DeAnn Campbell

Chief Strategy Officer, Hoobil8

DeAnn is a retail strategist and trend explorer with 20+ years in the biz and a zealous belief that healthy retail makes healthy communities. Currently head of strategy and insights at Harbor Retail, DeAnn works to help brands and retailers to build greater profitability by leveraging the interplay between e-Commerce and brick and mortar.

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My passion for retail began in architecture and shopping center construction, and ultimately to leading Strategy and Insights teams. This career evolution has given me a unique 360 degree perspective on retail from the vantage of both the customer and the seller. With 20+ years of experience working with major brands and retailers across Canada and the U.S., I build marketing, design and operational strategies to grow revenue, improve lifetime customer value and expand profit margins.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2021

    Retailers don’t have to choose between profitability and customer satisfaction

    Profit margins were challenged long before COVID-19, as expanding e-commerce capabilities triggered an industry-wide focus on online over offline channels. The cost of online fulfillment coupled with decreased customer loyalty and increased return rates makes e-commerce a far less profitable business model than pure play brick-and-mortar. The retail industry is starting to understand how critical physical stores are to their net profits, and beginning to invest in striking a more profitable balance rather than focusing too heavily on digital.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2021

    Online grocery shopping is pretty much all about convenience

    Convenience doesn't have to mean delivery. And it doesn't always mean fast. Often it's more convenient to go into a store to select and purchase items rather than use energy to wonder if an online product will meet expectations. But many retailers have taken the simplicity out of the in-store experience by forcing people online for ill timed pieces of the customer journey. Yes customers have become used to shopping online, and are comfortable navigating multiple channels to get the products they want. But convenience means a better balance between online and in-store to make the journey more comfortable and emotionally satisfying. That's convenience today.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2021

    Will Kohl’s be known for something other than its retail partners?

    This is a smart move by Kohl's. Rather than continuing to compete in a crowded discounter market, Kohl's is building their own version of retail as a service, offering up store locations, customer service and retail operations to support brands coveted by consumers. This aligns with how the future of retail is trending - retailers who operate the brick-and-mortar stores, and brands who provide the products and brand experiences.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2021

    Will gym equipment showrooms pump up Hy-Vee’s supermarket sales?

    I applaud this move to create a wellness ecosystem for their customers, although initially this will do more for the fitness equipment brands than for grocery sales. But this kind of long term well rounded thinking is necessary to rebuild the in-store shopping habit and stop the erosion of profit margins with online shopping.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2021

    Is the government’s vaccination mandate plan good for retail?

    The majority of U.S. consumers have grown weary of the anti-vax hype and simply want to move forward whatever way it takes. Recent polls have shown the majority of Americans are strongly in favor of a national vaccination requirement. All businesses should do their part to break the COVID-19 spread as well as the risk of variants. Because of their high interaction with customers, it falls to retailers to lead the way. And giving employees every assurance possible that they will be safe, including a vaccine mandate, might actually help retailers with their ability to attract, hire and retain employees.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2021

    Can Kroger offset its margin headwinds?

    All companies are facing lower profit margins on e-commerce sales, the infrastructure and logistics erode sales margins. But no industry is hit harder by this than grocery. It typically costs a grocer about $7 per basket for customers to fill their own baskets and check out in-store. The cost soars to $20 per basket if the employees are doing the filling for curbside pickup, and even more if delivery is involved. The grocery model doesn't work using today's e-commerce positioning.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2021

    Will its Public Lands concept store help Dick’s conquer the great outdoors?

    The brands and retailers customers are most loyal to, such as Lululemon and Starbucks, offer more than a great shopping experience and product selection, they actually help the customer live out a lifestyle they desire. Dick's new concept is right on point for creating an immersive ecosystem to support the outdoors lover, not just with purchases, but with activities they love and the means to conserve their natural playground.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2021

    Why does Amazon want a branded TV?

