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: 07/26/2021

    Should retailers continue the chatbot deception?

    In today's world of chaos and uncertainty, authenticity and transparency are the greatest gift brands and retailers can give to their customers and a key factor to business success. Shoppers understand the benefit of chatbots to retailers and can accept their use, but where things fall off the rails is when retailers try to pretend the bots are real. Shoppers are insulted by attempted deception and rarely fooled. It also more often than not leads to the perception of poor customer service. Retailers would be so much better served by being open about bot use, clear on its limitations, and offer a path to a live person should the chat bot conversation go off the rails.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2021

    Macy’s should have stayed local

    Homogenization spells doom in retail today. We are well into a transition away from corporate-run chains to personalized experiences tailored to the local community. Macy's lost their place as a beloved member of the community when they ceded leadership to a corporation focused so strongly on growth rather than connection. It's clear this corporate mindset is not working. It's equally clear they are looking at ways to get back to their community roots with their Story acquisition and Market by Macy's strategies. But these attempts have largely failed because they are still screened through the filter of a disconnected head office. They will need to learn how to reconnect with their customers, develop smaller and more locally curated stores and reach to regain their place as a trusted neighbor.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2021

    Will an enhanced rewards program turn Gap’s customers into ‘lifelong loyalists’?

    It's a well crafted loyalty program, especially allowing people to donate to worthy causes and shop across brands. However loyalty only goes so far without a solid brick-and-mortar strategy to support its underpinnings. Gap's recent reduction of their store footprint and entry into Walmart are undermining their customer's perception of the quality of these brands and risk hurting Gap's ability to lift profit margins. And by linking Gap to Banana Republic, Athleta and Old Navy they risk all having this perception of waning quality bleed over into even their successful brands. I've been a loyal BR and Gap shopper for decades and have a wardrobe full of classic staples that have served me well for years, but they have lost their consistency and focus on what the customer really wants. Although their loyalty program is well built, shoppers don't buy on loyalty alone, the product and brand story must align.
  • Posted on: 07/22/2021

    Beauty shop-in-shops are trending

    It's clear J.C. Penney is trying to recreate their Sephora success, but it's a new retail landscape for beauty today and customers have too many choices both online and offline. When opening a shop-in-shop it's critical to align it with existing customer behavior, which is why Target and Ulta make more sense. Customers are already shopping with both of these retailers so they aren't being asked to change habits. Kohl's and Sephora face more challenges, but the Sephora customer is young enough that they may appreciate the Kohl's price point for other categories. I think J.C. Penney will struggle. They are off the beaten path for most shoppers these days, and their new beauty shop doesn't appear to offer anything unique in terms of product or range of selection that aren't already widely available.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2021

    Can facial recognition outlast its bad press?

    It's interesting to me that so many consumers decry the use of facial recognition at kiosks or in stores, however the majority of iPhone users have no trouble using Face ID to unlock their phones, myself included. ATMs, driver's licenses, passport entry and more have been using it for years without complaint. For anyone who is on social media at all, just watch all the images of yourself pop up when you Google your own name. I think that ship has sailed whether we like it or not. What I am more concerned about is the potential for nefarious uses for AI and deepfakes, which is where I believe we need to focus our legislation and protections. Stores should be transparent about how and where they use it, and be clear on how customers benefit and are protected.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2021

    Victoria’s Secret is moving out of the mall

    I'm not sure Victoria's Secret as a standalone store makes sense any more. They have a good product mix, and their cosmetic and beauty products are quite good, but with so much competition from other online and offline businesses they have an uphill battle to attract customers regardless of where they are located. They would stand a far better chance as a branded store-within-a-store with a company like Kohl's. This would help elevate customer awareness of their beauty products, and expose them to a more consistent and broader customer traffic without the high cost of operating their real estate.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2021

    Will Amazon’s Brand Referral Bonus divert online traffic?

