PROFILE

Meaghan Brophy

Senior Retail Writer

Meaghan is a retail writer for Fit Small Business where she offers how-to advice and buyer’s guides for business owners.

Meaghan Brophy is also the editorial director Independent Retailer, the industry’s trusted source for indie retail news, where she covers retail trends, tech, ecommerce, marketing tips, and keeps her finger on the pulse of the industry by visiting with and interviewing retail store owners.

Before becoming a full-time retail writer, Meaghan has held retail and business management roles. Through these positions, she’s gained ample experience in sales, employee training, human resources, customer service, and leadership.

In her free time, Meaghan enjoys tap dancing and a quiet cup of coffee. She also holds an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University.

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Meaghan is the Senior Retail Writer for Fit Small Business where she offers how-to advice and buyer’s guides for business owners. Previously, Meaghan Brophy was the editorial director Independent Retailer, where she covered retail trends, tech, ecommerce, marketing tips, and kept her finger on the pulse of the industry by visiting with and interviewing retail store owners. Before becoming a full-time retail writer, Meaghan has held retail and business management roles. Through these positions, she’s gained ample experience in sales, employee training, human resources, customer service, and leadership. In her free time, Meaghan enjoys tap dancing and a quiet cup of coffee. She also holds an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University.
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  • Posted on: 11/11/2021

    Do retailers get how social holiday shopping has become?

    Honestly, I’m surprised that these surveys show Instagram and Facebook are more popular than TikTok for product discovery, even for Gen Z. The biggest challenge for retailers is that shoppers are likely not looking to brands on these platforms for product discovery - especially if it’s not a store they already purchase from. 

Instead they’re looking to friends, peers, and influencers. So retailers need to encourage user-generated content to really tap into social media for product discovery.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2021

    Will AMC deliver blockbuster results in the popcorn aisle?

    Selling retail popcorn does seem like a natural and logical expansion for AMC. I think the third-party retail and owned retail arms will be most successful. The smell of freshly popped popcorn can be hard to resist. Shoppers love a good mall pretzel - why not mall popcorn? However I don’t see the to-go and delivery options being as successful. I’m not sure how well hot popcorn would travel.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2021

    Should Apple join the crowd in lifting mask requirements?

    I think it’s risky to ease mask mandates, especially heading into the winter months. 
However the burden of enforcing mask mandates for customers falls on employees. Given the uptick in combative customers, and people verbally - or in some cases, physically - abusing retail and customer service workers, I support Apple’s decision to ease the mask mandate as it means Apple employees don’t have the burden of enforcing it. 
 I like the approach of businesses “strongly encouraging” customers to wear masks. At least in my area, most shoppers seem to comply with these requests.
  • Posted on: 11/04/2021

    Are the cards stacked against small and medium sized retailers?

    Large retailers have the cash flow to win pricing bids on supplies and hike employee wages. Although I wonder how long they can sustain the increased spending. Smaller retailers are definitely at a disadvantage - they simply don’t have the same leverage big corporations do when negotiating with suppliers. However small businesses are also able to pivot a lot faster, have community engagement, and have more loyal local fans. 

 Small businesses can succeed by getting creative with product sourcing, staying on good terms with suppliers, being transparent with shoppers, and offering great service.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2021

    Does Macy’s or Best Buy have a better approach to gift cards?

    It depends on the store’s target audience and what the customer demand is. Retailers looking to be a one-stop shop can achieve that goal better by offering a broad selection of gift cards. Shoppers can pick up a forgotten birthday gift along with their normal shopping, or holiday shoppers can get most of their gifts from one store. 

 Gift cards take up such little floor or counter space, the cut retailers get for the sale makes it worthwhile. 

 For grocery and box stores, offering an array of gift cards makes sense. For Best Buy, I can see the gift cards being an add-on or impulse purchase. Like an iTunes gift card to go with new headphones or a Nintendo gift card to go with a new gaming console. However for specialty shops or higher-end stores, there’s not a real need to carry other retailers’ gift cards, let alone competitors. 

