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Todd Trombley

Principal, PII - Retail
For over 25 years I have worked with many of the top brands in retail. Performance on the selling floor is what PII-Retail is all about. We work with Store Management & OPS Executives showing them how to use leadership & coaching to get top performance out of their teams. Develop training for sellers that helps them build client relationships.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2017

    The new NYC Nike store will have a members-only floor

    The perception of being part of something exclusive is mightily compelling to people. It appeals to consumers' drive for status. It seems as though consumers desire for the cachet of exclusivity is virtually limitless -- I'm sitting in the V.I.P. section of my local Starbucks as I type this; $10 buck cover to get in, table service is great and the lattes are triple priced, but the envious looks I get from those outside the ropes makes it money well spent! Making it relatively easy to be part of this exclusive: in reality non-exclusive, floor means it will be popular and will broadly reinforce Nike's brand.If you have a big enough audience to mine for this type of compelling faux exclusivity, then go for it. Those that are off-put will be influenced by, and ultimately follow, those in the exclusive circle. Maybe we should add exclusivity to envy and the other seven deadly sins that have been motivating people for centuries!
  • Posted on: 12/06/2017

    Dollar General is betting on the continuing decline of the middle class

    Could not agree more!
  • Posted on: 12/05/2017

    Subscription services are moving beyond just being surprise boxes

    The relationship with your customer remains key in this segment -- shouldn't it always be thus in retail? Subscription is all about the feeling of relevancy felt by the customer towards the subscription service provider. How that relevancy is derived will vary by consumer; any of the above three stated in the question are sources of relevancy. Key for the provider is to make their particular value proposition prominent to their particular consumer segment and then keep that proposition front and center with their consumer. Any one of the value propositions stated in the discussion question can be made to work. The mistake would be in trying to be all of these.
  • Posted on: 12/01/2017

    What is increased mobile holiday traffic doing for sales?

    Yes, make the investments now. The issue of conversion to actual sales will soon resolve itself as customers become more accustomed to shopping with mobile devices and more and more retailers provide better experiences for mobile shoppers. Sephora's success points to near-term opportunities. Pushing out localized content and promotions to nearby customers is a relatively easy win area for retailers.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2017

    Will a combo of data and personal stylists drive online apparel sales?

    True personalization in the online world is key. Much of what is presently touted as "curated" just for me, really strikes me as "faux" curation. This "curation" is more about what the retailer wants to, or needs, to sell. The bot's algorithm fails the curation smell test in situations like this: I hate brown pants. So why are you showing them to me and telling me these would be "perfect" for me? The Allume model involves an actual person for the customer to interact with. That person gets to know the customer's preferences. Isn't this the on-line version of my in-store experience with my preferred Clothing Advisor? In effect, they become your personal on-line shopper. This convenience and level of personalization should prove to be highly attractive to consumers.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2017

    Amazon launches exclusive with Calvin Klein

    This deal presages the future for a huge portion of retail: Department and Specialty retailers. It really begins to show what a future can look like in a hugely important channel -- an important brand with a lot of consumer appeal going to market via a partner that is providing innovative shopping experiences where and how consumers want it. This should be a major wake up call. Bigger part of Amazon's fashion push? Those foot steps I'm hearing say "It certainly will be." Next roll-out of another push will probably be only a matter of weeks away.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2017

    Indie retailers can survive – even thrive – during the holidays

    Success for small retailers is driven primarily by what happens from the sidewalk in. Their windows and sidewalk displays have to look inviting and compelling. Next, they must think about what the customer will see as they stand in your doorway. This is the threshold of their engagement with the customers. What impression will the customer be forming as they look about?Now the proprietor and staff must have the engagement skills to connect with that customer. That customer wants to shop; they probably would prefer to shop local with this type of small retailer. Be nice, be friendly; start building a relationship with this customer; get to know them. Get their email if it relates to the type of product you carry.Huddle your staff at the beginning of every day or shift. Make sure your staff is ready every day, make sure they know what is in the store and make sure they are engaging your customers in the nicest, warmest way they possibly can. Maybe run a contest to see who collects the most email addresses.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2017

    Yes, retailers can also reward non-transactional behaviors

    This is about a clear as pea soup. I'm not getting the rationale behind some of the math in the examples given (each customer has an expected value of $1, so spending between 1 cent and $1 on incentive keeps the sale profitable?). It would seem obvious that incentivizing pre- and post-sale activities could impact purchasing behavior. But how do you do it without heavy resourcing in people or dollars that would then surely drive down profitability? If I were to delve into this I'd say that post-transaction is where I'd invest. Keeping something sold is always a better investment than trying to sell it in the first place.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2017

    Is workplace collaboration a drag for headquarters personnel?

