Ian Leslie

Sr. Dir., Retail Advocacy @ BOLT

Ian is expert in building and leading integrated marketing campaigns across owned, earned and paid channels with a focus on social media and overall digital experience. He has led and deployed multiple website redesigns and replatforms, always leading to lift across all major KPIs. Ian has led lead-generation initiatives for higher ed and demand-generation and ecommerce initiatives within the home decor and furnishings vertical. Ian currently is Sr. Dir. of Retail Advocacy for BOLT, which is a one-click checkout SAAS solution for e-commerce merchants.

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  • Posted on: 09/02/2021

    Can 14 and 15-year-olds solve the labor shortage?

    This won't solve for during the school days, which is where there is still a ton of need. My son (15) worked a TON of hours this summer at Moe's. He was so happy to make the money. But now that he's back at school he's not working and even if he were able to we're talking about him maybe being able to work 12-15 hours a week, which isn't going to help franchises all that much.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2021

    Amazon finally catches the ‘buy now, pay later’ wave

    BNPL is obviously growing by leaps and bounds. While I think it'll continue to gain traction I do think the BNPL services eventually will have to be more discerning with their credit checks and approvals. Also, I do think BNPL will become a sticking point for some brands that want to promote a brand narrative that their customers should be considerate of their finances and not spending more than they can afford when making a purchase. It'll be a balancing act for sure.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2021

    FMI research finds normalcy is not in the cards, not yet

    "Are retailers and their suppliers prepared for the pandemic to extend into next year?" Definitely not. All signs point to logistics and distribution being even more difficult Q4 2021 than it was Q4 2020. People are saying if you want your holiday gifts in time for December then you better order them in September. The brands that are best able to deal with these issues are going to come out on top with a lot of new, loyal customers.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2021

    Are websites a must-have for all retailers?

    Similar to what others are saying, I don't know why you wouldn't have a website regardless of how small your store is. Even if it's just to list your business hours and location. It frustrates me when a business's top SERP result is its Facebook page. A Facebook page is not your website.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2021

    Will increasing mall traffic hit a speed bump due to the Delta variant?

    We're in for another long fall and winter in terms of brick-and-mortar retail. The drop in traffic that will come will continue to hasten the move to e-commerce and the relative lessening of the retail footprint in this country. There will be a lot of empty space that can be used creatively, perhaps for regional fulfillment centers?
  • Posted on: 07/26/2021

    Should retailers continue the chatbot deception?

    I think it's important to be transparent in whether you're dealing with a person or a bot. I feel even when we were transparent in the past and made it clear it was a real person people didn't believe us and instead of typing full sentences they would just send keywords assuming that would ping a response from the bot. It was very interesting. I think there is something to people being upset if they find out it's a bot half-way into the conversation. There is nothing wrong with bot functionality, but in a perfect world I believe merchants should opt to offer both options.
  • Posted on: 07/15/2021

    What does it take to successfully rent customers on social commerce platforms?

    Social commerce is going to become a big, big winning proposition over the coming years and eventually table stakes for e-commerce brands. The ability to connect your site with Pinterest, Instagram, etc. and enable one-step checkout across those social platforms. At the end of the day so much of e-commerce is rented land. Even while we consider email owned it's largely rented as it's only as strong as the email service provider we're using.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2021

    7-Eleven expands mobile checkout to thousands of U.S. stores

    A great option. Yes. Table stakes: No I don't think so. I think you have to account for how regional the convenience store vertical is. If you look at the 2020 list of top convenience stores, I don't think I live within 100 miles of one of these. For the larger ones it may work, but even they will deal with a customer base that this technology is so foreign to. But the smaller chains likely won't have the bandwidth to create this level of technology on their apps and serve it. So again a good experience: Yes. But the norm? I don't think so.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2021

    Will in-person conferences make a comeback after a year of virtual shows?

    Like anything else, it probably depends on the vertical. Shows focused on digital products and digital technology will return to being in-person shows but perhaps never at the same level. Shows that rely on more touch and feel will have more of a need to go back to in-person.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2021

    Has Lego built an unforgettable retail experience for kids and adults?

    No brand lends itself more to this than Lego. Forget about how tactile the product is, the brand has done an amazing job of lending itself to children and adults alike. I'm 42 and still LOVE diving into a new Lego project. That being said in this COVID-19 environment I don't know if every brand has the brand awareness and loyalty to be able to be successful with something like this. I would love to hear other's thoughts.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2021

    What distinguished e-commerce winners and losers during the pandemic?

    Yes the brick and mortar presence or lack thereof was critical during the height of COVID. Previously being in the furniture vertical we say 140% gains YOY in terms of ecommerce selling to the consumer side. Ecommerce had always been Industry West's ( bread and butter and it was never reliant on brick and mortar, but I think adoption of peoples' willingness to purchase furniture online increased exponentially with COVID.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2021

    Marketers go to college to recruit brand ambassadors

    “This isn’t just about blue-chip athletes coming in and sort of trying to get them before [they get to] the NBA or NFL,” said Boost Mobile CEO Stephen Stokols. “This is about all athletes. And every athlete in every sport in every type of school has an opportunity to really create value for themselves.” I think this right here is the key for both the brands and the athletes. Crossnet IMHO has done an amazing job for a smaller brand of signing lesser known athletes. This benefits the athlete in allowing them to make some money and benefits the brand in terms of utilizing this as a micro-influencer campaign. Makes complete sense!
  • Posted on: 07/06/2021

    Will ‘less is more’ or ‘more is better’ online merchandising drive bigger sales?

    I agree and is an issue we had at my previous gig in the furniture vertical with 5,000 SKUs. We want people to explore, but also want to push what we wanted to push. Also, only had so much bandwidth to control the levers.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2021

    Will ‘less is more’ or ‘more is better’ online merchandising drive bigger sales?

    Having used SaaS like Nosto for on-site personalization and Klevu for personalization in on-site search, I can attest to the fact that they work! Right product at right time without a doubt works. But there has to be a balance between that and the customer's desire to explore. Sounds crazy to say Netflix has failed at something, but I do get frustrated that my aunt's recommendations look so much different than mine. There are things recommended for her that I would love to watch and will never shop up for me on my queue. So with that, I think Netflix has gone too much on the side of personalization and haven't enabled people to explore. Retailers/merchants/ecommerce purveyors need not do the same.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2021

    What makes a great post-purchase experience?

    I think that what's interesting is where "post-purchase" experience falls within the priority stack for new DTC companies, particularly those that are bootstrapped and spending so much money and effort in gaining new customers, not necessarily working to optimize the post-purchase experience in hopes of raising LTV. It's a critical component of the customer lifecycle, but probably gets the short end because so much is focussed on winning the customer in the first place.

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