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: 11/13/2019

    What happens now that Nike has called off its deal with Amazon?

    I can't keep up with Nike, to be honest. Every year, it completely changes its strategy. Spend millions on stores (we have one on Lincoln Road) and then declare within a year of completion that it's only going to focus on 12 worldwide and Miami is not one -- but Amazon will be a key partner. Then Jet will be a key partner. Now this. It's a very jittery management process. I will say the stores are VERY operationally efficient. I question the merchandising a bit, and the use of space, but these people do know how to use technology in the store. I think the most important thing is to settle on SOMETHING ... It's certainly not a role model for any other brand manager or retailer.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2019

    Did social media spook Party City’s Halloween sales?

    I smelled this coming (and am actually going to write a blog about it today). I was watching TV the week before Halloween and Party City was running a 20 percent off promotion on costumes. You gotta understand, no one does that. You could RAISE the prices on costumes the week before Halloween and shoppers would accept it. I knew right then they were in trouble. Further, I've been seeing photographs for weeks from all around the country that showed Halloween product being replaced by Christmas product, before Halloween, at all kinds of stores, including Target and Walmart. The question we really have to ask ourselves is "Is this the canary in the coal mine for the holiday season?" I don't buy the social media story. I just don't. I think DIY is cheaper. Simple as that.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2019

    Gap Inc.’s CEO steps down. What comes next?

  • Posted on: 11/08/2019

    Gap Inc.’s CEO steps down. What comes next?

    Operational excellence is not what's going to bring Gap back from its current moribund state. The company needs a MERCHANT. Look at the namesake chain's website. Is there anything on there that says "special" or "unique" or "I sure couldn't get that at Target?" No ... sure, there is the scattered Gap logoed sweatshirts, but those are mostly a novelty now. And I'm also sure knock-offs are available. It wasn't rocket science to say "Gap has too many stores" and to pick the ones to close. And expense cutting and operational enhancements likely found low-hanging fruit that was ignored during the growth era. But I think that has played itself out. It's magic that will bring the brand back with some kind of signature look(s). So Gap needs a bit of magic. Mr. Peck is a smart and good guy. I'm sure Mr. Murphy was, too. But a better top line will help cure Gap's ills more than 50 percent off sales and finding the stray penny lying on the selling floor.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2019

    Food halls drive mall traffic, not clothing sales

    Personally, I think it's too soon to tell. There are a lot of forces at play here. The goal is for the retailers to do their part and make their stores more shoppable, and the mall operators to do their part and make the mall a place shoppers would like to go to. I just think a year or so into this new era is early to declare victory or defeat. There are a LOT of extraneous forces at play.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2019

    Is Amazon starting to fall out of favor with American consumers?

    No market is infinite, and Amazon seems to be reaching the edge of its market. Plus, you gotta give Walmart some props here. The company, under Doug McMillon has shifted its reputation and capabilities pretty masterfully. In fact, I think retailers, who spent years terrified of Walmart, are taking note of how it deals with being the "underdog." Innovate, expand, and follow the consumer. Amazon isn't going away, but I think the days of them saying things like "oh yeah, we're re-investing our profits in R&D" and having analysts believe it are over too. Retail is going to be healthy.
  • Posted on: 11/04/2019

    Should McDonald’s CEO have been fired over a ‘consensual relationship’?

    These policies have been in place in various industries for a long time. My sister had to quit her job as a bank exec almost 30 years ago because she was falling in love with her boss. It's an oddity, and I do wonder what the risk is -- it does seem like a holdover from another era.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2019

    Survey says consumers want online orders shipped fast and free

    We did a study on home delivery way back in 2015, and even then consumers weren't keen to pay for shipping and felt no need to pay to get things faster. Still, we don't always need everything right away, so it's not always a punishment if a retailer can't deliver in two days.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2019

    Will free deliveries for Prime members make Amazon the driving force in online grocery?

    Not gonna lie. I have my first order coming in about 6 hours. BUT -- if they come with ungodly amounts of packaging like they did before (Whole Foods post-Instacart), it will be my only order from them. I am hoping they will make use of their shiny new vans to climate control the orders and not have to pack things in stacks of dry ice. If they can do that, it's a winner. If not, people will continue to turn up their noses at the sheer wastefulness of it, and just buy via Instacart.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2019

    AI needs to be more than just a bright, shiny object

    There's always at least one bright shiny object in the neighborhood. AI is one, IoT is another. It has value, but not in the ways that have been explained. And what's worse, you cannot really trust the usage statistics retailers supply on these technologies (IoT and AI). Because many don't even really know what it is, they say they're working on it, but probing slightly deeper, we discover that they truly do not know. So who's being taken for the worst ride? I think retailers have to use the "sniff test" to figure out what technologies can do for them and, for the most part, I think they do. It's the surveys that have bad data. I mean, realistically, do you need AI to tell you that a shelf needs re-stocking? That's crazy. There are any number of ways to figure that out, with or without an accurate perpetual inventory.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2019

    Free next-day shipping hits Amazon in its bottom line

    Amazon has bought a LOT of vans down here in Miami. Yes the stuff comes more quickly but, more importantly, the company is using less packaging. That will pay them dividends. Honestly, I don't much care about one-day shipping except on very rare occasions. I don’t see it as a differentiator. But if Amazon can cut back on its packaging, that will be a huge boon to profits. P.S. You can’t tell me Prime Day didn’t have an impact on profits. That’s just silly.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2019

    Walmart creeps on Christmas with promo deals before Halloween

    I am looking at this another way. I think the Halloween season is turning out to be a dud. Party City is running a sale! That’s crazy. So they may well have given up on Halloween anyway.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2019

    Will going fur-free move the needle on Macy’s brand image?

    Funny about that. I won't wear fur or use down anymore -- but I still quite like leather. I know it's incongruous, but I also know I'm not the only one. Fun fact: k.d. lang sings barefoot because she's a true vegan and won't wear leather shoes. And plastic shoes are just no fun to wear on stage (or anywhere, really, except for my around-the-house Crocs. Life is not always consistent.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2019

    Best Buy is ready for Christmas with free next-day deliveries for almost everyone

    Speed of delivery is sometimes important. If the TV goes, it's really important. If it's for a new camera, likely not so much. Speaking of new cameras, fun fact! I went to Best Buy last weekend to look for a new camera. I knew what I wanted and luckily they had a sample in stock. So, I asked about price matching and then I mentioned B&H Photo (in NY). The response? "Oh, we don't price match New York stores." WHAT? Now that was a shocker. Makes zero sense, and they just lost the sale. As it turns out, B&H was the same price for this particular model (Park Avenue Photo was not) but what kind of weird fine print is that? Guaranteed, that will hurt them more than next-day delivery or not.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2019

    What should retailers do when brands post fake reviews?

    It is very hard to find trusted reviews online anymore. Many sites just exist to get referral fees from Amazon, it seems. I’m getting to a point where I don’t trust them until I see more than 1,000. Then maybe we have a quorum.

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