PROFILE

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.

For more information, visit: harborretail.com

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.
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  • Posted on: 12/01/2021

    Is air freight worth the cost to Gap?

    Although their heart may be in the right place, piling on air freight can only further shrink Gap's profit margins. However having already divested themselves of physical stores they have left themselves without good options. Considering that online sales overall are far less profitable than brick-and-mortar sales given the high cost of shipping, staff packing, higher return rates, lower conversion rates and more, the added costs of air freight could very well push Gap's revenue to the danger point long before they can implement any future solutions.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2021

    How big a win is Sephora for Kohl’s?

    That's really the key - that Kohl's elevates their own product offerings. Looking around their stores recently I was disappointed at the quality and selection in every category outside of their Sephora section.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2021

    Should Macy’s de-omnify?

    Separating their online and offline business is the quickest path to failure for a company the size of Macy's. While e-commerce may be popular in generating sales, it’s not very profitable in terms of the margins those online sales earn. Only by leveraging the benefits of shipping from store, picking up in-store, returning in-store and using stores as a powerhouse media channel can a business earn high enough profit margins to stay in business for the long run. Separating their channels would be a short term play to make a small group of investors very wealthy at the cost of driving the business under - much like Sears. I’m sad that this is even being considered.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2021

    What’s driving shoppers to Amazon?

    Amazon has done a great job at removing friction points for shoppers and keeping prices low to maintain the high sales volumes they need just to break even, but this has come at a high cost. As a standalone division of the company, profit margins for Amazon's retail side of the business are minimal, with their web services division earning the bulk of their total profits. And let's remember that last year, for all the hype and press about the massive growth of e-commerce, online sales were still less than 20 percent of total retail sales. Brick-and-mortar is still the consumer's preference, and a critical tool for improving e-commerce profit margins, which is a key driver for Amazon's continuous push into physical retail.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2021

    Will Macy’s curated marketplace distinguish it from online rivals?

    Offering their own marketplace would make more sense if Macy's had a stronger differentiated customer base. But with Target, Walmart, and Amazon all expanding their product lines to include both luxury and budget ends of the pricing spectrum, there really isn't a need for Macy's offering and it just bleeds more cash away from where they earn their best profits - the stores.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2021

    CVS to close stores and create new formats in health push

    It's important to understand that 900 stores is less than 10 percent of the CVS total portfolio, and any large scale retailer should be actively culling, repositioning or renovating at least 10 percent of their stores at frequent intervals to remain a healthy entity. CVS has always been smart about looking ahead - they were among the first to ditch tobacco to align with their brand values, to integrate luxury beauty brands into their product mix, to elevate their white label product line. Direct-to-consumer competitors and new department store partnerships for Ulta and Sephora have made health and beauty products far too accessible outside of the drug store sector. CVS is smart to begin the process of refocusing their company around a powerhouse trend like the integration of retail and healthcare.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2021

    Starbucks and Amazon open first joint concept store with more to come

    Partnerships are a great way for companies to improve profit margins by sharing space, staff, tech and - most importantly - customers. I see this as a big benefit for Amazon in being able to learn from the master how to create effective in-store experiences, and to pull in that more affluent Starbucks customer. And Starbucks also benefits from Amazon's help in defraying operating costs, and giving their customers an expanded array of food and beverage products beyond their own very limited menu options. With the product mix and smaller footprint, this concept could be very effective for a national rollout.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2021

    What online tools best prevent returns?

    It depends on the product of course, but the best online tool for reducing returns is BOPIS. More than 25 percent of all returns are due to the wrong product being delivered, or from shipping damage. The second best tool is accurate product descriptions and photos that include showing the object in context so shoppers can understand its true scale. How many times have you ordered an item and been unhappy with how much larger/smaller it really was? Listing measurements is not nearly as effective as showing an item held in a hand, or adjacent to a familiar object for size. A lot of software companies offer some great algorithm or AR based tools for fit and personalization, but the truth is at least half of all returns would go away with the two simple solutions I've just outlined.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2021

    Do retailers get how social holiday shopping has become?

    Preaching to the choir with you Lee, but retailers also need to understand the power their brick and mortar has on influencing online sales - stores should be considered part of their media strategy too and connected back to social.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2021

    Will AMC deliver blockbuster results in the popcorn aisle?

    This is a perfect example of "right idea, wrong time." This concept would have worked well a decade ago -- when movie theaters were more valued and popcorn and candy in high demand. Today it's rare to see a movie theater at capacity except for the first days of a blockbuster action flick. Add to that the fact that Americans have a rapidly growing interest in healthier snacks, which further erodes the value of this offering, not to mention the vast array of competing products available today through any online or offline channel. However on the flip side, if they can take advantage of empty space to negotiate cheap or free temporary rent and selling products they already sell through their movie theaters, the cost of execution might be low enough that they could possibly break even. I'd rather see AMC develop their own movie streaming channel or work out a deal with Apple, Hulu, Netflix, and others to allow people to watch cherry-picked popular films or mini-series without having to subscribe to multiple streaming services. I doubt that could happen, but it would certainly add much needed relevance to AMC and rebuild the connection they used to have with moviegoers.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2021

    What do retailers owe customers when it comes to personalized pricing?

    If we only look at the "fairness" of variable pricing this seems like a bad thing. But wielded properly it can be an instrument for good and an important way for retailers to maintain the profit margins they need to stay in business. It isn't fair to charge different prices to different customers, but what if variable pricing wasn't targeted to the shoppers' ability to pay but rather to availability of the product? I see this as a fantastic tool to help retailers hold on to profit margins when legit supply chain issues reduce needed stock of popular products - raise prices across the board instantly to weed out people who are merely stockpiling. Conversely, it could be used to reduce pricing, either as a reward to high value loyalty subscribers or as a service to the community - such as quickly lowering prices of building materials in areas hit hard by disasters.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2021

    What do retailers owe customers when it comes to personalized pricing?

    You make a good point - offering better pricing could be a good negotiating tool to get shoppers to opt in under new digital regulations.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2021

    Companies place ‘bias bounties’ on AI algorithms

    AI is designed to learn and emulate human behavior, so it stands to reason that the more human hands involved in shaping the algorithms the better. Bias is especially hard to suss out because it's embedded in the hundreds of subconscious words and thoughts we've acquired over multiple generations. It's going to take conscious awareness to root out these subtleties, and bounties will help build better digital intelligence for the good of all.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2021

    Should Apple join the crowd in lifting mask requirements?

    Although this pandemic is far from over, we're beginning to learn how to co-exist with it, so it does make sense for retailers to begin to align with local mandates. It isn't reasonable to expect retailers - meaning their front line staff - to enforce rules that local or regional government don't support.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2021

    Will Planning Studios elevate IKEA’s urban shopper journey?

    It's imperative that retailers enmesh themselves into local communities, rather than sitting on the periphery and expecting shoppers to visit. Online shopping only requires a few steps to your mobile phone and home delivery means just a few more steps to the front door. This means the distance that shoppers consider too far to travel is shrinking. As more of us settle in to working from home permanently there is a stronger focus on improving the communities in which we live, with healthy retail as a major driver. Retailers who don't find some way to connect to communities are going to struggle for customer loyalty and market share.

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