Well, another Women in Retail Leadership Summit (WIRLS) has come and gone, and I’m still dizzy from all of the knowledge and connections I made at the event! And while the swag bags this year were extra special, I thought I would highlight six “gems” that I gleaned from the event that weren’t actually in my swag bag. Instead, they’re gems of knowledge I gleaned from the great speakers at WIRLS. Here goes, in no particular order:
1. The customer has many choices and high service expectations. While this idea can be daunting, I learned at the Summit that we can win her over with great branding, relevance and bringing fun back to the shopping experience. The ways to bring back demand are actually in our hands!

2. Nothing can replace doing your homework, knowing your customer, and standing strong behind your brand’s mission and values. ’Nuff said.

3. Influencer programs need to be transparent if paid. However, they’re better if unpaid and based on a give/get model because the program will self-select participants naturally and lead to an authentic, more valuable program.

4. “Focus on your customer, develop your team and ignore everything else.” Great advice from Diane Ellis, president of Chico’s, during the event’s Leadership Panel.

5. “You can have it all, just not at the same time.” Wise words from Cindy DiPietrantonio, president of ALEX AND ANI, during her morning keynote presentation.

6. “It’s not about balance, it’s about prioritization.” More great advice from Cindy!