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 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

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  • Posted on: 09/15/2021

    Will the Kroger/Instacart deal redefine grocery shopping convenience in America?

    Well, it's interesting. I find they are always on time, but I don't ask for half hour service, ever. I think Instacart is getting the people who are tired of working in traditional retail and hospitality jobs. As long as they can find their way through the store/distribution center, it should work.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2021

    Will the Kroger/Instacart deal redefine grocery shopping convenience in America?

    Yeah, I literally have to be on my iPad the whole time the picking process is going on to approve or request different substitutes. I think Instacart is getting better with that, but it takes time for it to "learn."
  • Posted on: 09/15/2021

    Will the Kroger/Instacart deal redefine grocery shopping convenience in America?

    I have been using Instacart (through Publix) for more than three years. Before the pandemic I had knee issues that made shopping tough. However the number of out-of-stocks has been consistently surprising. The Instacart shopper really does have to work hard. Yesterday I made my first visit to my local Publix in a very long time. The number of products out of stock or no longer carried was actually mind-boggling. Point is, if Kroger can do a better job with its supply chain and in-stock position, THAT will be the game changer. Amazon is okay -- but has had its own issues. Target and Shipt, well, I used it once, but way too much was out of stock. So the real game changer would be a functioning supply chain. If Kroger can make it happen, more power to them!
  • Posted on: 09/13/2021

    Is the government’s vaccination mandate plan good for retail?

    Thanks Ricardo! Clearly there is a very vocal minority that disagree. It's sad, and I'm writing a blog about it today. No one likes to see all those "thumbs down" but it does tell a story.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2021

    Is the government’s vaccination mandate plan good for retail?

    The number of thumbs down on any post that agrees this is a good thing tells you just how divided we are in the US. And that our messes are nowhere near behind us. COVID is just one of our many deep divisions.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2021

    Is the government’s vaccination mandate plan good for retail?

    Gonna keep it short and sweet. In a word, yes. It gets retailers out of the middle of what has become a really stupid debate
  • Posted on: 09/10/2021

    What’s the ideal age to start a retail business?

    It really does depend who your target customer is. If you want to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z, 28 is about right. In fact, I think my father was around that age when he started his retail store. Still, if you see a hole in the market, regardless of your age, open a store, put up a website and give it a try. Even a Boomer can do it as a "next step" if he or she wants to work. Retail is hard work. There's also a lot of gut feel involved. Technology has made it easier, but there's more work in a multi-channel world than there used to be in just "opening a store."
  • Posted on: 09/09/2021

    Will Just Walk Out tech work for Whole Foods?

    Nikki, can you even call it frictionless?
  • Posted on: 09/09/2021

    Will Just Walk Out tech work for Whole Foods?

    This is funny to me (though it also offends me, to be honest). WFM just finished putting traditional SCO into 100 of its stores. Let's be clear -- Just Walk Out is not frictionless. Theoretically, the stores will save on expense in exchange for spending Capex. Frictionless is, an employee does the following: takes a product out of the cart and puts it on the belt, scans it, bags it, puts it in a cart and carries it out to my car for me. Frictionless is also Instacart-like (though they have a ways to go with substitutes) and I pick it up at the curb or you deliver it to my door. I think the technology is still too expensive and maintenance-prone, but hey -- if it works in two stores, WFM will save more expense and look more profitable.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2021

    Higher wages can boost retailers’ bottom lines

    We are experiencing inflation because of endless supply chain woes leading to product scarcity, insane increases in transportation costs and the many other challenges associated with the pandemic. More than a few retailers are offsetting increased labor wage rates with self checkout and a reduction overall in the in-store workforce. Retailers have been telling us for years in our surveys that a solid employee-customer experience makes for higher revenue and ultimately more profitability. It’s time to walk the walk. This issue gets politically charged really fast, so I won’t go further than that. A better workforce that’s trained and paid a living wage outperform the opposite.
  • Posted on: 09/03/2021

    Is ‘groundedness’ the antidote trend to digital whiplash?

    Yes, it’s an awkward mishmash of diverse trends. I am acutely aware that anything I say on this topic is going to be a function of a.) my “privilege” - Maslow's hierarchy of needs and all that, and b.) my side in the culture wars. So yes, I do believe people need to feel connected to people, places and things. Yes, I think this will create more interest in locally sourced product and independent retailing. But frankly, I am in the top 2-3 percent of the population. Let’s ask these questions to Walmart shoppers. Overall, if you need marketers to help or support you feeling grounded or connected, you’re ignoring your own inner work. It’s not all about shopping.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2021

    Ending prices that end in 99 cents

    I forgot to give props. Thanks to Greg Girard!
  • Posted on: 09/01/2021

    Ending prices that end in 99 cents

    Okay, here is a story my friend and fellow analyst (now retired) told me. The 99 cent ending did not start as a "charm pricing" concept. It started as a shrink prevention measure. By forcing the clerk to "make change" it made him or her less easily able to just pocket the cash, and instead had to open the register which, one way or another, kept track of the number of transactions. Does it work? In my mind, I always just round up. The house is $699,000? In my mind, that's $700k. The item is 99 cents? It's a buck. For me, it's a nothing burger. And the 97 cent ending that Georganne mentioned was used by some chains so that sales associates could quickly identify markdowns, not shoppers. Does it juice some people? I don't know. I did recently hear that if you break the price of items out at dollar stores into unit pricing, they're actually more expensive. Who knew?
  • Posted on: 08/30/2021

    How can retailers help frontline employees recharge?

    Yes, better pay and PTO will help the problem, but the entire hourly workforce HR process needs revamping. From recruitment, through hiring, training, career pathing and retention plans, the industry needs to take a fresh look at what it does. We have a model that was built on a transient, often part-time workforce that doesn't get too many fringe benefits and have turnover in some segments of well over 100 oercent. That just doesn't work anymore. It's time to give the workforce some feeling of job satisfaction beyond "Well, you're lucky to have a job." This is not a small ask. How we get from where we are to where we need to go is going to take some serious thought and reallocation of funds in the retail enterprise.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2021

    Do retailers need a chief data officer?

    I'd prefer they start with a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer), and that the person work for the CIO. I just don't see a need for more fragmentation, as Gene pointed out.

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