PROFILE

Roy White

Editor-at-large, RetailWire

Roy White has covered the mass market retailing scene for several decades, initially as the editor of Drug Store News and then with Perspectives Group, Inc. He was also vice president of education for the Global Market Development Center for nine years.

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  • Posted on: 07/24/2017

    Do mini makeup studios make sense for Sephora?

    If the economics of a high-service, tiny footprint store with limited offerings are sound and a profit can be assured, this format would appear to have several benefits to Sephora as a chain. It probably will drive traffic into the mall stores. The new studio format can be opened in a variety of locations and provides geographic flexibility. It strongly promotes high levels of interaction with customers through the makeovers. It nicely integrates online selling with brick-and-mortar retailing. More people will now be able to see and shop Sephora with these mini-studios.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2017

    How is Walgreens getting older shoppers to use its mobile app?

    It’s true that many of the 55-and-up crowd are hesitant in embracing new technology, and that a major retailer has specifically put together a program to make such technology easier to use and thus prompt greater usage is a highly positive development. Mobile payment is now an inevitability, and Walgreens is leading the way, partly of course because seniors are extremely important in the prescription market. Walgreens really needs a program like this. But this is a good lesson for other types of retailers, too.This new program is also another example of the activity that Walgreens has initiated over the past several years in forging alliances with PBMs, insurers and pharmacy services companies, as well as its acquisition of many Rite Aid stores. Walgreens has become a more aggressive player in the prescription market than ever before.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2017

    Should Walmart restrict carriers from working with Amazon?

    It makes sense that AWS shouldn’t be a site in which Walmart data might reside. That said and ethics aside, the answer to the other question, whether or not technology (or others ultimately) suppliers to Walmart should be working with Amazon, boils down to whether or not a supplier wants to work with Amazon or Walmart. For decades, Walmart has been making serious demands on its suppliers. Yes, it did help them but, at the end of the day, suppliers had to meet these demands or go elsewhere. The reward was doing business with the largest retailer in the world with growing sales and increasing numbers of stores. The other side of the coin was loss of a huge business and possible bankruptcy. Now, however, there’s a choice, and the weight of the trends currently would appear to favor Amazon. For a supplier, looking to the medium and long term, the right decision may well be to stiff Walmart and follow the increases in sales and scale by going with Amazon.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2017

    Have grocers figured out how to successfully do business online?

    Retailers have made huge gains in establishing online businesses. They obviously feel more comfortable with it, and that certainly includes such chains as Walmart, Wegmans, Kroger and Meijer. But compared to Amazon, they face a barrier that makes this progress an uphill struggle with an uncertain outcome -- that barrier is culture. Amazon does over $100 billion in online sales. It owns 49 percent of the online business. It has been doing this and nothing else for 20-odd years. Its executives know how online customers function, what metrics should be used for decision-making and what procedures work best to get product into the hands of customers. Chain retailers are grafting online operations onto their well established, smoothly running brick-and-mortar businesses which they know backwards and forwards. Each of the chains mentioned above have powerful internal cultures that are specifically geared and strongly oriented to running large retail units. For online to be successfully integrated and develop profitably, these cultures have to change. That’s no easy task and top management mandates won’t do it.

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