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: 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.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2017

    How will AI transform the online experience?

    Pittman gave a similar talk last week at the Forrester Research conference in San Francisco. The majority of personalization in the market today is rules-based and not truly AI and, as Doug Garnett points out above, after 15 years of working on it even leaders like Amazon still can't get product recommendations to work all that well. AI based implementations like eBay's ShopBot offer a new approach with the potential to deliver far greater consumer relevance and resonance than rules-based techniques have been able to deliver.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2017

    Walmart to open web mall with Lord & Taylor as an anchor

    Great call out Ken. I think this is a big deal strategically and it reveals were Walmart is heading with all the acquisitions from Jet to Moosejaw. But, they have to nail the experience and make it seamless. Amazon delivers that now and for customers to be sticky in the Walmart ecosystem, Walmart and its partners will have to deliver on that ease of shopping and of fulfillment.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2017

    Macy’s counts on new rewards program

    Since Nordstrom Rewards was relaunched in 2016, it's been one of the bright spots in Nordstrom's performance. This move should yield similar benefits for Macy's. A simplified structure and more experiential benefits are among the key elements that we see consumers asking for in research we conduct for our loyalty marketing clients. The bigger challenge facing both Nordstrom and Macy's is that both still need to go much further in reinventing the role of the store in their business. The brick-and-mortar department store experience continues to fade in relevance to today's consumer.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2017

    Would a radical partnership help Walmart thwart Amazon?

    An "anti-Amazon alliance" centered on Walmart and Google could make a lot of sense for both parties. More than just attacking Amazon, the partners will need to find ways to deliver value and utility for consumers and for brands/advertisers. With coordination issues between two large companies and significantly different cultures, the "alliance" will have difficulty matching Amazon's agility and speed to market.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2017

    Will retailers drive the next phase in digital marketing?

    There is an opportunity here, but it's only available to a select few mega-retailers who lead a category. The unified ID is really the key piece, it give you visibility into the whole purchase journey. Walmart, Target, Best Buy et al should be investing heavily in apps and other digital experiences that encourage their shoppers to always be logged in. Walmart is the one to watch here; they appear to be teaming with Google to build an anti-Amazon coalition, and their acquisitions of Bonobos, Moosejaw, Jet and others make more sense if they can corral the shopper data from all of those banners under a single log-in ID.

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