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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Lenati blog

  • Posted on: 12/02/2016

    Will Starbucks be the same without Howard Schultz as CEO?

    Starbucks has learned from the adversity of the mid-2000s and won't repeat the mistakes that took it off track for a while. Kevin Johnson is also a much different type of successor than Jim Donald was. With a revitalized store fleet, the most successful mobile app in the history of retail and its legendary culture intact, Starbucks is well positioned for the future.
  • Posted on: 12/01/2016

    Click and collect and ship-from-store change associate job descriptions

    Well put, Chris. The key statistic in the article is that 83% of click and collect customers make an additional purchase at pick up; huge opportunity for the retailer. One best practice, especially in larger general merchandise stores, might be to give staff easy access to a product recommendation engine to aid selling suggestions at the point of pick-up.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2016

    What convinces retailers to innovate?

    Two thoughts here in addition to what has already been said:First, decision making around innovation or the adoption of new technologies needs to be grounded in a fundamental understanding of your current and/or target customers. Knowing not only how they shop but what their broader needs are should be a primary filter on where a retailer decides to focus their resources available for innovation.Second, it's a lot easier to come up with innovative ideas than it is to put them into practice. Integrating innovative experiences, services or products into an existing business requires a lot of attention to less sexy aspects like governance and project management. I find that a lot of companies struggle with the discipline and attention span required to implement their ideas well. Sam Stern at Forrester has done some great work illustrating the importance of these more difficult and "less fun" aspects of CX and innovation.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2016

    Nike goes big with an experiential concept in Soho

    The origin story of this store goes back to Nike+ and the Fuel Band. Since notably exiting the hardware side of fitness tracking a couple of years ago, Nike has redesigned Nike+ as a digital and service-based engagement program. The retail experiences at the Soho store are part of an overall direct to consumer strategy and are designed to complement the revamped suite of Nike apps and the recently released Apple Watch Nike+. As the number of 3rd party doors (Sports Authority etc.) declines, this robust direct to consumer strategy is key to Nike's future growth.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2016

    Where are the omnichannel metrics?

    The point of measurement should be to answer questions, like the ones posed by Chris, about your customers: how they are shopping and what motivates them to shop. One of the more difficult aspects of retail measurement is the anonymous customer, especially in-store where they can be harder to identify than online visitors. The quest to gain more customer knowledge is one reason for the growth in loyalty and retail membership programs which incentivize customers to identify themselves each time they shop.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2016

    Should Zappos take steps into the hospitality world?

    This raises all sorts of interesting questions and I'd love to watch this experiment unfold: Is Tony Hsieh the next Richard Branson and Zappos the next Virgin? Will holocracy work in running a hotel? I'm skeptical on holocracy and think it will be even less of a fit for a hotel than it is for the online shoe business.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2016

    The drive-thru of the future

    Continue to watch Starbucks in this space. They have integrated their app into the cafe (in-store) experience better than almost any other retailer and they are likely to find innovative ways to enhance an already best-in-class drive-thru experience with features and service options via the app.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2016

    Gillette suffers nicks from Harry’s/Target’s partnership

    As a consumer, I was an early adopter of Harry's and I love the convenience and the savings. The actual blades are "good enough." A Dollar Shave Club tie up with a major retailer is more likely now that Unilever owns DSC. I think the most interesting question is, which other CPG categories are ripe for this sort of disruption?
  • Posted on: 10/27/2016

    Will branded services help lift Staples’ results?

    Staples is a household name so extending its brand and offering to small business services could make a lot of sense. The Geek Squad business at Best Buy could be a good example for them to build toward. My concern is that the article implies that they are just licensing their name out to other providers. If this is a long term play to build the business, then they would be better served to truly understand the needs of their customers and then build out a suite of services delivered by Staples that deepens customer's loyalty to the brand. Speaking of loyalty, connecting the services to the rewards program would also make a lot of sense.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2016

    It’s the Millennials’ world

    I'm in this camp with Peter and Ralph. There is no unitary Millennial customer. It's better for marketers to instead focus on specific sub-segments (that may or may not cut across generations) or to build the data set that allows them to personalize at the individual level. Sucharita Mulpuru, the former Forrester retail analyst, has a good presentation that debunks a lot of the hype around Millennials. It's worth looking up.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2016

    Saks, Ralph Lauren lure customers with upscale services

    Bringing shoppers back into stores is a nice outcome, but it's not the overall point. The overall point is to grow sales and loyalty to the brand. The Saks service sounds like a smart way to decouple the brand from the store location and meet customers where they are and when they are ready to spend. The Ralph Lauren BMW ride feels a little more like a gimmick.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2016

    Should high-end brands avoid Amazon?

    Most high end brands will continue to try to avoid Amazon, so the question is really how to do so. Relying on the department store channel is a ticket to declining sales over time. If you are a brand that wants to limit your distribution online (a strategy that preserves margins and brand cachet) then you need to be prepared to make heavy investments in your Direct to Consumer (DTC) business. For most, these investments should include flagship retail experiences in key cities worldwide and an owned eCommerce business that complements and extends the reach of physical retail.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2016

    Best Buy speeds start-ups to selling floor

    This is a trend for sure and Best Buy is smart to get in on it. The consumer has never had more choices of where to shop, so unique or exclusive products and unique experiences are among the few ways that retailers can still stand out. Best Buy, as part of its continuing turnaround story, has sharpened its focus on the key tech- and gadget-savvy customer and the Ignite initiative gives those customers another reason to return to the store.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2016

    Are wearables on the way out?

    The wearables market is in the "test and learn" phase. Companies are still figuring out what can be done with a wearable and what will resonate with consumers. During this phase adoption will wax and wane. Remember, there were fits and starts with PDAs and early smartphones before the iPhone came along and changed everything. The wearables market will shake itself out over the next few years until we get to one or two devices that provide enough utility and a great experience so that hordes of consumers will want them. It's still an exciting space and it continues to be fun to watch.
  • Posted on: 07/22/2016

    Will AI mobile apps replace associates on Macy’s sales floor?

    While I applaud Macy's for their willingness to test and experiment here, the amount of back end integration for apps like this one to support more than a few limited use cases is typically enormous. So they are a long way away from replacing store associates.In a large format setting, a better play would be for AI to help lead the consumer to the right store associate and then help enhance that interaction.

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