Joanna Rutter

Marketing, Dor
I run marketing point for Dor, a foot traffic counter changing the in-store analytics game for retailers of all sizes. My take on the so-called apocalypse? Retail is going through the painful but necessary process of shedding terrible practices and boring brands to make room for in-store experiences that are actually compelling. I say bring it on.

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  • Posted on: 09/18/2018

    Macy’s expands in-store pop-up concept with Facebook’s help

    Yes, I agree! Plus, this has Rachel Shechtman's fingerprints all over it Remember when Macy's acquired STORY? This is part of the reason why, I'd bet.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2018

    What will a ‘new standard for green retail’ mean for Starbucks’ results?

    You can't run a global coffee empire if all the coffee is gone, especially if the reason it's gone is because your own business practices contributed to sucking the little remaining life out of our poor, beat-up planet. It's an imperative for all businesses now, and I can't believe I actually have to keep typing this out: You've got to undo the damage you're doing now in order to sell anything in the future — otherwise you, your product, your labor and your customer will all be gone! Business as usual, especially in agriculture and manufacturing, is absolutely no longer viable. Anything helps.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2018

    Walmart expands test of giant automated grocery kiosk

    When you've got a thousand parking lots in prime real estate, this does seem to be the thing to do. I especially like the idea of bringing a customer onto Walmart property to complete an interaction without funneling them through the front doors — it's very efficient in a way that shopping in a sprawling Walmart store often isn't. I think any grocer that's going to succeed in pickup and delivery programs must diversify their solutions, both for a better customer experience (grabbing meal prep stuff on a commute vs. needing three ingredients delivered, etc.) and on the operations side for the retailer themselves, to keep learning from their data and not bet all the grocery innovation budget on one kiosk.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2018

    Are ad agencies history?

    I agree that people who hold data about customers and can analyze it are the new Don Drapers! Though as a marketer, I hope we always retain a bit of magic around selling customers something aspirational and bigger than what they clicked on last. That's the romantic in me. The realist is looking at this trend with retailers, especially the DTC/DNVB freshman class, working with design firms and branding agencies rather than a traditional ad agency. The folks who know how to do the cheeky subway ads but also open a gorgeous pop-up experience. Partners & Spade's work with Warby Parker and Sonos comes to mind. There are a handful of these design agencies who are the new quiet retail marketing superpowers -- we just don't hear about them in Adweek every day.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2018

    Gap CEO says retailers not turning in-store data into action

    The types of in-store data points discussed in the chatter mentioned -- yes, we're talking about it, incessantly, but resulting in few implementations because of terrible tech -- there is a diverse ocean of data that could be collected in-store, but I'd argue that some of the most valuable pieces of data you can gather have nothing to do with personalization and individual customer activity. (Though that is important.) For instance, capturing those lowest 10 percent of stores to close at the end of your FY, not based on sales alone but also staffing efficiency, foot traffic drawn by marketing and the ability of staff to convert traffic to customers. If retailers can't start out tracking those metrics, they're going to have a helluva time trying to get any deeper insights on a customer-to-customer basis, because they don't know which stores to invest in and which to close! A peek behind the curtain of said tech -- I work with Dor, which is a peel-and-stick people counter that installs in about three minutes. It doesn't have to be difficult! The tech for gathering in-store data does exist, it's just been very clunky and expensive until recently. Any retailers who got discouraged by a horrifyingly huge quote from some beacon tech or camera analytics provider a few years ago should try looking around again. Might be surprised what you find!
  • Posted on: 09/11/2018

    A tale of two retail real estate markets

    Bob, I'm loving your vacancy fee idea! I was just at an event with Hubba in Raleigh, NC yesterday and we were discussing how unfortunate it is that landlords in the city are sitting on property waiting for that bigger fish, leaving retailers to battle over the little property left over. Gotta make it more expensive to just sit there.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2018

    L’Occitane aims for a more immersive, more disruptive flagship

    Aren't we on here every day scolding other ho-hum legacy brands for their unbearable sameness and resistance to risk? I dunno, folks. It's 2018. If I'm choosing between walking into the back rub + VR hot air balloon store vs. the other guy, I'm going to pick the back rubs and balloons every time! Now is no longer the hour for hemming and hawing over whether a brand is "too" experiential. We're far past this modesty-shaming here. Sometimes we can just enjoy watching a retailer experiment, say "bien fait" and let their in-store and remarketing conversion rates (which is to say, allow the strength of their team) measure whether the investment is worth it. And enjoy a back rub.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2018

