PROFILE

Joanna Rutter

Marketing, Dor
I run content marketing for Dor, an analytics solution for physical locations that collects foot traffic data using thermal people sensors and visualizes those trends on an easy-to-use, cloud-based platform. I'm driven by a belief that people who manage retail spaces should be empowered to focus on what really matters: Designing and operating intentional, efficient stores where meaningful connections happen.
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  • Posted on: 06/13/2019

    Indochino bets big on showrooms

    Can't make a sweeping prediction, but I can comment on how utterly delightful their staff was in their Chicago store. I did what we all do -- "Hi, I'm a retail geek, do you mind if I take photos of your displays?" -- and struck up conversations with their team. They were so knowledgable about the production process and their competition, and were genuinely happy to be there. Something about their showrooms works, and if I had to bet, I'd guess it's that they hire carefully and train well!
  • Posted on: 05/16/2019

    Why does loyalty program ROI remain so murky?

    I really like that recommendation, Bob!
  • Posted on: 05/16/2019

    Why does loyalty program ROI remain so murky?

    The tough thing about spending 2 percent to 4 percent on "loyalty programs" is that it's still a drop in the organizational bucket, compared to newcomer/challenger brands whose whole model is (philosophically) 100 percent toward the idea of attracting and retaining customers, often at high cost. Loyalty programs are operational structures put on top of something worth being loyal to in the first place. Paying attention to the right metrics may clarify where you're missing the mark. Look to the ones DTC brands use -- cost per acquisition, especially in remarketing; store and website traffic and the CTR of that traffic -- and track them in dashboards every day as religiously as they are. Hopefully a good start.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2019

    Should (can) rivals meet the free one-day delivery bar being set by Amazon?

    Tony, I imagine we'll disagree passionately (though civilly) on that. I tip my hat to you and your business, and refer anyone interested to Scott Galloway's writing/videos on the historical precedent for breaking up Amazon. Directing us elsewhere mainly out of curiosity -- I see you're an owner of an independent grocery store. What pressures if any are you feeling from chain competitors to offer curbside pickup and other tech-enabled services? (How do these headlines play out on your shop floor?) Are your customers asking for those services?
  • Posted on: 04/26/2019

    Should (can) rivals meet the free one-day delivery bar being set by Amazon?

    Amazon is the only company who could even attempt to deliver on this promise today. The promise is carried out by a troubling system worth calling out directly. The exploited party in this story is Amazon's workforce -- largely underpaid, contracted by third-party employers, most without benefits or healthcare, prevented from organizing -- along with the factory labor that produces the products Amazon sells. This is not a radical reminder; we know the stories of heart attacks on fulfillment floors. We also know the environmental impact of speedy shipping and the glut of packaging waste stacking up in landfills. This is the ecosystem that makes one-day shipping possible. Behold our innovation. Instead of resigning to some kind of "this is the way it goes" determinism until the government intervenes, Amazon's rivals can compete for the consumer's conscience by listening to their own, and listening to their customers. There's just no way right now to offer one-day shipping profitably without negative environmental impact and gross labor rights violations swept under the rug. Rivals can tighten up inefficiencies in their own systems (you know, without short-cutting people and planet) and offering convenience from a fresh angle. They must.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2019

    Will America’s love for paper coupons ever die?

    I'm sure I could cite oodles of consumer psych studies here focused on the illusion of agency/control in making a purchase, especially if you don't feel like you have financial agency elsewhere. The coupon is the retailer winking at the shopper to, "go ahead, hack our system, we'll give you back a slice of the markup pie." Consumers might be getting weary of having to hack this system. Perhaps the coupon has to evolve beyond paper or phones. What could it look like for retailers to be radically transparent about their pricing in the first place?
  • Posted on: 04/04/2019

    What should a retailer ask at an exit interview?

    Exit interviews should ideally be the final chapter of a journey that included recruiting, robust and continuous training, check-ins, surveys and benchmarks along the way -- alone it's just too little, too late. As the last step along a 20- or 30-point journey as an employee, it makes sense, as long as you're willing to listen and actually implement changes.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2019

    McDonald’s reverses positions, won’t actively oppose minimum wage hikes

    It is impossible to retain a well-trained, efficient, content workforce if they are unable to commute, eat and live in a way that is conducive to showing up and selling your product well. This really isn't that hard. Coupled with data about when to best schedule employees to meet demand, living wages are just an essential piece of playing the new retail game. You can't compete otherwise.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2019

    Are people investments paying off for retailers?

