Paula Rosenblum

Managing Partner, RSR Research

Paula Rosenblum is co-founder and Managing Partner at RSR Research and is widely recognized as one of the industry’s top retail technology analysts. She was selected as one of the “Top 50 Retail Influencers” in 2013 and writes a weekly blog for Forbes. Previous to her 12 years as an analyst, she spent over 20 years as a retail technology executive and CIO at companies including Hit or Miss, Morse Shoe, Domain Home Fashions and others.

Paula received her MBA in 1991 from Northeastern University, with a major in management of High Technology firms and was nominated to the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. She’s active in a variety of organizations supporting human growth and development, and has been involved with the RetailROI charity since its earliest days.

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RSR Research blog

  • Posted on: 11/20/2017

    Retailers get into Friendsgiving with Millennials

    I abandoned family Thanksgiving for "Friendsgiving" (or even "orphan Thanksgiving" for people whose relatives were elsewhere) more than 20 years ago. I LOVE it. For me, Thanksgiving is a ritual tribal harvest feast ... and while I've settled into my non-familial "tribe" over the past decade, I totally enjoyed having dinner with people I'd never met ... who solely had one friend in common.Life is short. Be happy! Retailers might want to think about the holidays and gratitude in general to "capitalize" on it. So far, only Publix and TJ Maxx have remotely put that message out there. That's just dumb.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2017

    Indie retailers can survive – even thrive – during the holidays

    I do think the pendulum is swinging, but my advice would be slightly different:
    1. Stay close on price. You can't beat 'em, but you have to be close.
    2. Provide exemplary customer service.
    3. Definitely become part of the fabric of your community (as described in the article).
    4. Tailor your assortments to the community you serve. Narrow and deep assortments also show a personal touch that's important.
    5. Find your niche and be the absolute best at it.
    6. Have a web presence and offer your product on the Amazon Marketplace as well. No harm there. Amazon is becoming the king of product search, but google is still important. In fact, if you can spend a few bucks on SEO optimization that will help, too.
    I know it's hard to be an independent retailer, but I also know it's possible to succeed ... even today. My father was one, and he kept changing his specialties to reflect the changing times and neighborhood. First he was an "official camp outfitter." Then he became a hub for Christening dresses. He talked to his customers and knew what they wanted.It's a good time to be an independent ...
  • Posted on: 11/16/2017

    Amazon Go still plans to transform convenience in retail stores

    Welcome to the holiday season, when Amazon gets the most free press of any retailer ever.Yesterday, it was once again front page NEWS that the company is lowering some more prices at Whole Foods Market. How many other retailers would love the free ad?Now they're rolling out more Amazon Go stores. Sure they are. No shrink issues with the "just walk out" concept. Let's ask J.C. Penney how they did with Ron Johnson's "no security tags" and "no receipt required for a return" policies.I know I sound cranky about it, but as a supporter of the retail industry, it frustrates me that one company plays by completely different rules and keeps getting away with it.The bigger story is the closing down of Amazon Fresh in some markets along with the Whole Foods buy. It tells us that stores are necessary in grocery (especially fresh). But I cannot believe for a second that the Go concept is a winner. Unless you don't care about margin erosion caused by shrink. Then, hey ... Go for it.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2017

    Target’s biggest holiday deals are reserved for the weekends

    The advantages I see are to cost -- structures rather than the top-line, which I think will be the same one way or another.The goal here, I think, is to create more predictable demand patterns which in turn will give Target a better handle on workforce needs and the best replenishment days/times. I think this is an excellent idea.Unsaid is what they will do in digital channels. I wish I knew (though I think I will find out tomorrow) what their plans are for online.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2017

    Are data sharing concerns still holding back true personalization?

