Carol Spieckerman

President, Spieckerman Retail

Consistently named a top retail influencer, Carol Spieckerman is a recognized authority on retail and brand strategy. She launched Spieckerman Retail in 2000 in the wake of a career building multi-million-dollar businesses from the ground up. Her platform positioning workshops help retail-reliant companies accelerate B2B business development and increase thought leadership. As an advisor, Carol builds communications strategies that drive awareness, engagement, and action. She speaks at corporate and industry events on her latest Retail Trajectories – proprietary calls to action that transcend trend across categories, borders, business models, and touchpoints. Carol is passionate about making complex subjects easy to understand, solving tough retail positioning and business development challenges, and aligning companies with where retail is going next. You can find her thought leadership in leading business and retail publications including Reuters, Forbes, Grocery Dive, WWD, and Retail Wire and in her podcast, Spieckerman Speaks Retail. Carol also serves as a speaker and content provider to leading trade groups.

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  • Posted on: 01/18/2022

    NRF 2022: PepsiCo CEO sees bond-building moments amid pandemic

    Consumers turned over quite a bit of control to retailers during the pandemic out of necessity. Retailers have an opportunity to maintain that trust and keep the magic going, particularly online. Maintaining quality in frequently-purchased categories like grocery and providing accurate inventory and delivery information are the bare minimum. Linking grocery with a wider range of non-food categories for store pick-up and home delivery continues to be an opportunity for multi-category retailers.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2022

    Can Penney’s new leadership (finally) transform the business?

    Things are about to get interesting at J.C. Penney and its next chapter shouldn't be compared with traditional department store dynamics. J.C. Penney's diverse new leadership, its plug-and-play brand portfolio alliance with Authentic Brands, and Simon and Brookfield's retail development involvement are unprecedented. Lest we forget, J.C. Penney was one of the first (the first?) retailers to achieve a $1 billion e-commerce business. Of course, since that time, J.C. Penney has veered off in many disjointed directions. Now it has the opportunity to regroup and reclaim a better version of its former glory. Retail needs a strong middle player and I wouldn't bet against J.C. Penney at this stage, even if it takes a village to pull it off.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2022

    More Americans are making Target runs

    One word: grocery. Target's strategy of focusing on grocery to drive more traffic has paid off. Shoppers who are looking for an excuse to check out the latest apparel and home items at Target now have a valid, practical reason, Target has achieved "one-stop-shop" status. Target has mostly ironed out the out-of-stock problems that plagued its grocery business in the past and wisely revisited its private brand portfolio in food. Target's decision to leave the pharmacy business, another traffic driver, to the experts via its tie-up with CVS has also helped its overall business.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2022

    Supply chain woes just cost Bed Bath & Beyond $100M in sales

    In the past (pre-Tritton), Bed Bath & Beyond seemed to be digging into food, but I didn't see it in the new layouts that I've checked out. At the time, I thought it was stretch, but a retry might be warranted if Bed Bath & Beyond takes a World Market approach rather than just filling the shelves with snacks. It could also make sense to incorporate a treasure hunt aisle to compete more effectively against Home Goods (with the caveat that it must be kept pristine).
  • Posted on: 01/07/2022

    Supply chain woes just cost Bed Bath & Beyond $100M in sales

    Bed Bath & Beyond has drastically improved its in-store experience and, while its ambitious launch of multiple private brands isn't a panacea, the company has done a great job of merchandising them. Still, Bed Bath & Beyond's narrow category focus makes it vulnerable to the Amazons, Walmarts, and Targets of the world, all of which are doubling down on home products, including private brand launches. In other words, Bed Bath & Beyond can't afford any slip-ups, and supply chain snafus are no exception. The company might want to hedge its bet by building out the "beyond" portion of its premise to include adjacent categories and new partnerships with well-known brands that will complement its own.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2022

    Is retail ready for the phygital future?

