PROFILE

Lee Kent

Principal, Your Retail Authority, LLC
Ms. Kent is Owner/Principal of Your Retail Authority, LLC. and creator of Retail’s former Social Network, TheRetailTradecenter.com. She is recognized by retail industry insiders as an authority on retailing and is a seasoned user of new media strategies. Lee likes to talk and exchange ideas about retail particularly on the in-store path to purchase and customer experience design. Look for invitations from Lee to exclusive Retail executive events. You can find her opinions most days on the Retail Wire where she is happy to share her 2 cents.

Lee's current practice focuses on uncovering a brands point of view, customer promises and ability to deliver on them through the creation and/or co-creation of thought leadership initiatives.

In addition to talking endlessly about her passion, Retail, she has directed numerous consulting and strategic initiative engagements. Her clients have included world-renowned companies as well as software providers and start-ups. Lee has served as the NA Retail Industry Practice Leader for a major global managed services provider, Retail Technology Consulting Principal for a Big 4 consulting firm, Director Supplier Management and Integration for an e-commerce start-up venture, Director of Managed Services for a major retail company and has brought her subject matter expertise to smaller organizations in order to help them build strong retail practices.

To learn more, visit <b><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leekent">Lee's LinkedIn profile...</a></b>
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  • Posted on: 04/27/2017

    What can TripAdvisor bring to retail?

    TripAdvisor is a go-to destination for me when I am searching for hotels or exploring a new destination. For travelers who have arrived at the airport early and have time to spare, popping into a TripAdvisor store to see what they might want to do at their travel destination could be a very fun thing to do. That is, if the store is done right. The consumer would be in the right mindset and you can't do much better than that. Just enhance that experience by showing them what others did at your destination. What they enjoyed, what you shouldn't miss. The only question I have is, how will they make money? I'm not so sure about tee shirts and water bottles. Will they also offer bookings? As for retail, I would love to see retailers step up their game at TripAdvisor. Let travelers know where to find you, let them know about special events and offer special services. I'll be interested to see how this goes.And that's my 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2017

    Will artificial intelligence replace CEOs?

    AI and robotics are poised to take over many jobs in retail over the next several decades and some CEO jobs may be thrown in to boot. There is a lot we need to be thinking about here. But the thought leadership, passion and risk taking that a good CEO provides, those cannot easily be replaced by technology. In light of this, some CEOs may need to be stepping up their games.For my 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 04/25/2017

    Can tailored digital video messaging transform grocery end-caps?

    Digital signage is always fun when it first arrives. Everyone wants to see it. Especially if it's well done as I expect Coke's was. After a while, it can easily become just passe unless it's helpful or adds some level of value to the customers journey. Advertising is not likely to do the trick and personalization may just be a bit too creepy. Keep it fun, entertaining and most of all helpful to create a great customer experience.For my 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 04/25/2017

    Will omnichannel make the J.C. Penney and Sephora partnership more successful?

    I would not have believed it until I saw it. Sephora and J.C. Penney? But it has been a true success story. Will this omnichannel approach make a difference? Absolutely! As long as J.C. Penney can deliver. I'm not saying they can't but we have seen many retailers who just haven't. J.C. Penney has become scrappy in recent years and that scrappy-ness, IMHO, is what is keeping them in the game. I think they'll do it again with this concept.For my 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2017

    What customer service lessons can be learned from United Airlines?

    It's just so easy to buy online! You can sit/lounge comfortably at home and take your time. Frankly, for me, it has little to do with the store experience as it has to do with the convenience. And when I put on just my consumer hat, do I really think there are problems with the in-store experience or simply that retail has offered me another option that I like better? With my retail hat on, it's a different story. If the brands don't do something to distinguish themselves, the consumer will likely shop for best price, best delivery time or whatever floats their boat. If the consumer is going to go to the trouble to travel to a store, find a parking spot, all those hassles, they want and expect a great experience. Brands need to find their stories and create experiences that deliver from top to bottom. Can they fix the problems? Yes!And that's my 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2017

    Will Amazon pull a Quidsi on Zappos?

    Diapers.com never had the reputation that Zappos has and I can't speak to the quality of their products but Zappos is still a brand name you hear thrown around for their great service and culture. Even if they are losing some share to Amazon, they are still a top footwear seller and they still have some fiercely loyal customers. I know a couple who would probably never buy from Amazon again if Zappos was shut down (you know the kind). So will Amazon close Zappos anytime soon? I'm thinking not. And that's my 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2017

    Are outlet malls an outlier?

