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: 05/13/2021

    Has augmented reality tech reached an inflection point at retail?

    From a merchant perspective, absolutely! Giving merchants and buyers an opportunity to save time and money on travelling to trade shows and showrooms to purchase product, allowing them to discover product in remote parts of the world, and giving smaller more obscure brands exposure has helped retailers add $ to their bottom line. Enabling this technology on new emerging marketplaces and platforms to help retailers buy better will be something that I hope becomes part of the buying model in a post-pandemic world. The environmental impacts on traveling to trade shows and markets alone would impact the fashion industry's carbon footprint in a HUGE way.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2021

    How high can thredUP grow?

    thredUP's growth will continue to skyrocket as they push their RaaS (Retail-as-a-Service) model. As they increase their partnerships, their access to products including excess inventory will continue to build on their growth. The challenge will be with other resale platforms like Poshmark, TheRealReal, and Vestaire Collective also scaling at the same time as well as brands building their own story on circularity. thredUP is not the only player out there offering the technology to make resale a reality for brands and maybe they are just a bit too cheeky to admit it.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2021

    Are brands and retailers defining authenticity on their own terms or consumers’?

    Accuracy is of utmost importance in conveying authenticity today, especially around sustainability. If we could truly see if a brand is sustainable, using track and trace to be certain our textiles and materials were ethically sourced/developed, and carbon emissions were truly being reduced, not only would we have brand trust but we would be more loyal to the brand/retailer.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2021

    Can associate dress codes support in-store social distancing?

    I started out on the sales floor as Harrods 20+ years ago and we were only allowed to wear grey, navy, or black business wear and it helped us serve our customers better - we looked professional and we stood out. Getting dressed up, looking a certain way, standing apart from customers to make them see you so you can serve them better is a great concept. And it works. Look at Kiehl's and Sephora - great examples of sales teams being easy to spot and they come across as brand ambassadors which is exactly what they are.
  • Posted on: 05/06/2021

    How did Crocs ever become cool and how long will it stay that way?

    The success of Crocs during the last 12 months is directly attributed to its new “cool” factor through its collaboration efforts. Ugg, Geox, etc. - the comfort brands have had a similar impact once celebs like Paris Hilton in her heyday, started to wear them. The brands took off and entered the mass market because of the “likes” and engagement. Crocs will forever be the ugly shoe but if it’s trending on social, it will sell.
  • Posted on: 05/05/2021

    Remote work is rough on big retail districts

    Totally agree with you Dave - experiences must be part of retail's day-to-day and new ways of capturing the customer's attention will get them back to stores. Creativity is the key and retailers + shopping malls + the community need to partner and work together to increase footfall.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2021

    Do retailers have to catch up to Amazon’s logistics powerhouse?

    Retailers should continue to focus on their retailing strengths such as getting to know their customers better, building relationships with them to increase loyalty, and delighting them. The beauty of a non-Amazon retailer is that they can align their values with their customers around things like sustainability, reducing carbon emissions and excess packaging. In fact, retailers should leverage Amazon and their go-to-market strategies around innovation, last mile, and technology solutions instead of thinking of them as their competition.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2021

    Will retailers be rewarded for giving ex-cons a second chance?

    Yes! Patricia - more prosperous communities are exactly what we need!
  • Posted on: 04/29/2021

    Will retailers be rewarded for giving ex-cons a second chance?

    Retailers should absolutely give ex-convicts a second chance - and retail is a great industry with so many different types of roles that could give people across all walks of life some hope. Giving marginalized communities and ex-convicts jobs, supporting them in back-to-work initiatives with clothing, resume/cover letter writing, up-skilling, etc. and of course, jobs - we need to do better and this is a great way for retailers to bring communities together. It's exactly what we need in this world - more love, less capitalism.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2021

    Will immersive experiences revitalize U.S. malls?

    Retailers are embracing experiential retail and shopping malls absolutely need to do the same - entertainment, farmers markets, and experiences will draw customers, families, and communities into the spaces where anchor stores no longer serve this purpose. The future of the shopping mall is changing with many commercial real estate giants embracing innovation to increase footfall. The challenge is when shopping malls stick to the traditional lines of tenant vs. landlord and don't innovate with their retailers. Shopping centers need to work WITH their tenants to not only bring foot traffic into to mall, but help retailers to bring customers into their stores. If the retailer wins, the shopping center wins.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2021

    Are consumers getting less creeped out about being tracked online?

    As a consumer who has loosened up concerns on sharing my data, I expect a better online experience from the retailers I shop with. Customers are well aware that Instagram, Facebook, Google Home, iPhone, and Alexa are all listening to exactly what we are up to and watching our every move so in my opinion, giving Sephora a little bit more of my soul doesn't seem to bother me as much as it used to. What bothers me more is when I am targeted by digital marketers and "personalized" ads that don't apply to me. We know sharing of our data is happening so when retailers don't get it right, customers notice.
  • Posted on: 04/23/2021

    Can retailers wait any longer for government to move on climate change?

    Whether the government fails to aggressively take action or how retail addresses its contribution to carbon emissions, everyone needs to start making changes. Retailers are more aware than ever of how their practices are harming the planet. Nike and Lululemon are great examples of brands thinking about the product lifecycle and adding circularity to their business models. A great start. But it’s not enough. Consumer awareness and literacy regarding impacts of retail on the climate is the responsibility of the consumer. we live in a world where over-consumption is normal. We need to push governments and leaders on standardizing sustainability metrics. If there are 456 sustainability certifications in existence today, how can consumers ensure the claims are legit? If we are not using the same tools to measure the impact of brands on the climate, how can we truly make better choices? The fact is no one should wait to make changes. Retailers need to reevaluate their impact on the climate. Now. Consumers need to get smarter. Now. The government must push for change. Now.
  • Posted on: 04/22/2021

    Are associates better than influencers for shopping livestreams?

    Retailers should absolutely use associates for livestreams vs. influencers. They are authentic brand ambassadors and can actually engage the audience because of their product knowledge. Video is a great way to sell and streaming tells a story vs. a flat image/photos. Disadvantages -- it's live and if you don't have real time visibility to your inventory, you could be selling products you don't have in stock. The associate must have stellar selling skills -- it takes a certain kind of person to engage customers via video but as long as the seller believes in the brand and product they are selling, it's a great platform.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2021

    Lululemon to pilot ‘Like New’ clothing test

    Used workout clothing is definitely not for everyone. The fact is that this fabric breaks down more quickly because of its purpose. With WFH over the last 12 months, activewear/athleisure was the category of choice so your Lululemons are getting a lot more wear now vs. pre-pandemic. I can't imagine buying secondhand workout wear but I am sure the program will do well -- initially.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2021

    Lululemon to pilot ‘Like New’ clothing test

    This pilot will prove to be successful as customers become more savvy in truly understanding the impacts of the fashion industry to the environment, especially with the fabrications that are used by Lululemon and other active brands. Sustainability is going to be a larger deciding factor in how consumers consume and why customers buy. But what happens when happens when the hype slows down and customers would prefer to buy new LuluLemons vs. used? Will the price points be lower? What will give the customers a reason to buy resale Lulus because the fabric in activewear pills, it gets worn down. Unlike denim, activewear gets worse with wear. From a customer perspective, for activewear/athleisure, I would definitely opt for the new stuff.

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