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.

Other Links from Paula Rosenblum:

RSR Research blog

  • Posted on: 03/23/2017

    Will customer tracking help save shopping malls?

    I think mall operators know what their problem is -- malls have become a pain in the neck, especially the busy ones. Because:
    • You've got to find a parking space;
    • Hopefully the mall has an app to help you find the stores you want, otherwise you've got to find one of those digital boards with a "You Are Here" sign;
    • Stores within a similar category are not always clustered together, meaning the shopper is potentially in for a very long walk
    • Once you find the store you want and maybe the product you want, you have to hope they have it in the right configuration (color, size, whatever dimension the product is made in).
    I'm not sure tracking is going to solve any of that and it might actually irritate some shoppers. I don't think mall re-designs are conceptual rocket science, exactly ... but given that they would involve moving multiple stores around, they would be an execution nightmare.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2017

    Will Google/Levi’s smart jacket finally make wearables fashionable?

    It's interesting ... especially if they can use the physical real estate to put a larger battery in it.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2017

    Should retailers obsess about e-mail blast timing?

    Our experience is that day of the week is more important than time of day. People don't sit on their emails all day long (unless they're analysts ... ).
  • Posted on: 03/16/2017

    Can UPS fly past Amazon in drone delivery?

    I like this idea. I just don't see drones flying around, taking up airspace all over the place, but from truck to door makes a lot of sense. It saves driver time and it's low risk.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2017

    How will AmazonFresh Pickup stores affect the grocery business?

    I think if Amazon can actually do it well and profitably it will find itself in the top five. Regardless, it appears that grocery is finally poised to make its online move. I think for center-aisle things it already has, to be honest.Existing retailers would do well to figure out the best customer-friendly approaches -- most critically, managing the pretty awful out-of-stock situation I find every time I shop.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2017

    Will being more like Home Depot work for J.C. Penney?

    I think it's a smart move. Clothing department stores are really hurting and Sears is the 1,000 pound, shrinking gorilla in the space. I don't worry about J.C. Penney neglecting apparel and I would hope they'll keep going forward with soft home. There are simply too many apparel stores anyway, while Millennials should be starting to buy home improvement products. I think it's a good thing.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2017

    Will ‘Fearless Girl’ lead to more women on retail company boards?

    What's holding back the appointment of women? The old boy network. Simple as that. And recruiters that don't really look at the essence of a CV and the person behind the document.I've been wanting to join a retailer board or two for a while now (I'm on the advisory board of a small CP company already) and talking to recruiters is as demoralizing as when I was applying for temp jobs in my 20s. Maybe worse, because now they just say "Put your CV on our website" and that's the end of that.I think the first step is to demand the recruiters look beyond the "usual suspects" and identify gaps in board knowledge. Then do real and significant searches to find the right candidates. It strikes me that either retailers are not going through recruiters, or the recruiters themselves have gone lazy.
  • Posted on: 03/10/2017

    Has proven that online sales are going to the dogs?

    You know, I have been getting ready to write about because I am so pleased with them. I stopped buying cat food by the case (I have three cats) at the big box players because I could not reliably find the flavors I wanted in stock.Then I switched to Amazon. And while they are never out-of-stock, the packaging just wasn't right. The flip side of Amazon shipping air so often is that when they can fill up an entire box, they do ... without any padding. Too many crushed cans (since cat food cases are really "trays" with no box top, just shrink wrap.Along comes, and they put their own corrugated toppers on the trays. So the cans are just about never bent at all. They've made a loyal customer out of me and, because I am buying once a month, I can deal with the extra day's delivery time.In other words, Chewy is not just in the pet food business -- they do pet food RIGHT. I'm a fan.
  • Posted on: 03/07/2017

    Will using Uber for home deliveries work for Kroger?

    I like the Uber model. I find Uber Eats to be fast, efficient and timely. But people also love Instacart.The odd thing for me is that despite my desire to buy as many things as possible online, I still go to the grocery store for frozen foods and fresh items. I find that my local Publix is out-of-stock way more often than I would have expected, so I end up looking for substitutes often. I hope Kroger has taken that into account.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2017

    Should grocers open slow checkout lanes for seniors?

  • Posted on: 03/06/2017

    Should grocers open slow checkout lanes for seniors?

    Gosh, I don't quite know what to say about this study.In some ways, the slow lane recommendation borders on discrimination (even if optional ... I can't even imagine my 92-year-old mother saying, "yes, put me in the slow person's lane," and I can't imagine most 60- to 70-year-olds even thinking that they'd want to be part of this.I think I would be incredibly insulted if someone came up to me and gently said "Perhaps you'd do better coming on Tuesdays at 10 ... it's quieter then."From the retailer's side, I can't imagine a retailer would be excited about supporting online purchasing of the heaviest and bulkiest of items. There goes the margin! Poof!I definitely agree with the nutritional information, but I think the current labeling, which tells you how much protein and salt are in the package, seems to suffice.I think BOGOs tend to be more prejudiced towards people with a lot of space, rather than people with families. I will take advantage of BOGOs because I can fit them in my refrigerator or cabinets, not because I have a family (unless you count my cats!).Long and short, I can't really agree with these recommendations.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2017

    Will the AWS outage make retailers think twice about cloud?

    You know, I am fine (more or less) with moving functions to the cloud, but the CIO has a job ... and part of that job is to insure redundancy, backups, alternatives, etc. It should be part of a BOD's fiduciary responsibility to insure this is all in place. Just like back in the day, a disaster recovery plan had to be in place (complete with hot site/cold site, etc.) different levels of recovery plans must be in place in the age of the cloud.Hey kids, this is not the vendor's job, it's YOURS. BOD-on-down. It's YOURS.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2017

    Did Walmart’s short films win Oscar night?

    The consensus in my social media network is that the commercials were duds. This is not Walmart's fault -- it was actually a clever idea. But the folks who wrote the stories just didn't do a great job.Maybe a different variety of items would have helped ... I don't know. But I do hope Walmart didn't pay the writers too much. If I were Walmart, I'd keep working on the concept -- and I think it's an interesting place to advertise.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2017

    Has Gap finally turned its business around?

    A slowing in annual comparable sales declines is not a positive. Even a large single digit increase against such short numbers would be a bit suspect.Gap will achieve some kind of stasis when its store count finally gets small enough to match its market (which is significantly smaller than it used to be). Its styling seems to have gone back to its roots, which is a plus. At some point, the company will be right-sized, and then it can move forward. Not yet.
  • Posted on: 02/17/2017

    Will Dunnhumby’s analytics do for Whole Foods what it did for Kroger?

    I think Whole Foods is battling on multiple fronts. As I said the other day, I think the technology refresh currently underway is a very big deal ... especially price optimization. Dunnhumby will help some, but I just don't see it as quite the same as Kroger's problem.

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