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: 08/11/2017

    Will Toys ‘R’ Us take Manhattan the second time around?

    Yes, a Times Square holiday pop-up is the best of both worlds for Toys “R” Us. They get the visibility and traffic that comes with having a high-profile store in NYC during the holidays but without having to pay astronomical rent year-round when traffic and sales are lower. I think the temporariness of the Toys “R” Us pop-up will help make the pop-up even more of a destination than their flagship store was during peak season. Being able to test out different toys and interact with all of the products will also help boost engagement.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2017

    What to do when shop local turns into look local and buy online?

    Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all answer. As the article notes, different customers respond to different things. For some, a gentle reminder in the form of a sign that shopping local means supporting local families may be enough. For customers who are most concerned about price, offer price matching if your margins can handle it. Another way to combat showrooming as a local retailer is to source locally. If your products are purchased from local makers and manufacturers it’s easier to form exclusive partnerships and make sure your products aren’t appearing anywhere else at a lower price. We never want to tell a potential customer they are being rude -- that will never end well. As others said, keep it positive. But also be flexible.
  • Posted on: 08/08/2017

    Does Dunkin’ need donuts?

    Agreed Phil. I see this as a move on Dunkin's part to eventually whittle down to a recognizable logo (a la Nike's swoosh, McDonald's golden arches, Apple and even Starbucks). Could this hurt sales in the short-term? Maybe. But probably not. Evolving to a logo or icon will allow Dunkin' way more flexibility and growth potential in the future. I'm all for it.
  • Posted on: 08/07/2017

    What made GameStop decide to open on Thanksgiving this year?

    Honestly, yes. If staying open on Thanksgiving is going to make or break your sales, then there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. Those few hours of sales might give your bottom line a jump this holiday season. But the positive PR that comes out of "doing the right thing" will stay with your brand year after year.I think we will see more retailers staying open on Thanksgiving this year as a last-ditch effort, but I don't see it being particularly effective. Give your employees the day off to spend with their families so they are happy, rested and ready to perform well on Black Friday.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2017

    Will an AR try-on app cut down on online clothing returns?

    I think a lot depends on how accurate the technology is. There is also a trust factor. Will shoppers trust the AR representation? Probably not. Returns have become a part of the online shopping experience. It’s going to be hard for retailers to change consumer behavior, especially if consumers don’t want to change.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2017

    Should the Amazon/Whole Foods merger worry national brands?

    CPG brands should respond by being very aware of the value they offer shoppers. Low prices and high quality will be increasingly important to keep up with Amazon, especially now that Amazon will own the Everyday 365 brand which is already popular with consumers. Household brand names don’t carry the weight that they used to. Consumers are open to purchasing store brands and private label and Amazon is ready to deliver.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2017

    Will Backstage shops draw customers to Macy’s mall stores?

    Off-price might help Macy’s in the short term, but they are essentially putting a Band-Aid over the larger issue. A legacy brand like Macy’s needs to transform far beyond a quick fix in order to change their brand perception and bring in new shoppers.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2017

    Can an app know a customer better than a personal shopper?

    Even if recommendation engines can read shoppers as effectively as a personal shopper, it doesn’t mean that’s what the customer wants. The human connection and extra effort that drives a great stylist relationship are appealing to many shoppers. I think the key is finding a balance between people and technology so that the process is efficient, but the end result is still delivered by a person.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2017

    Should store associates be allowed to use their personal devices?

    Agreed. Banning personal cell phones altogether is unrealistic. It’s all about hiring the right employees and being able to trust them. As long as all of the work is being done and there is no cell phone use for personal reasons in front of customers, I really don’t see a problem.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2017

    Can fitness classes wake up retail store traffic?

    Thanks :) I couldn't resist!
  • Posted on: 06/28/2017

    Can fitness classes wake up retail store traffic?

    Bringing classes and interactive elements to the retail store is an excellent way to drive loyalty and build stronger customer connections. However, the class has to make sense for the brand. Lululemon hosts yoga classes, which makes sense because they sell yoga apparel. Throwing a fitness class into any retail store is a pretty transparent way of piggybacking on a trend. The classes offered should directly relate to the merchandise and mission of the store. Art classes in an arts and crafts store, rock-climbing classes at REI, gun safety courses at Bass Pro Shops and coding classes in Apple stores, are all great examples of interactive classes that make sense. Yoga in Saks is a stretch.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2017

    Will Sears get traction with its new appliance and mattress store concept?

    The Sears swan dive is just getting sadder. As others have said, it makes sense for Sears to focus on appliances -- if they made that decision 30 years ago. The brand is so far behind that any “catch-up” attempts will not be enough to bring them out of their death spiral. They need something revolutionary and transformative. Mattresses and appliance stores are neither of those things.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2017

    Does Costco need to significantly undercut Amazon’s prices?

    The Kirkland brand's discounted gasoline pumps and discount liquor are some of Costco’s largest assets. As long as they keep focusing on those experiences, Costco’s warehouse traffic will remain steady. However, to plan for a successful future, Costco definitely has to gear up their online growth. Choosing one over the other would be a mistake. Costco’s online prices don’t need to be significantly lower than Amazon, but keeping them so low definitely doesn’t go unnoticed.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2017

    Will UPS’s Black Friday delivery surcharge have retailers seeing red?

    I think retailers should push sales for those first two weeks of December when there is no surcharge. Otherwise requiring an order minimum for free shipping or charging a small delivery fee won’t be the end of the world. That time of year shoppers are less concerned about shipping costs and more concerned with getting the right item at the right time. It makes sense for UPS to charge a little extra for the massive strain holiday retail puts on their system.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2017

    Can humanizing self-checkouts reduce theft?

    Humanizing self-checkout might help incrementally. But for people who steal for financial reasons or those who just want to see what they can get away with, I doubt a friendlier greeting on the screen will make a difference. As for outright telling customers that a “wide majority of customers buying red onions ‘actually swiped them as red ones, not the cheaper brown onions,’” wouldn’t that just put ideas in people’s heads? If only one-third of shoppers were already thinking of scanning the cheaper onions, why even let the other two-thirds know it’s an option?The most effective way to combat shoplifters is letting them know they are watched. Whether it’s more employees or cameras, fear of getting caught is the only thing that will change this behavior.

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