    I have clients in retail and the non-retail sector. Both seem equally challenged with managing the workload and time management issues inherent in highly-collaborative, email-heavy environments.People need help. They need to be trained in how to handle the demands this work model entails. They need bosses that are in-tune with their workloads and not prone to throwing time-consuming tasks on an already overburdened individual. Cross-function bridge builders are a good idea. I've seen them work.Seriously -- arrive prepared, ready to contribute, have your stuff done and respect others' time.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2017

    Are data sharing concerns still holding back true personalization?

    Consumers aren't yet ready to give up their personal data because retailers aren't demonstrating real value to consumers with meaningful personalization. As Cloud IQ points out, getting an email with my name on it does not equal personalization. In fact, it reinforces the notion that individuals should remain very guarded in giving up personal data or allowing personal data to be used.Taking a more empathetic stance is required of retailers. Retailers need to start being more forthcoming in explaining to customers what data they are collecting and using. They need to explain a clear benefit to the customer in how this data will be used. And then they actually have to show proof via high-value personalized offers and content to customers.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2017

    Omnichannel is just a term to describe everyday shopping

    One would hope that retailers will increase their omnichannel initiatives. Omnichannel is how consumers want to shop. Newer channels for connecting with consumers or for enabling shopping are emerging seemingly every day. This is the future! It is not about keeping up with Amazon or Walmart. It is about playing in these channels in ways that reinforce a retailer's unique brand and appeal to their customers. What is most important is to be a player in the game.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2017

    Will 24/7 curbside service help Nordstrom pick up late Christmas sales?

    Big props to Nordstrom for providing this service. It fits right in with their brand premise. It certainly will appeal to their customer base. It may not be cash positive on a per-transaction basis but when looked at as being accretive to their customers' loyalty to Nordstrom it makes sense.How about going the next mile and offering free or low-cost delivery on certain transactions during the holidays season? They would have to be very selective in offering this perk or they could lose their shirts, but the positive press on this alone would probably render it a net win for them.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2017

    Are retailers caught in a content trap?

    Many retailers have been greatly challenged by the notion of co-creation. This is surprising given that most retailers readily recognize the truth that most of their best customers have a bonded relationship with their "go-to" advisor or a particular store. So one would think that retailers would naturally seek to use digital tools to move these connected relationships beyond the four walls of a store.I guess we might chalk this up to marketing's historic propensity to view marketing as a "mass" function. Digital allows for these relationships to be expanded into many electronic formats: personalized emails and text-based apps connecting seller and customer are a couple of examples. One-to-one or one-to-few marketing seemed rather daunting, from a scalability perspective, when it first emerged. The new tools and apps allow this scalability challenge to be addressed. Retail simply has more customers than B2B. The new technologies and enhanced knowledge about deployment are causing an appreciation of how to do co-creation.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2017

    Will mobile make another big leap this holiday?

    I'd like to see data on what is being purchased on mobile vs. desktop. Are mobile shoppers more prone to buying promotions that get featured via a pop-up window? Any data that can show a linkage between an online visit with an in-store purchase would be fantastic. Mobile is obviously becoming the device of choice; not yet there but it will be soon enough. Optimizing campaigns to run well on a mobile device is an obvious must. A-B testing on the pull of mobile optimized campaigns around definable criteria should be done and then included in future campaigns.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2017

    Amazon scales back Fresh deliveries

    Amazon simply has a much sharper pencil than Whole Foods and is way less service oriented in its mentality. So the higher cost of serving lower population density areas won't be tolerated because of its negative impact on margin. This decision begins the process of questioning how well Whole Foods will fit into the Amazon matrix.The idea of higher service levels, greater product quality, and interesting product surely has a place. Home delivery surely fits within a retailer offering these high-end attributes. Whether any of the regional chains will try and move up into this space is doubtful. More likely that a local player will occupy this "high-end" niche.
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