Tour Report: Innovation in USA Retail

From February 14 to 28, FastForward with EVA company visited 12 retail companies in the USA in 4 cities: Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York.

EVA has the largest national chain of health and beauty stores, which offer a wide range of decorative cosmetics, face and body care products, jewelry, accessories, household goods, and child care products. 

Day 1
EVA employees visited the world famous company Zappos!
At the office of the company

The company is known for its internal culture and many achievements. It costs a lot for Tony Neck to save the culture of the company after selling it to Amazon.

In Zappos

#интерсныефакты_ff about the company Zappos:

  • Company is customer oriented.
  • The longest conversation with the client lasted for 10 hours. The reason was the operator and the client was from the same area of New York and they had many common topics to discuss.
  • Each operator can send a gift to his client after the end of the call, but sometimes even the clients want to send gifts to operators as they sent to our speaker Christine.
  • All the work of the call center is aimed at creating a stir in order to increase the recognition of the company.
  • All the employees start their career in a company working at the call center.  
  • Each employee must receive calls from customers. In the busiest days, like before Christmas, all employees voluntarily receive calls.
  • Yoga teacher, who works at the company, poses for the company's internal blog to promote a healthy lifestyle. 
  • The company has its own university, which works for the development of employees. At the moment there are almost 100 courses.
  • If the employee wants to get a new position, the company provides a list of requirements and tasks that must be fulfilled.
  • There is a system of desires where an employee can write that he wants to go on a cruise, for example, but he has a lack of money. In this case, any of the colleagues can help him to fulfill his dream, and the company annually gives money for the fulfillment of these desires.
Day 2-4
Cultural part of the program: Las Vegas and San Francisco

Our group #EVA discovered all the beauties of Las Vegas and San Francisco during the cultural part of a program. It is very important to learn other cultures, customs, traditions – this is a huge part of understanding how the mentality affects business and its development in the visited country.

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Day 5
Plug and Play Tech Center и Stanford University
Like from Facebook

#interesting facts_ff about Facebook:

  • This is the largest social network with more than 2 billion users. What is more, in their app Instagram  1 billion people are registered.
  • The company was founded on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommates while studying at Harvard University. 
What is the city of the future and the synthesis of offline and online platforms in retail?

The speaker spoke about this and opened up for our group the innovations of the global technology center Plug and Play, which was created to search, select and accelerate the successful growth of high-tech companies.

Plug and Play Tech Center is a community of more than 300 start-ups, 180 venture funds and dozens of leading universities and corporations. Such companies as Dropbox, PayPal, Google, and other businesses used the Plug and Play program. All of them started like startups but turned into international giants.

And, of course, Stanford University

It is a private university in the United States, one of the most prestigious and rated worldwide. It is located near the city of Palo Alto. Annually Stanford accepts about 6,700 students and 8,000 postgraduate students from the United States and around the world.

#interesting facts_ff about Stanford University:

  • 400 people claim one place in university;
  • Children who dream about entering this university start preparing at the 5th grade; 
  • Only after entering the university, the student is offered financing options; 
  • Many financing programs are offered for local and not local students. The main thing is the knowledge, not the financial capabilities of the candidate.
At stanford university
Day 6
Google and 500 Startups

Did you know that Google’s Campus has a “Corner of Democracy” - the private territory of one of the inhabitants of this region who did not agree to sell his personal property even for $ 20 million? Did you know that the company 500 Startups gives a real opportunity for any startup to develop their idea, bring it to life and submit to the competition to attract investors? 

500 Startups

#interestingfacts_ff about 500 Startups:

  • 500 startups – it is an American venture fund and accelerator. The 500 Startups portfolio includes 1200 companies from 50 countries of the world. The fund has $ 200 million. 
  •  Among the companies, which were invested by 500 Startups, there are three companies whose valuation already exceeds $ 1 billion. This is Twilio –  a developer of a platform for access to telephony, SMS and VoIP. This is an IT platform for comparing and discussing the financial services of Credit Karma, as well as a taxi service GrabTaxi.
  • We learned the procedure of first three months training in the company and the features of selecting a mentor.
  • After the product is created, the company makes an analysis of the idea and risks, then organizes a meeting with investors DEMO DAY.
  • DEMO DAY – it is a presentation to investors of those startups that were selected by the company. And the investor makes a decision which projects to invest money.
Regular meeting

#interesting facts_ff about Google::

  • 88,000 employees;
  • open corporate culture;
  • each employee can choose a team for himself within his project or switch to an existing one. The main thing is that this should not influence the implementation of business processes;
  • the company allows each employee to work on the project he likes during 20% of his personal time; 
  • the management organization is standard: plans for the quarter and year with a summary system;
  • if the employee shows poor results for one time - another niche is selected for him in the company, where he will show a greater result;
  • if the employee shows poor results during 2 periods - the company has to say goodbye to him.
Day 7
Walgreens store and Amazon

About the visit to the Walgreens store – the largest pharmacy chain. 

Did you know that Amazon strongly "squeezes out its employees" and the effect of "burnout" is almost the norm in the company? 

Well, let's see

Walgreen Company — on February 28, 2018, the company operated more than 9,560 pharmacies in all USA, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. The company's head office is located in the suburbs of Chicago, Deerfield.

The company was founded in 1901 in Chicago, and since then its activities have spread throughout the United States.


#interesting facts_ff about Walgreen Company:

  • The average customer’s check per day is 30 dollars;
  • about 1,500 people make purchases on a weekday;
  • The pharmacy staff consists of 30-40 employees, including 2 managers and 5-6 people who work in the pharmacy; 
  • There is an online store where you can order medicines. They will be delivered not to the customer’s address, but to the offline pharmacy address;
  • Employees are given the opportunity to move up the career ladder (from a regular clerk to the head of a pharmacy). 

