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: 07/23/2021

    Will an enhanced rewards program turn Gap’s customers into ‘lifelong loyalists’?

    This is a great move for Gap. They needed to show their customers that they are listening. Having an enhanced rewards program with all brands under one banner will give Gap a single view of the customer which is priceless.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2021

    Will a new private label be a good fit for Macy’s customers?

    Macy's has private label programs in place already and they are nothing to write home about. The challenge with many retailers who venture into private label is that they can't get the assortment right. The purpose of infusing a private label program into a brand and product mix is to fill in assortment gaps and increase gross margin/profitability. If the assortment is not what customers are looking for then it will never succeed. I am not convinced that another Macy's private brand is going to make them relevant again but if they are listening to what their customers want, then they may have a chance.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2021

    Madewell is set on becoming a leader in the circular economy

    Circular economy credentials and the push for brands to be more sustainable and transparent in their impact on the climate is so important. As customers push for brands to put their sustainability claims in action, this is a great move for Madewell. They should absolutely strive to become a leader in the circular economy as denim production has a detrimental impact on the climate. As per the United Nations, a single pair of jeans requires a kilogram of cotton. And producing this kilo requires 7,500–10,000 liters of water. That’s about 10 years’ worth of drinking water for one person. The importance of customer feedback that is taken seriously will serve the brand and increase engagement and sales. It may not be about the competition but this move will drive profitability. So yes - this is a great move for Madewell and other denim brands but it’s also important to keep brands accountable for how much they produce and pollute in the first place. Brands need to change the way they have been retailing and need to buy less, produce less and most importantly, have accountability for their impact on the environment. Circularity is a great start but not the finish line.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2021

    Victoria’s Secret is moving out of the mall

    Malls need to rethink their strategy and purpose and so should stores. This is a great move for Victoria's Secret and this will give them an opportunity to be relevant again. They also need to revamp their store assortments, listen to their customers about what they want in terms of inclusivity and diverse product ranges, and take a good look at who represents their customers from a leadership/corporate perspective. Representation matters and that can't come fast enough.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2021

    Is the Walmart/Justice tie-up a harbinger of more retailer brand partnerships?

    We will see many more retail partnerships in the years ahead as this is a great way for brands to leverage each other's customer base without spending the money on market research to acquire new customers. It can be a win-win for both a brand and a retailer as they are both increasing their reach to new customers. The challenge always comes down to the assortment. We must deep dive into why Justice failed in the first place and it usually comes down to product. As long as Justice and Walmart work together to build the ideal product mix, giving customers what they actually want and what they feel is missing from the existing assortment, this deal will be a winner.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2021

    When will predictive models become more predictable?

    The biggest challenge that limits the use of predictive models in supporting forecasting is people. Retailers and people just don't like change. We are creatures of habit and if technology is going to change the way you work and retail roles, there will be resistance. Predictive analytics and data can help retailers in combination with creativity and human judgement to make the best decisions for their customers. We need to implement more data driven decisions across retail and remove some of the guesswork.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2021

    Nordstrom and Asos say joint venture is a game-changer

    This is a great move for Nordstrom and exactly why Asos acquired Topshop/Topman - to enter the U.S. market. Nordstrom has a loyal customer and they are looking to expand into a younger demographic. Topshop can do that for them as long as the assortment selection is hyperlocalized to each Nordstrom regional store. Asos has millions of SKUs and it's why the Brits love the brand - they can shop daily, get same-day on-the-hour delivery, and newness is never a challenge. Topshop used to be a fashionista's heaven but failed to keep up with their customer's changing shopping behaviors. Nordstrom is an upscale department store that continues to innovate and has stayed relevant through the years. This could be a great partnership or it could end up in shambles if the trio does not get the assortment right and localize the product mix for each region in the U.S. market. There is a reason that Topshop didn't do well in the U.S. and why Asos hasn't made a dent yet. The product mix is everything.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2021

    Target and Chipotle are watching TikTok video resumes to find workers

    TikTok and social channels are a great way to find ideal candidates, especially in retail, as you want to hire future brand ambassadors that love the brand. Recruiters use LinkedIn in a similar way in terms of content and activity to get to know candidates on a different level.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2021

    Are Amazon’s ‘warrant’ partnering deals monopolistic?

    In some exceptional cases this type of practice could work. But in most cases this is a bullying tactic. Amazon is putting a lot of pressure on suppliers, strong-arming them and it's setting the stage that it's okay for retailers to bully suppliers into a corner. The buyer/supplier relationship should evolve into a partnership and this is an example of a retailer doing the exact opposite.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2021

    New concept promises to deliver the Bloomie’s experience but in a smaller box

    I am very excited about this! It's about time that Macy's/Bloomingdale's adopt such a strategy and it's well overdue. This retailer has been stuck in the Dark Ages and need to localize and curate their offering to reflect the future of retail and not the past. The localized experiential store is the first step but it's what's inside the store that will really be the test.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2021

    No, seriously, Squad Shopping offers lessons on the social nature of buying things

    Squad shopping is real and is here to stay. Humans crave connection and squad shopping is not only social but also provides validation to the shopper. It brings friends aka squads together where they can experience the shopping journey together. It's not about the benefits of online vs. in-store squad shopping - the premise is still the same. The purpose is the social interaction and the experience of doing something together.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2021

    Pinterest says it’s all about body positivity as it bans weight loss ads

    Pinterest's move is not bold. It's necessary. It's not an overreaction but a reaction to the impact of harmful weight loss advertising and imagery on our mental health. We need to push for retailers and brands to be more authentic AND inclusive of all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, and so on. We are people - not Barbie dolls. The body-positive movement is what we should be focusing on - not unattainable standards that impact people in more ways than just body image and mental health. Let's work on more inclusive merchandise assortments, leadership, seats at the table and realistic sizing specs. Let's be REAL.
  • Posted on: 07/01/2021

    Is self-checkout tech the answer for DSW and other retailers facing associate shortages?

    Self-checkout could be an option in a few stores to test the market but it is not a long-term solution. Humans crave interaction, especially when buying apparel and footwear. There is still that customer that would prefer to get in, get what they need, and get out. But a retailer has such a huge selection that a sales person can only help the customer buy more. Self-checkout is not the answer to solve the workforce shortage. You may need fewer associates but you need the right brand ambassadors on the shop floor who have tremendous product knowledge and customer service skillsets.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2021

    Impulse shopping is a family/social affair

    It makes sense that "social" shopping would drive impulse buys as the friends you are shopping with will encourage you to make purchases, especially in fashion, that are outside your comfort zone. Impulse shopping is all about feeling good. Retailers can leverage social shopping by infusing experiences that encourage groups of shoppers to spend more time in-store. Trunk shows, champagne shopping, and having a stylist present the latest collection to customers and their friends are a few ways that retailers can encourage impulse shopping. It's about the experience.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2021

    Tractor Supply gets Millennials who say goodbye to city life

    Fundamentals in their brand values are directly tied to Tractor Supply's loyalty and growth. As "city folk" started to make the moves into the burbs during the pandemic, the demographic slowly shifted to a younger customer but they haven't lost their loyal fans and that's the secret sauce.

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