Meaghan Brophy

Managing Editor, Independent Retailer
Meaghan Brophy is the managing editor for Sumner Communications, parent company of Independent Retailer and The Merchandiser Group. Both magazines are written for small retailers and cover topics including marketing, sales, management, products, trade shows, and everything else related to the digital and brick and mortar independent retail industry. She serves as the principal writer and editor for both monthly publications and helps guide the editorial direction of each issue.

Outside of her time at Sumner Communications, Meaghan has held retail and business management roles. Through these positions, she’s gained ample experience in sales, employee training, human resources, customer service, and leadership.

In her free time, Meaghan enjoys tap dancing and a quiet cup of coffee. She also holds an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University.

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  • Posted on: 02/23/2017

    Will a new TJX concept put more hurt on department stores?

    Off-price merchandise is hitting it big right now, as we all agree. People love a bargain and the thrill of the find that comes with shopping at TJX. These types of stores create that exciting shopping experience many retailers are after.However, this particular move by TJX doesn’t seem to add up. I never realized until reading this article that there was some type of product differentiation between T.J. Maxx and Marshalls as Mr. Herrman’s quotes imply. I always thought of the two stores as being essentially the same thing, and people chose one over the other based on proximity.To me, it doesn’t make sense to add a new off-price home goods store to compete with HomeGoods. What’s the appeal in creating a new brand versus expanding on the one they already have?
  • Posted on: 02/22/2017

    Can Walmart grow its online business profitably?

    In short, no. Walmart will have to play the long game to get ahead in e-commerce. That has been Amazon’s strategy from the get-go. For example, when Amazon entered the e-book market they undercut every publisher and bookstore in price, practically giving away e-books. They absolutely did not make any money on them. However, that strategy allowed Amazon to control the e-reader category with their Kindle. They lost profit on e-books to gain market share in the long run. Same with shipping costs. Overall, Amazon lost over $7 billion on shipping alone in 2016. However, the market share they gain over time by eating this cost for consumers is well worth the initial loss. Don’t forget the investments in warehouses and fulfillment centers Amazon continues to make, putting profits on hold to come out ahead in the long run with their Prime Now delivery. If Walmart wants to gain online market share they need to follow similar strategies to Amazon and operate at a loss in the short term to gain greater profits and control in the long run.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2017

    Will Neiman Marcus find gold with its women’s plus-size pilot?

    It’s about time. Neiman Marcus should expand the “Curvy Chic” concept to their full-line stores. The majority of American women wear plus-size clothing, but the majority of mainstream retailers do not cater to those sizes in-store.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2017

    Is third-party content more effective in generating online sales?

    They should be treated equally. User-generated and internal content serve different purposes for shoppers. Internal content tells consumers what the product is, ingredients or materials and packaging details. User-generated content tells shoppers whether or not the item holds up to expectations on quality, fit and value.
  • Posted on: 02/13/2017

    Should L.L.Bean ditch its legendary return policy?

    Mark, I completely agree. A one- or two-year full guarantee is still more generous than most retailers. I don't think setting a time limit on returns would impact sales or consumer confidence.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2017

    Why in-store merchandising has to change

    The biggest problem is that retailers think of merchandising from a retailer’s perspective instead of a consumer’s perspective. There shouldn’t be this separation of what’s best for the consumer vs. what’s best for the retailer. What’s best for the consumer will ultimately be what’s best for the retailer. For example, placing top-selling or in-demand items at the back of the store to make shoppers walk through the entire space wastes consumers’ time and makes your store a less convenient option than a retailer who merchandises based on consumer demand. Consumers are smart and can see through these efforts. Instead of trying to manipulate the shopper, work with them.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2017

    Did President Trump go too far with his Nordstrom tweet?