The meeting with the speaker from Amazon - Dmitriy Pushkarev

Amazon is an American company – the largest in the world in terms of turnover among enterprises selling goods and services via the Internet, and one of the first Internet services focused on the sale of real consumer goods.

#interestingfacts_ff about Amazon:

  • Principle of the company AP OR OUT
  • It popularizes 14 basic principles of activity
  • One of the 14 principles - an employee can come to the leadership at any time with his idea. Then it will be tested. They are not penalized for mistakes, if the idea “does not work” - the company will encourage the author.
Day 8 
We talk in the open air

#interestingfacts_ff about Sephora:

  • Sephora Lab is a division of Sephora, which is dedicated to the development of new internal concepts based on the proposals of the company's employees. All projects are aimed at improving the quality of customer service.
  • Sephora was founded in 1970 in Paris, in collaboration with UK’s Boots PLC and Nouvelles Galeries, as a perfume chain store. In 1993 it was bought by Dominic Mandono, who connected his perfume network to Sephora. Mandono created and developed the idea of a controlled self-service, in which the customer can try the product before buying. A store was opened on the Champs Elysées in 1997. In July 1997 Mandono and his partners sold Sephora to LVMH, which made the chain of stores international. 
  • Sephora shops began to be opened around the world. In 1998 the store appeared in New York, in 2004 in Toronto. The company's head office in North America is located in San Francisco.

In 2008 Sephora bought 45% of shares of the Russian network of IL DE BOTE, and in 2011 increased its share to 65%.

Day 9
Expak Logistics and TRG Fulfillment Warehouse 

Expak Logistics dates back to 1966 with the founding of Marquis Southwest. A small pharmaceutical parcel delivery company based in Dallas, Texas. At that time services were concentrated only in a small part of the United States. All that time they were making an exceptional service for all customers

At Expak Logistics office

This is what Expak Logistics says about itself:

In 2003 the Marquis merged with several other logistics providers in the western United States. We had been expanding our operations until we served all areas west of Mississippi. The business expanded rapidly. More and more customers all over the country figured out how effective our services were. Now Expak Logistics has expanded both the range and the number of services. Now we are proud to be able to provide small package deliveries on a schedule, on a fixed route, including fleet services, air transportation, LTL services, and much more throughout the United States of America. In addition to this, thanks to the addition of our warehousing and shipping solutions, we can provide many companies with everything they need to improve and expand their supply chain. Our processes begin with a built-in proactive corporate culture. Our task is to find and implement solutions, rather than dwell on problems. Our four stages of succession are observed at all levels of our company and set the standard, with the help of which we approach all elements of our service offer.

TRG Fulfillment Warehouse

TRG Fulfillment – it is a warehouse and distribution center in Los Angeles.

  • Reliable and efficient distribution throughout the country and abroad;
  • Fast execution of e-commerce orders (90% on the same day); 
  • Orders come and are made without errors.
  • The company offers a full range of services in logistics and e-commerce from order fulfillment, delivery, picking and picking to warehousing, storage, and printing. We are also compatible with EDI (Electronic Data Interchange).
TRG Fulfillment warehouse

This is what the company says about itself: «Do you have any problems with implementation or logistics? Do you need a resource that understands the unique problems of your category? Then you need the check TRG Fulfillment experience. From order to receipt of goods by the client we offer the latest technology, flexible expertise, and great service to create the most pleasant impressions about the company.».

Day 10 
Capacity DistributiIon Center
Capacity DistributiIon Center

Distribution center DC is a warehouse where shipments to other warehouses of the company come from. At the same time trading with DC is never conducted. In addition to redistribution to other warehouses, DC function also includes repacking, packing, labeling, bar-coding, customs clearance and certification of the cargo. To improve business efficiency and optimize product flows during these two days, the tour participants studied all the subtleties of integrated services for the creation of a distribution center, which is an effective tool in business. Capacity Distribution Center is a logistics company which offers solutions for optimizing warehousing and delivery processes in the Health and Beauty sector.

Day 11 
Amazon Fulfillment Center и Amazon Distribution Center

It is the world's largest company in terms of turnover among companies which sell goods and services via the Internet. The company is one of the first Internet services focused on the sale of real consumer goods. The turnover is 74.452 billion dollars. The company has more than 90 000 employees. Currently, covers 34 categories of products, including e-books, consumer electronics, toys, food, household goods, sports goods and much more.

Amazon fulfillment was the first company which used the potential of the Internet. Amazon reached out a much bigger number of customers than a traditional offline store and offered a larger range of products. As there are no limits of what is available in stock.

One of the key characteristics of an online store site is that buyers can leave feedback on purchased goods and evaluate them. It helps to choose the right thing of the best quality.


Participants of the management tour have learned the secrets of the largest companies in the world from first hand.

Join the FastForward management tours and get a unique experience from industry leaders!

The impressions of previous tours participants:
Having already taken part in educational tours, these people are happy to share their knowledge and impressions.
Anton Nesiforov
Anton NesiforovProcess Manager for fruit and vegetable preservation, beverages, and alcohol

On our tour of Germany, we visited the most famous food exhibition, the Green Week, as well as numerous retail chains and enterprises operating in various interesting industries. We have a lot to learn. We must take the best and use it. Thank you, FastForward, for your careful approach to creating this tour.

Alena Nesiforova
Alena NesiforovaUnified Concept Manager for Izbenka and VkusVill

We visited several retail stores in Germany, as well as manufacturing facilities. What we liked the most about the stores we visited was the high quality standards of German retail. Retailers know how to sell high-quality goods at affordable prices, and this is probably the main secret of Germany's retail success. As for production, we were inspired by some of the small family businesses we saw.