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Dick Seesel

Principal
Retailing In Focus LLC

Omni-channel is a reality whether retailers are ready for it or not. The "early adopters" on the retail side (such as Macy's) are raising the bar so rapidly for functions like BOPIS and ship-from-store that their competitors are scrambling to catch up. (And not always smoothly.) Macy's in particular...

Amazon is learning that customers' appetite for its own private-brand products is limited if the product quality and utility aren't right. The Fire Phone was a prime example, and Elements diapers appear to be another. Any retailer venturing into private-label goods needs the patience to put in the effort...

This makes sense for JCP as a way to focus more attention on its home store, and as part of an integrated omni-channel strategy. There is no reason why a well-focused catalog shouldn't drive both online and brick-and-mortar sales. And JCP is counting on the revival of its home...

Brand positioning will be critical to the success of this new venture, because the space is already getting crowded. If Macy's uses the Bloomingdale's brand to follow the lead of Off 5th and Rack stores, it has a chance to leverage a well-established brand. On the other hand, attaching...

There are well-documented execution issues—pricing, supply chain management and so forth—that don't need to be rehashed at this point. The biggest takeaway is the speed with which Mr. Cornell pulled the plug on the misfire. Where Target used to be known for a culture of "Speed is Life," this...

The struggles at Toys "R" Us point out that the big box store concept is not out of the woods yet. (Best Buy's improving numbers are the exception to the rule.) Many of the "transformational" steps being taken at TRU strike me as "Retail 101": Managing pricing, costs, inventory...

Online sales increases in the 15 percent range, and brick-and-mortar declines of 7 percent, don't really add up to the kinds of early numbers that retailers like J.C. Penney and Macy's have reported (in the +3-4 percent range). The brick-and-mortar sales number is still much bigger than the e-commerce...

J.C. Penney has focused on error correction to undo a lot of the damage inflicted during the Ron Johnson era. (I've described it as "turn back the clock.") The holiday sales report is a good upside surprise, considering the flat third quarter and the suggestion (on the last earnings...

I still believe that menu complexity is McDonald's biggest issue in the U.S. Its brand positioning should continue to stand for "consistent, affordable and fast." So a touch-screen offering more customization—instead of fewer choices—is not a solution to the problem. Neither is the wait time added by having meals...

It's not about saving time vs. a random trip to shop for the same item, so the time study cited is missing the point. The perceived benefit of BOPIS is the assurance that the wanted item is in fact going to be in stock, and set aside for the...

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