PROFILE

Cynthia Holcomb

Founder | CEO, Female Brain Ai & Prefeye - Preference Science Technologies Inc.
Does Your Ai Solve for Female Intelligence? Do Your Personalization Technologies Solve for Female Preference? • FemaleBrain.AI is an Intelligence Consulting Service enabling both Female Ai Thought Leadership and Technical Services. • Every retailer and brand that sells digitally to females must have a Female Ai Strategy in place to be relevant in the time of Ai. • According to Bloomberg, women make more than 85% of the consumer purchases in the United States and reputedly influence over 95% of total goods and services purchased. • Does your Ai think and shop “like” a female? • Is your company experimenting with Ai initiatives? If so, this is the time and opportunity for your company to introduce and lead in Female Ai Intelligence. • As Founder of four companies and based upon my retail and apparel career, working for top retailers including Nordstrom, I have spent the past decade developing patent-pending methods and systems, leveraging Ai to solve for Female Intelligence. • FEMALE AI DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES. • Scientifically speaking there are cognitive differences between the way men and women think and shop. • Need Evidence to Validate the Need for Female Ai Initiatives? • Decades old 3% conversion. • Return rates of 25%-50%. • 97% of digital customers walk, they buy nothing. • Resulting in lost customers; lost credibility and wasted resources affecting every aspect of your product, supply chain, ROI, and our climate. • Female Ai consulting services offers technical expertise and deep industry knowledge necessary to evaluate, uncover and solve the most complex of female intelligence business use cases for both retailers and brands. • Ready? • Drop me a note, I am ready to work with you and your teams.
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  • Posted on: 01/20/2022

    NRF 2022: Nordstrom finds freedom in alternative wholesale pacts

    The retailer is also counting on personalization to deliver a curated experience to online browsers despite the broadening offerings. “'It’s good to have lots of choice count, but it’s not good to have something overwhelming,' said Mr. Nordstrom." As someone who admires Nordstrom very much, I suggest Nordstrom have actual live customers test their personalization/recommendation engine online shopping experience. As a test, shop for a dress. Today there are 14,141 dress styles available on Nordstrom.com. Using specification filters customers must sift, sort, and filter, enduring a time-consuming and overwhelming process of filtering through 14,141 dress style offerings in a multitude of fits, shapes, fabrics, colors, just a few of the multidimensional aspects of an individual dress style. No wonder online conversion is stuck at 3% for decades. And apparel return rates range from 25%-40% or more. Three key facts to know:
    1. Humans operate on a cognitive, INVISIBLE system of individual human sensory preferences, controlling purchase behavior and product decisions.
    2. Human preference in apparel selection is completely and uniquely subjective to the individual's sensory preferences of fit, look and feel. Segmentation and grouping of people, collaborative filtering, or online inferred behavior product recommendations do not work for apparel because we WEAR clothes on our bodies.
    3. Emotion and feelings. The individual human invisible decision to purchase. The "known unknowns." Visual and sensory triggers touch, ignite, and engage a customer’s unconscious emotional and sensory memories, triggering the selection of one product over hundreds of other similar products. A "Feeling" automates the "buy" response. No thinking is required.
    Explicit vs. implicit human behavior. Retailers are victims of the dichotomy between computer science and human-centric abstraction. What to do? Acknowledge individual human sensory preferences exist. Confirmed by high return rates, and ultra-low conversion. The mission: Cross the digital and, soon, the voice sensory shopping chasm. Common sense.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2021

    Nordstrom ain’t what it used to be before the pandemic

    Once I was Nordstrom Design Director. Many a time upon landing in Florence, Italy, people would stop me/us on the street so excited to talk to us about Nordstrom! Exclaiming, even in Italy, home of many wonderful couture designers, how much they loved the Nordstrom fashion brand and aesthetic. Unfortunately, Nordstrom over the past few years has drifted from "style" to now offering 100s if not 1000s of versions of expensive basic t-shirts. Beyond the shoe department, shopping Nordstrom online, the shopper faces a glut of a hodgepodge of products. As a long-time Nordstrom customer, I see no evidence while shopping online of the much-touted Nordstrom product recommendation, personalization engine offering me products I will love and want to buy. Nor do I receive any coherent recommendation from the new technologies "The Outfitter" or the "Fashion Graph" as in any way meaningful to me as a pathway to purchase. Instead, tedious filters and frankly, messy merchandising presentations of rows and rows of intermixed products. Who or what is assorting this barrage of products behind the curtain? Have the brilliant human merchants left the store? In-store, fields of the bland basics feature a Nordstrom who has lost itself in the perceived "coolness" of the engineering department when its focus in the past was always on the product. Nicely, aided and abetted by superior customer service. Note to Nordstrom, please bring back your hallmark "style" and beautifully merchandised product assortments in-store and especially online. Your customers are there waiting.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2021

    Will Americans open their garages and homes to Amazon and Walmart?

