PROFILE

Martin Mehalchin

Partner, Lenati, LLC

Martin Mehalchin leads the Retail & Consumer Customer Experience practice at Lenati, a Seattle-based sales and marketing strategy consulting firm. Martin has spent his career working with executives and managers to help them define their strategies and then translate those strategies into results. He has 15+ years of experience developing strategies and driving innovation for retailers and brands. He is an experienced speaker and seminar leader and he particularly enjoys helping clients understand how to use advanced technologies to drive business growth.

With specialties in Customer Experience and Loyalty, Lenati’s Retail and Consumer practice helps the world’s best-known brands deepen their connection with millions of customers around the globe. Our proprietary research tools enable a deeper understanding of your market and customers.  Taking a holistic view across all channels, we design new ways to align every part of your business around your customer.

Follow him on Twitter @mehalchin

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  • Posted on: 07/25/2017

    Will dropping prices on cosmetics drive traffic to department stores?

    These discounts are likely to attract shoppers who come in to get the discount and then turn around and leave without shopping the rest of the store. Department stores need to be more creative and be considering more fundamental changes in order to reinvent their outdated experiences and revive their business model.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2017

    Can fitness classes wake up retail store traffic?

    Saks is late to the party here. Nike, Lululemon and many independent retailers (particularly in Manhattan) have built compelling in-store experiences in this category. The fitness consumer will find those other brands far more authentic than Saks. Experiential retailing is a great idea, but Saks should devote the floorspace to something closer to their brand image and values (design and fashion).
  • Posted on: 06/23/2017

    What will a Nike/Amazon deal mean for the brand and other retailers?

    I work with a lot of clients in this category, so I could write a book about this.This is big news simply because Nike has always been known for tightly controlling its online distribution to protect both brand and pricing power.The apparent change in strategy is likely due to a combination of factors. First, overall softness in the market as evidenced by rampant discounting across the category so far this year. Second, the disappearance of major channel partners like Sports Authority. Finally, while Nike has been focusing on its own Direct channel, it's not growing fast enough to offset headwinds in the rest of the business and they have been slow to improve what is still a lagging eCommerce experience (although it's better on mobile than it is on web).This is unadulterated bad news for the Foot Lockers and Finish Lines of the world. They will have to focus more than ever on retaining and building relationships with their core customers via better loyalty offerings and unique shopping experiences.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2017

    Could ’embeddables’ in wearable tech give brands a clearer view of consumers?

    There is a massive arms race going on in the athletic shoe and apparel industry. UA, Nike and Adidas are all investing heavily in the types of initiatives described in the article. In the short run it's not great for these companies profit margins, but the resulting innovation should be great for athletic consumers in the long run.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2017

    Would Nordstrom be better off private?

    Nordstrom has been better than its peers at investing for the long haul as evidenced by their eCommerce buildout and single view of inventory. The department store business remains challenging and the need for a fundamental re-think and more investment is still there. Nordstrom's prospects of success are greater if they go private and no longer have to balance stewardship of the brand and business with meeting short-term, Wall St. analyst driven expectations.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2017

    Has North Face reached a summit in consumer segmentation?

    This makes a ton of sense in digital. However, the smaller boutiques will likely fail. Consumers get confused when brands build retail locations around a narrow slice of their assortment.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2017

    Will Amazon’s Echo Look be a clothes selling machine?

    Tom Redd is spot on. I know plenty of people who unplug their regular Alexa device because they don't want it listening all the time. The privacy concerns with this one will be off the charts! Russian hacking and similar news stories will slow adoption of Alexa and similar devices.
  • Posted on: 04/25/2017

    Would Albertsons and Whole Foods make a good match?

    Whole Foods is a mission-driven "Why" company. To see the originator of the Conscious Capitalism movement sell out to a company that is a laggard in customer and employee experience would be disillusioning and would risk destroying everything the brand is built on. I'm sure John Mackey and the Whole foods executive team would resist a proposed deal with every tool at their disposal.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2017

    Should Bloomingdale’s sales associates receive commissions for online sales?

    As retailers look to respond to these challenges, they should use it as an occasion to make things simpler rather than more complex. That's why I like Ken's suggestion of rewarding based on the success of a market. Pay a competitive or better base wage to in-store associates with a correspondingly high expectation around service levels (many branded retailers already do so to a greater or lesser extent) and then reward the team with bonuses based on the overall performance across channels of the store's trade area.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2017

    What’s needed beyond KPIs?

    Ralph, thanks for expanding on the possibilities raised in the article. Jonathan Adler also has a great companion piece on Medium that talks about how to apply advanced techniques in a way that the business will actually use them. We still find that the vast majority of retailers are using only a fraction of the insights and analysis methods available today.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2017

    Why are stores waiting until checkout to ID shoppers?

    This is an important element in maintaining brick-and-mortar's relevance so retailers need to keep chipping away at it. The big challenges are around data integration and human capital. Identifying shoppers is one thing, having the data readily available to do something with your knowledge of identity is what is tying up most retailers. The stats in the last paragraph of the article show how far the industry has to go on this. Once the technology and data are in place, retailers should not forget that a significant training investment needs to be made to enable associates to act on the information in a way that creates value for the shopper and feels authentic and appropriate.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2017

    What will Walmart gain from its Moosejaw acquisition?

    Does anyone else find it funny that they spent $3 billion on Jet and only $51 million on Moosejaw. These valuations are based on hype levels, not fundamentals. Looks like they got a good deal on Moosejaw.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2017

    Will its massive jobs announcement change public perceptions of Amazon?

    What I am most curious about is how many of the 100,000 will be in brick and mortar retail locations? Bookstores? AmazonGo?
  • Posted on: 01/12/2017

    Amazon offers yet more perks for Prime members with a cash-back card

    This move will extend Prime's lead as the richest and most compelling membership program in all of commerce. The retailer that might need to worry about this the most is Costco. As Amazon pushes into grocery and other strong Costco categories, the opportunity to earn 5% back could move share of wallet for shoppers who are members of both Costco and Prime.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2017

    Will 2017 be the year retailers start making their stores relevant again?

    I'm still seeing a lot of incrementalism and in the worst cases complete inability to make decisions. The key to reinventing your store experience is to really understand your consumer and be honest about your brand. A few brands have the assets and consumer love that allows them to pull off a "surprise and delight," flagship store as entertainment destination strategy. The rest should focus on making stores a relevant component of a near effortless overall shopping experience.There are a few lighthouse examples (Nike Soho, Amazon Go, Rent the Runway, Kit and Ace) pointing the way toward what the future role of the store could be. It's past time for the rest of retail to figure out the formula that's uniquely suited for each brand and it's consumers.

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