Mark Ryski

Founder, CEO & Author, HeadCount Corporation
Mark Ryski is the author of two books on retail analytics, Conversion: The Last Great Retail Metric and When Retail Customers Count – books that are widely considered the definitive reference guides for the retail industry. He is also the Founder and CEO of HeadCount Corporation – the leading authority on retail traffic and conversion analysis. Founded in 1994, today Mark and his dedicated team work with retailers across virtually all categories and sizes from independents to large chains.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2021

    Can 24/7 supply chain operations save Christmas?

    Moving to 24/7 won't solve the problem, but at least it's an effort to try to minimize it. The fact is the issues plaguing the supply chain far transcend the U.S., so it seems to me that there is only so much the U.S. government can do. I think the move to 24/7 can't hurt and seems reasonable given the circumstances.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2021

    Is Amazon 4-Star a winner?

    I’d hardly call 32 stores a winning concept, but it has potential. The concept makes great sense, but I think it loses much in the translation from online to a physical space. Given Amazon’s resources, I suspect that they could turn this into a very successful store format if they chose. Since online star ratings are so closely associated with Amazon, this doesn’t feel like an opportunity for other retailers to offer competitive formats.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2021

    Just how casual will wardrobes become?

    Pandora’s casual fashion box is open and there is no closing it now. Everything changed as a result of the pandemic, and wardrobe is near the top of the list. The fact is, for most people, causal is more comfortable and more practical -- causal is here to stay.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2021

    What lessons should retailers take from the Theranos fraud debacle?

    Good points Craig. The higher up the executive ranks a decision goes, the faster you can get to a "yes." Paradoxically, if the CEO/C-level have a strong strategic rationale, then they can (and do) cut corners -- perhaps thinking that their brilliance/vision/judgement are good enough. After all, if you made $17M annually, (which incidentally is what Walgreens' CEO 2020 pay package actually was), you might also think your judgement was good enough.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2021

    What lessons should retailers take from the Theranos fraud debacle?

    Ultimately, Theranos misled these retailers (and investors), and so they have liability for their actions. However these retailers simply did not do their due diligence and, ultimately, it’s their responsibility to ensure that the products they offer their customers are safe and deliver as promised. It’s not hard to see how these retailers got caught up in the Theranos narrative – it was wildly compelling – but you must check your work, and they didn’t.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2021

    Will ‘hyperautomation’ determine retailing success from this point forward?

    As the CEO of Levi's recently said in an interview, "automate everything." Hyperautomation is a terrific aspiration and retailers (and all businesses for that matter) should be looking for ways to do this in their enterprises -- and be continually looking for opportunities to do more. However hyperatuomation, analytics and AI alone won't get the stranded container ship into port, nor deliver a memorable store experience. Businesses can't algorithm their way to success, but it's a powerful approach when applied effectively.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2021

    Will Best Buy’s latest acquisition be a healthy addition for the chain?

    The U.S. healthcare industry generates trillions in annual revenue. Given the trend of extending health services through technology, it makes perfect sense that Best Buy would be placing strategic bets in this market. I believe Best Buy has created a level of trust with consumers and so in this emerging domain of home healthcare tech, Best Buy has a consumer edge. Couple this with broad distribution and I think you have a receipt for success.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2021

    Should advertisers delete Facebook?

    Brands should always be evaluating their advertising spend, and this is certainly another reason to do it. But notwithstanding the negative press that emanated from last week's hearings, retailers, and advertisers in general will continue to invest marketing dollars in the vehicles that deliver the best ROI, and for many Facebook does that.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2021

    Rather than compete, Walmart inks exclusive deal with Netflix

    Netflix offers a veritable cornucopia of merchandising opportunities and Walmart offers broad, multichannel distribution at scale. Given the constant stream of new content from Netflix, it’s not hard to see how this relationship could endure for many years to come. While partnership deals are many, only a few fall into the high potential category as this deal does.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2021

    Your next c-store online order may be delivered by a robot

    This is coming fast, and I don’t think the public is ready for it quite yet. Convenience is only one category that could potentially leverage autonomous delivery, but broad public acceptance will be a challenge. As noted, safety issues are a serious concern – what happens when the streets/sidewalks are teaming with autonomous robots from all kinds of places? Chaos if it is not controlled. This domain is growing fast, and municipalities will need to take the lead on how to best regulate.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2021

    Gap expands tech investments with deal for AI retail analytics startup

    This is a prudent move by Gap, given the broad applications for AI/ML and its potential impact in retailing. When you cut through the hyperbole about AI/ML and look at the practical and important use cases – it will become a competitive advantage and I expect to see more retailers making these types of investments. That all said, AI alone won’t burnish a brand that has fallen out of favor with consumers.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2021

    Target is giving associates even more reasons to stay

    Yes, Target's approach does appear to be different, and they put their money where their mouth is. Paying existing staff more to work extra hours during the holidays is a smart investment that will pay off for Target. Merely hiring up with untrained seasonal temps, some of whom may be unreliable/unmotivated, is an inefficient way to manage the holiday rush. Offering existing, trained staff increased wages is a win for the employees who want to earn extra money and ultimately for shoppers who will likely have a better store experience as a result. Importantly, Target is also offering pay incentives to warehouse and logistics teams who are critical to the process. And finally, they're launching a scheduling app that gives employees more control over their schedules which will result in better coverage and happier employees because they have more control over their time. It will be a happy holiday for Target.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2021

    Mobile retail aspires to attain food truck-like popularity

    This is an innovative approach, but I suspect that the big hurdle is the cost to scale this level of service. There’s no question that for some consumers, the idea of the showroom coming to their home will be very compelling. However for the vast majority of consumers, visiting stores or simply buying online provide more convenience and/or experiences that can’t be had through a truck service. That said, I do think there’s a place for mobile retailing and for some categories, this may be ideal.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2021

    Will JCPenney’s ‘new, inclusive beauty experience’ relaunch be a hit?

    J.C. Penney couldn’t sustain a relationship with Sephora – one of the most successful cosmetics brands – so how will this latest effort be better? I understand that they needed to replace Sephora since the category is so critical, but this latest effort pales in comparison to what Kohl’s and Target are doing.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2021

    Amazon asks, why wait for Black Friday when you can get Christmas deals today?

    I’m not surprised Amazon made the first move, and the other majors are responding in kind. But this isn’t just about getting bargains now, it’s also a hedge against the significant inventory and supply chain issues. Securing orders now buys these retailers more time to fulfill. But buying online now, induced by great pricing, doesn't guarantee that you’ll actually get your item before the holidays – things are that bad. My store visits over this last weekend were a stark reminder of how challenging the supply issues are. Word of advice for shoppers: buy what you can find now, and don’t assume that ordering really early on Amazon (or any other retailer) will guarantee you will get your item in time.

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