Paula Rosenblum

Managing Partner, RSR Research

Paula Rosenblum is co-founder and Managing Partner at RSR Research and is widely recognized as one of the industry’s top retail technology analysts. She has been selected as one of the “Top 50 Retail Technology Influencers” from 2014 -2018. She also writes a blog for Forbes and is frequently quoted in other major media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, NPR Marketplace and many others. She serves on the advisory board of three consumer goods import companies.

Previous to her years as an analyst, she spent over 20 years as a retail technology executive and CIO at companies including iParty, Hit or Miss, Morse Shoe, Domain Home Fashions and others.

Paula received her MBA in 1991 from Northeastern University, with a major in management of High Technology firms and was nominated to the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. She’s active in a variety of organizations supporting human growth and development, and in particular has been involved with the RetailROI charity since its earliest days.

Other Links from Paula Rosenblum:

RSR Research blog

  • Posted on: 01/28/2022

    Walmart shoppers find time is well spent in new incubator store

    No brand shops ... please! That's called "department store" and it is a formula for disaster at this point. I like the idea of raised displays, but that's not going to be helpful for everyone. I think Smart Screens bring the best of the online experience into the physical store.
  • Posted on: 01/26/2022

    Will private labels help rapid delivery firms reach profitability?

    Private label is going to heat up. No doubt about it. It's the best way for consumers to fight inflation. BUT ... you don't just wave a magic wand and get "cred" for a private label. Walmart learned that the hard way a few years back. So, in order to have a chance for success, the companies will have to do some creative promotions to get people to try their stuff. I still remember Publix Great Recession promotion. Every week they'd pick 6 items and say "Buy the national brand, get a private label of the same free." So you could get cereal, and the Publix brand with it one week, ice cream the next ... etc. etc. People need to build confidence in the brand. Then, yes, I think there's an opportunity.
  • Posted on: 01/25/2022

    Will 2022 be the year of trading down at retail?

    Yes, in fact, we posited in our most recent merchandising report (available on RSR's web site at no charge), that inflation demands grocers in particular get their private label act together, and that other segments consider using PLM to give them the ability to use different sources without a difference in quality or design. It's the only way to "break even" as a consumer, and it's a way to keep top and bottom lines consistent for retailers in these times.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2022

    Are perks the secret to associate job retention at retail?

    For me, tuition reimbursement was a huge perk. That's how I got my MBA and the company stopped offering it the year after I finished. I'm sure there are others who don't care about that .... but there are plenty of people who would NOT be able to go to college, or even community college without it. That was a dumb perk to let go of, to tell you the truth. It would have moved things in interesting directions.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2022

    Are perks the secret to associate job retention at retail?

    Of course perks make a difference. They're not all created equal, for sure ... but work-life balance, employee discounts (a perennial favorite) and tuition reimbursement are high on people's lists. These are quite tangible. Career pathing is another good one.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2022

    Amazon says first clothing store will be a fashion and technological revelation

    There's a lot about this that I don't (excuse the pun) buy. 30,000 square feet is kind of weird "tweener" size. It's too big to be small and too small to be big. As Mr. Bruno said, it's all about the assortment. I'm surprised the store is that size, as they won't be able to do much fulfillment or returns processing in it. I simply don't know what they're thinking. I can see others think it's an interesting concept. I don't think it's doable today. It's a distraction from other things Amazon has done that aren't so great or noble. It sounds like a mishmash of stuff that's going to get personalized. Clothing isn't about tech. It's about STYLE. So when I see it actually working for more than three months, I'll be happy to say I was wrong. (For what it's worth, I was wrong about the tablet computer, and said so, though it does seem to have a shorter life of coolness than expected). Overall, I have to say I think they won't get the sell-thru they need.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2022

    Should retailers stick to vaccine mandates and change face mask rules?

    This is two questions.
    1. Yes, I support vaccine mandates. At least 70 percent of the people will be VERY appreciative. Not sure about the anti-vaxxers. Each retailer gets to decide if THEIR customers care.
    2. The mask mandate answer is simple: YES, retailers should mandate mask wearing by employees. Vaccines don't seem to stop omicron. The number of breakthrough cases is pretty insane. People I know who have been really careful are getting it. So there are two sides to this equation: a.) you don't want to give COVID-19 to your customers and b.) you don't want a workforce hobbled by COVID-19 and in isolation. My local Walgreens had to close the pharmacy last Saturday because it didn't have enough staff for a shift. Of course, if those masks become "chin diapers," everyone is kidding themselves and will end up with the same hobbled workforce.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2022

    December retail sales were strong, no matter what the clickbait headlines said

    No one does. Ever.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2022

    December retail sales were strong, no matter what the clickbait headlines said

    Amen to both. And as to the second idea - spinning off dot-coms, what they really want to do is unlock the value of the real estate - like Macy's in Herald Square. It's actually disgusting. With regard to the first, you know I've been joining with you in railing against this since the NRF and the Chamber of Commerce started this game. It's actually business 101 -- it's the reason why businesses get seasonal lines of credit, it's the reason why we look at cash over the year, not month by month. What part of "retail is a seasonal business" don't these entities understand? Feh.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2022

    SCOTUS strikes down OSHA’s COVID vaccine/testing mandate

    Time to get that booster, Neil. We need you around!
  • Posted on: 01/14/2022

    SCOTUS strikes down OSHA’s COVID vaccine/testing mandate

    I really have no words for the short-sightedness of this decision. I reminds me of this cartoon of a post-apocalyptic world, where some men are sitting around a fire saying "but for one brief moment, there were huge profit opportunities." This is just wrong.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2022

    Has ‘just-in-case’ replaced ‘just-in-time’ inventory management?

    Well, the "just-in-time paradigm" has simply been taken too far. We now live in an era where all kinds of unpredictable things are going to happen. So while I'm not a proponent of piling on the inventory, I am a proponent (as Mr. Bruno is) of keeping sourcing options open. All-China-All-The-Time (yes, I know Vietnam is a big source, too) just doesn't work for more reasons than I can list. It actually didn't work before, but buyers tended to overlook the overcrowded stores and racks (yes, Macy's, I'm talking to you). However we also have a serious domestic problem, and I can't find an excuse in the world for that. "Not enough truckers." "Consumer hoarding." Hogwash! Pay the people and suddenly drivers will appear. And people to run the manufacturing lines.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2022

    What tech must restaurants put on their menu of services?

    Pay-at-table is both obvious and important. The QR code thing doesn't mean much in a post-pandemic world. The opportunity for fraud when your credit card leaves your hand is too big, so I think it's the most important tech.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2022

    Wellness has become fashionable at Saks

    I don't tie this to the pandemic, particularly. I tie it to a generational shift in the U.S. So it was always there, but the pandemic has amplified and expedited it, as it has so many other trends. Health and nutrition are very important and fitness, because that type of garment is suitable for WFH, will be important across all strata of society. Prices just have to reflect the economic status of the customer.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2022

    Will 15-minute cities truly bring back local retail?

    I believe it. Because traffic is so bad no one wants to leave their neighborhoods! I'm actually surprised Atlanta isn't on the list. And my old home town of Boston is a good candidate because of a.) traffic and b.) how cloistered it is as a city. However my big concern remains the "neighborhood markets" of large retailers. As David pointed out above, the allure may be too great for landlords. I look at Lincoln Road, which has become basically an outdoor mall (with rents that are completely unaffordable) or every neighborhood that has gentrified, and it's no longer so simple. My own neighborhood is trying to become that -- as rents everywhere else are insane. So that's the tricky part. Keeping it affordable.

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