PROFILE

Jason Goldberg

SVP Commerce, Razorfish

Jason Goldberg is a shopper marketer with more than 25 years of experience in the retail industry. A fourth generation retailer, he started his career with Commodore Business Machines and Blockbuster Entertainment where he served as a senior director of marketing and visual merchandising. Over the past 10 years, Jason has served as a principal customer experience consultant for major retailers and well-known brands, including Best Buy, Levi Strauss & Co, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Sony, T-Mobile, Target, Walmart and many others. He has held senior leadership positions in marketing and product management for multiple West Coast-based firms focused on the retail industry. An early pioneer in digital marketing, he studied usability under Don Norman and was one of the first to apply such principals to the web when he launched Blockbuster.com in 1994.

In addition to specializing in online, in-store and mobile shopping experiences, Jason’s expertise also includes digital marketing, conversion optimization, retail analytics, visual merchandising, environmental design, customer experience architecture, interactive merchandising and digital signage. Throughout his career he has led innovative teams that have fundamentally changed the way consumers shop and make purchase decisions. His unique expertise has helped retailers create millions of daily customer engagements, delivering billions of dollars in annual revenue across a wide variety of digital and physical touch points.

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  • Posted on: 03/14/2016

    Does Sports Authority’s bankruptcy illustrate a big box problem?

    Sports Authority's problems aren't directly related to challenges with the big box format or the sporting goods category. Sports Authority's problems are related to being out-executed by Dick's Sporting Goods.

    Sports Authority's 2005 annual revenue was about $2.5 billion vs. Dick's Sporting Goods' $2.6 billion. Ten years later Sports Authority's revenue is $2.7 billion (per Moody's) vs. Dick's at $6.8 billion.

    Dick's and Sports Authority face the same big box headwinds and the same sporting goods market. Dick's more than doubled while Sports Authority stagnated because Dick's out-executed Sports Authority.

    In 2006 Sports Authority was taken private by Leonard Green & Partners in a leveraged buyout that caused Sports Authority to take on a large amount of debt. Sports Authority has spent the last 10 years servicing (not even retiring) that debt, while Dick's has been able to invest in its stores. The result, Dick's offers a better customer experience, a more enticing environment for UA/Nike partnerships, etc. No store concept will continue to stay appealing to consumers if you don't/can't invest in keeping up your stores.

    That's not to say the big box format doesn't have serious challenges. The format was designed to win on assortment and obviously big box can no longer win on assortment. But that's a headwind that Sports Authority and Dick's face, and Dick's seems to have weathered it far better.

  • Posted on: 03/11/2016

    Millennials are moving to the ‘burbs

    Understanding migration trends is MUCH more complex than just what age group is buying houses in a given geography. Are they buying an upgraded home in a location they already lived in? If they migrated to an area, did they migrate from another similar area, or are they truly making an urban-to-suburban switch? Growth rates vs. inventory rates, etc. At the end of the day the National Association of Realtors is not a credible research organization, they have a vested interest in getting the perception out that Millennials are buying houses where they happen to have inventory.

    U.S. Census data shows that the overall population is migrating TO urban centers/primary cities, and Millennials are the fastest moving migrators.

    There are some studies that show a reverse migration:

    But the most credible argument for me is from Joe Cortright. His conclusion:

    "Young adults are highly mobile: they're voting with their feet for the kinds of metropolitan areas and neighborhoods they want to live in. When you look at the entire sample of movers to cities and suburbs-and don't arbitrarily narrow the analysis-the data show that young adults, especially the most well-educated, are increasingly choosing cities."

  • Posted on: 02/24/2016

    Study: Outlets are not cannibalizing flagship sales

    Discount stores invariably have an effect on mainline stores.

    There are 194 Rack stores vs. 118 full-line Nordstrom stores. So to the majority of Americans Nordstrom Rack IS the flagship brand.

    Same-store sales went up 6.9 percent in those Rack stores, while it went down 3.9 percent in full-line stores last quarter.

    With Nordstrom, Macy's and Saks are all rushing to the discount shopper to compete with T.J. Maxx because that's where the money is right now, but once you shift too far in that direction it's VERY HARD to ever pivot back to premium luxury. It's a bell you can't un-ring.

  • Posted on: 02/23/2016

    Will dollar-based rewards boost Starbucks’ loyalty program numbers?

    The change was a necessary risk. It fixes a misalignment where the rewards weren't well aligned to desired behaviors, i.e., giving a star per transaction incentivized smaller purchases (in many cases getting star-seeking customers to break up a large order into several small ones). Now the program incentivizes total spend, which makes much more sense.

