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: 09/15/2021

    Are consumers craving more warehouse and anniversary sales events?

    Consumers will continue to crave a sale event, a treasure hunt, and an excess inventory dump from retailers. Bargain hunters are never going away as long as retailers keep marking down product because they still don't know how much to buy. The fundamental challenge here is that retailers and brands continue to buy too much, to over-assort product, and excess is a huge problem. We need to change the way we think of product and put sustainability top of mind when retailing. Reducing excess should be the number one priority for retailers today and sales/promo events feed into the markdown mindset.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2021

    Will Kohl’s be known for something other than its retail partners?

    Kohl's brand identity is not only tied to its partner brands but also its customer loyalty. The customer experience is top-of-mind and they are transforming their stores to be a shopping destination. Partnerships with Sephora and Amazon can only drive more traffic to Kohl's and the store experience plus relevant product mix will keep these customers in the store. As long as Kohl's continues to put its customers first and assorting the right product and brand mix, it will continue to set itself apart from other department stores.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2021

    Amazon marketplace sellers are becoming retail giants

    The Amazon marketplace will continue to grow and monopolize retail. This retail giant is not going anywhere and the benefits will keep on giving as third-party marketplace roll-ups will continue to gain momentum.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2021

    Primark picking up pace of U.S. expansion after being slowed by the pandemic

    Fast-fashion may be in the limelight but it's far from extinction as this customer still exists and Primark has a front seat. Primark will absolutely succeed in the U.S. and the lineups outside its UK stores after the first lockdown are evidence that customers want Primark prices and fashion. Primark continues to showcase relevant collaborations and partnerships, private label collections across menswear, womenswear, kids and home categories that sellout every season. This store is not going anywhere and will continue to scale as long as they keep doing what they're doing which is giving the customer what they want -- newness at low price points season after season.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2021

    Will its Public Lands concept store help Dick’s conquer the great outdoors?

    The Public Lands concept is absolutely in-tune with the needs of the consumer, especially the messaging around getting outside and protecting our planet. The store concept and experience will support the local outdoor community, encourage conservation and push access and equity-based initiatives. This is not revolutionary but it is necessary. Dick's is listening to their customers and giving them access to experiences that align with their values which is exactly what an outdoor retailer should do.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2021

    Nordstrom ain’t what it used to be before the pandemic

    Nordstrom is the department store of choice for the affluent consumer and it's important for the brand to be consistent in its assortment offering across full-price and Rack stores. A focus is needed on elevated product choices and luxury brands to delight and entice the customer, localized and exceptional, and differentiated by digital first data to get closer to the customer and what they are looking to buy. I was in a Nordstrom Rack yesterday and the offering was thin with a very limited selection of contemporary/luxury product choices. The Rack's biggest competitor in off-price is TJ Maxx/TJX and luxury deals is what gets customers into the stores. If this is missing, then customers won't bother.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2021

    Allbirds simplifies growth drivers to three trends

    Purpose-driven positioning is the core differentiator for Allbirds. It will drive material innovation and force competitors to do the same. It's a win-win for sustainability.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2021

    Best Buy builds a virtual store to assist customers remotely

    A virtual store is a great move for Best Buy. It will not only help customers with real-time product assistance but will also give merchants and marketers real-time customer insights. It’s innovative and it will set Best Buy apart from its biggest competitor, Amazon.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2021

    How can retailers help frontline employees recharge?

    Higher pay, bonuses, time-off are a great way to energize staff but retailers need to listen to what staff actually need. In order to retain and acquire retail workers, retailers need to do more. Daycare services, upskilling, and work-life balance are just some of the things that retail shop floor and corporate staff are in dire need of. Better understanding the shifts in retail in terms of investment and technologies, finances, reading quarterly reports -- empowering staff with information and knowledge is how retailers can get staff to be more invested in the running of the business.
  • Posted on: 08/25/2021

    What will be the toy story of Christmas 2021?

    The toy story will be toys continuing to outperform previous years as the state of the world still remains unknown. People will still stay home and kids need to to be entertained. This category will continue to grow and as big retailers partner with toy brands, there is no stopping this vertical.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2021

    Are Home Depot and Lowe’s about to hit a sales wall?

    Home improvement chains will continue to grow although this is the time to shake things up. Innovation in material development, sustainable product assortments and partnerships with DTC, BIPOC, local brands in home decor will keep DIY retail relevant.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2021

    Has Old Navy charted a course for all retail to follow on plus-sizes?

    Size inclusion is exactly what retailers should be doing and Old Navy's BODEQUALITY program should be celebrated. As a former merchant, extended sizing, petite or plus, is a manufacturer and pattern maker's nightmare and most of the time the factory will not offer to cut these sizes. It's not as profitable for them and the margins are lower. The size boat needs to be rocked and I love to see retailers push the envelope. Minimum order quantities, size ranges and size scales that don't include extended sizing, and the fact that more sizes take up more space on the shop floor is a deterrent for buyers and designers to offer these sought after sizes to the customer. The fact is that Old Navy is listening to their customers and who is shopping the brand. I love that Old Navy is making a bold statement on sizing and I am here for it.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2021

    Have cross-selling and upselling become lost retail arts?

    Retailers are doing a decent job in training sales associates but they can always do more. Training should be continuous as customer shopping behaviors shift and their journey is more intricate with the increase in digital and social shopping. Sales associates and brand ambassadors need to always be on top of their game and upselling and cross-selling should come naturally the more the retailer knows their customer. They should also have deep product knowledge. The shop floor teams also need to have a trusting relationship with leadership, to always tell them how things are evolving so they can best serve their customer.
  • Posted on: 08/19/2021

    Has Target ‘only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible’ for its business?

    Target is a leader in retailing with an authentic and deep understanding of their customers while continuing to delight them through their shopping journey. From product mix to visual merchandising to partnering with brands that represent their customer, Target is truly customer-centric. From a merchant perspective, the challenge for Target is that they are just too big. There are too many vendors, too many SKUs, and we just don't know enough about their suppliers. Supply chain transparency/visibility is a challenge for such a huge retailer and it comes down to sourcing working more closely with merchandising to truly understand who is making their products, if their vendors are using ethical practices, and if sustainability is top of mind.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2021

    Should grocery stores retire the ethnic aisle?

    As a visible minority, this subject is very sensitive to anyone that is lead to shop in the "ethnic" aisle for non-white products. It's almost as if we should be grateful that there is an "ethnic" aisle in the first place. Although it is very important to have an inclusive and diverse product range, there is a way to showcase "ethnic" products in a way that doesn't highlight that the customers who shop these aisles are "different." Marks & Spencer Grocery has been showcasing diverse product ranges for years and they partner with "ethnic" brands using authentic marketing with POC, expanding their own private label product assortment, and increasing product knowledge around the roots of these products. There is a way to be inclusive without being completely clueless and calling customers out on their ethnicity or the fact they are different.

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