PROFILE

Karen Wong

Co-Founder & CEO, TakuLabs Ltd.

Karen Wong is a retail strategist and thought-leader on operations innovation and leveraging data for growth. An avid entrepreneur, Karen has 15+ years of experience running ventures in Canada and East Asia. As a founder of both ACE POS Solutions Ltd. and TakuLabs Ltd., her passion is developing technology to help retailers easily scale their businesses across all channels. Her companies currently work with more than 6,000 retailers in North America and are building out next generation unified commerce solutions to help retail chain stores move to the cloud and allow merchants to use their own data to sell more.

Karen is proud to work together with local schools and universities to offer internships and mentoring to tomorrow’s marketing and IT leaders. Karen is a voracious reader and tech enthusiast always looking for new approaches to problem solving.

To learn more, visit: takulabs.io

Karen Wong is a retail strategist and thought-leader on operations innovation and leveraging data for growth. An avid entrepreneur, Karen has 15+ years of experience running ventures in Canada and East Asia. As a founder of both ACE POS Solutions Ltd. and TakuLabs Ltd., her passion is developing technology to help retailers easily scale their businesses across all channels. Her companies currently work with more than 6,000 retailers in North America and are building out next generation unified commerce solutions to help retail chain stores move to the cloud and allow merchants to use their own data to sell more. Karen is proud to work together with local schools and universities to offer internships and mentoring to tomorrow’s marketing and IT leaders. Karen is a voracious reader and tech enthusiast always looking for new approaches to problem solving.
  • VIEW ARTICLES
  • VIEW COMMENTS
  • Posted on: 02/24/2021

    Are outlet centers immune to the ills of regional malls?

    Open air outlet malls in warmer climates will continue to outperform enclosed malls with higher costs of maintenance, etc. but all malls will need to address their reliance on apparel tenants. The impact of the pandemic on apparel brands has forced many of them to embrace digitization faster than many other categories. They will be slow to return to brick-and-mortar if they have other effective distribution channels today.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2021

    Best Buy is handing out bonuses, paid time off for vaccines and pink slips. Huh?

    It's not an easy line to toe these days. If you don't quickly adapt to the times you are told that you aren't moving fast enough. Yet the length of the pandemic has us all fatigued. I don't judge them for making the necessary changes to their business but with the end of the tunnel in sight, was it not possible to try alternative arrangements in the short-term to avoid another hit to staff morale and this type of publicity?
  • Posted on: 02/16/2021

    Digital gains are changing how Best Buy puts its associates to work

    Fairly certain this was financially driven, but there's no doubt the role of the traditional in-store sales associate was on the decline at Best Buy. Yes, there's a place for sales associates but not for mainstream brands and especially not after a pandemic. If brands such as Bose don't need physical stores to move their products, it wouldn't be any different for Best Buy.
  • Posted on: 02/11/2021

    Starbucks’ meatless store pilot ran in stealth mode

    Technology and modular design (including operational processes) allow stores to quickly replace focus groups with under-the-radar concept stores before innovation is widely adopted. This makes even more sense for tech even given the learning curve and costs of adoption. Pilots always lower the risk of innovation should concepts not pan out. Many brands have made the mistake of launching menu or product changes with much fanfare only to have them panned. I can't even remember the number of QSRs that have tried plant-based foods on the menu now without success. The customer base of Starbucks gives them a better chance than most but I would assume the appeal to vary widely based on the location of the store.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2021

    No sweat. Target’s activewear brand’s sales move past $1B

    Private label brands are often seen as lower cost knockoffs. Target has been very careful to cultivate data-driven private label brands with quality packaging and design that is clean and attractive to their customer base. Once you couple this with good old in-store merchandising and limited edition marketing, it's little wonder they're able to do what others aren't.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2021

    Is Kroger justified in closing stores over a hero pay ordinance?

    I 100 percent agreed with Neil on this one. This is terrible optics during a pandemic. Others have handled this better or found ways to spread out the impact. But I don't agree with ad hoc interference with wages, especially if it targets specific sectors. A time limit on these increases isn't realistic IRL. It's not reasonable to expect that people will be willing to take a decrease in pay once they've adjusted to spending based on the increased pay. It's proven out again and again. We saw it when others rolled back hero pay. This is populist without an understanding of how a $4 increase makes a very large impact on payroll on a percentage basis.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2021

    Is it time for retailers to reconsider Instacart?

    Depending on where you are on the continuum of digitization, there is a time and place for Instacart, but if you sell GTIN-based/barcoded products, there are ways to more easily offer online grocery (at least the transaction capture) without ceding sales and customer data.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2021

    Are local retailers ready to flex their omnichannel muscles?

    Great points. Luckily a lot of proximity digital marketing is now accessible to small retailers. As long as they can digitize enough to move their businesses online, there are ways to localize visibility online.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2021

    Not every retailer is sold on curbside pickup

    I wouldn't want to bet the house at this point as much of the implementation in 2020 was done to stop the bleeding. But as new consumer habits, best practices and technologies mature, it will be clear which sectors are best suited for each of the trends above.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2021

    Are small brands eating big food’s lunch?

    2021 should accelerate what has already started in 2020: 1) Nimble SMB brands continuing to deliver when traditional brands cannot. 2) Smaller CPG with shorter product cycles delivering more relevant localized offerings. 3) Increased public support for regional brands that offer visible contributions to their communities.
  • Posted on: 01/27/2021

    NRF 2021: Fanatics’ CEO showcases benefits of vertical commerce

    If quality and timely data is key to action and agility further down the supply chain, for traditional brick & mortar retailers, I'd still say that omnichannel commerce is the first criteria to making informed decisions. So many retailers are still surprised to find that shoppers that buy in-store, online or everywhere are not always the same people.
  • Posted on: 01/27/2021

    Will Walmart gain an unrivaled edge by automating its local grocery fulfillment?

    They are a competitive edge for Walmart which can't be easily replicated. Not many retailers have the critical mass or density to support a local LFC nor the space in-store to re-purpose.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2021

    What leadership lessons have retailers learned during the pandemic?

    When it comes to retail tech, flexibility has an outsized impact on resilience. Systems need to be architected loose enough so that they can be adapted to the strategies required at any given time.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2021

    Will contactless Hudson Nonstop concept stores take off in airports?

    Airports are ideal for this type of solution. Not only does it eliminate security clearance risks, it allows retailers to sell 24/7 whenever flights are scheduled which isn't possible today. I would be curious to know what the peak load is though and whether the technology today can handle the type of traffic airports can see during peak travel periods once people start traveling again.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2021

    Shopify dumps Trump’s stores from its platform

    Nobody can ever please everybody, but you need to know who your customers are. In this case, there is good reason to believe that Shopify would have taken heat for doing nothing just as social media platforms have. After all, Shopify is an e-commerce platform with built-in marketing features so there is an amplifying factor. At the same time, it wasn't surprising really given how e-commerce platforms, ad platforms and payment gateways already restrict high-risk products or sectors these days.

Contact Karen

  • Apply to be a BrainTrust Panelist

  • Please briefly describe your qualifications — specifically, your expertise and experience in the retail industry.
  • By submitting this form, I give you permission to forward my contact information to designated members of the RetailWire staff.

    See RetailWire's privacy policy for more information about what data we collect and how it is used.