    An overdue correction indeed. I met a retailer this week who had recently cut their entire staff and was relying on unpaid labor from family members to keep the lights on. They blamed everyone (especially the government) but themselves, and believed their employees should have felt "lucky" to be making $7 an hour. They couldn't fathom paying them more. They also had no long-term plan for turning the ship around. It was a sobering interaction. Not prioritizing fair pay is damaging, to your brand, to your customer loyalty, and to your longevity. It's simply table stakes.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2019

    Are people investments paying off for retailers?

    Yes! Retail tech doesn't exist in its own ecosystem. It is implemented, maintained, leveraged, evaluated and taken action on by people who are motivated and curious enough to do so.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2019

    Will AR change how people buy products from eyeglasses to wedding rings?

    I think home try-on is the most logical and immediate AR use case in retail, and I don't think apparel is where it works best. My favorite AR applications are Sephora's (just used it last week!) and Warby Parker's, and know this type of experience also works well for furniture e-commerce brands like Wayfair. Sephora and Warby Parker benefit from the normalization of face filters used in Snapchat and Instagram -- it's not a huge leap to ask a consumer to smile for the camera -- and all three of these brands have a few important things in common: a higher price point, good customer service, and an already-strong physical try-on experience and/or good return policies. It's easier to trust a brand in an augmented reality when you already trust them in your current reality.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2019

    Are malls better off as fulfillment centers?

    Alas, in the end, Victor Gruen could not save us from his worst invention, and now we must save ourselves from his monstrous creation. Malls are incredibly specific types of properties designed for now-frustratingly-specific purposes. Now that we want to revamp and repurpose them, all of their design problems (So much dead parking lot space! Bad public transit access! Have you ever tried air conditioning one of these things?) are going to be quite hard to fix at a physical level as well as successfully rezoning these for industrial or housing purposes. I want to believe every dead mall can become a mixed-use farmers market slash housing complex slash childcare center, like Victor originally did back in the day, but it seems like the process of rehabbing the old space is more work than it's worth. Perhaps these dead malls were in the wrong place to begin with -- constructed on census data and the assumption that people wanted to engage with space in the suburbs in a certain way. Maybe there's nothing holy we need to save from the husk of a mall, and that's okay.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2019

    Is experiential retail overhyped and misunderstood?

    My favorite writer on this topic, Elizabeth Segran at Fast Company, says it better than I could here: "All these Instagrammable stores are blending into one another, and consumers are getting bored with the concept. In 2019, brands will need to think of other ways to get consumers into stores. Like, you know, developing great products, or having great customer service." Consumers are both wary and weary of retail stunts. Hire and pay great people, invest in better back-end tech so you can tell the truth when your website says something's in stock, and you'd be surprised how much more profitable your marketing spend can become!
  • Posted on: 01/04/2019

    E-commerce forces CPG brands to think differently

    The entire retail world has a distribution waste and emissions problem, all the way down, from manufacturing to packaging to delivery. CPG. FMCG. Fashion. Beauty. It's everywhere. We now know more than ever that it's the responsibility of corporations to adjust these practices now or create drought, widespread poverty and rising coastlines, and the responsibility of the consumer to fervently demand them as if their lives depended on it, because it does. I am Team Anything that reduces this waste. If it looks like boxed wine and becomes a meme, so be it.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2019

    Can David’s Bridal appeal to ‘every type of bride’ with its new campaign?

    I agree with the Doc -- the times are changing, both in consumer preference and amount of consumers. (Haven't you heard? Millennials killed marriage alongside all their other casualties like books and home ownership.) Of course the inclusion is encouraging, but David's Bridal may be speaking to a waning base, or if anyone's getting married, they're shopping on Etsy and buying from makers or shopping at boutiques for something less cookie-cutter for the 'gram. However, I like cheering on a brand willing to take creative risks even when it's late -- wouldn't want any retailer to get eaten by debt without at least giving a good fight.
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