    Many people do enjoy shopping and they do enjoy finding a great deal (or what they think is a great deal)! As long as the outlet malls provide that, they have a good chance at success. Also, outlet malls are destinations and make for an all-day adventure. The one question I might ask is, how popular are outlet malls to Millennials? I don't know the stats but if Millennials are on board then these malls may be more immune than one might think. Challenges in the future? When stores figure out how to offer great experiences and treat their venues as exciting places to visit, the outlet malls may need to step up their game too.That's me being hopeful and my 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 04/14/2017

    What can marketers and tech firms learn from BK’s co-opting of Google Home?

    I agree Adrian! There was no harm done by the ad and could also have been seen as PR for Google Home. Had I seen the ad, I would have thought they were in it together. I also thought it was clever.And that's my 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2017

    Are retail CEOs ready to ‘disagree and commit’ like Jeff Bezos?

    In these times, speed does make a difference. With that said, retailers also need a model that will allow them to try new things and succeed or fail faster. Back in the early days of Home Depot, in the days of the Bernie and Arthur show, they used to have a culture that allowed employees to come up with ideas and then actually implement them. The trick was being able to pull the project fast if it wasn't working. I know this is a little different than making a decision to move forward with fewer facts but the bottom line here is and was always all about speed and being innovative.For my 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2017

    Is UPS’s Saturday announcement a sign of deliveries to come?

    Retailers work and sell seven days a week so this step was only logical. It makes perfect sense. And that's my 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2017

    Will online sampling engage customers and drive trial at Sam’s Club?

    While in-store sampling has a more immediate effect, online sampling can still be a good thing and it also serves as an incentive to buy from Sam's Club. I order my makeup from Nordstrom instead of any of a dozen or so stores because they give me free samples that I get to pick.It will be interesting to see how this works for Sam's but my 2 cents says they are on to a good thing.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2017

    What will the fourth industrial revolution mean for retail supply chains and jobs?

    I sat in on a terrific session at NRF about this very topic however it went well beyond the supply chain. The session focused on the Fourth Industrial Revolution we have entered into that is transforming mankind, with 47 percent of jobs at risk over the next 20 years. Yes there is no doubt that this technological revolution and AI in particular will bring great change. The session left us with a big question. Will we have technological unemployment or radical abundance? Hmmm ... it's really up to us, isn't it?That's my 2 cents, now what is yours?
  • Posted on: 04/05/2017

    BrainTrust throwdown: Is it inevitable that tech companies will dominate retail?

    Wow, what a conversation! And even though I'm late to the game, it makes me want to jump in. Back in the day of my great grandfather's Mercantile, he was indeed a merchant. He carefully selected what he thought his customers would want and/or find useful. His job was more than simply turnover of merchandise, it was also educator, expediter, delivery man and finally friend.Boy how times have changed. Or have they? Can all of that be replaced with tech? Nope, but a lot of it can. And, that is what makes me lean with Ken. Not to mention having been a retail tech person all my life. But, and this is a big but ... the parts that can't be replaced by tech are crucial, especially today, because I think we have lost sight of them over recent times.Retail is both and the retailers who "get" it will win! That is my 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2017

    Is the time right for Publix to begin a major rollout of its GreenWise stores?

    My first thought is, 2007? That was ten years ago. How long does it take to prove a concept? Because of that, I really need more info on the brand before adding my 2 cents on whether it's a good time to roll out, but here are some thoughts. Whole Foods' recent decline in sales indicates a pricing issue to me as the Whole Foods' offerings are really top notch. If GreenWise has great offerings at a better price, then now would be the perfect time. However, I too wonder why Publix needs another format. The Publix name is strong so why not incorporate this into their existing format?But that just my 2 cents.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2017

    Will mobile order and pay-only stores improve Starbucks’ operational performance?

    Getting it right will be the trick but as long as that is what the customer wants, retailers will try to meet expectations. So far, my experience with Chick-fil-A order and pay has been great. I place my order then I drive to Chick-fil-A, let them know I'm there, walk up to the pick-up counter and my food is usually just a minute or two coming up. Yes I do have to get out of the car but frankly I don't mind that if the pick-up process is convenient.For my 2 cents.

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