    Landlords add coworking spaces to drive more people to America’s malls

    Office eats mall. Housing eats office. Woman inherits the earth? This is a larger conversation about land use, sustainable development, and righting the suburban real estate wrongs committed in the 1950s-1990s. We're having to reinvent the whole dang thing: How we work, which now will sometimes happen in malls, where we live, which will now happen in renovated offices, and how we share space and move in it without running each other over. Mall owners hip to the zeitgeist, who are creative and curious, will usually come out ahead, but that could be said of any retailer with a lot of property who dares to take a risk and do something interesting.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2018

    Three reasons why Gen Z ignores your loyalty program

    To echo Nikki and focus mostly on the second question -- Gen Z doesn't have the ability to care about being loyal to your brand, and even if they did have the income to care, why would they? Speaking for Millennials, I was part of a generation entering college and the workforce just as all of our parents were getting fired from their jobs during the recession -- jobs they had held for years. We all understood clearly that unwavering corporate loyalty isn't ultimately rewarded, that every worker and consumer can eventually be considered disposable. We all took notes. Gen Z followed. Loyalty is a two-way relationship for digital natives. We don't trust your leaders. We don't trust the ethics of your supply chain. Therefore, you can't buy our loyalty with a punch card. Try harder to be a good business and show us how you're doing that. That's all the secret is.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2018

    Is the time ripe for Google stores?

    Absolutely agree! Google can set itself apart from the Apple store experience by using its stores as community-centered hubs for educating small business owners about how to use their tools. "Set up your Ads account in 10 minutes" drop-in sessions, etc.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2018

    Why is translating analog customer service to digital so complicated?

    This topic brings to mind Nikki Baird's excellent article "Retail's Technical Debt Comes True," which I truly think about once a day. I highly recommend the read. The thesis of her piece is that retail's data lives in store-localized piles, made up of billions of data points that are difficult to transmit and analyze and act on quickly (where making the choice between investing in bandwidth vs. hardware at the store level has locked retailers in to bad systems of storage and communication of data), with each bad IT decision tacking on additional "debt" that comes back to bite the retailer later. Retailers struggle to reconcile online and offline due to bad technology that was implemented hastily, promised a silver bullet, and couldn't evolve fast enough, stranding their most valuable data in printed-out spreadsheets in a file folder in the back room of their stores. I agree with Nikki's conclusion, which is that the next wave of retail revolution will come only as retailers reckon with their technical debt, or else be swallowed by it.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2018

    Retailers throw ‘hiring parties’ to reach staffing goals

    Logged in to agree. Maybe parties work for Taco Bell, but in general fair, livable wages and great benefits set an employer apart and increase loyalty and retention for retailers who offer them. (There's also evidence that guaranteeing a predictable schedule increases productivity and sales, which, by the way, is easier to manage if you're measuring foot traffic trends.) Offer stability and your business will be stronger, with or without parties. It's really not that hard!
  • Posted on: 07/24/2018

    Is robotic micro-fulfillment the path to streamlined grocery pickup?

    Most retailers are at least interested in third-party solutions that plug into their current footprints and allow them to cut costs. (Side-eye the retailer who isn't at least interested in cutting costs, is all I'm saying.) Robots fulfilling orders in a tiny warehouse? Grocers I know of would probably jump at the chance to adopt Amazonian strategies and compete locally where the online behemoths can't. Like all shiny tech, it'll come down to deployment: Quick rollout, staff training and transitioning fulfillment jobs to new roles, meeting new customer expectations, having store-level robotics maintenance staff available for troubleshooting. To me, if the tech works, these fulfillment centers' success will depend way more on the internal health of the retailer than anything else.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2018

    Retailers use brand ads to help pay for free delivery

    This reminded me of magazines selling ad space that fits with the interests and aspirations of their key demographic. Echoing others below, this works best if the brand with the box real estate plays curator (Easy for Zulily, since that's already their model) instead of billboard salesman.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2018

    Kroger shakes up own-brand fashion with one fell swoop

    Bold, interesting, a little awkward. We see some apparel in Whole Foods and plenty of it in Costco. You have to wonder where in the store the clothes will go? (Surely far away from seafood.) Whether there will be changing rooms? Whether the product itself will be good? After the recent news of Kroger shutting down 1,500 jobs here in the Raleigh/Durham area with no guarantee all those jobs will be absorbed into other local Harris Teeters over the coming months, I'm a bit wary of what Kroger leadership is up to. Experimentation and staying lean is usually worth celebrating, but I'm seeing the cost of that spirit at a local level.

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