    The risk is that the existing customers (who have already been well-engaged with the program) feel like the value is being eroded in which case it will hurt Starbucks.

    It may be a mistake to have called the old point system AND the new point system STARS vs. coming up with some new point currency, because it "feels" like a major devaluation ... "I used to need 12 stars, now I need 125!"

  • Posted on: 02/10/2016

    Kroger’s customers love to order groceries online

    It's a no-brainer. Consumers are digitally pre-shopping lower and lower consideration purchases. Retailers need to offer e-commerce (or at least a great digital shelf) to accommodate that pre-shopping.

    Kroger, ClickList forces them to get closer to their digital shoppers, and start to develop their digital merchandising muscles. Then when you see a meaningful segment of Kroger shoppers want to use the fulfillment features, and it's a clear win.

    50% of all CPG growth over the next 3 years is coming from digital. It's past time for grocery to jump into the digital pool, and the water is fine!

  • Posted on: 01/22/2016

    Target CEO makes house calls

    Home visits are very helpful, but they aren't a silver bullet.

    First, it's very easy to over-weight anecdotal insights. Our brains are hardwired to do this. When doing home visits, it's important that our research team protect us from our own cognitive biases by validating any observations/conclusions with much larger sample sizes.

    Second, the big value of home visits are the unprompted observations, not the responses from residents to questions. So much of shopping is unconscious, it can be a huge mistake to ask consumers for a rational account of their shopping preferences and behaviors and expect their answers to be reliable.

    All that aside, it's certainly a step in the right direction any time senior management gets out of the ivory tower and get's closer to the customer!

  • Posted on: 01/22/2016

    Can data collaboration save the mall?

    I think these are two separate issues:

    1. Retailers SHOULD be very open with their data, services and systems. The era of getting a competitive advantage through obfuscation and proprietary behaviors is over. In every industry we see that when business open up their offerings (via APIs, standards, etc.) customers leverage those services in new, wonderful, unexpected ways. Retail should be no different. Retailers are going to want to share their inventories with automatic replenishment systems, in-dash navigation systems, digital personal butlers, delivery services, etc.

    2. Open systems WILL NOT save the mall. The fundamental problem with malls is not the experience when shoppers get to mall (although it can certainly be improved as well), it's that shoppers don't go to the mall. Most malls were built when America was sprawling to the suburbs. Now we're undergoing mass urbanization. Most indoor malls were built purely as warehouses of stores, and now we favor much more mixed-use entertainment complexes. We're way overstored in the U.S., and many malls are in geographies that shoppers are moving away from. Retailers opening their data is going to give consumers more good alternatives to a trip to the mall, not entice them to the mall. Some new data sharing on the part of retailers isn't suddenly going to make millions of consumers want to shop that Sears anchor store at regional indoor mall again.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2016

    Is Amazon preparing to dump FedEx and UPS?

    Amazon is absolutely looking to increase fulfillment capacity and reduce costs. UPS and FedEx are at best adding 6 percent capacity a year, and Amazon is growing at better than 20 percent a year, so relying exclusively on those shippers would be putting Amazon's whole business at risk. Further shipping is one of Amazon's largest (and fastest growing) expenses, so they are clearly looking for opportunities to take costs out. That's why they are buying planes, investing in shipping companies, opening sortation centers, opening campus pickup locations, etc.

    Like many other pieces of their infrastructure, I'm sure they will also try to sell their excess capacity to improve their scale and costs (AWS, FBA, etc.). However, I DON'T think they are looking to completely replace UPS.

    For one thing, Amazon uses Fedex for a lot of international freight that they are unlikely to want to replicate in the near future. And it would be much harder for Amazon to offer a commercial international freight service to 3rd parties that includes import/customs services. Target may be willing to pay Amazon to ship a package if it's cheaper, and transparent to the Target Guest, but I doubt Target will ever hand all their product sourcing and pricing info to Amazon as part of an import process.

    Also, not all domestic packages are equal when it comes to delivery cost. Urban vs Rural, Commercial vs Residential, multi-zone vs intra-zone, etc... Expect Amazon to replace UPS where they can make the most extra margin, but still use UPS for the difficult to deliver profitably long tail addresses.

  • Posted on: 12/10/2015

    Walmart jumps into mobile payment fray with Walmart Pay

    Walmart provides a nice validation of mobile payments for mainstream Americans. I wouldn't expect Walmart to have the kind of success that Starbucks has with its army of daily customers and payments tied to rewards.

    The solution doesn't sound like it adds anything new in terms of IP and it's probably not a game changer, but it certainly is another huge blow to MCX.