    Key by Amazon and Walmart InHome — another awesome opportunity to get inside, no pun intended, of a customer's head. Safety cameras are mounted on the heads of delivery people as safeguards to protect you the customer from theft. This reminds me of the "old wolf in sheep's clothing" analogy, as coincidentally the cameras are also filming the inside of your garage. A home delivery safety technology is innocuous until it is not. Life within the walls of a home is private until it is not. AI-enabled information gathering of day to day, hour by hour, minute by minute of private in-home conversations, every purchase made, consuming every digital aspect of one's private life, now given freely by consumers to big tech in exchange for personal convenience. Has convenience transformed personal privacy and safety into a commodity?
  • Posted on: 04/28/2021

    Do five-star ratings systems have a ‘positivity’ problem?

    Words are subjective to both the speaker and the receiver of the words. Layer on top of that the subjectivity of an individual's interactive experience with a product in matching their unique expectation of the product, based upon the complete subjectivity of how the individual sees, lives, and experiences their own individual world. Each of us has unique worldviews based upon childhood, family, emotion, personal sensitivities, life experiences, and unmet expectations, just to name a few items in the hodgepodge of human decision-making leading to a product review. There is much scientific and technological exploration being done to break the code of human intent using sentiment analysis. The positivity or negativity or in between of a product review is a snapshot in time of an individual human’s emotional subjectivity at this one particular point in time on a given day. Solutions to tap into the mindset of individual product reviewers to calculate what is the “truth” behind the review is impossible, as there is no “truth” only the subjectivity of the words to voice an opinion on a particular day in time.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2021

    Why did Amazon open a hair salon?

    Amazon exhaustion and then acceptance. Let's face it, a decade from now society will be eating, sleeping, shopping, getting healthcare, and beyond from them, as Amazon monitors and usurps small and large businesses alike, right out of every aspect of our lives. Amazon does this so easily, day by day, month by month, year by year, in front of our slumbering eyes.
  • Posted on: 04/23/2021

    Can retailers wait any longer for government to move on climate change?

    For those of us in the business of creating, manufacturing, selling, and distributing apparel, it is important for us to recognize the impact the apparel industry has on the global environment. In reality, the apparel industry and supply chain are a massive polluter. Spurred by over a decade of "fast fashion", our industry now faces the consequences of decades of overindulging in product creation. Product creation is the mega contributor and driver of waste in the apparel industry. According to Statista, "The global apparel market is projected to grow in value from 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars in 2020 to about 2.25 trillion dollars by 2025." So how does the apparel industry reduce pollution? Know your customer. What? Yes, know your customer. Stop chasing customers by building more and more products. It is not a mystery what your customers like and do not like. Look at the products your customers return. All retailers have a plethora of untapped intimate knowledge of each individual customer's personal preferences in apparel — purchase history sitting in untapped purchase history silos. Seeking patterns in your data will not solve for individual customer personal preferences in the clothes they like to wear on their body! Which, by the way is completely subjective to you, yes — you absolutely know how you like your clothes to fit, look, and feel as you wear them on your body. The technology exists to tap open the reams of customer preference intelligence locked in your data silos of purchase history. The bottom line, create targeted products based on customer preference intelligence. The ripple effect starts with designing fewer products, reducing waste in the supply chain, reduced transportation costs, reduced return rates hovering in the 40% + range, reduced environmental costs of reverse logistics including the burning and dumping of apparel returns, and much more. Including ROI. Happy customers.Know your customer. It is time we band together as an industry and stop waste in our industry. Thank you for reading and I look forward to your comments.
  • Posted on: 04/22/2021

    Are associates better than influencers for shopping livestreams?

    Many influencers and the content they "promote" have tipped the scale to become plain old noise in the marketplace. The few influencers who are really successful sell "aspiration." Compare to that, the new store associate-hosted live streams designed to "educate" which in turn leads to the "inspiration" to buy. The knowledgeable Molbak's associate did a great job of presenting and personalizing plants. Who knew certain plants oxygenate our homes better than others and at the same time remove air toxins in our homes? Really valuable information, delivered in a friendly manner, just like a personable in-store conversation. Great job Dave Bruno, for identifying the bountiful opportunities of associate live streams. Now please excuse me as I need to go out and buy some plants.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2021

    Are pop-up shops the answer to getting reluctant shoppers back into stores?

