PROFILE

Liza Amlani

Principal and Founder, Retail Strategy Group

With over 20 years of retail insider experience and industry knowledge in merchandising, buying, product development and strategy, I bring an end-to-end perspective to help navigate the ever-changing retail landscape.

I have worked closely with retailers such as Ralph Lauren Europe and Canada, Club Monaco, Nike, and Walmart as well as departments stores in North America, UK, Ireland and across Europe. Working with both luxury and mass merchant retailers across global markets, my perspective on retail is through my industry experience lens.

The last few years have been spent in retail consulting, supporting several major business transformations across merchandising, product creation, speed to market and materials management.

Website: www.retailstrategygroup.com

Newsletter: www.themerchantlife.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/TheMerchantLife

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  • Posted on: 12/01/2021

    Is air freight worth the cost to Gap?

    Every brand makes air/sea decisions EVERY season. It's part of doing business overseas and serving a global customer. The investment in air freight to support holiday demand was the right investment. Key factors that go into these decisions range from sourcing, costing, merchandising and planning as well as seasonal drops and visual merchandising directives. It's not an easy decision but it is one that all retailers make.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2021

    Is Small Business Saturday losing steam?

    Small Business Saturday and buy-local movements are not losing steam at all. These initiatives are community driven and customers are more conscious of their shopping habits than ever before. Small business digital platform tools like Shopify have been posting record sales over the weekend which tells us that customers are shopping small.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2021

    Can retail move more quickly than Omicron?

    Retailers need to continue to put safety first if they want stores to be part of the customer journey, but they can't lose focus of enabling technology to get closer and faster to their customers. The fact is that the pandemic has changed the way we shop and a digital-first strategy is still the right strategy, no matter what this virus has in store for us.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2021

    What caused the thin Black Friday traffic?

    Early shopping, less discounting and, more importantly, customers shifting their habits to more sustainable practices are a few reasons why Black Friday traffic was thin. The holiday season has just begun and there are many shopping days left to break the bank with sales.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2021

    Will lean inventories derail off-pricers?

    Customers seek out off-price retail for prices, the treasure hunt, and high-turning inventory. As more full-price retailers experience supply chain delays, more inventory will land on the off-price shop floor.
  • Posted on: 11/24/2021

    Will fans visit Nike in the metaverse?

    Nike is following the path of what luxury brands had proven in the last two years - gamification is not only a GREAT way to engage a customer segment that has your undivided attention but it's also a gateway to test product without sampling. This means customer validation of product without the cost of going to market. Driving insights through data to inform product and merchandising is part of Nike's DTC strategy and driving engagement and sales is exactly the point.
  • Posted on: 11/24/2021

    Glossier puts the experience first expecting sales to follow

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and experiences are the perfect way to connect with the customer and build deeper relationships and loyalty. Beauty is truly personal. It is so much more than product. It's about how beauty makes a customer feel and we need more engagement across brands to keep them relevant with fickle customers. DTC brands have the benefit of driving insights through data. They have everything they need to determine what the customer wants, what will delight them, and what will drive loyalty and excitement across experiences. The key is asking the right questions to inform marketing AND merchandising to keep customers wanting more engagement with the brand.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2021

    Walmart is going livestreaming for the holidays

    Social commerce is absolutely part of the future of retail but it is not the heart of what retailers need to focus on. All strategies should be about building deeper relationships with customers and engaging with them where THEY are. This is why Walmart's push towards social commerce makes sense - this is where their customers and new target shoppers are engaging with brands. As long as authentic influencers (and associates) are believable brand ambassadors and product experts, livestreaming can be the perfect way to truly connect with today's customer.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2021

    How big a win is Sephora for Kohl’s?

    Beauty is a great point of entry into representing the customer and attracting Sephora lovers into Kohl's. Now Kohl's is in the spotlight - can they capitalize on the footfall and revamp their merchandising strategy? Will they truly partner with Sephora to capture customer feedback and insights to drive product decisions and get customers to shop the rest of the store? All this remains to be seen and retailers need to push the envelope and get to know what is going to drive their customers to shop the entire store.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2021

    Should Macy’s de-omnify?

    Although controversial, this may be the right move for Macy's. The challenge will be keeping customer-centricity at the heart of core retailing functions. If customer insights are shared across both digital and physical platforms and if merchandising, product assortment decisions and private label development are part of a center of excellence (think single source of truth for item creation and data-driven product innovation), this could be exactly what Macy's needs to focus on reviving its physical stores and keep driving success into its digital platforms.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2021

    What’s driving shoppers to Amazon?

    There is something to be said about consistency and Amazon has that down. It's much easier for a customer to click on the Amazon app and search for what they need. Even if we shop on other sites, the default tends to be Amazon. The challenge comes down to changing customer behaviors to switch from using Amazon as their default.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2021

    Will working from home hurt women’s career advancement?

    Whether women work from home or not, women face greater challenges than the work-from-home trend feeding into gender equality goals. Let's face it. Most men of a certain color will promote other men of the same color. The question should really be how do we push diversity into leadership roles so we have representation across gender/ability/visible minorities filling the seats at the leadership table. This will require uncomfortable conversations and it's awesome that we have platforms to talk about diversity and inclusion and question current ways of working/promoting women. It's a fact that classic corporate culture needs to change and productivity during lockdowns/pandemic proved that change is possible. This is not a question of WFH, it's a question of why women are being singled out and not being promoted as much as men.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2021

    Walmart is stocked and ready to roll back prices for Christmas

    Walmart is a powerhouse and can handle promotions over Christmas and there is doubt we will see a few roll backs this season. They don’t have the inventory challenges other retailers are experiencing and supply chain disruption is impacting the big players but it’s not as detrimental to their bottom line. They own ships, have a monopoly over the ports, and have the power to shift production when they need to. Assortments are looking more competitive and they offer workers better pay and training so they have the manpower to compete. Of course Walmart’s results are “remarkable.” They are set up for success.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2021

    Is mobile enhancing the in-store shopping experience?

    Mobile phones elevate the shopping experience when retailers encourage customers to use them. Most shopping journeys start on a digital platform and enhance the in-store experience. Imagine if retailers encouraged more customers to deep dive into product or styling through their mobile, marrying the digital and physical experience. We could learn so much about the customer if the experience was seamless and purposeful.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2021

    Is physical retail entering a new age?

    I definitely agree that the department store is going to have to enter the next stage of evolution in order to survive. Some say splitting physical and digital is the only way to stay profitable but there is so much more work to be done. The physical footprint needs to be purposeful and product experts and brand ambassadors need to be next-level.

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