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Cathy Hotka

Principal
Cathy Hotka & Associates

Mr. Cook's editorial is a gift to all of us. Let's hope that other gay executives will have the courage to tell the truth as well. I'm looking forward to the day when we don't even have these conversations anymore.

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Retail boards of directors need three things these days:

  1. Technical acumen. Board members who can't spell "IT" can't make meaningful contributions to guide future actions.
  2. Women. Eighty percent of purchase decisions are made by women. That all-male BOD won't have a clue, and
  3. Intellectual curiosity. Retailers are taking inspiration from all kinds...

What's interesting to me is not the Beyonce angle (although she's bigger than big) but the apparel category. There's a lot of evidence that athletic wear has become the new standard for casual clothing. Companies famous for their jeans are undoubtedly paying close attention to this and will need...

This is the kind of story that captures the imagination of the media during the holiday season, but back at the office, retailers are busy trying to achieve cross-channel integration of merchandise and processes. Catching the bad guys is good!—but steady execution is better.

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I recently managed a dinner discussion where one participant, who works at a company with 8,500 stores, said that they had doubled their data security staff: To TWO.

Many retailers are hard at work on securing their networks, but a lot more needs to be done. And while customers may...

I'm actually surprised that 11 percent of retailers say they can handle cross-channel fulfillment.

Omni-channel is the burning platform facing nearly every retail company, particularly those who carry commodity merchandise. Whatever you call it, frictionless commerce across channels is a must, and the most compelling threat to some retailers' existence....

The reptile portion of our brain is hard-wired to LOVE free shipping. Target has weighed the extra costs against the perceived upside of spur-of-the-moment purchases. They've gotten a ton of free publicity as a result, and it's refreshing to see that once again Target is the big story of...

It may not have been a great idea for TRU to make these dolls available, but some other company should carry them, and fast. They'll sell like crazy. They'd be the ultimate office gift.

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The ultimate customized sandwich comes from Subway, which has a remarkably efficient way to move customers through relatively quickly, but it requires a fair amount of "real estate" in the store. Can the back of a McDonald's manage this?

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When it comes to loyalty programs at supermarkets, most of them are nothing more than "discounts" on artificially high prices. Adding more interesting benefits could be a winner. And Millennials are all about authenticity....

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