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

Other Links from Martin Mehalchin:

Lenati blog

  • 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.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2017

    Should user-generated content move beyond product pages?

    In our proprietary research with clients, we have reached the same conclusions about UGC as the studies cited in the article. I see this as a must-do for retailers. I also agree with Lee Peterson that the use of UGC should extend beyond the site toward the in-store experience; whether that means featuring UGC in old fashioned visual merchandising or bringing it to life via blended digital/physical experiences.
  • Posted on: 07/25/2017

    Will dropping prices on cosmetics drive traffic to department stores?

    These discounts are likely to attract shoppers who come in to get the discount and then turn around and leave without shopping the rest of the store. Department stores need to be more creative and be considering more fundamental changes in order to reinvent their outdated experiences and revive their business model.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2017

    Can fitness classes wake up retail store traffic?

    Saks is late to the party here. Nike, Lululemon and many independent retailers (particularly in Manhattan) have built compelling in-store experiences in this category. The fitness consumer will find those other brands far more authentic than Saks. Experiential retailing is a great idea, but Saks should devote the floorspace to something closer to their brand image and values (design and fashion).
  • Posted on: 06/23/2017

    What will a Nike/Amazon deal mean for the brand and other retailers?

    I work with a lot of clients in this category, so I could write a book about this. This is big news simply because Nike has always been known for tightly controlling its online distribution to protect both brand and pricing power. The apparent change in strategy is likely due to a combination of factors. First, overall softness in the market as evidenced by rampant discounting across the category so far this year. Second, the disappearance of major channel partners like Sports Authority. Finally, while Nike has been focusing on its own Direct channel, it's not growing fast enough to offset headwinds in the rest of the business and they have been slow to improve what is still a lagging eCommerce experience (although it's better on mobile than it is on web). This is unadulterated bad news for the Foot Lockers and Finish Lines of the world. They will have to focus more than ever on retaining and building relationships with their core customers via better loyalty offerings and unique shopping experiences.

Contact Martin

  • Apply to be a BrainTrust Panelist

  • Please briefly describe your qualifications — specifically, your expertise and experience in the retail industry.
  • By submitting this form, I give you permission to forward my contact information to designated members of the RetailWire staff.

    See RetailWire's privacy policy for more information about what data we collect and how it is used.