We’re pretty darn stoked to introduce Bay Area-native Miriam Williams as a new addition to the team!
With an impressive and extensive background in retail, Miriam brings her industry expertise to Narvar’s Customer Success team. We sat down with her to learn more about where she came from, what brought her here, and what she thinks retailers can do to succeed as consumer behavior evolves.
I look forward to sharing insights about operational challenges that brands face and integrating that into the Narvar ecosystem, whether that’s in product development, organizational learning, or external thought leadership.
Can you tell us a little bit about your career path so far, and what brought you to Narvar?
I absolutely love the business of retail. Over the past 13 years I’ve held various operations-focused roles at Coach, Louis Vuitton, J.Crew, and L’Occitane. Across luxury, apparel, or beauty verticals, I’ve designed transportation networks, worked on WMS (warehouse management system), POS (point of sale), and SAP implementations, and also led a Retail Operations function. I’m very solutions-oriented—always seeking an efficient and logical resolution to any problem.
I first discovered Narvar after ordering something on One Kings Lane, and since then, I’ve always kind of had a crush on Narvar. I think that the product is incredible—the merging of design and logistics is really unique, and it really spoke to me. Given the amazing opportunity to come help a great company grow and be back in the Bay again, I jumped at it.
What’s one of the most interesting changes you’ve seen throughout your time in retail?
One of the most interesting things has been watching different retailers evolve their relationship between e-commerce and physical retail. E-commerce is such an important component of a brand’s vitality, but the majority of sales still happen in store. Thinking about how to leverage both assets— a strong digital presence and also strategic physical retail space—is an awesome challenge, and that can be the competitive advantage in today’s tough marketplace. Using data to know your customer’s preferences and managing a labor force to deliver on your brand promise is still a challenge for some legacy retailers. Sephora and Warby Parker do this really well.
What’s the biggest challenge retailers face today?
Determining the right distribution channel mix between wholesale, retail, and e-commerce. Brands are facing strategic decisions to define their relationship with wholesale partners like Amazon, dedicate resources to drive traffic to their own websites, and provide compelling experiences in physical retail. These decisions are different for every brand depending on the origin story, customer base, and the economics of the business. New technology like chat, AI, and voice activation will allow retailers to reach consumers on their terms.
Where do you see technology making the biggest impact for retailers?
I once read that today’s consumer has an MBA in shopping. Our everyday experiences are so interlaced with technology that we expect even more from brands we love. I can use my phone to order a taxi, text my ETA to a friend, and buy groceries in the backseat to arrive within an hour. Subsequently consumers now expect that if they’ve previously shopped with a retailer, that retailer should know something about them and their shopping habits, and if they don’t, the consumer loses a level of trust. Technology is elevating customer expectations and retailers have got to raise their game in order to deliver a seamless customer experience.
New technology like chat, AI, and voice activation will allow retailers to reach consumers on their terms.
What’s most exciting for you about working at Narvar?
I’ve already had the pleasure of being on the phone with some former colleagues that are now clients. I really believe in our product and I love that I can help retailers derive value from Narvar. I also look forward to sharing insights about operational challenges that brands face and integrating that into the Narvar ecosystem, whether that’s in product development, organizational learning, or external thought leadership.
Where would we find you on any given Saturday?
Well, this Saturday I’m going up to Napa—I love wine country. I’m also starting to train for a half-marathon, so you might find me running along the water in San Francisco. Or sitting at a coffee shop with my husband and our 4 month-old son.
What’s your favorite TV show?
I’m going to go high brow/low brow with this. I absolutely love “Billions” on Showtime…and I have a soft spot for a little known CW show called “Hart of Dixie”. Skip to the Thriller-themed flash mob proposal episode and you won’t need to ask me why.