    Amazon will launch a television for the same reason it launched Kindle -- for the ad revenue. I think their television will follow a similar path -- Amazon didn't make any profit on the actual Kindle hardware sales, but averaged $300 million to $500 million per year on the ad revenue. This is just another building block in the fortress walls Amazon is building to keep customers inside their retail ecosystem.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2021

    Why can’t CMOs And CIOs just get along?

    Departmental silos are the single biggest hindrance to success in retail. The speed of change driving customer attention and loyalty makes it imperative for companies to be able to shift online content and brand narrative on a dime to stay aligned with current events and cultural sentiment. The only way to have this flexibility is for marketing and IT to work in lock step, and since trust is a two way street, both teams must have equal weight to their voice to avoid any backsliding into silos. Making decisions across departments is hard, primarily because we haven't had to learn how. Forcing teams to work together may be rocky and feel slow initially, but once this skill is mastered then the shackles of siloed thinking are permanently removed.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2021

    Should retail robots go humanoid?

    Human beings constantly anthropomorphize inanimate objects. We feel empathy for the bold and sassy dress that never gets worn, we straighten the sad-eyed doll that has fallen over on the shelf, we feel bad for the purple dinosaur dog toy with its head bitten off. Giving robots human characteristics will make it easier for us to understand how to share space and integrate them into our daily lives, but will also help to ensure we take care of them so they continue to function correctly. But as robot tech becomes more developed and mainstream, the inevitable demand for personalization will take over and we will have robots that match individual tastes -- from Game of Thrones to Disney.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2021

    What’s the formula for e-commerce profitability?

    It can't be overstated -- the secret to e-commerce profitability is brick-and-mortar. Target went from margin loss to a 17 percent margin increase in 2019 by repositioning their online sales around in-store fulfillment, ship-from-store and BOPIS. Additionally, their product return rate dropped with more online orders being picked up in-store. Direct-to-consumer brands like Casper and Allbirds, while experiencing strong sales volume, showed they lack an adequate profit margin on those sales when they opened their books pre-IPO, hence their current efforts to increase their physical footprint. Leveraging stores, pop-ups or shop-in-shop partnerships is the best way to improve online profit margins and customer lifetime value, with the added benefit of reducing marketing costs and increasing basket size and cross category purchases.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2021

    Best Buy builds a virtual store to assist customers remotely

    This is a true foray into blended channel retail, which we're going to see a lot more of in future. It's an excellent way to leverage the strengths of Best Buy's physical stores with their tech expertise and endless aisle options in a seamless and universally accessible way.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2021

    Does peer-to-peer resale make sense for Urban Outfitters?

    While I don't see this generating significant revenue, this is a strong branding move that will pay off by strengthening overall loyalty and overall sales with their Gen Z base. Resale is shaping up to be an important sales support system. Much like brick-and-mortar creates a halo effect of increased online sales, resale's halo effect will be increased lifetime customer value and net revenue.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2021

    Amazon finally catches the ‘buy now, pay later’ wave

    Younger consumers today don't have access to the same credit options as older shoppers. And with student loans, higher cost of living and ongoing recession and inflation fears, they may never achieve the same buying power as their parents. Buy now, pay later is one of the few tools retailers have available to allow Gen Z shoppers to participate in the retail industry at a level that will help retailers maintain revenue as senior citizens begin to age out. I'm also encouraged with the surge in money management apps that target Gen Zs to help them stay on top of their money management. I'm seeing the emergence of a generation of smart and capable adults who have the ability to manage their debt responsibly.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2021

    Can IKEA’s store layout still amaze without a maze?

    The maze layout was designed pre-internet as a brick and mortar version of how we browse online today, so IKEA was long overdue for an update. The success of their urban formats and test stores only confirms that shoppers use IKEA's stores to test drive what they have already searched online. Allowing people to experience the product in the context of a home, to have in-store social media interactions and learn about the product at a level deeper than possible digitally is absolutely the right thing to do.

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