By Julie Barker
Tony DiPippa, CFO of Caché, Inc., says the specialty retailer’s web business is only about 10 percent of its sales, but the plan is to make e-commerce a growth engine, and a profitable one. Historically the retailer used its website as an outlet channel, often selling the same product as stores but at drastic discounts. This strategy, says DiPippa, “obviously cannibalized the stores.”
A new website launched in June. Now e-commerce will have “a more coherent business strategy,” says DiPippa. Pinterest and Facebook are among the social media sites that Caché leverages to attract new customers
DiPippa oversees and is pretty conversant with IT issues, and he knows that before he arrived “Caché had underinvested in its systems for a number of years.” The website is just one element that needs attention and requires cash to get it right.
Important now is to inspire the customer to shop for Caché’s merchandise when it is at full price or when just one markdown has been taken.
“In terms of selling the product, I’m probably not the best person to sell women’s apparel, but I think selling, the ability to sell, is an important ability for a CFO,” he says. “What you’re really selling is a vision for the company — the business model, the strategy, how it will work, why it works.”
“I think you have to be very candid with investors, especially in a turnaround,” he says. “It’s not so much selling, but you have to translate a lot of complicated issues into something that’s easily understandable by the outside, the investor community, the analysts.”