My Last Great Customer Experience: 5 Ways REI Is Saving The Store

0aDH hiking REI EPI just experienced my first backcountry camping trip a few months ago, and REI helped to make it a fun, safe adventure. REI is one perfect example of why stores are not going to die. In this article I’ll share five reasons why the store is here to stay based on my experience with REI. And these tips really can apply to all retail brands.  

I know that most retail brands don’t have the advantage of selling products that motivate adventure and help people stay safe while having fun. But I still think the REI model can motivate and inspire all retailers to rethink their store business model.


Organized Retail Crime Hurts You (Even If You're Not CVS Or Walgreens)

0aDebbie head shotI’ve been covering the retail industry for a long time now, but just had my first truly intensive lesson on Organized Retail Crime (ORC) and its effect on the industry — and economy — as whole. I admit that at first I wasn’t fully engaged when Tony Sheppard, National Manager of Organized Retail Crime for CVS Health, stepped onto the stage at a recent event. But Sheppard’s enthusiasm for his job — and his dedication to putting a stop to this rampant criminal activity — grabbed my attention.

The most important lesson I learned from the talk is that even if your business is not directly affected by ORC activities, the significant amount of loss from these crimes can have an indirect effect on business and the economy as a whole. Besides hitting the bottom line of affected retailers and raising the cost of legitimate goods for consumers, the diversion of sales tax revenues cheats cash-strapped local and state governments.


How To Turn Personalization Into A Real Strategic Asset

0aDebbie head shotIn retail, we like to throw terms around like they’re magical words. “Personalization” was the term of the moment during the Digital Summit (#ShopOrg16) in Dallas last week. But just saying it doesn’t make it relevant and strategic. That was the conversation I had with several executives during the event: How to turn the word “personalization” into a real, working strategy.

Similar to the discussion we’ve had during the past several years about “Omnichannel,” now that we know we need personalization, we need to figure out how to execute on the imperative. As with most of today’s business goals, accessing, analyzing and using the right data is going to be the key to executing on the strategy.


Has The Organic Food Market Outgrown Whole Foods?

Debbie head shotAdmittedly, I am a Whole Foods shopper.  My relationship with Whole Foods dates back to before the company acquired the Fresh Fields chain in the '90s. But most people probably don't know that Whole Foods actually was born in 1974 in New Orleans as a one-store business called Whole Food Company. It's grown from one store to more than 430 locations employing more than 90,000.

But with the expansion of "health food," organic products, gluten free items and the like, Whole Foods is facing unprecedented competitive challenges, not only from other supermarket chains, but from smaller specialty companies and larger retail outlets. Small formats like MOM's Organic Market and Sprouts, as well as businesses as large as Kroger, Costco and Walmart, are consuming some of Whole Foods' share of the organic food market.


Why There Really Is Value In A Name

Debbie head shotWhile most industry experts and executives agree that a focus on innovation, transformation and customer-centricity are key to a successful future in retail, there’s an ongoing debate about whether or not they need to assign specific titles bearing those terms.

In an exclusive survey report conducted by Retail TouchPoints, scheduled to be released on October 7, 2014, you’ll learn that many retail organizations are adding new titles to their C-level list, such as: Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Customer Officer, Chief Innovation Officer or Chief Transformation Officer.


14 Retailers Win 2014 Store Operations Superstar Awards

shadow RTP RT025 AWD StoreOpSuperstars Aug 2014Successful store operations improve the customer experience and ultimately, the bottom line. But today’s store operators are constantly juggling numerous challenges, from managing mobile technology to motivating employees.

As competition continues to heat up, along with pressure to hold the line on expenses, store operations executives are faced with an uphill battle.


DSW Uses Size Optimization To Help Merchandise New Store Mixture

DSW8With 400 stores and growing, DSW is constantly challenged with providing the right selection of shoes for every shopper. Adding a series of smaller format stores to the mix has heightened the challenge.

“These [smaller format] stores are 8,000 to 12,000 square feet so the precision of the assortment has to be right,” said Linda Canada, SVP of Planning and Allocation of the shoe retailer. A typical DSW store is approximately 20,000 square feet, she explained.


Retail TouchPoints Honors 17 Retail Innovators At Awards Event

During the inaugural Retail Innovator Awards event, Retail TouchPoints (RTP) recognized 17 retail executives who have focused on innovation in order to improve their businesses and the entire retail industry. Close to 100 industry executives, colleagues, friends and family gathered at The Yale Club in New York City on June 18th to honor these first-ever Innovator Award winners.

The Retail Innovator program is designed to honor individual executives in the retail industry who are focused on driving change through innovation. RTP has defined Retail Innovators are defined as: Retail executives and thought leaders who think outside the box to develop and foster innovative concepts and strategies that help move the overall retail industry forward.

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