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Cloud In Retail Is Here To Stay

July 22, 2016

There are various degrees of cloudiness, or various layers of it, if you want to look at it that way. But there’s a huge difference between a company that has outsourced its hardware and basic infrastructure support, and a company that is all-in on a multi-tenant business software solution, with no customizations or extensions to that solution.

TED-IBM Into The Land Of What May Be

July 22, 2016

The theme of the day in San Francisco (hosted by IBM) was “Necessity & Innovation”. The brochure for the event summarized: “Necessity is the mother invention – or so we have been led to believe. We cannot help but suspect that our needs to create and to shape the world around us run much deeper than simple pragmatism. The deeply human need to produce something extraordinary from nothing remains essential to every great endeavor.”

Don’t Let Procurement Negotiate Enterprise Software Deals – Part 2

July 21, 2016

Many retailers have gone to using Corporate Procurement and rigid RFP (“request for proposal”) processes that tend to (1) move negotiations towards a transactional and away from a relationship deal, and (2) that causes the retailer to miss new opportunities to transform current business practices.

The Retail Method Of Accounting. Still A Troublesome Anachronism

July 21, 2016

Last week I was speaking with a client about managing merchandise plans. In the course of the conversation I asked “How many of your clients are still using the Retail Method of accounting?” Much to my surprise, and to their own apparent dismay, the answer was “most of them.”

The Internet Of Things. A Reality Check For Retail

July 21, 2016

The IoT is not new. In fact, I first heard the term bandied about at the RFID Center at the Auto-ID labs at MIT, when I first became an analyst in 2002-2003. Back then, it was all about RFID. Now it’s about a little bit of everything when it comes to location-awareness, with everything from refrigerators to our mobile devices sending out “Hello World” beacons to anything or anyone who might want to pair with them.

History of Omni-Channel. Merchandising In The Crosshairs

July 20, 2016

Merchandising is typically based on planning two ways – top down and bottoms up. In the top down scenario, the retailer declares a growth target: “We plan on growing sales by 5% next year.” And then it is up to merchandisers to figure out where and how that growth will come. If the retailer is on the ball, they then reconcile these two – the expected budgets for revenue and the expected number of units sold – to see if they come anywhere near each other in terms of expectations.

What Does Personalization Mean To Your Brand?

July 19, 2016

In an age when personalization is on the lips of nearly every solution provider and every retail conference attendee, RSR’s experience has thus far been that genuine personalization is still a long ways off.

The best-performing retailers understand this fact, and in our latest benchmark report on Mobillity in Retail, tell us they recognize that deeper customer engagement’s greatest promise is to drive sales.

The World Of Retail Financing. Lending, Private Equity, Leasebacks And Turnarounds

July 19, 2016

The tagline for the CFA is pretty clear: It’s “The Association For Professionals In The Asset-based Lending And Factoring Industry.”Now, this may sound dry as toast to some of you, but indulge me a few minutes here…because truth be told, without the companies that are part of this group, the retail industry would quite literally come to a screeching halt. And for those of you who self-identify as “laggards” – sales running below the rate of inflation, members of this group, who specialize in financing and turnaround planning for depressed companies, may make the difference between survival and your company’s end of days. That’s how important a lender or restructurer who understands retail can be.

Profitable Fulfillment Are We There Yet?

July 19, 2016

Back in January, the folks at Aptos asked us to help them figure out the success retailers are having with cross-channel fulfillment. We all know that many retailers are willing to let customers “have it our way” when it comes to satisfying demand. We also had a feeling that it might be working, but it likely wasn’t working all that well.

Why Bringing Digital Into Stores Won’t Work And How To Prevent That Outcome

July 18, 2016

The biggest mistake I see in store technology implementations is a “build it and they will come” mentality. Or one that is overly focused on driving sales. Don’t get me wrong – the main objective of in-store activity should be to drive sales. The store is where 90% of sales are transacted, and anything that takes focus away from that risks jeopardizing a business model that is already stressed.

Retailers Weigh In On The State Of The Digital/Physical Union

July 17, 2016

With the proliferation of digital channels in retail, we recently took on the task of understanding how retailers view the state of the union. How do retailers, themselves, currently view the challenges, opportunities, roadblocks and technology enablers associated with how they support commerce across all of their consumer touchpoints – both physical and digital?

Retail Still Moves More Slowly Than Needed

July 17, 2016

A fascinating walk down memory lane. Granted, we “only” are talking about newsletter articles written over the past five years: since 2011, but five years is a long time in consumer IT years.

Here are some “flashbacks” that really could be published as new articles today.

Digital Channels And The Problems Ahead

July 16, 2016

I examined some data about how retailers have two main operational problems with their eCommerce operations: getting varying channels to work together, and optimizing the ways inventory is deployed across these channels. The gist of the article? Everything else pales in comparison.

What’s In The Way Of Better eCommerce?

July 16, 2016

We’ve seen interest in a major platform refresh, the introduction of mobile and social as eCommerce considerations, as well as convergence — where retailers increasingly view mobile and other non-commerce online activities in the context of their overall digital strategy, with their eCommerce platform as the centerpiece.

RBTE 2016: Focus On Employee Empowerment

July 15, 2016

One of the most enjoyable aspects of attending the Retail Business Technology Event in London (which completed its fifth successful year of operation in March) is that it’s so easy to see in real life what it being talked about at the event. London is a hotbed of very competitive retail shops. The city remains one of the world’s top performers when it comes to retail sales, and the UK overall ranks among the top countries in Internet sales (#1 in 2013). So if you want to see what is happening in Retail, there is no better place to look than London.

History of Omni-Channel: The Future

July 15, 2016

It’s been fun writing this series on the History of Omni-Channel. However, I’ve run out of history, so it’s time to start looking to the future.

Mobile’s Road Ahead: Yikes

July 15, 2016

So as I pointed out last week: we have a real problem. Retailers of all sizes and stripes still maintain that the ability to check prices is job one, and consumers disagree. But let’s say (for argument’s sake) we get past that issue sometime soon. Imagine retailers and consumers get on the same page about what a mobile device should really be used for. Then what?

Coming To Terms With Retail Planning

July 15, 2016

Retail planning is a hot topic throughout the industry right now. The burning issue that brings this core capability front-and-center is that demand comes from more than one place: from the stores, the call center, and from the digital space. Matching that demand to supply in a way that is satisfying to consumers is more difficult, as consumers demand more and more cross-channel fulfillment options. The final kick in the shins of the traditional planning cycle is that consumers are more selective and less loyal, and have easy access to information about competitive offers available anytime and anywhere. That means that retailers must react more quickly to shifts in demand than they have had to in the past.

Are Retailers Finally Getting Serious About Servicing Plus Size Women?

July 14, 2016

Long-time readers will remember that I’ve bemoaned the state of the plus-sized clothing industry for many years. And those of you who’ve met me will know why. I’m a customer. And I’m not alone. Current estimates of the percentage of the female population larger than size 12 are up to 60%.

That’s a lot of money being left on the table.

Nikki Baird

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