    It is absolutely an abuse of power for President Trump to denounce Nordstrom. Legally he is navigating murky waters when he endorses or denounces businesses for personal reasons, especially when family financials and personal gain are involved. However, if anything President Trump’s tweets against Nordstrom have helped the brand more than hurt it. Nordstrom’s stocks are going up and there are many groups on social media encouraging its members to show support by shopping at Nordstrom. NRF or RILA could issue a statement supporting Nordstrom, but I don’t think it would make much of a difference.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2017

    Are vendors and stores headed for a fight over Amazon?

    Brick-and-mortar stores have to reevaluate their product and service offerings. If major vendors are reducing their inventory or pulling our entirely, retailers need to recognize they have to change. Offering better in-store experiences, promotions and exclusive products are key. If a vendor is backing out, it’s because their product isn’t doing well in that retail environment. Instead of fighting that change, retailers should get in front of it and figure out what will work better.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2017

    When will sustainable fashion go mainstream?

    Price and texture of fabric are probably the biggest factors standing in the way. Sustainable clothing will go mainstream when retailers can replace regular items with sustainable ones without shoppers being able to tell the difference. Right now there is not enough consumer demand for shoppers to consciously pick the environmentally friendly alternative, especially if there is a difference in price or quality.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2017

    Should the Monday after the Super Bowl be a national holiday?

    I’m not sure if “legitimate” would be the right word. But I can definitely see this petition gaining popularity. It’s no surprise that millions of people don’t show up for work the day after the Super Bowl. Taking the Super Bowl seriously is one thing the majority of our country seems to agree on. In a recent survey more than 51 percent of Americans said they would give up vacation days for a year for their team to win the Super Bowl. Personally, I don’t think it would be a horrible idea to declare that Monday a national holiday. Employees aren’t being productive in the office, so the retail and service industries might as well profit.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2017

    Will free two-day shipping give Walmart an edge over Amazon?

    Walmart’s free two-day shipping will help put them on a level playing field with Amazon, especially since Walmart is not charging an annual fee. This could immediately draw a lot of online shoppers who haven’t already paid for Amazon Prime towards Walmart. Amazon will have to respond by beefing up their other Prime benefits, such as their video streaming, Prime Now delivery and Prime Pantry to justify their $99 per year or $10.99 per month Prime fee.
  • Posted on: 01/26/2017

    Do retailers need to work on making more emotional connections?

    Retailers need to figure out what “meaning” and “authenticity” mean for their brand specifically. Many retailers deliver an emotional connection through charity work. For example, Toms and Warby Parker donate a pair of shoes or glasses for every pair that is purchased. These donations create a greater emotional connection between consumer and brand because shoppers can feel good about their purchase.Independent retailers have an advantage when it comes to being “authentic” because they are able to easily build personal connections to their community. They may not make large-scale donations in the same way a national brand would, but they can have a personal relationship with their customers and build “meaning” by playing an active role in community events.Overall, emotionally connected brands are philanthropic, have a backstory and are keenly aware of who their shoppers are and their interests.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2017

    What will blockchain mean for retail supply chains?

    I agree blockchain could be a dominant hype phrase for 2017. However, there are a lot of logistics and integration challenges to be worked out. So although the technology is there, I think it will be some time before we see it fully implemented.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2017

    Are the days of pure play e-tail coming to an end?

    I completely agree. E-tail adds a convenience factor that is absolutely necessary for today's consumers. However, brick-and-mortar stores provide the human aspect of a brand which is equally as necessary. I think the problem lies in making the transition from what brick-and-mortar stores currently are to what many consumers want them to be. It's easier for e-tailers to start brick-and-mortar from scratch than for many larger brick-and-mortar stores to adjust their mindsets and undergo a complete overhaul.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2017

    What will blockchain mean for retail supply chains?

    We are a long way away, but yes blockchain does have the potential to make the supply chain a transparent process for retailers and consumers. Consumers are increasingly concerned with where products are coming from, the conditions they are being made in, and that the claims made on packaging match reality. Alleviating these concerns will boost consumer confidence in retailers who make their supply chains transparent, ultimately making them a top choice for many shoppers.

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