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: 03/08/2021

    Wholesale curtailed. Is retail’s favorite model faltering?

    I think this is just the inverse of retailer private label. Of course brands will want to take the opportunity to sell direct to consumer and keep the extra margin dollars. But just as private label has become a real part of a retailer's selling mix (so the retailer can gain more gross margin dollars but still sell brands as well), we'll see the reverse.
  • Posted on: 03/05/2021

    Will Walmart make a sizable impact with its latest ‘Made in USA’ commitments?

    Well it's part of the pack but, because if its size, it immediately becomes the major player. And it will have a tremendous economic impact. This initiative will also help Walmart move up-market, as the company gains expected recognition for its initiative. Walmart is becoming a good Karma King.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2021

    Is Texas messing with retailers?

    Oh, Abbott and the Mississippi governor (can't remember his name) are just trying to distract from the disastrous power grid failures and lack of water that persists even now. So, citizens -- so what if you can't take a shower. Go to a restaurant! It's playing politics with people's lives but, sadly, that's what we've come to. Retailers should stay the course, for their front-line workers if nothing else.
  • Posted on: 03/03/2021

    Will a third-party marketplace step up and give Amazon a run for its money?

    It's very hard to displace a champion. I know there are companies creating roll-ups of marketplace retailers. Theoretically, that gives them more "buying power" so they can go to Amazon, other marketplaces or just start their own. I know that valuations for marketplace roll-ups are very high. So someone clearly thinks there's a change a'coming. But it's very hard to displace a champion.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2021

    Automated checkout ‘will be everywhere’ sooner rather than later

    I'm either getting old, jaundiced or am just too pragmatic. I don't see this technology scaling well, either due to loss prevention or maintenance costs, for many years to come. I've gone past being irritated by the hype around it. Of course customers like it. They don't have to do anything. Frankly, there are other ways to improve the checkout experience that don't hold the same costs -- but this is a bright shiny object that's much more printworthy than just "We'll put your groceries on the belt at the checkout stand for you along with doing the bagging on the other end." And yes, cost is a problem with replacing most anything in stores. I don't think this technology will pay for itself. I don't see it.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2021

    Activist investors attempt takeover of Kohl’s board of directors

    I wrote a blog on this which will be published today. Kohl's has made some terrible decisions in the past, but I think the company is on the right track. Finally. I also think the phrase “stay in your lane” is appropriate here. Look at the fine job activist investors did with J.C. Penney. Or Sears. I suppose what galls me most is the demand to reduce inventory while increasing sales. This is not a retail mindset, and it doesn’t even use retail terms like “improve sell-through.” Thankfully, Kohl's management is fighting back. Let management do its job and (I’ll say it again), everyone should stay in their own lane.
  • Posted on: 02/17/2021

    Should retailers just say ‘no’ to Instacart?

    I think Instacart has done a really good job improving its software platform in the past year or two. I also know (as they clearly disclose) when I'm paying "higher than in-store prices" for my groceries. So the question arises, "Is it worth $20 on a $200 order to avoid going to the grocery store?" For me, generally yes. I am about to start shopping again, I think, as the grocer I would now prefer to use is not available on Instacart, I think grocers can do a fine job replenishing their products based on what leaves the building. Have they lost control of their customer base? Well, I would argue they've never done too much with loyalty data anyway, so what? It's one segment of retail where you find out quickly what's selling and what isn't whether you "know your customer" or not. Localization is not the same as personalization anyway.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2021

    Digital gains are changing how Best Buy puts its associates to work

    "Our workforce will need to evolve." Well, so will the way the company pays and cares for that workforce. If Best Buy wants to have successful stores, it needs to think very carefully about the type of workforce it needs and how that workforce is treated. Feels to me like the industry needs more specialization, not less.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2021

    Should retailers ask workers to return to their offices?

    I am in process of designing a benchmark study on this very question! To be published in a couple of months. My personal opinion is that most corporate workers will continue working from home. While there are some issues around propagating corporate culture, in every other way, home work is a win-win. Cheaper to build offices, more productivity due to lack of commute. The only piece I have some questions about is the hourly workforce. So rather than just opine, RSR is going to ask retailers. I hope to read collective opinions!
  • Posted on: 02/10/2021

    Does Walgreens’ nursing home experience portend a slow retail recovery?

    50 percent of first responders (firemen) and health care workers in Miami-Dade county refused the vaccine. That's one reason my friends and I were able to get it. That's not anecdotal. That's actual data!
  • Posted on: 02/10/2021

    Does Walgreens’ nursing home experience portend a slow retail recovery?

    My friends fall into two camps. The ones who will do whatever they can to get the vaccine (I was one of those, and I’m done now) and those who won’t touch it because they feel it’s not tested enough. Further, they say “well, what will be different? I still have to wear a mask and socially distance. Why bother?" I know why for my own self, but they have a point. And I would ask, after a year, how do we not know yet if a vaccinated person can be an asymptomatic carrier? If that question doesn’t get answered, and if the state can’t provide some better and definitive proof, we’ll never get there.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2021

    Will retail pharmacies be the cure for America’s ‘vaccine deserts’?

    This whole roll-out has been mind-bogglingly sloppy to me. Obviously the cold storage required for the current vaccines is an issue for pharmacies -- but I have a really hard time understanding why the National Guard wasn't called out to get this started. I mean, isn't that their job? I'm lucky. I'm computer savvy, and very determined, and I have been fully vaccinated. And yes, it's a relief! But it's not easy to get done at all. The morass of websites, phone lines and stadium-based locations is crazy. And the differences by state are even crazier. I know of an 80 year old in Oregon whose number hasn't come up yet. I think it'll be easier for pharmacies to get involved once the more "traditional" vaccines come out and they don't have the additional logistics of intense chillers. But why does everything have to be done at retail, exactly? Why can't my doctor have a few vials? For "vaccine deserts" why not provide them to clinics? None of this makes any sense at all. I'm grateful for my vaccine, and utterly disappointed in the way this went down.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2021

    Who won this year’s Super Bowl ad contest?

  • Posted on: 02/05/2021

    The retail apocalypse didn’t happen last year, despite the coverage

    I'm good with that.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2021

    The retail apocalypse didn’t happen last year, despite the coverage

    Forget about the term. Hundreds of thousands of independent retailers and restaurants closed last year. That’s pretty apocalyptic. Just looking at the “majors” is like NRF declaring sales were up for the holiday season because they include grocery and don’t include restaurants. It was a God awful year. Don’t kid yourselves.

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