PROFILE

Allison McGuire

Marketing Director, Paper Mart
Allison has an accomplished history of building online marketing and ecommerce programs. She has been the Director of Marketing at Paper Mart for 3 years where they have launched a variety of new marketing channels taking the 97 year old business to the next level. Under her leadership the company has gained national exposure on the Today Show, partnered with the Boys & Girls Club and Make-A-Wish LA, and received a 2017 Stevie Award for Sales & Customer Service Excellence. Prior to joining Paper Mart, Allison was the Director of Web Merchandising for Harbor Freight Tools which launched a complete website redesign. Online sales grew 50% the first year after implementing several highly successful customer engagement programs and an instructional video series. Allison was also the Director of Internet Merchandising for Viking Office Products, an Office Depot Co. where they created a personalized user website experience and coordinating email program increasing revenue by 500% in three years. To learn more, visit: www.papermart.com
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  • Posted on: 07/26/2018

    Study: Online retailers losing billions in sales to out-of-stocks

    Being out-of-stock is an issue in any channel. If you don't have what the consumer wants, you're losing money. In the ecommerce space, you can often retain the sale by displaying the expected in-stock date and placing the item on back order; options you don't have in retail. It all depends on the how fast the customer needs the product and if they're willing to wait. Where ecommerce often fails is when they allow you to complete the purchase, but then cancel out-of-stock items through a follow-up email. Not a good customer experience! Providing real-time inventory onsite is critical to setting the right customer expectation.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2018

    Retailers throw ‘hiring parties’ to reach staffing goals

    I think it's great to create a relaxed, comfortable environment so that candidates can be at their best, but this seems a bit extreme. If a potential hire is just showing up for the free food and games, do you really think they are seriously interested in a job? Maybe a better option would be hosting an event with an influencer or a networking event where people interested in your company or cause would attend. Then have a soft sell about the company and employment opportunities. The event has to align with the brand to attract the right people, then you go from there.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2018

    Best Buy’s Geek Squad is now available by subscription

    Subscriptions are only good when they are valuable. Best Buy is offering phone, online, in-store and app support only. They are not coming to your home as part of the subscription. Most manufacturer's would provide the same support through those channels for free. And then only offering a discount for in-home visits as part of the subscription is simply not enough. The discount probably doesn't cover the cost of the subscription. As you can tell, I am doubtful that this will be a big success.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2018

    AriZona Iced Tea taps ’90s nostalgia with pop-up

    We've been talking about this idea a lot at my company. The trend of '90s nostalgia is extremely popular and resonates strongly with Millennials. This is really nothing new. Most people feel nostalgic about their youth, so pop-ups give us an opportunity to relive those moments for just a little while. I think many other brands can take this idea and run with it in their own way. Finding a way to tie an authentic connection to the event or promotion will be the key to success.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2018

    Has Google found a formula for undercutting Amazon’s product search advantage?

    As an ecommerce retailer, I'm happy to see progress in this area. Google needs to start competing against Amazon and the only way to do that is providing customer benefits that Amazon cannot. I hope consumers are realizing that Amazon doesn't always have the lowest prices or the broadest assortment. Once that becomes more widely known, people will easily transition to new shopping experiences.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2018

    Honoring women

    Leaders can eradicate the biases by openly discussing the issues. Presidents and CEOs need to share what is unacceptable in the workplace and create a vision for change. Many people, like the writer of this article, have been unsure of how to express themselves and at times felt intimidated to speak up. These conversations need to start happening and women have to be part of the conversation. That's the only way empathy and understanding will begin. It's easy to say that women should feel comfortable speaking up when they feel unfairly treated, but unless we are sure that our comments will be met with support at the top level, that is still unlikely to happen. It all starts at the top.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Retailers can reduce turnover by treating employees like consumers

    I do think technology plays a big role for the next generation of retail employees. Encouraging them to photograph products and post online, creating social groups for local customers, and sharing on their personal accounts gives them ownership and fits into their comfort zone. I often see Millennials posting about sales and events happening at their workplace. Those people are invested and likely to remain at their jobs for a longer period of time.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Microsoft, Walmart and other brands play content police

    Brands are definitely being judged by the company they keep. It's so easy to bring awareness to consumers through social media, so you have to operate your company with integrity. People now align with brands that represent their beliefs and values. This is a major change from decades prior and I think it's a change for the better.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2018

    IKEA asks, will virtual inventory be key to the new urban showroom?

    This style of shopping is really exciting for both urban and highly condensed cities that aren't going to to get an IKEA store in their town. I can see a future day where we visit one big warehouse shared by multiple companies and customers select what store they want to shop using AR. Each time you walk through the store you experience a different showroom and add your selections to a single cart, checking out at the very end. The ultimate one-stop shopping experience.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2018

    Luxury brands are racing to embrace ecommerce

    Selling online luxury goods is finally taking off because the younger, tech savvy generation can afford the finer things in life. The one thing missing for Millennials in that experience is the community aspect. Notice that you won't see customer reviews or chat on many of those high-end ecommerce sites. They have no interest in giving up control over the narrative or humanizing the experience, it needs to remain untouchable. We'll see how that plays out over the next few years.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2018

    Chef’d has a different recipe for growing its meal kit business

    Chef'd is a well-oiled machine and until a retailer's volume is at a point where sourcing and packaging all of the ingredients is financially beneficial, outsourcing is the best option. My company partnered with Chef'd for a holiday baking campaign and to see the management required to keep the ingredients safely stored and organized was overwhelming and impressive. So many companies have streamlined the meal kit process, I would utilize their expertise for as long as possible.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2018

    What do we really know about Gen Z?

    I think it's safe to assume that most characteristics will change when Gen Z grows up and has to juggle budgets, time and real life. Expecting high-quality products at deep discounts and interactive in-store shopping experiences are not always realistic. Especially in the more rural areas of the nation where there will always be fewer options. Although Gen Z will say it's preferred, the reality is that it's just not accessible and online purchases will be the norm.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2018

    Is influencer marketing just getting started?

    Influencer marketing is definitely effective when it's consistent, but it's not cheap. Paying thousands of dollars for one mention or tweet will not convert into massive sales. Consumers need to see the influencer incorporate the product into their everyday life. Watch it evolve over time. That's the only way they will trust the message and buy in. So if you're going down this path, get ready to make a significant investment in order to see a return. (And make sure you pick the right influencer.)
  • Posted on: 02/23/2018

    What are clothing retailers to do as consignment shops grow in popularity?

    I think this is a very natural progression of the female clothing buyer. When you're young, you can't afford to pay full price and you're striving to find your individuality, so consignment shops are great. As you get older and make more money, you move towards retailers because you don't have as much time to sift through mounds of second hand clothes. It's a novelty way to shop that goes in and out of fashion and I don't foresee any significant impact to retail brands.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2018

    Walmart reimagines in-store shopping for mobile

    Walmart, Target, Costco and Sam's stores would all benefit from this type of app. I'm most excited about the store navigation feature. I often waste time trying to find an item by myself, only to eventually hunt down an associate to ask where it is. Our time is more valuable than ever, so anything that accelerates the shopping experience is a win in my opinion.

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