PROFILE

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 was selected as one of the “Top 50 Retail Influencers” in 2013 and writes a weekly blog for Forbes. Previous to her 12 years as an analyst, she spent over 20 years as a retail technology executive and CIO at companies including 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 has been involved with the RetailROI charity since its earliest days.

Other Links from Paula Rosenblum:

RSR Research blog

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  • Posted on: 06/12/2019

    What does FedEx’s break with Amazon mean?

    I suspect Amazon is placing unreasonable cost demands on FedEx. Glad they are saying no. Other retailers will benefit for sure.
  • Posted on: 06/10/2019

    Walmart debuts store-to-fridge fresh food delivery service

    They never took it back? That's amazing.
  • Posted on: 06/10/2019

    Walmart debuts store-to-fridge fresh food delivery service

    They call that Uber Eats! Or Door Dash.
  • Posted on: 06/10/2019

    Walmart debuts store-to-fridge fresh food delivery service

    I can't decide which has the most possibilities for disaster -- in-home grocery delivery or drone delivery. I think both should be scrapped as concepts. In the first dot-com boom a company (I think its name was Streamline) would put a fridge in shoppers garages and leave the groceries there. They failed. It was hard to make money. This seems like a challenge to profitability on a good day, and an opportunity for lawsuits on bad days. This little war between Amazon and Walmart is starting to feel like the milk and bread wars of the 1950s ... a race to the death.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2019

    How long before Amazon launches its fleet of drones?

    In a word, no. I know there are parts of the U.S. where citizens are allowed to shoot drones down, and given that there are no real "highways" for drones to stick to, too many things can go wrong. Plus, honestly, I think it's a dumb use of technology. Humans can use the jobs in any case, and there's a lot less risk.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2019

    Walmart’s checkout pilot puts shoppers in the fast lane

    I find this technology somewhat insulting. The simplest solution to the backup at the checkstand is -- wait for it -- add more cashiers. I don’t feel like I want a part time job as a cashier. Does that make me a curmudgeon? I think it makes me a customer who expects to have a retailer work a little for my money.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2019

    Will the price of avocados make Americans say enough to Trump’s tariffs?

    This is completely crazy. I don’t have any other way to say it. It’s almost reverse-protectionism -- punishing the U.S. citizens because, I don’t know why, to be honest. I have heard nothing logical about it.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2019

    What if unwanted online purchases didn’t have to be returned?

    Funny, we just talked to Returnly yesterday. I think this is a straight up math problem. If it costs more to return and reprocess the product than there is margin in it to start with, it's nicer, kinder and smarter to just have the customer throw it away. When I was in the party supply business, if we received overages from paper stock (plates, etc.) vendors, they would often tell us to just keep it or toss it. Average cost of the item was 87 cents, retail $1.78. A dozen didn't give you a lot of wiggle room for a return. Like I said, a math problem.
  • Posted on: 05/30/2019

    Abercrombie & Fitch CEO says ‘stores matter’ – particularly the smaller ones

    The concept is great from an operating and aspirational perspective. There is no doubt that omni - particularly one that includes BOPIS prominently - is a sound business strategy. But there's that tricky matter of making and stocking things people genuinely want to buy. I am not sure what A&F stands for these days. I know it has gone past the "I'm too sexy for words" phase, but I'm not sure what's unique about them now. So the other part of this initiative has to be awareness ... I can't quite tell from its website why I would go to A&F vs. Target. Why should I? That's the magic answer I need fed to me.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2019

    Amazon to set small suppliers adrift

    I suppose this is mostly Amazon's quest to move into retail profitability. by reducing its shipping costs - which remain, in my opinion its biggest barrier - the breadth of its product assortment. It's not going to help Amazon in the eyes of those who believe its tactics are monopolistic, however. The drumbeat will get louder as we head into 2020. I get why the company is doing it ... but it is still very bad timing. Watch Amazon become a real conversation piece in the 2020 elections.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2019

    Can department stores shake themselves out of the doldrums?

    In some ways, each department store chain has its own story, but no one can deny that the sector itself is in trouble. People just don't shop "by department" anymore, and if they do they tend to go to mass merchants. This is not a simple problem to solve. I was torn between selecting Nordstrom, my sentimental favorite and Macy's, a company that is working hard at re-invention. I still think if the company can make it work, the "Story" concept within a Macy's store should drive in new customers, depending on the "story" of the month. Nordstrom Rack should pull in the treasure hunt/aspirational shopper for Nordstrom. Kohl's is doing a lot of experimentation, but I'm not sure it's going to be ultimately helpful, and J.C. Penney is on a slide that ultimately has gone on for a decade (I think it started before Ron Johnson came on board.) All this is bad news for malls, whose operators will have to work hard to make them destinations in and of themselves. Department stores simply aren't the draw they used to be.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2019

    Can a startup undercut Rent the Runway in the clothing rental space?

    The real question is, can these guys make money at it...not just is there a market. Short answer is, I don't know.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2019

    Should retail boards include seats for store associates?

    Well, it would be lovely to have store associates represented on company boards but, to do so, retailers have to be willing to retain good employees. One thing I also know is that Walmart employees really do care. They may not be able to articulate issues in a manner that BODs are used to, but they are the people who see the problems in stores every day. In other words, this requires a big change in the dynamic between store associates and chain management. How many retailers are willing to change that dynamic?
  • Posted on: 05/17/2019

    Do treasure hunt experiences provide the key to discounters’ fortunes?

    They also array the product differently than traditional department stores. Really excellently run chain.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2019

    Do treasure hunt experiences provide the key to discounters’ fortunes?

    Yes, the Treasure Hunt is important, and does indeed contribute to the success of true off-price retailers. But I also have to say this part of the article is patently incorrect: “Retailers do not always offer the same deals in brick-and-mortar stores as at their online counterparts because the cost of running a physical establishment can be considerably greater than for an online store. Factors such as rent, electricity, payroll, fixtures, and shrinkage loss all contribute to the gross margin and overhead of doing business in a shopping center or elsewhere.” It seems that, counter-intuitively, for a decent sized retailer, stores deliver better profits than pureplay. And the best of both worlds (though the biggest pain in the neck) is "click and collect" since shoppers tend to buy more once they are in the store. As an aside, Payless wasn't really a discount retailer, it was a retailer of cheap shoes. DSW is a discount retailer. The Payless shoes didn't really have enough margin in them to justify shipping and returns costs. At the end of the day, shoppers just have more options. Those who present the most exciting products at a good price win every time.

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