    Pop-ups are entertainment for those who have the time to stumble upon a pop-up. Executing a successful pop-up in the world of constant retail noise and the constant over retailing through redundancy of product across malls and stores reduces even the best of retail presentations, pop-up, or otherwise into just plain old more noise.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2021

    Are you ready for the retailer-as-service revolution?

    Thank you, Carol. I appreciate your feedback. Retail employees always seem to serve as the underdogs in the latest "shiny object" retail revolution, this new one, now poised to make profits on a retailers own employees. What happened to hero pay? Why have hourly, front line retail employees been last to receive the vaccine? The beat goes on as they say.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2021

    Are you ready for the retailer-as-service revolution?

    In the new game, retailers who do not offer health care to part-time/almost full-time employees now have a captive audience of employees who must pay their employer Walmart for health care as a service. The same employees who report to work every day in the thousands of Walmart stores. Next on the list -- vendors, we all know the costs associated with being a vendor to retailers. Many vendors will not be able to pay to play the retail as a service game due to the cost to participate. Which as always, will lead to vendor consolidation and reduced brand offerings on the retail floor. Which will lead to an emphasis on the retailer's higher-margin private brands versus brands in the wild who will disappear. Curiously, a newly found, deep affection for employees is clearly spelled out in Mr. McMillon's comments “deliver innovative and needed options to our customers and associates — with speed and at scale.” Walmart will now focus on Walmart employee health, whether financial or physical. Nice. In other words, store associates who make $12- $15 dollars an hour, now can PAY their employer for healthcare and financial services. Reducing Walmart employee benefits and associated costs while at the same time allowing Walmart to cut costs and plump up Walmart profitability. Very interesting message.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    Interesting topic. Yesterday I ordered two deck chairs on Target.com with a two-hour pickup time. Upon arrival, I was told the chairs had already been sold before they could be pulled for my paid order. (The email notifying me of this arrived while I was in the store.) Wasted trip. Frustrating. While initiatives such as in-store or curbside pick sound excellent and easy, personally I have found that it is not easy. The great "unknown" exists -- will my order really be ready for pickup? Yesterday was the third time Target failed to deliver on in-store pick up. Small details sting when the mask of promised convenience is undercut by the frustration of a failed shopping experience. Moving DCs closer to the customer is a good idea. The challenge will be stocking the DCs with the right mix of products with real-time holds for online shoppers.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2021

    Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s new ad help change how consumers see the retailer?

    "Home, Happier" is a great paradoxical sentiment coming off COVID-19. Home has never meant more to people than in the past year. COVID-19 created a new opportunity for many to really enjoy the comforts and security of their home. Or not, as evidenced by remote workers moving from cities to the suburbs of states with room to roam. Bed Bath & Beyond is tapping into and reflecting the years-old adage, "home is where the heart is" at this, the exact right moment in time to be embraced emotionally by consumers. Funny thing -- emotion creates demand, demand creates innovation. Bed Bath & Beyond is at the exact right place at the exact right time to execute "Home, Happier." Sure there will be bumps, but few will really care if in the end their personal result, whether accessed online or in-store, fulfills the promise of "Home, Happier."
  • Posted on: 04/12/2021

    Will faster deliveries prove to be a valuable loyalty perk for Gap?

    As an occasional Gap online shopper, since all Gap stores have closed in my metro area, it would be interesting to know exactly the metrics and criteria behind Gap's "best customer" qualifications. To announce this to the world, so to speak, in reality, sends a message to customers and consumers, some living on tight COVID-19 budgets. Gap only cares enough to ship fast to those customers who meet hidden monetary purchase requirements. Let the rest eat cake!
  • Posted on: 04/08/2021

    Will Best Buy’s customers love its new service and savings plan?

    An ambitious plan, seemingly counterintuitive on the heels of the recent reductions to the number of in-store associates. Which likely leads to the reduction in the quality of in-store customer service. Best Buy is promising a lot for $199.99 a year. Like home warranties on major systems in a home, the devil is in the details in terms of insurance coverage and execution by an insurance provider. Plus $199.99 per year? That is a lot of money for an average household.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2021

    Can the luxury industry be inclusive and exclusive at the same time?

    If DEI is a real concern to those who design, manufacture, and market luxury products, feel free to correct the DEI problems detailed in the Wharton article. As we all know, actions do speak louder than words. Or as some say “talk is cheap.” Rather than self-berating by those who create luxury products, simply flip the luxury dynamic and design product for everyone of every identity at low prices, low, low prices any identity and everyone can afford, just like Walmart. If a Luxury design is truly aspirational then enabling the masses of any identity to afford aspiration becomes a declaration of true Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for all! Luxury DEI challenge solved.

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