  • Posted on: 10/25/2021

    Target doubles down on Apple shop-in-shop ‘experiences’

    The Apple/Target partnership is a big deal for Target. It’s also a big deal for Target shoppers that have RedCard, Circle, and/or employee discounts. It offers an opportunity for price-conscious shoppers to get discounts on Apple products that are normally not discounted. 
Having Apple-trained consultants can also help boost foot traffic in Target’s stores. This is a huge win for Target heading into the holiday shopping season, and I expect Apple stores within Target will be successful during the back-to-school shopping season as well.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2021

    Walmart says Amazon’s grocery delivery fee will put a ‘Whole’ in customers’ wallets

    Walmart’s campaign is clever, and they may peel away some shoppers who were only buying Whole Foods groceries because of the convenience of free delivery. However I don’t think they will convert many regular Whole Foods shoppers. Whole Foods is a pricey grocery store, with a different product selection and price point than Walmart groceries. I expect that instead of switching brands, many Whole Foods customers will switch their behaviors. Instead of paying for delivery, shoppers will use the free pick-up option. Or instead of getting frequent deliveries, shoppers will do larger orders less frequently to justify the delivery fee.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2021

    Amazon may have a different kind of review problem on its hands

    I’m not sure this implies security issues but rather points to the larger problem of online marketplaces holding sellers to unrealistic review standards. As a consumer, it’s suspicious to me if every review for a product is 5 stars. Some variance is normal and, at least to me, adds credibility to the raving fan reviews. A genuine and thoughtful response to a negative review can turn unhappy customers into fans if done right. It can also reassure potential customers of the seller’s level of customer service. Contacting the customer directly, especially when the seller is not meant to have that contact info, is a little creepy and not likely to be an effective strategy for improving reviews.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2021

    Will stock ownership work as a loyalty program perk?

    Fractional stock ownership is a creative approach to building brand loyalty and getting customers invested (literally) in the success of the business. For the right brands, this approach could really resonate with customers. 
However it’s hard to compete against straightforward cash-back rewards. I don’t think this type of loyalty program would be as popular as cash-back rewards, but for the right retailer it could help create a small group of brand loyalists.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2021

    Are pop-up shops the answer to getting reluctant shoppers back into stores?

    In the coming months, pop-ups could be a good method for retailers to test new products -- consumer behavior and preferences have changed a lot over the past year. 

 However, we’re not yet on the other side of the pandemic, and the bigger concern is safety. People want to feel safe while shopping, and historically, successful pop-ups meant crowds. For now, retailers should focus on ticketed, limited events, or outdoor functions. In general, people are itching to get back to normal, which means back to shopping in-stores and dining at restaurants. Pop-ups provide a good excuse to do that. There are two key elements for operating a successful pop-up:
    • Location/marketing: For a pop-up to have good ROI, it needs to gain a lot of buzz. A popup needs either plenty of customers that make a concerted effort to attend the event (which can be done through social, email, and local marketing). Or, retailers need a spot that gets significant foot traffic so customers will stumble upon the event.
    • Product & value proposition: For shoppers to make an effort to attend, they need to be enticed by a product or service that is not normally available.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2021

    Associates are starring in retailer ad campaigns

    There are many advantages to using employees in campaigns instead of influencers or celebrities. Any company can pay for an influencer. But, seeing an employee endorse the company they work for and its products speaks volumes for how the company values employees and the overall quality of its products or services. Campaigns featuring employees just ring more authentic.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2021

    Will consumers immerse themselves in Dick’s new experiential concept stores?

    Dick’s experiential store concepts could easily attract tourists, teens, and local families, especially as people will be eager to get out of their houses and shop in-store when we are on the other side of the pandemic. I hope that Dick’s will be able to learn from these store concepts, and incorporate the more popular and profitable elements into some of their other full-line locations. A few standalone experiential stores feels more like a branding play than a substantial operational change.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2021

    Who won this year’s Super Bowl ad contest?

    I absolutely loved the spot featuring Jessica Long. It pulled at the heartstrings and was a really touching moment. But I honestly did not catch that it was a Toyota commercial. My favorite commercial of the Super Bowl was DoorDash's "Neighborhood". However DoorDash and Uber Eats urging people to support local by using their apps feels a little off, as indie restaurants are often paying huge fees to use the delivery apps. Oatly's "Wow No Cow" was also memorable, if only for being different. I still can't decide if I liked it or hated it.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2021

    Do sampled freebies drive loyalty?

    If done well, free sampling can drive revenue. But what retailers often overlook is that free samples can be a great way to collect feedback on new products or lines. Target your most loyal and highest-spending customers to offer free samples and collect feedback before pushing a full launch.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2021

    Should your DNA data be used to sell products?

    The idea of being marketed to based on my DNA makes my skin crawl. As consumers, we've become more and more comfortable with personalized marketing over the years, but using DNA feels like a hard line. There are way too many risks. The examples listed in the discussion - Spotify playlists and airline discounts - seem innocuous enough, but there's a much darker side to this where instead of fun discounts, people's DNA is used against them.

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