    Amazon is right to be worried about their future with the recent announcement of Alibaba's plan to deliver products anywhere in the world within three days, for a fraction of the cost of Amazon. And as more and more companies like Walmart and Shopify grow their own marketplaces, the increasing competition has to be keeping Amazon up at night. I don't think this program will garner the increased business that Amazon hopes because this increase in competitors will give small businesses a lot more options for finding a more profitable platform.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2021

    Marketers are still trying to figure out the social media data puzzle

    The importance of social media cannot be understated. It has influenced elections, founded movements and impacted vaccination rates, so failing to fully integrate it into your retail business model is perilous. Most social content I see coming from brands and retailers today is more akin to ad campaigns or marketing messaging, which is one sided and too often not engaging -- talking "at" the customer rather than "with." The most effective social strategies I've seen tend to operate well below the 10,000 feet corporate brand language and engage directly with the customer about thing that matter in their daily lives. I would like to see marketers use data to help customers better understand how a brand or product fits into the context of their day-to-day life, help the visualize the end result, and offer two-way communication for the purpose of building/supporting communities.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2021

    Is the Walmart/Justice tie-up a harbinger of more retailer brand partnerships?

    The entire industry is accelerating toward a consummate dance between retailers who provide the operational expertise and brands who provide the products. A winning example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Within the next 10 years this partnership model will become the default across the retail industry. It makes so much sense to allow each side to focus their energy and money on a narrower area where they can become hyper adept and cost effective. A good analogy would be to see retailers as a coffee shop -- let them focus on being great at coffee and customer service, and bring in delicious pastries from an expert baker who doesn't have the resources to make good coffee. The customer wins on experience and choice and the brands and retailers see better financial results.
  • Posted on: 07/15/2021

    Bed Bath & Beyond adds off-hour pickups and speedier fulfillment to its ‘omni-always’ suite

    Ideally, the more orders you can fill from a store the more profitable your sales will be. In 2018 about half of Target's online orders were filled from stores. Today that number exceeds 80 percent. Shipping online orders from a regional warehouse is not nearly as profitable as shipping them from a local store, so Target's strategic shift to ship from store has raised their profit margins substantially.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2021

    Will ending non-competes be good for retail workers and their bosses?

    There is a very fine line between protecting insider knowledge and preventing someone from finding a work environment that fits. And if fast food restaurants think their secret sauce recipe isn't already all over the internet they are mistaken. I do agree that some protections and assurances need to be agreed upon between employer/employees, but more care needs to be taken to protect the worker's ability to move on to a better job. At the end of the day, if a company treats their employees well and pays a living wage, the need for non-competes becomes vastly reduced.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2021

    Nordstrom and Asos say joint venture is a game-changer

    This deal has pros and cons. It does give Nordstrom a stronger appeal to Gen Z shoppers, although these tend not to be shoppers with a lot of disposable cash to spend. And it does give Nordstrom exclusive rights to brands unique to the U.S., however Topshop filed for bankruptcy in the U.S in 2019 and closed all of their U.S. stores because they counted too heavily the product selling itself (which it didn't), rather than building a brand persona and a community of engaged customers. I like that Asos will retain control of their marketing and brand messaging as it may help avoid the issues Topshop had in the past. U.S. and UK shoppers are not the same, so while these partnerships generate a lot of excitement and press initially, long term profit is much harder to achieve, with few examples of past success.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2021

    Can ghost kitchens inject new life into mall food courts?

    How about a food hall served by a ghost kitchen, where the independents share resources?
  • Posted on: 07/12/2021

    Can ghost kitchens inject new life into mall food courts?

    Shopping centers have a unique opportunity to pair the benefits of ghost kitchens with the location and experiential benefits of the community mall. It's also an opportunity to improve the rather lackluster dining experience of the typical mall. Typically food courts have consisted of individual and disconnected fast food chains because they tend to be the companies with the credit to secure bank loans, but this doesn't create a very interesting food hall experience. By leveraging ghost kitchens, malls can offer a more cost effective kitchen service that can serve a wider range of food purveyors, including local independents. This in turn gives customers a much more dynamic and interesting food hall experience that becomes destination in its own right that also folds in omnichannel options like take out and home delivery. A win/win all around.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2021

    Are Amazon’s ‘warrant’ partnering deals monopolistic?

    I agree there are always two parties to a contract, but I don't think vendors truly believe they have the ability to say no to Amazon if they want to stay in business. If they walk away from Amazon, then what are their other choices?

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