    Thanks, Liza! ByondXR isn't in the business of replacing stores (many of its customers operate physical flagships) but rather, enhancing online experiences. That's what it's all about.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2022

    Walmart says it’s ready to deliver groceries inside 30 million American homes

    There's a lot to be said for failing fast and Walmart has gotten better at that. I think it's a matter of how success is defined and there are different standards for different tests. Walmart's goal here is to own convenience and in that context, grabbing a smaller subset of early adopters can justify moving ahead.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2022

    Walmart says it’s ready to deliver groceries inside 30 million American homes

    Walmart doesn't roll anything out on speculation so obviously, the data collected from early tests support the expansion of InHome. Retailers have learned that convenience and choice are inextricably linked, even if some choices attract a smaller subset of shoppers. Walmart was one of the first retailers to understand this and to build out an arsenal of convenience options that make it harder for shoppers to justify shopping elsewhere. As with any number of seemingly unlikely or invasive services, customers who use InHome and have a great experience will spread the word and things will take off from there.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2022

    Are Albertsons and Tesco too late for the retail media party?

    Tesco and Albertsons aren't too late, if only because both companies' brand partners will want to tap into the data and scale that both retailers offer. Once retailers build in-house agencies, they generally expect their brand partners to utilize them. Retailers essentially have a captive audience for their ad forays, ensuring viability and revenue.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2022

    Is Aldi about more than just low prices?

    Aldi couldn't enjoy the loyalty and frequency of visits that it does if price were its only advantage. Aldi does a brilliant job of knocking off national brands, not only in quality but also in almost-can't-tell-the-difference packaging that stops just short of shameless. It complements that strategy by leaning into unique flavor profiles that blur direct comparison. Aldi's employees are engaged, efficient, and knowledgeable, adding another layer of differentiation. As if that weren't enough, Aldi stores are often located short distances from Walmart supercenters, allowing the otherwise non-descript boxes to get attention and set the hook for future visits. Aldi has a winning formula but it's not one-note.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2021

    Does this activist investor know what’s best for Kohl’s?

    What an unfortunate distraction at a time when Kohl's is boldly innovating through new partnerships and business models. E-commerce split-offs have become the flavor (or threat) of the day yet the promise of monetizing bustling online marketplaces will prove elusive, or even deadly, for most mid-tier players in the long term. Retail doesn't need more middling Amazon imitators, it needs clicks-to-bricks innovators.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2021

    Dollar General’s Popshelf expansion shifts into high gear

    Dollar General has been far more disruptive and influential than it's been given credit for. Dollar General deserves even more credit for diversifying into new formats even as it continues to innovate in its small-format general stores. Creating a medium-sized format focused on high-margin general merchandise is a bold and ingenious idea. It speaks to Dollar General's agility and willingness to forge ahead into new territory. Popshelf will pose a threat to hard-to-navigate big box stores and small format competitors alike.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2021

    Will Toys ‘R’ Us become an American comeback story?

    Mr. Shmidman is a veteran of the licensing business so business model diversification and intellectual property monetization were baked in from the beginning. Toys "R" Us is the jewel in WHP's crown in that regard. Even so, Toys "R" Us' U.S. business would not be enough to turn the brand around. Maintaining at least some of its global presence was a prescient move.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2021

    What are self-checkout’s pain points?

    The main pain point is not having store associates at the ready to remedy all of the other pain points. Some retailers do a great job with this but a lack of consistency between locations can be a problem.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2021

    Can retail move more quickly than Omicron?

    Lately, I've not seen many signs that shoppers are concerned about any versions of the virus and that is troubling. In most stores that I've visited, mask use is dwindling or non-existent. I'm not sure if this is due to COVID fatigue, a false sense of security from boosters, or some combination of factors. Either way, it will be much more difficult to attempt to ramp up mask usage and other precautions from this position. The good news is that retailers, by and large, have tried to do the right thing and have taken the lead in the past. Unfortunately, front-line workers will bear the brunt when it comes to enforcement backlash.

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