PROFILE

Byron Kerr

Head of Amazon, Tuft & Needle
After graduating Bryant University with a degree in Marketing, Byron joined GE’s Commercial Leadership Program in their Retail Finance vertical working with clients such as TJX Company, Brooks Brothers, Men’s Warehouse and more. After a stint at Ernst and Young, Byron started his own Amazon business managing end to end operations from sourcing to marketing. Byron also provided consultancy for small to medium sized businesses looking to get started on Amazon’s Marketplace. He recently worked at GUESS Watches, growing their Amazon business from bottom 10 accounts to 3rd highest in wholesale shipments. Byron also recently lead Women’s Marketing’s Amazon and Marketplace go-to market strategy as Director of Marketplace Strategy helping clients in CPG, Beauty, Fashion and Retail navigate the Amazon landscape.

Byron now leads Tuft & Needle's Amazon business as Head of Amazon focused on driving incremental revenue growth in the highly-competitive Mattress and Home Furnishings industry.
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  • Posted on: 05/01/2018

    Chico’s decides to join Amazon, since it can’t beat it

    Happy to see a brand leverage Amazon in a brand-accreditive way. Chico's can play a differentiated SKU/experience where Amazon may hold certain staples but their own site or brick-and-mortar stores carry exclusives only available there. Leveraging Amazon as a sales/branding channel while maintaining strategic, engaging relationships in-store can allow brands like Chico's to still maintain that intimate relationship with customers who desire that. Nike is doing the same thing on another level selling staples on Amazon while leveraging AR experiential shopping for new products, building communities and tribes to enhance digital adoption.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2018

    Dyson believes in showroom stores

    Dyson is tapping into a model that has (and continues to grow) legs. b8ta is a great example of this. Experienced their shopping experience in Seattle last year and it was high-touch, highly interactive, for new, innovative products. This model is suited better for higher priced items as lower priced items are more transactional and less experiential. I believe we'll start to see more retailers try this model as brands realize bricks + clicks can be successful. Many DTC-first companies are starting to open retail locations. Many brands that traditionally leveraged distributor/wholesale relationships are starting to open locations as well.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

    Walmart slows push to add third-party sellers to its online marketplace

    Customers are starting to look for curated products that suit their needs. If people wanted confusion, they'd go to malls. Amazon's marketplace has been overrun with low-quality products as of late as the floodgates opened to Chinese sellers with direct access to the marketplace, driving low margins and poor customer service for many. I believe Walmart wants to ensure they are not selling every and anything and a more pragmatic approach to growth that will allow the platform to still remain viable, three, five or 10 years down the road. That mixed with the growth of their own high growth brands requires striking a fine balance for longer-term growth. If Walmart wants to bring in more brands like Lord & Taylor, they have to go against the grain and ensure a clean, viable platform -- the version Amazon "hopes" to become but hasn't, causing many luxury brands and mass retailers to ignore. Quality over quantity -- who would've thought!
  • Posted on: 04/09/2018

    Retailers face criticism for failure to protect customer data

    Data in security breaches is ripe for the taking as known vulnerabilities continue to be exploited. Just as the industry moved to chip and signature/chip and pin, the industry should be making investments to protect their consumers' data. Now is as good of a time as ever to incorporate security policies and processes that limit these exposures. It's not a matter of if consumers will care or not; these breaches will only continue to get worse until these retailers put a stake in the ground and do what's right for their consumers.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2018

    Is Walmart building a tower of power with its expanding in-store pickup network?

    This concept will definitely resonate with customers and it strengthens Walmart's turnaround efforts to be more customer-centric and friendly. Convenient placement is key and for Walmart to benefit from additional foot traffic, they can leverage their e-commerce site and/or app to strategically offer additional discounts, potentially time-limited to incentivize immediate activation.
  • Posted on: 03/08/2018

    Amazon offers special Prime rate for millions of Medicaid recipients

    Great PR initiative that will allow even more consumers to take advantage of Prime benefits. As Amazon adjusts their grocery strategy, I see this being immensely valuable for more convenient access to groceries and provides Amazon with an additional layer of data for their healthcare efforts.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2018

    Will all retailers soon go cashier-less?