    The thing that troubles me is Walmart's lack of support for other wallets. In the long run, the customer needs to be able use whatever payment method she chooses, not options curated by retailers based on their own business interests.

  • Posted on: 11/24/2015

    Should REI’s CEO have stayed away from Reddit?

    Hopefully Jerry knew exactly what he was getting into when he agreed to do the AMA. Gandhi and Mother Theresa would have gotten roughed up if they agreed to do a Reddit AMA.

    As a not-for-profit co-op, REI, is in a perfect position to be transparent with employees and customers. If they can't get comfortable with and find benefit in transparency, then there is very little hope for the majority of publicly-traded retailers.

  • Posted on: 11/19/2015

    Why are retailers turning to passive data for consumer insights?

    In shopper marketing, surveys have never been a very reliable or valid research methodology. The problem is that the overwhelming majority of shopping decisions are made by the subconscious, and when we survey shoppers about those behaviors, they can't be aware of the subconscious factors that influenced the behavior.

    "Observed preferences" are far more valuable than "stated preferences" and those observed preferences are increasingly easily collected via passive or implicit means.

  • Posted on: 10/21/2015

    Amazon rebuts NYT article two months late – why?

    While the public discourse may have died down, I suspect that Amazon recruiters hear about the article every time they cold call a new prospect.

    They likely felt they needed to re-address the perception, due to the impact on its recruiting. Amazon has always been a bit tone deaf on this topic: "our employees prefer Windows that open," and I don't think their recent rebuttal particularly helps their cause.

    What companies need to remember is that the same digital disruption that made Amazon possible also gives job seekers perfect transparency into the corporate culture. With thousands of ex-employees just a click away on LinkedIn you can't "spin" your culture with press releases and hand-picked testimonials from senior executives.

  • Posted on: 10/01/2015

    Target takes price-matching to a whole new level

    It's definitely a smart move on Target's part. Price match policies let consumers shop with confidence, and very few consumers actually use the policy. It tells consumers that Target is serious about its e-commerce business (which has been on a growth spurt of late).

    Walmart's innovative price match program, Savings Catcher, has been a huge success (adding it to their mobile app caused their active users to jump from 4M to 14M in one month). However, Walmart's Savings Catcher doesn't let in-store customers match prices with Walmart's own e-commerce site, which is just silly.

    An interesting side note on Target's policy is that it includes Walmart, Amazon, and Costco, but not jet.com. I wonder if Target didn't want to match Jet's aggressive pricing, if the dynamic nature of Jet's pricing was too problematic, or if Jet just doesn't have enough mind share with Target guests to matter.

  • Posted on: 08/11/2015

    How much is free shipping really costing retailers?

    I'm not a fan of viewing free shipping as a marketing expense. Free shipping is obviously a major driver of online (and phone/catalog) purchases, and many retailers are addicted to the predictable spike in sales they get when they run shipping promotions. The irony is that merchants rarely talk about all the sales they are missing out on when they don't offer free shipping.

    58 percent of all e-commerce sales include free shipping (and it's much higher in Q4). Most top e-commerce sites (Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Dell, Staples, Nordstrom, etc ... ) ship 99 percent of their orders with free shipping.

    Shoppers have a powerful psychological aversion to shipping fees (the aversion is much stronger than just the economical value of the shipping costs). Retailers who offer free shipping as a promotion rather than offering free shipping consistently are simply taking themselves out of the consideration set for many consumers. Why is a shopper going to make you their primary shopping destination if they have to hope you are going to offer a promotion?

    All that being said, shipping is a significant (and growing) e-commerce expense for all retailers. Retailers need to be smart about managing that cost. The good news is that there are more than 40 different ways to offer free shipping (Threshold, BOPIS, etc.) and many of them have quite manageable costs. It's true that the actual shipping costs for any given order are often not-known until the time of shipping, but it's equally true that brick-and-mortar retailers don't know the transaction time (and therefore labor cost) or the customer service costs for individual transactions. E-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailers are able to quite accurately predict their costs in the aggregate.

  • Posted on: 08/07/2015

    Target tests beacons, plans nationwide rollout

    Unsolicited messages for deals (what I like to call "GeoSpam") are not likely to be popular, and we've already seen data that shoppers tend to turn off the apps after the second unwanted message. I don't think "GeoSpam" is what Target intends, however.

    Beacons have great promise to make more mobile experiences in-store more contextually relevant. If features like "Target Run" help shoppers complete their shopping trips more successfully, and help guests discover new products that truly are personalized and relevant to them, then the program will be a success. If it offers discounts on dog food to non-pet owners because they happen to walk through the pet aisle on the way to grocery, then it's not going to work.

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