    This article does a great job of encapsulating the dilemma and also highlights why we seem to have so many disconnects around consumer privacy concerns.Consumers will tell you, "Yes, I am willing to exchange privacy for relevancy" until you actually ask them what they are willing to share. This crosses all age demographics.It's a problem indeed, and playing it relatively safe is a way better idea than "going for it" for retailers.I have a Facebook thread going where people swear someone is listening to their phone calls because within a couple of hours, they are being served up ads about a product they mentioned on the phone. That's beyond creepy. None of them, regardless of age, think it's cute, relevant or anything but intrusive. And since I know all of them, I can say definitively, most are not conspiracy theorists.Tread lightly.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2017

    Big Data is done, put a fork in it

    I don't think "Big Data" was ever well defined, and the systems that might actually make use of the insights were not in place in retail operations.And then there was omnichannel, which overtook corporate IT spending (along with security).I think the biggest issue with retailers and brands is not that they don't understand the limitation of data science -- it's more that the data scientists have gone into financial services, where they can make real money. It's on the vendors to provide the science and make it easily digestible for the retailers, et al.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Date-certain shipping is the new holiday imperative for retailers

    I don't always buy from Amazon. And sometimes it's completely okay if it's a three-day rather than a two-day delivery. But I do expect to be given that "date-certain." For many reasons.I think delivery is going to become a bigger issue than a 15 cent discount on an item. I want it when I want it. Sometimes that's today ... other times that can be next week. I think it'd be great to be accommodated.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2017

    Was Amazon scamming or searching for its HQ2 location?

    Yes, that’s correct. Lazy media. The same ones who promulgated the retail apocalypse nonsense.Who did say there’s a sucker born every minute? I just wondered.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2017

    Was Amazon scamming or searching for its HQ2 location?

    God, I am getting tired of all the free PR and advertising Amazon gets. It's simply not fair to the rest of the industry. How many companies get a free front page ad announcing price drops on 44 items? How many companies actually suggest they can deliver right inside your home with a straight face and find it reported on as something real? How many companies talk about drones and get 15 minutes out of 60 Minutes the night before Cyber Monday?Sometimes I think PT Barnum was right. To paraphrase, we are a nation of suckers.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2017

    Corona owner is getting into the legal pot business

    As long as Jeff Sessions is AG and we have a Republican congress, it is unlikely that marijuana will become legal on a Federal level. Too many of the "base" still believe it's a gateway drug.What is seriously needed is some kind of quality control around the pesticides that are used on the plants, and dosage consistency in edibles. I'm not sure that "big business" is going to solve the former, though it will likely work on the latter.Personally, this is one thing I prefer to see generally remain artisanal.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2017

    Is inventory or staffing the biggest omnichannel challenge for stores?

    The data tells us it's inventory. The more you ship from stores and return to stores, the easier it is for the inventory to get out of whack. It has been a mess for a few years now. Staffing is easier to solve.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2017

    Walmart puts robots to work with humans in more stores

    There seem to be easier ways to do this than robots (something embedded in the shelves), but if Walmart can make it work, and really does reallocate the work force to working with customers rather than just making it a job reduction plan, it'll be interesting.Mind you, I still don't really understand why inventory goes so far out of whack in the first place. But I guess it must be so.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2017

    Nike turns its back on ‘undifferentiated, mediocre’ retailers

    It's going to take a smarter person than I am to ferret out the thread that runs through Nike's decision-making process. First the company builds expensive new flagships (they built one here in Miami and another in Boston, for sure) and then it announces within a year that it's going to focus only on 12 key cities, neither of which are Miami and Boston.Then it creates a partnership with Amazon and now it talks about increasing its digital sales, and highlights its "members," which really just entails creating an ID on the company's site as far as I can see, and insults just about every other retailer on the planet (except for some special 40 to be named later).I know that the shoe business is very cyclical -- like they say on Project Runway, one day you're in, the next day you're out. Nike is going through an "out" period. It will come back. That's just the cadence of the business. So I ask myself, how does this strategy help the company over the long-term?I have no clue. And the company hasn't made it easy for me to figure it out. It's a head scratcher.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2017

    Amazon to begin making in-home deliveries in 37 cities

    Perhaps they'll even have drones open the door and drop off the goods. The free PR Amazon gets is fabulous.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2017

    Amazon to begin making in-home deliveries in 37 cities

    I'm sorry, I just have a one sentence response to this concept:This is insane.Well, here's a second one: What could possibly go wrong? Where do I begin?

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