied across an entire ecommerce store, intelligent segmentation can result in a drop in the average discount from 50% to 25%, or even as low as 4.5%-6% in some cases,” he writes. “Most importantly, it can also help bring you to a cash-neutral position when it comes to returns … That’s what it takes to keep pace with big retail, drive predictable profitability—and snap out of the Amazon trance.”

The full column is available at:
https://multichannelmerchant.com/ecommerce/how-to-snap-out-of-amazon-stockholm-syndrome/

NEWS | Junk Food Clothing switch to Nogin

Nogin and Junk Food Clothing

Junk Food Clothing On Target to Triple Its Online Sales With Switch to Nogin

The premium t-shirt and apparel company, known to adorn celebrities around the world, wanted

lower costs, higher sales and better analytics; Nogin is delivering all that and more.

Junk Food Clothing, the premium apparel company that has become a celebrity favorite with its pop culture designs ranging from entertainment icons to professional sports leagues and popular music acts, is reaping strong benefits after connecting  with another industry leader for its online e-commerce platform: Nogin.

Junk Food moved to Nogin’s Commerce-as-a-Service (CaaS) platform in the fourth quarter of 2020, enabling it to deliver best-in-class e-commerce to its clientele, as well as increase sales, profits and conversion rates, and execute R&D upgrades in real-time.

And the pairing began paying off immediately, according to Bill Hutchison, CEO for Hybrid Apparel, which owns the Junk Food brand. “We are on target to triple our Junk Food e-commerce business during our first year with Nogin. Along the way, we’ve seen cost-savings in third-party vendors needed to drive our revenue growth due to the external partnerships and relationships Nogin has in the space.”

Hutchison said it’s been about more than just increased sales. “The analytical data Nogin has shared with us has also allowed us to make informative and strategic decisions to capture revenue while also growing awareness for the Junk Food brand to a new set of customers we’re continuously bringing to our site,” he noted.

Under the agreement, Tustin, Calif.-based Nogin is handling all aspects of Junk Food’s e-commerce operations, ramping up the manufacturer’s online performance with its Intelligent Commerce software, AI-driven marketing capabilities and high-touch digital services.

“We’re able to offer a turn-key solution for companies like Junk Food that combines all the elements they need to be more effective selling online,” said Geoffrey Van Haeren, president of Nogin. “Just as Amazon Web Services was revolutionary for on-demand cloud-hosting, the Nogin technology platform is a game-changer in e-commerce.” Other Nogin users include such major brands as Kenneth Cole, Honeywell, Hurley, Bebe, Lululemon, True Religion, Yeezy and Charming Charlie.

“Prior to partnering with Nogin, we had an in-house start-up digital business while only using an external digital marketing agency,” Hutchison explained. “The switch to Nogin has given us a best-of-class digital platform, allowing us the quickest solution to grow our digital footprint and capture more revenue faster.”

About Junk Food Clothing Junk Food came onto the scene in 1998, creating and forever changing the premium T-shirt market. Carried in thousands of top stores throughout the world, Junk Food is a celebrity favorite, featured weekly on numerous style icons in major media. Junk Food has signature soft fabrics and trend-leading fits that also include unique treatments that make each piece one-of-a-kind. Also a licensing powerhouse, Junk Food has rights to hundreds of major pop-culture licenses, including numerous sports leagues, artists and bands. www.junkfoodclothing.com