David Adelman

Founder, The Adelman Group

David is a prominent retail strategist, blogger and retail authority.  Before founding TAG, a retail customer experience consulting company, David spent over 25 years in retail store development, sales, marketing, and operations.

He developed Western Canada’s first mono-brand retail home furnishings store, Just Bauhaus, the manufacturer’s first partnership into retail home furnishings. David owned and operated Thomasville Home Furnishings
in addition to eight branded home goods stores throughout western Canada. He has worked with major international brands, including Moroni, Natuzzi, Palliser, Thomasville, and Bauhaus.

David has written several articles and been interviewed by news outlets on today’s dynamic retail environment.

David’s associations include:

  • Customer Experience Professional Association (CXPA)
  • Retail Industry Professional member
  • Retail Council of Canada member
  • Rethink Retail Guest Speaker
  • Royal Roads University, Guest Lecturer, Judge Final B. Comm
  • Capstone presentations, mentoring, coaching students

To learn more, visit:

  • Posted on: 03/02/2021

    Is off-mall where it’s at?

    The move away from the mall has been ongoing long before the pandemic. While once it was the main gathering place for families in the suburbs, malls themselves have unfortunately been the cause of their own demise. Just as e-commerce soared during COVID-19, so did brick-and-mortar's move to more affordable and localized locations. As retailers continue their move to smaller store footprints, we will see a continuation of localized retailers who will create a more personalized experience for their customers. Not only will it be more convenient for all shoppers, but these new stores will also double as micro-fulfillment centers where customers can access instant product pickup whether in-store or curbside. Additionally, due to smaller square footage and staffing requirements, these smaller experiential stores will have much lower rent and expenses. This will allow retailers to allocate marketing funds where they are greatly needed; online and customer experience initiatives. Although malls are struggling, I feel that with a renewed strategy they will withstand the pandemic and beyond. Whether it be additional entertainment venues, office rental, abodes, food services or even partial fulfillment centers, I believe the mall will transition but not die.
  • Posted on: 02/26/2021

    Target wants a bigger slice of Apple’s pie

    Brilliant! Target is quickly becoming the "mini-mall replacement." This strategy will draw more consumers into Target stores and create a one-stop-shop for customers wanting national brands plus Target's unique private labels. At the same time, Target will be reducing expenses by requiring less staff and greater revenue streams from their tenants. Target will bring in new consumers to their stores that may have never visited before. By introducing in-store branded shops, Target has also accelerated the customer experience by having highly trained brand ambassadors selling their products directly from their stores-within-a-store. It's a win-win for everyone!
  • Posted on: 02/25/2021

    Are Americans ready to do some good old-fashioned ‘revenge shopping’?

    Definitely. TJX has always focused on providing unique "adventure shopping" featuring well know brands at discounted prices. With the acceleration of online shopping during the pandemic, TJX will be well-positioned to take advantage of the consumers' pent-up demand for deals as shoppers come out of hibernation for some tactile retail therapy.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2021

    Can making deliveries once a week make e-commerce sustainable and more profitable?

    I fear retailers won't pay the extra 10% for Olive. Also, during the pandemic, consumers have become accustomed to one or two-day delivery as the norm. Branded packaging has become a key today which will deteriorate with Olives delivery platform. Even with the large federal incentives to buy electric vehicles in North America, the majority of consumers aren't prepared to spend the extra money for an eco-friendly vehicle. Olive is a great idea, but I fear it might take a long time for consumers and retailers to adopt. Perhaps the best solution would be for Amazon, Target, and Walmarts of the world to invest in more micro-fulfilment centres where consumers can pick up their purchases. BOPIS has been hugely successful. Why not continue its success while reducing the carbon footprint at the same time. After all, do we really need same-day shipping at the expense of the environment?
  • Posted on: 02/24/2021

    Macy’s says it will recover and rebuild coming off a tough 2020

    Their goal of reducing expenses by shutting down stores and reducing store footprints is key in achieving long-term success for any department store today. I commend them for taking these difficult actions but it will take more than reducing store counts for the brand to survive. Macy's is an iconic brand but they desperately need a rebranding if they are to survive today's new consumer. Shoppers will be back to brick-and-mortar stores in droves once the pandemic ends but if Macy's rests on its laurels, I'm afraid the retailer is doomed.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2021

    Best Buy is handing out bonuses, paid time off for vaccines and pink slips. Huh?