    Completely aligned with your sentiment. The key to getting this out in the market before it is perfected is DATA. It's much easier to refine and tweak with real-time use, and the quicker AiFi and others have access to real-time use/data, the quicker they can iterate and build a more robust, scalable solution. For B&M to continue to thrive in the growing eCommerce/convenience-first world we live in, they must provide experiential shopper experiences that remove frustration and increase loyalty. The retailer that I rarely hear mentioned in this conversion is Apple. They've had a "Scan and Go" concept for years now: want an iPhone case and know where to find it? Pick it up off the shelf, scan and pay via your phone, and GO. They are a great example of building a hybrid approach where you can engage a Genius or Sales Rep when needed (and for bigger ticket items), conduct self-awareness/learning of products via demos, and purchase lower ticket items on the go. Would love to see how they evolve this concept in the face of the Amazon Go's and AiFi's of the world.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2018

    Walmart debuts prepared meals and meal kits

    LOVE the idea of a customized meal kit. This will allow them to compete with restaurants and can potentially be a competitor to the Grubhub and UberEats of the world that provide convenient food delivery from almost any restaurant. Ready to go meal-kits, customized to my family's liking, partnered with groceries and other staples, delivered within 2 hours (or collected on my ride home)? Sign me up!
  • Posted on: 02/12/2018

    Amazon moves closer to FedEx and UPS’s turf

    I completely agree here. They continue to build on their flywheel to reduce any single point of failure. I expect a lot more consolidation in the retail industry as companies try to find what their "flywheel" is and realize consolidating puts them in a stronger position to compete than as separate entities. Target bought Shipt, Walmart is exploring local delivery.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2018

    No joke – Walmart asks CPGs for higher priced products

    It feels like a changing of the flag from a Walmart perspective. Instead of squeezing margins, they want to offer up more compelling, higher-priced products. While this will help alleviate some of the pressures of e-commerce shipping costs, the type of customer who looked for those bargains may be turned off by higher-priced products. What does this mean? More incentive to go in-store and experience their click and collect omnichannel approach (many times incentivizing with cheaper prices for buying in-store). I applaud this move by Marc Lore and team and it reinvigorates brands to get their cachet back after decades of being beat down on margins from Walmart.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2018

    L.L.Bean wants to know what you’re doing in its duck boots

    Impressive use of blockchain technology. This will allow for increased efficiencies and quicker pivots for new and existing products. Nothing beats real-time data that can be actioned on relatively quickly. The ability to see increasing and decreasing trends based on real-time data will be a game changer for both product development and for marketing purposes. I presume the average consumer is not familiar with blockchain technology but if geo-tagging and other privacy concerns are addressed appropriately, I believe participation will be plenty. There is a huge opportunity to pair AI with sensors to transmit usage data in the CPG space to identify potential replenishment times, sending out reminders to consumers that they may be running low on a certain item. The key to execution here is deploying this technology without feeling intrusive.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2018

    Amazon rolls out Prime Now deliveries from Whole Foods

    Finally. Glad to see they are finally launching larger-scale initiatives. This should surely drive competition in local markets against the likes of PeaPod and Kroger (Through Instacart) among others. I expect an extremely aggressive rollout as they work out the kinks in the markets they are launching. With Amazon Fresh dwindling down over the past few months, this is a very real opportunity to execute on grocery the right way. One of the main issues that remains is the "touch and feel" aspect for produce. Walmart recently applied for a patent for a solution to remedy this aspect of produce selection that many desire. I'm interested to see how they remedy this as I'm sure returns of bad produce drive decreased profitability.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2018

    Amazon launches “$10 or Less” store

    I agree here re: selling more stuff to more people. Mix in the bargain hunter mentality, add increasing basket size as shoppers buy more for less, and combine the fact that Amazon launched free overnight shipping once basket hits $35 for Prime members and you have a recipe for success. Would this work for other brands? Brandless has made some noise in this space as well with similar price points but I'm not sure dollar stores need to be concerned just yet.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2018

    Which commercial won the Super Bowl?

    I was a big fan of the Alexa, Tide (#tidead), NFL and Toyota commercials. Great mixture of humor and/or brand awareness but overall, the commercials were not the best this year. Back in the early 2000s, the commercials were very, very strong. It seems that as the ad spot budgets increase, the creative has taken a dive.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2018

    Are marketers ignoring female Baby Boomers?

    “How can we tap into the Millennial population!?” That's every marketer’s first task, ignoring the very robust and *nudge* *nudge* wealthy/prosperous demographic of the female Baby Boomer. I recently discussed this topic at length with a coworker, specifically in the beauty space, and we landed on the fact that many brands aren't even creating products in this space. I think BOOM! by Cindy offers a perfect example of ways brands can create new products while successfully marketing to this demographic yearning for some love. The key for marketers to better balance their efforts lies in analytics and risk-taking. Segmenting your audience and marketing specifically to those demographics is critical to building a holistic marketing strategy that is both efficient and effective.

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