Top Retail Trends of 2016
May 24, 2016 at 9:51 am

I recently received a really interesting whitepaper titled "The Top 10 Retail Trends For 2016" from Synchrony Financial that included a list of the top 10 technology, marketing and consumer trends that Synchrony predicts will have an impact on retail sales in 2016. Here are five of the key trends highlighted. Are any of them affecting…

Why Planning Systems Must Be Priority for Retailers
May 11, 2016 at 8:55 am

It’s no surprise to learn that retailers are in a rapid investment period in terms of IT systems. Historically slow to invest in technology, retailers are now playing catchup in an arena that punishes slow-movers. A retail CIO is faced with the daunting challenge of solving a myriad of complex issues fast, including: delivering the…

Barnes & Noble CEO: Focus on Experiences vs. Price
February 24, 2016 at 10:51 am

Retailers today have to differentiate themselves with experiential products and services, since most can no longer win on price. This was the key message delivered by Ron Boire, CEO of Barnes & Noble (B&N), during a fireside chat with James Green, CEO of Magnetic, during a session at eTail West yesterday. During the chat, Boire…

What Does ‘Soon’ Mean for Inventory Planners
September 22, 2015 at 10:09 am

A highlight of my year is the annual Direct Tech (now SPI) User Conference. (SPI acquired Direct Tech earlier this year.) This event brings together SPI clients for three days to network with their peers, learn more about SPI software applications and services, and discuss best practices related to merchandise and inventory planning. This year’s…

What Do Predictive Analytics Mean for Inventory Planners?
August 3, 2015 at 2:02 pm

One of the buzz phrases that's surfaced with merchandise and inventory planning systems over the last few years is “predictive analytics.” At its simplest, the term reflects the fact that data processing capabilities have advanced to the point where they don’t simply generate operational reports and ask the user to interpret information. They're now capable…

Inventory is At the Heart of Omnichannel Retail Success
June 23, 2015 at 2:47 pm

As many readers of this blog know, I've been working with Direct Tech, a 26-year-old provider of merchandise and inventory planning tools for direct-to-consumer retailers, for the last few years. Earlier this year, Direct Tech was acquired by Software Paradigms International (SPI), a 20-year-old provider of IT solutions to brick-and-mortar retailers. It’s exciting to be…

When Science Collides With Retail: Giving the Public What They Want
May 27, 2015 at 6:52 pm

The fashion times are a-changin’. New products have an estimated failure rate of 50 percent, costing over $400 billion each year collecting dust on store shelves. With that kind of risk involved, a systematic assessment of consumer preferences should be par for the course. However, retailers are constantly struggling to determine what styles consumers are…

How Retailers Can Leverage UGC to Acquire Millennials
May 12, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Millennials are one of if not the most sought after customer demographics for retail brands. The largest generation in the world — 80 million strong in the U.S. alone — are forecast to spend $200 billion annually by 2017, and $10 trillion over their lifetimes as consumers. And that’s just in the U.S. You can…

Don't Become a Flat Squirrel
February 17, 2014

We were privileged to hear from two outstanding keynote speakers at Direct Tech's annual user conference last week in sunny, warm Orlando. (Please forgive my sigh; I'm back home in Wisconsin, where the current temperature is -10°.) One of them, Elaine Beaubien, an award-winning educator, entrepreneur, and business management and training coach, shared her observations on "innovating to survive" in a rapidly changing environment.

How Attribution Modeling Helped Bonobos Cut Marketing Costs and Double Sales
October 28, 2013

The concept of attribution modeling isn't overtly sexy. It enables marketers to look at a variety of ads that contribute to a sale or conversion over an extended period of time and then attribute credit to each ad or "touchpoint" within the sales funnel. After I learned about how omnichannel men's apparel brand Bonobos uses attribution modeling to cut its marketing costs and double sales, the concept downright sizzles. I had a chat recently with Craig Elbert, the vice president of marketing at New York City-based Bonobos, and got the skinny about the company's attribution modeling program.