    With Best Buy's transition to smaller footprint stores with an increased focus on e-commerce, there will be fallout. This shift will not be easy but the way HR handles it will be key in determining how much Best Buy actually "cares" about its employees. Are the new incentives just decoys and a poor attempt at covering up the mass layoffs? We have seen this scenario before at Walmart and many other Big Box stores. Best Buy was a leader in rolling out curbside pickup and BOPIS when COVID-19 hit. Their super quick adaptation allowed for the continued employment of many employees while others were drastically reducing or furlough staff. Now we see a new focus and transition at Best Buy into e-commerce. Their efforts to "cross-train" in-store employees to handle both in-store and online customers is commendable but I feel it will be short-lived. A great customer experience today relies on specialists, not multi-taskers. There must be no friction for consumers interacting with any brand today. Workers will feel fortunate to still have a job but the fallout from Best Buy's apparent lack of transparency might just cause a public relations nightmare. This could weigh heavily in the minds of all employees at Best Buy regardless of the upgrades to wages and bonuses.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2021

    Are outlet centers immune to the ills of regional malls?

    Consumers got used to "deals" during COVID-19 through intense online shopping. Outlet malls evoke a similar emotive response by providing the best price to shoppers, which shoppers have become accustomed to. However I believe that outlet malls, although most are outdoors providing a somewhat safer atmosphere, must still provide a unique customer experience. Apparel will always be a large part of any mall's mix, but it's the presentation, merchandising and brand ambassadors that will still play the largest part in their success. Expansion into entertainment and food will definitely drive more customers to any mall, whether indoor or out. I believe that once the world has control over the pandemic, we will see a huge pent-up demand for missed socialized shopping experiences, which will explode! Just as we saw home improvement and home goods skyrocket during COVID-19, so shall we see apparel surge but with new smaller footprints and a much-needed revamped merchandise mix.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2021

    Are current supply chain bottlenecks a bigger deal than normal?

    I believe we will see a continuance of supply chain issues as we move through COVID-19 with an even higher acceleration through 2022. Why? Once worldwide vaccinations take hold and herd immunity is attained, we will see an explosion of retail therapy like never before. Not only will we continue to see a huge spike in "everything home," but finally a much-needed rush to apparel which has been struggling throughout the pandemic. Offices will reopen, people will be back out socializing and they will want new clothes other than their favorite pair of Lulus.
  • Posted on: 02/18/2021

    Is suburban retail (malls, too) primed for a comeback?

    Simon Property Group has propped up its vacancy rate figures by purchasing many of its failing tenants, such as Brook Brother and Forever 21. Creating mixed-use at malls including restaurants, grocery and entertainment may perhaps save some malls. However many employers will require their employees to return to the city once COVID-19 resolves itself. There is still no substitute for in-person, face-to-face interaction. Suburban malls will definitely get a boost once the pandemic subsides. Still, I fear it will be short-lived unless developers provide something unique and exciting to customers in the coming years. In addition to creating mixed-use, mall operators must attract local retailers to join chain stores to develop a community sense. If not, I'm afraid the selection online comparatively will be too hard to compete against.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2021

    Digital gains are changing how Best Buy puts its associates to work

    De-emphasizing in-store selling roles is never a good thing. I believe Best Buy is shifting its business online as it decreases showroom space and staff to curb expenses. A shift to local micro-fulfillment centers and dark stores is everywhere. I think Best Buy will become enveloped by this shift as they move to smaller brick-and-mortar stores in local communities. However I believe you have to be very careful when "cross-training" employees in-store or online. I understand how Best Buy wants to create more employee flexibility and efficiency, but there are many dangers with this path. The adage of trying to please everyone and delight no-one is definitely in play once again with this strategy. In today's world of consumer-driven customer experience and service, expectations are extremely high. It might be difficult for these multi-taskers to satisfy the new consumer's needs by knowing a bit of everything but not a lot of one thing. Today, specialization is key. Customers don't like being handed off to another person or department when an associate can't answer every question they have. As we move forward after the pandemic, I believe retail jobs will become more abundant online today and in the future, where face-to-face personalized experiences will be the norm.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2021

    Will Nordstrom celebrate or regret its decision to give brands a lot more control?

