PROFILE

Martin Mehalchin

Partner, Lenati, LLC

Martin Mehalchin leads the Retail & Consumer Customer Experience practice at Lenati, a Seattle-based sales and marketing strategy consulting firm. Martin has spent his career working with executives and managers to help them define their strategies and then translate those strategies into results. He has 15+ years of experience developing strategies and driving innovation for retailers and brands. He is an experienced speaker and seminar leader and he particularly enjoys helping clients understand how to use advanced technologies to drive business growth.

With specialties in Customer Experience and Loyalty, Lenati’s Retail and Consumer practice helps the world’s best-known brands deepen their connection with millions of customers around the globe. Our proprietary research tools enable a deeper understanding of your market and customers.  Taking a holistic view across all channels, we design new ways to align every part of your business around your customer.

Follow him on Twitter @mehalchin

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  • Posted on: 10/28/2019

    REI’s new #OptOutside message: Save the planet

    The enhanced #OptOutside program is great for driving awareness and giving members a further reason to engage with the brand and its mission. The shift of the business model toward mindful consumption will have a much greater long-term impact. REI is moving in the direction of being an outdoor co-op that happens to have stores after decades of being a retailer that happened to have co-op governance.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2019

    What does artificial intelligence mean for loyalty marketing?

    We too often see retailers treating loyalty and personalization as separate, at best loosely coordinated, initiatives. They should be deeply integrated. Personalization and the AI behind it feeds on the richness of our data set at the individual consumer level. The #1 way to build this data set is through an effective loyalty program that incentivizes every transaction to be "logged in" and uses progressive profiling to build the non-transactional elements of the consumer's profile.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2019

    Can b8ta do for fashion what it’s done for consumer tech?

    I'm a little more skeptical than the pack on this one. b8ta is good for the industry and the business model is certainly interesting. The stores themselves though feel like a moderately re-worked version of the old Sharper Image. I've visited the one in Seattle several times and never came close to purchasing something. In fashion, a store built around brands paying for placement is much less likely to hold appeal for consumers. The best fashion stores are built around the aesthetic of an owner or chief merchant. b8ta's model doesn't speak to a cohesive assortment that shoppers feel is "just their style."
  • Posted on: 10/09/2019

    REI opens outdoor adventure gateway concept

    I was able to spend some time with the team at REI that worked on this concept and store. They started by really getting to know the local community and deeply listening to both the locals and visitors to the area. The store is tailored to the needs that were uncovered in that process and it represents an exciting new departure for REI. All retailers should be open to this level of consumer input into new concepts.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Simple answers to fix retail’s loyalty marketing mess

    David's points are all valid. The way we encourage our clients to approach it is to think about loyalty as an outcome rather than just a program. If you start from that frame you can steer around the discount trap and focus more on benefits and perks like the ones that Nikki suggests in her comment, or implement a membership model without a points economy like Nike and Lululemon have.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2019

    Indochino bets big on showrooms

    I tried the Indochino experience last year and found it to be lacking. While the showroom staff was polite and friendly, the process end to end took a long time and required a lot of rework. The fitting appointment itself takes close to an hour, my suit then arrived weeks later than it was promised and despite the exhaustive measurements taken the suit did not fit. The alterations to fix the fit issues took several more weeks. I've had a much quicker and more seamless experience buying at Nordstrom and working with their in house tailors for alterations. I had a similar experience with a "personalized" shirt from Stannt that does not fit as well as a typical shirt bought off the rack. Bottom line: apparel is hard and the showroom companies struggle to deliver on their promise of a perfect, custom fit.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2019

    Will retailers see more rewards from multi-banner loyalty programs?

    I advised Foot Locker on the design of FLX and advocated for the multi-banner approach. The huge benefit to the retailer is the improvement in consumer data and insight that comes from having a consolidated view of not only the member's spend, but also their engagement with the program and the banners and their redemption choices when they have rewards. For the multi-banner shopper (believe me, they are out there) the feeling of being recognized and rewarded for your overall loyalty to a family of banners contributes to emotional loyalty over time.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2019

    The new boss is different than the old boss at Starbucks

    The jury is definitely still out on this one. Starbucks is a mature company at this point and their home market of North America is pretty saturated for them. It's remarkable and a tribute to Howard that he was able to drive a second era of growth when he returned as CEO. Starbucks has an enviable platform both digitally and with their physical stores, but I believe that they need to keep evolving their legendary experience to maintain customer loyalty. It would be a mistake to focus on down-market competition like Dunkin' and McDonald's at the expense of premium, reserve experiences that create the halo for the overall brand.
  • Posted on: 12/26/2018

    Nike sees online eclipsing offline sales

    One interesting component of this story is that Nike has focused their digital investments on commerce through their apps. The SNKRS and Nike apps offer category leading mobile shopping experiences while Nike.com has changed little in several years. Nike's done a good job of seeing where their young, mobile forward consumer is heading and investing to meet them there.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2018

    Is an on-demand workforce heading to retail’s selling floors?

    Service levels in many stores are bad enough already and changing out staff on a daily basis can only make it worse. This could also become a headache for LP departments, as the model seems ripe for exploitation. This sounds like a Band-Aid solution for the problem of a scarcity of good workers. If you are decisive about your strategy and commit to making investments in either superior talent or increased automation, you shouldn't get distracted by Band-Aids.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2017

    Yes, retailers can also reward non-transactional behaviors

    We are working with several retailers right now that are revamping their traditional points or coupon based loyalty programs and moving to a model based on engagement like the one described in the article. Several reasons this is a trend. First, building engagement into the program creates a much richer customer data set to help the retailer truly understand their members and their browsing, buying and social behavior. Second, a well executed engagement based program drives emotional loyalty which has a greater impact on lifetime value and retention than behavioral loyalty alone. Third, increasing engagement has been shown to drive revenue and retention. Some brands that are introducing a loyalty offering for the first time are eschewing the points based model altogether in favor of membership programs that are completely centered on engagement along with access to products and experiences. Nike's announcement today of Nike Plus Unlocks is the latest prominent example of this approach.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2017

    Will mobile make another big leap this holiday?

    Consumers have moved to mobile and the brands are following. I'm seeing clients start to de-prioritize spending on improvements to their desktop e-commerce sites and shift those dollars to building, or improving, mobile (often app-based) shopping experiences.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Can Kroger make a name for itself in fashion?

    The last thing the US market needs is another apparel brand. There is way too much retail square footage devoted to apparel already. Our Brands is also a terrible naming choice. Fred Meyer can be a good place to pick up mass brand apparel and footwear without the hassle of driving to an outlet mall, but this initiative won't move the needle at all.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2017

    Nike turns its back on ‘undifferentiated, mediocre’ retailers

    This is a necessary move. Nike could not sit idly buy while big channels like Sports Authority run themselves into the ground. Nike is also in an arms race with Adidas as the two brands compete to build ever flashier (and more expensive) flagship stores in key cities around the world. Nike has recognized the need to focus its investment and resources on its direct business as well as those remaining retailers that have the strength to complement and grow alongside Nike's own distribution. Among the big losers here are likely to be the remaining small, independent athletic specialty stores. Some of whom (like Seattle's Super Jock n' Jill) still do a great job for their consumer. There could be an opportunity for smaller footwear brands in running, soccer and tennis to fill the gap and serve those independents and their high-end, athletic customers.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2017

    Nike turns its back on ‘undifferentiated, mediocre’ retailers

    Good callout on the comparison to Apple. Tim Cook is an active member of Nike's Board of Directors.

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