Transition in a Time of Disruption — Julie Roehm

Prior to the pandemic, the term ‘omnichannel’ was scarcely used in the business world. However, with the shutdown of several in-person services, the past two years have taught us its importance, and its staying power. Not only did companies start to embrace ‘omnichannel’ as a way of reaching customers during the pandemic, they are also continuing to use it going forward. Thus, the pandemic has completely altered the way in which companies operate, as well as customers’ expectations and habits.

Recently I was a panelist at an in-person event organized by “Brand Innovators”. We discussed the transition in customer journey during the time of disruption i.e. the pandemic. At the panel, I shared my experience and perspective about the shift in customer journey during the pandemic and how I was able to influence it as a marketing leader at Party City.

“During the pandemic, omnichannel became everything; setting up delivery, our Hertz partnership, curbside pickup and delivery, to name a few. The pandemic made us understand the importance of omnichannel which now is taken for granted.

“Two and a half years ago, when the pandemic was at its peak, delivery was not that big except for food delivery. Delivery for groceries and other goods was not that omnipresent. Of course, we were dabbling in it, but we had never considered it at the Party City store. So, that was a very big learning journey. Also, thankfully during the pandemic, the customers were willing to go along with us, learn alongside us…and forgive us.

“ I know there was a conversation regarding curbside and high expectations around it. For example, if it’s raining and you don’t want to go out. It was a big deal. I remember it being nerve-wracking because there would always be some influencer who would go to different stores, and critique. It was stressful, but everything was focused on omnichannel. I think there’s a convenience to omnichannel which is here to stay, much like the hybrid workplace.Especially from the customer journey, people have high expectations from anything that makes their experience easy. During the pandemic, we had to reinvent, and now there is no tolerance for things that are difficult.”

Julie Roehm is the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Experience Officer at Party City. She is an innovative customer-centric marketer known for strategizing profitable corporate turnarounds with fast revenue growth via capturing stories that resonate with clients. She was named “Marketer of Year” by BrandWeek, Brand Innovators ‘Top 50 Women in Brand Marketing, the Tri-State Diversity Council’s “Most Powerful and Influential Woman”, an Automotive News “Marketing All-Star” and one of Working Mother’s “Top 25 Women”. She’s on the forefront of new marketing ideas, and being result-oriented, she uses her vast marketing experience in all facets of business strategy and marketing execution to help deliver the message of the brand.

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