PROFILE

April Sabral

President & Founder, retailu.ca
I have over two decades of Leadership within retail sales and operations, also a certified leadership coach. I now help retailers build their people through live, and online leadership development programs as well as provide consulting around operations and strategy. retailu is a online leadership development platform that focuses on skill-building courses for retailers.
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  • Posted on: 07/27/2021

    Will the Delta variant keep shoppers and unvaccinated workers at home?

    After moving from Canada to the US in the midst of the pandemic, I can tell you that retail in Canada is severely affected compared to its US neighbors. I think each country will have its own challenges. The variant, for sure, is causing issues. However, I am not sure if it will disrupt recovery. It seems some retailers have had the best year and some have not, depending on whether you pivoted to meet your consumer demands in online availability or product. Ultimately, shopping has changed forever, and those retailers that have embraced this will recover and exceed the new norm. Just look at Lululemon, which has been opening stores throughout the entire pandemic and acquired Mirror.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2021

    Is the Walmart/Justice tie-up a harbinger of more retailer brand partnerships?

    I love to see collaborations however as someone who rarely heads into a Walmart, I would hope that they have a great selection and are merchandised well online to attract the shopper who isn’t your typical Walmart shopper. I know that Justice was a great store experience for teens and their parents so I’ll be watching to see how Walmart manages the existing Justice customer. I am sure the brand has such fans who will head to a Walmart to grab it. Smart timing for back-to-school.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2021

    Is the Walmart/Justice tie-up a harbinger of more retailer brand partnerships?

    I hope to see more retailers collaborate like you said. There is room for this as we continue to see more DTC brands enter malls and take up space. It’s a way to continually reach new customers.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2021

    Is the Walmart/Justice tie-up a harbinger of more retailer brand partnerships?

    100 percent agree with this one. It feels like a no-brainer to get their brand. I wonder if this is going to bring in new customers to Walmart -- I would assume so. Not all Walmart shoppers are headed to the mall. Smart move, and why not?
  • Posted on: 07/13/2021

    Can a Tesco exec school Amazon on physical retail?

    What a smart move. An executive who has worked their way up from the shop floor over decades in a retailer like this brings so much customer insight and experience that can only help Amazon secure an even stronger consumer experience. This means that they will be putting a leader at the helm who truly gets it. It always starts with the right leadership to build a business and brand. I’m looking forward to watching his influence and where he takes their fleet of stores.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2021

    Retailers still have a COVID-19 problem

    This is such a timely post, it is a huge concern for staff members and it could be compounding the problem with hiring staff. I know from travelling and shopping in Florida last week it seemed as though there was never a pandemic. As someone who is vaccinated, I think that there needs to be follow up to those who have not yet had it. It almost feels with a sense of comfort going back to normal that consumers are forgetting the effects when it first hit. Whatever your stance is, a lack of trust causes the issues with people not willing to get vaccinated. We need to protect our staff and customers. I would highly recommend to my retail partners to stay with masks until the vaccination rate increases.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2021

    Can Apple and others make flex-work models work for store associates?

    I feel like this is a very smart move on their part. Why? Because the store associates are very well trained and should be utilized with their skill sets to support the online business. I think also they have the demand and sales to support a flex labor model. Do other retailers have this? I'm not sure on that but I’m looking forward to this pilot and how it can reshape a store associate's career path.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2021

    What makes a great post-purchase experience?

    I believe it is essential, in the day and age of reviews and customers sharing their experiences online - the focus on post-purchase could easily influence another potential customer to choose to move into the pre-purchase stage when they were not even thinking about it. Taking care of customers all the way through should be part of the customer journey mapping as a strategy. Amazon does get transparency right with every step being shared with the customer down to a photo of the delivery. It creates consumer confidence in where they spend their money. I'd like to see more focus on this from traditional retailers, not just the omnichannels leading the way here.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2021

    Can Victoria’s Secret shift its brand image from sexy to empowering?

    Liza -- this is a great perspective. I wonder if they did take customer insights into their decision regarding this. I would assume so - would love to read that report.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2021

    Can Victoria’s Secret shift its brand image from sexy to empowering?

    It is going to be very interesting to watch this brand reinvent itself, and much needed. As a retail operations leader, the hardest shift, in my opinion, will be the store experience and spending the money on retrofitting the locations to look more inclusive. Rebranding is one thing externally from a marketing perspective. This is amazing. Will the store design and assortment follow suit? Many brands think that marketing and changing up the imagery will surface, but in my experience, it is one of the many pieces to the puzzle. I am happy to see this step forward and look forward to walking into a store and seeing how they mirror this in the staff and experience.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2020

    Has this digital fashion platform figured out personalized recommendations?

    The sport of shopping is to have others help me and recommend items I may not have selected. This is what always concerns me about making recommendations based only on preferences; working in bricks and mortar for years, this is one of the joys of interacting with a human. However, I think this is going to be successful as most of us like what we like and if the YES can match us with like items, then that's making a consumer journey easier.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2020

    Socially distant Americans find comfort in retail therapy

    I think it is fully dependent on the situation they are in. If you are still in your job and now working from home, of course you will shop as nothing really changed other than you have now moved your office to your living room. And this means they may look for desks, chairs, sportswear (the new office uniform) in replacement of other items they would have purchased previously.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2020

    Is purposeful giving an answer to retail’s inventory glut?

    I think this is a fantastic idea, as many consumers look to see what brands are doing response to the current situation. There is a surplus, why not do the right thing with that inventory and make a difference? I like seeing these stories as there is always something positive out of any given circumstances.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2020

    Can aesthetics cure our throw-away society?

    I think sustainability won't be enough on its own, the total package makes sense as we are a culture of buy what is marketed. However, my 23 year old daughter was home at Christmas and is highly sensitive to the planet and sustainability. Even being around her made me re-think my own usage. So yes, packaging and branding works, but so does peer pressure and influence of those around us. The biggest question I think that also needs to be answered is convenience, as well as pricing.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2020

    Is Trump declaring war on counterfeits or Amazon and other e-marketplaces?

    I agree with Ralph, not a simple answer. However it should be a joint effort. Counterfeits are so good that as a consumer its hard to detect. How can a consumer hold a retailer accountable when they do not recognize a counterfeit?
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