PROFILE

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: 04/26/2017

    Will artificial intelligence replace CEOs?

    Over the next several decades it’s very likely that AI will have the capability of replacing human CEOs. However, that doesn’t mean they should. Call me paranoid, but I can’t get comfortable with the idea of putting a robot in that position of power. Not to mention, what would the psychological impact be on human workers who report to a non-human? I agree with Mr. Ma that if many positions and employees are replaced with AI, it will cause “social conflicts.”
  • Posted on: 04/26/2017

    Can parking lots save the mall?

    While I like this idea (and have attended several of these events myself), weekend events won’t solve any underlying problems for malls. I’m not sure how many people who attend these parking lot events actually go inside to shop. And the crowds could deter actual shoppers. The real challenge is translating these festivalgoers into not only revenue for the mall operator, but also for the retailers.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2017

    Will Walmart reap dividends from training academies?

    Agreed! The real question is, what took our industry so long to figure this out? Employee turnover, poor service, and general disengagement cost a company a whole lot more than better training and higher wages ever will.
  • Posted on: 04/14/2017

    What’s keeping shoppers away from the frozen aisle?

    I’m not sure if consumers are consciously avoiding the frozen aisle. But switching up the layout of grocery stores and the way frozen food is displayed should help. For example, many chain grocery stores have the frozen aisles all the way at the far end of the store. The freezers are tall and foggy with big doors. I usually shop at Trader Joe’s. After reading this question I realized that their frozen section looks a lot different than other grocery stores. First of all, it’s in the middle of the store, not hidden in the back corner. Second, there are no foggy glass doors. Almost everything is displayed in open freezers. As a shopper, you have to walk past these open freezer aisles to get from produce to bread or meat. Tweaking the location of the frozen aisle and the display would be a good place for retailers to start.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2017

    Is UPS’s Saturday announcement a sign of deliveries to come?

    Saturday and even Sunday deliveries are inevitable. Consumers want them and we’re living in a consumer’s market. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday delivery times aren’t a realistic option for many people.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2017

    Will an in-store pickup discount give Walmart an edge over Amazon?

    I think the discount may be mildly effective in shifting purchases to in-store pickup for customers who already shop at Walmart. However, Amazon has never been afraid to lower prices to gain or maintain market control, so I expect they will match Walmart’s discounts. Overall, I don’t think this move alone will draw a significant amount of shoppers from Amazon to Walmart.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2017

    Are ‘Employee of the Month’ programs worth it?

    100% agree!
  • Posted on: 04/11/2017

    Are ‘Employee of the Month’ programs worth it?

    It’s a great idea but, like many others have pointed out, the execution is where things get hairy. Employee feedback and recognition is important, but it has to be done in a way that encourages growth and is free from any politics or bureaucracy. I’ve found rewarding employees for reaching measurable goals (such as sales goals, customer satisfaction scores, etc.) to be much more effective. That way multiple employees can be recognized for achievements and the process is completely unbiased. And of course, cash is king when it comes to rewards.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2017

    Can Amazon Cash open e-commerce up to millions of underbanked consumers?

    Yes, I think many people will take advantage of Amazon Cash, particularly members of the Generation Z and Millennial age groups who are unbanked and underbanked. Its ease of use and lack of fees make Amazon Cash a much more attractive option than PayPal, gift cards and prepaid credit cards. This could have a potentially harmful impact on brick-and-mortar retailers, as consumers who previously bought products almost exclusively in-store with cash shift to online purchases.
  • 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.

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