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: 12/12/2017

    Will meal kits be a hit on Walmart’s virtual shelves?

    I agree that it’s smart for Walmart to get involved with meal kits through a third-party provider. My only hang-up is the price point. As a company known for low prices, Walmart’s meal kit costs are on par with that of Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, around $10 per serving. If they can create a better value, I think Walmart will see great success.
  • Posted on: 12/08/2017

    Is a tiered dollar menu the ticket for McDonald’s?

    A revised dollar menu can’t hurt. Wendy’s 4 for $4 is extremely popular. But there are other larger issues impacting traffic and sales. McDonald’s has tough social media and marketing competition from Taco Bell and Wendy’s. Quite frankly, both of which do a better job engaging with consumers. Wendy’s Twitter is all but legendary. Taco Bell does a great job with influencer marketing. They also recently launched a successful clothing line with Forever 21. Sure, it’s about keeping prices low but it’s also about staying relevant.
  • Posted on: 12/08/2017

    Get ready – there are still three shopping holidays left before Christmas

    I think these holidays are another example of retail “buzzwords” that only people in the industry use. There’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday – how many more “days” do we need? At what point do they lose meaning? I don’t know if there are any consumers specifically planning their shopping around these three days. If retailers offer great deals, shoppers will take advantage of them, especially this time of year. We all know there are tons of holiday shopping procrastinators.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2017

    Will shoppers pay services to do returns for them?

    To echo what others have noted, if consumers won’t pay $5 for shipping, why would they pay $10 for returns? How will ReturnRunners get enough business for this to be profitable? As someone who absolutely hates making returns, on a surface level the concept sounds appealing but, in reality, just doesn’t make sense for most consumers or as a business model.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: H&M vs. Gap

    H&M would be the winner if the point of these commercials weren’t to make people want to shop there. It’s creative and star-studded, but what does it have to do with clothes? Throughout much of the clip, the characters are wearing over-the-top costumes. Not even items that could be from the H&M collection.The Gap spot is catchy, and they do a great job showcasing their clothing. This commercial makes me want to buy some sweaters.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2017

    Which off-price retailers will withstand the test of time?

    Agreed, Phil. Any retailer can have cheap prices, and they can do it online. True off-price retail is hard to execute well, and many retailers are missing the mark. I think TJX will withstand the shakeout. Nordstrom Rack will survive too, if only by sheer will.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge Global Edition – Asda vs. Lidl

    Have to go with Asda on this one. It is creative, heartwarming and actually focuses on food. From the Asda commercial, I get the message that I could find imaginative and exciting holiday treats at their store. The Lidl commercial could be for anything.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2017

    Are staff shortages affecting retail sales?

    Long checkout lines, disorganized displays, and as Nikki said, ads for career fairs all indicate understaffing. Last time I was in a mall a few weeks ago, the associates who were ringing people out were pitching seasonal jobs to customers and offering to help them fill out applications on the spot. Talk about a weird experience. Instead of trying to upsell on products, employees were trying to sell jobs. The bottom line is many retail stores are not offering competitive benefits packages. From low wages, part-time and unpredictable hours and no health insurance there is little incentive for people to choose those jobs over other options.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2017

    Encouraging signs for department stores as holiday season kicks off

    If I answered this question this morning, I would have said absolutely not. Department stores will perform better than last year, but only because retail as a whole is performing better this holiday season. Numbers are up across the board. But I don’t think department stores will take a larger chunk of the pie.BUT -- NRF just released their Thanksgiving weekend shopping data including stats showing that 50% of 25-34-year-olds shopped department stores online and in-store over the five day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. So, now I am not so sure.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Walmart

    Amazon’s commercial is too cute! I love that they found a creative way to utilize their logo in the overall message. I think Walmart’s is well done. It starts out very strong, and I love that they focus on family. But the end feels like a direct dig at Amazon. When put next to each other, Amazon is the winner. Though Walmart claims to focus on their omnichannel experience, the commercial does not reflect that at all. Instead, it chooses to compete with Amazon’s Prime. Amazon focuses on convenience and spreading joy. The singing packages don’t hurt.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2017

    Indie retailers can survive – even thrive – during the holidays

    Community is one of the greatest strengths of indie retailers. Building your network year-round is so important for success. But I’m going to say out of the three suggestions in the article, having an active online presence to handle showrooming and webrooming will be most critical to an indie’s financial success. For many time-strapped customers, if they can’t check your website ahead of time to find out what you have in stock, that could be a lost sale.I would add that having an effective digital marketing strategy is critical for all indie retailers. For brick-and-mortar retailers, an engaging social media presence can help drive traffic to your store. For e-commerce sellers, it can help drive traffic to your website and distinguish from other retailers.Of course, once shoppers are in your brick-and-mortar store, they should receive top-notch customer service and a personalized product selection. But as Ken said, we’ve touched on that many time on RetailWire. :)
  • Posted on: 11/17/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge Global Edition – M&S vs. Sainsbury’s

    Another commercial that tugs at the heartstrings paired with a commercial that has a catchy tune! Both of these are great spots, but Paddington is the winner for me. The bear’s good-natured adventure perfectly captures the holiday spirit.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Macy’s vs. Nordstrom

    I definitely have more of an emotional response to the Macy’s commercial – but how many viewers will actually watch the whole thing? Nordstrom’s “Choir” is instantly catchy and engaging, and involving their employees really helps to humanize the brand. To echo Bob’s point, many people associate the holidays with joy and happiness, and the Nordstrom commercial capitalizes on that. Whether or not people tune in for the whole commercial, they have a catchy tune that will likely get stuck in their head.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2017

    Should Papa John’s drop its NFL sponsorship?

    The irony of a CEO blaming his poor sales on the “poor leadership” of another organization is astounding. The alt-right can have you, Papa John’s.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2017

    Why is it so hard to get retail associates to upsell?

    There are a lot of factors at play here. First, the employee needs to genuinely believe in the products they are selling. In the electronics example, the employee clearly doesn’t think anyone should purchase or would want to purchase the warranty. Instead of her “boss making her ask” they should spend time talking about the benefits of the warranty so employees see why someone would want to purchase it. There is definitely a mental aspect to upselling. No one wants to seem pushy, which is why upselling should be personalized to each customer. Train associates to ask questions and learn about what the shopper is looking for, who they’re buying for, etc. Making product recommendations based on information the customer gives you is a lot easier than pushing the same upsell to every customer. The shopper will also leave feeling like they received great service, which is a win-win.

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