The Brand Merchant (BA) is accountable for developing the cruise line brand’s retail product strategy ensuring programs that drive best-in-class customer retail experiences and grow the cruise line brand’s business. Reporting to the Cruise Line General Manager, this position is accountable for “money can’t buy” experiences and responsible for having a deep understanding of the brand strategy, consumer segmentation, and revenue focused opportunities. This position is accountable to know the current and upcoming merchandise assortment with an understanding of full location (ship) functionality and available marketing vehicles. The role ensures proper product launch execution and monitors assortment performance to identify trends, wins, misses, and opportunities. This role leads with an eye for continuous improvement of execution, ensures practices are focused on growth derived from pre- and post-cruise, in store or other branded environments such as pop up shops, shows or special events. Spending up to 25% of their time onboard observing and interacting with retail teams, the Brand Merchant supports talent development and fosters a culture of superior customer service. Responsible liaison for messaging and priorities to central Merchandising, Marketing and Visual Merchandising departments. Accountable for alignment with the cruise line brand leadership and company commercial strategies, while increasing the visibility and image of Starboard’s offer of Retail at Sea.
What you’ll be doing:
Sales/Revenue Generation: (30%)
- Analyzes the cruise line brand's performance and communicates opportunities for improvement in areas such as product assortment, inventory and returns.
- Proactively seeks business opportunities which further drive business, strengthen our relationship with the cruise lines, and drive new ship/business opportunities for Starboard.
- Provide clear direction to ensure that smart risks are being taken in the appropriate shops so that financial targets are met.
- Supports account team with participation and subject matter expertise in setting the annual budgets for the stores.
- Responsible for Voyage Plans design and architecture; regular and periodic review of content ensuring execution of appropriate experiences based on itinerary and guest demographics.
- Summarizes sales and market place information provided by cross-functional teams and recommends actions to capitalize on business opportunities, make investments and mitigate risks in-season.
- Responsible for competitive shopping and insights on product offering, pricing and customer engagement opportunities.
- Product Assortment: (30%)
- Provide input to annual assortment and product plan strategy. Share insights that both inform global strategy and influence brand specific opportunities. Accountable to KPIs for both global and brand specific assortment performance.
- On weekly/monthly and quarterly basis, initiates and oversees analysis of KPIs, business trends, category performance and product performance.
- Partner with and host merchandising team cross-category meeting to address business performance and gain TXT insights on product trends, historical data and departmental input at category/class level. Determines appropriate actions to drive improvement and mitigate risk.
- Responsible for regular review of store inventory and supply chain opportunities. Leverage data to understand the financial impacts of trade-offs and enable decision-making.
- Recommend discounts, pricing, markdowns and promotional activity to margin and inventory targets while maintaining company profit objectives.
- Operational Excellence: (20%)
- Ensures deep understanding of brand goals and vision. Act as a unifying master of voyage plan and ensures acceptance and adoption at all levels of organization.
- Formulates long-term goals and approve shorter-term tactical plans that are cost-effective, efficient and realistic.
- Responsible to ensure visual merchandising and marketing directives are implemented efficiently and visual standards are maintained, and financial objectives are met. Provide recommended changes for sales floor productivity optimization.
- Manage and share out product flow calendar updates, ensuring that production/marketing teams are working off correct timelines.
- Prepare performance recap of all promotions and programs executed.
- Ensures ease of implementation and understand in ship communication of promotional strategies, markdowns, and new product information.
- Act as a liaison between ships and corporate partners to ensure that merchandise stock levels are appropriate to meet the needs of the business.
- Talent Management/Development: (10%)
- Support retail team’s performance across all categories and coach/train to improve in priority categories while on board. Liaise with central support teams (learning and development, operations, marketing and merchandising) to provide knowledge or skills building education, as appropriate.
- Work with onboard retail teams to analyze existing consumer shopping trends and define appropriate opportunities to develop existing customers.
- Promotes customer focus; establishes customer service standards; provides training in customer service delivery; monitors customer satisfaction; develops new approaches to meeting customer needs.
- Solicits and summaries impactful category specific feedback from retail management and specialist teams on board ensuring teams are equipped and understand appropriate and timely information to share with category merchant teams.
- Relationship Management: (10%)
- Serves as primary point of contact to cultivate and maintain brand and cross-functional partner relationships. Provides global presentations on brand product performance.
- Build and lead complex presentations with brand and merchant team to gain alignment on strategic plans.
- Develop productive working relationships with on board cruise line leadership Revenue Manager, Hotel Director, and Cruise Director and serve as content expert on opportunities and of product and experience strategic direction.
What we’re looking for:
Required Education & Experience:
- Bachelor’s degree in the field of retail merchandising, operations, marketing or business management and/or 6 years equivalent work experience.
- 7 years progressive hands on retail leadership experience in merchandising/ planning, buying/assortment, operations management or product strategy.
- Expert knowledge about marketing and related subjects (market research, consumer behavior, merchandise analytics) derived from hands-on experience in the industry and in the merchandising field.
- Significant track record in successfully leading a multi-locational retail sales team to achieve sales and revenue targets.
- Demonstrated experience analyzing and preparing strategic, long-term business plans.
- 3 years focused in client delivery and client management within a consulting or consumer organization.
- Strong strategic mindset, with critical reasoning and qualitative analysis experience.
Preferred Education & Experience:
- 5 years of multi-unit experience in retail operations management, merchandise planning and inventory or strategy consulting (4 years’ experience at a top-tier consulting firm preferred)
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities Required for Success:
- Expert knowledge and understanding of space planning, retail mapping and inventory management, including long and short-term assortment and product planning.
- Extensive experience analyzing retail buy plans, sales reporting to manage seasonal business.
- Self-starter able to successfully execute against departmental goals with minimal guidance. Exceptional customer service orientation.
- Able to influence and drive accountability among associates across multiple departments and locations.
- Business acumen & commercial / sales driven mindset.
- High energy innovation leader.
- Able to manage multiple projects/multiple presentation deadlines at one time
- Able to develop presentation materials for communicating strategies to key stakeholders
- Enthusiastic, persistent, action-oriented, and a strong sense of accountability
- Ability to absorb and retain information quickly.
- Fluent English verbal and written communication skills with the ability to influence. Ability to present ideas in easily understood not technical language.
- Proven analytical and problem-solving abilities.
- Ability to effectively prioritize and execute tasks in a high-pace environment.
- Strong working knowledge in Word, Excel, Access, MS Project and Power-Point.
- Ability to travel extensively and work a flexible schedule.
- 10-25% travel required
- Office environment with frequent sitting, walking and standing, occasional climbing, stooping, kneeling, crouching and balancing use of eye, hand and finger coordination enabling use of office machinery. Frequent travel to onboard cruise ship requiring increased physical demands and changing non-stationary work environment. This position requires the ability to occasionally lift products and supplies, up to 50 pounds. Oral and auditory enabling interpersonal communication as well as communication automated device(s).