    Absolutely. Not only will this decrease overall expenses for Nordstrom, but it will also allow brands the control they all want and need today. It's a win-win! Let's face it; department store investment is enormous. With an increased shift to e-commerce, all retail platforms have no choice but to decrease floor space and cut expenses moving forward. This allows retailers to shift budgets online where it is really needed right now. Giving brands more control will happen sooner than later; why not give them the ability to sell, market, and merchandise their products how they were intended to now?
  • Posted on: 02/15/2021

    Is the toy category’s pandemic sales boon coming to an end?

    The Big Box toy store days are over, as witnessed by the demise of Toys "R" Us. Will toy sales surge after COVID-19? I believe the answer depends on what you sell and to whom you sell. The adage of trying to please everyone but delighting nobody holds true here as well. Millennials are the largest group of parents exploring options today, with Boomers weighing heavily into the mix as their numbers continue to grow as grandparents. Will the COVID-19 frenzy for puzzles and games stick long after the pandemic is over? I believe to some degree, but as children are heading back to school currently in droves, I see less interest in generic toys as playtime focuses more on supporting education. For example, toys such as LEGOs, children's tablets, or even digital books will become more important than more frivolous toys that might only provide an increase in parents' alone time with children simply occupying time. Social responsibility, diversity, and sustainability will also play an important role moving into the future with toys. I believe these new overtly conscious consumers will be highly selective moving forward with their children's toys, focusing on developing skillsets for their kids and not merely entertainment. There might even be a movement away from calling them "toys" but rather, instead, "instructive toys" or perhaps not even calling them toys at all soon.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2021

    Poshmark’s secondhand sales platform goes to the dogs

    Brilliant addition! Long before the "COVID-19 pet boom," animal ownership continues to grow at an amazing pace. Being a forever pet owner myself, they definitely become one of the family. Why not cater to them as well? I believe the key to Poshmark's success will continue to be using social media to engage consumers with personalized interactions, which help seal their brand. Communication with human interaction along all platforms is the key to success at any retail level. We see explosive growth in Asia with the development of live streaming e-commerce selling platforms through brand influences such as Alibaba’s Taobao Live, Kuaishou (Kwai) and ByteDance’s Douyin (TikTok). Time will tell whether North America will adopt these highly social live interactive platforms, but I think it's inevitable given the great success overseas. And by the way, if you think dogs, cats or any pet owners don't want the latest fashions for their pets, you are sadly mistaken! Fashion abounds wherever you may look.
  • Posted on: 02/11/2021

    Will Men’s Wearhouse’s new digitally-equipped next-gen stores be a must shop?

    Too little too late, I'm afraid. Men's Wearhouse is a discount chain and not a luxury brand. I feel they should focus on reducing actual floor space in each location while improving the merchandise assortments. COVID-19 has reduced the need for suiting and accelerated casual wear within one year. A greater focus on in-stock products both online and in-store is essential at their price points. Digital displays are always engaging, but a more concerted effort on a VR dressing room on their website would help gain and maintain customers in the age of e-commerce.
  • Posted on: 02/02/2021

    Allbirds’ profitable business soars higher as it continues opening stores

    Excellent. It's a perfect time for D2C companies to open brick-and-mortar stores with depressed rents and a pending retail renaissance coming this fall. This will lower Allbirds' cost of acquisition as their rate and cost of returns. It will also provide the much needed personalized connection consumers want with a brand. Not only will Allbirds be able to tell their responsibility story but now they will also be able to show it! The only caveat for me would be that the rollout occurs in select community locations under small store footprints. Allbirds is a terrific company with a focus on both sustainability and fashion. A winning combination today.

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