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: 08/23/2019

    Will the next recession devastate mall-based retailers?

    We have had a generational shift in the past decade, and retailers still haven't quite figured out how to attract these new entrants. We've seen the emergence of fast fashion, and now its market saturation. And the recognition of its bad impact on the environment. I think retail has been healthy but shaky since the recession and between tariffs and other potential recessionary trends, the industry is at serious risk. Not just malls. The whole shebang.
  • Posted on: 08/22/2019

    Will shoppers thank heaven for mobile checkout at 7-Eleven?

    C-stores are the one place that mobile and cashierless checkout make absolute sense. As long as c-stores can manage the shrink (this is questionable in my mind), it's a great idea. Less care and feeding than Amazon Go type technology, with the same result.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2019

    Can local artists help Target create community support?

    Just a one word response: AWESOME. Can’t wait to see what they do in Miami!
  • Posted on: 08/16/2019

    Can Jill Soltau rebuild J.C. Penney?

    Well, Ms. Soltau is right about one thing - these problems are definitely a decade old. People forget that Ron Johnson was brought in to reinvigorate the chain in 2011, and the prior year J.C. Penney had done an enormous stock buyback ($900 million rings a bell) and had spent a couple hundred million on the Liz Claiborne brand. So along came Mr. Johnson, and for reasons we have beaten ad nauseum, the chain barely survived. I did an analysis some years back. The money he wanted to make his changes was never there to reinvent the chain all at once. In fact, if we look at the past decade, all the CEOs played to their own strengths rather than to what the market wanted. Mr. Ullman first spent all that money, then he wanted to hand the reins over to Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson pretty much did what had been done at Apple before, just roll out changes, forgetting that this was a chain that already had a market. Then Mr. Ullman brought it back to where it was before he left. Along came Marvin Ellison from Home Depot, and the company got into appliances. The logic seemed right in some ways, but there was no tilling of the soil. Ms. Saltau seems to "get it." The question is, is it too late? Does the world need another moderate priced department store selling mostly private label? Seems like there are others who fill that niche. I'm not sure the world needs another department store for any demographic.
  • Posted on: 08/14/2019

    Will Kohl’s shoppers like the ‘emerging brands’ chosen by Facebook users?

    I think it's a really smart move. I might've picked a social media platform that skews younger, like Instagram, but the point is absolutely well-taken. Crowd-sourcing new brands and styles is always a great idea.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2019

    Is Nike’s new subscription program for kids a parent’s best friend?

    This is an interesting offer and has lots of positive attributes for time-starved moms and their kids. Do I think it will engender brand loyalty? I don't know. Gap Kids didn't seem to do that ultimately. The other thing I worry about is how quickly kids' shoe sizes change as they are growing up. And the growth seems to come in spurts. I am not sure how Nike is going to mitigate this challenge, really -- and if it involves returning the shoes, they might lose the "time-saver" advantage. But overall, I like it.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2019

    Is FedEx smart to say goodbye to Amazon’s U.S. business?

    I think one driver is pretty similar in tone to retailers asking their software vendors to not host cloud computing on AWS - why would you fund a would-be competitor? Amazon has bought planes, it definitely has last-mile capabilities (I see a LOT of Amazon vans in Miami), and it has said it will provide delivery services for those retailers in its marketplace. So if I'm FedEx, I'm thinking "Why am I funding this, exactly?" You know that Amazon had really wheedled them down on rates, so it's not even clear it's a money maker. Meanwhile, truth be told, most of my Amazon packages have been coming from UPS for quite some time anyway (I get notifications from UPS), so I don't think it's a big loss -- but I do think the decision to focus on the other 50 percent of the web marketplace is a good one. Ship from store and ship TO store promise to get bigger. FedEx can deploy its resources that way instead. I think it's a good move.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2019

    Can Victoria’s Secret recover from its founder’s past relationship with Jeffrey Epstein?

    Old leopards don't change their spots. A man who once summed up his merchandising philosophy by saying "All women want to get l__d" is not going to turn around and suddenly get woke. Truth be told, VS had problems long before this, and to presume that their only problem is bad press associated with Epstein and a RESPECT response is naive. That's the top of a very large iceberg. This is not Victoria's Secret's time. Women are in a different place, and VS probably should adjust its offering and its marketing to be more inclusive. I don't think Wexner can do it, but I can only hope his company will try.
  • Posted on: 08/08/2019

    Whole Foods gets serious about partying

    This is really wrong. Amazon is simply destroying the Whole Foods brand. Nothing quite as tone deaf as selling plastic party supplies at a health food store. Everything is not about price. There's an ethos about Whole Foods that Amazon is really tossing in the circular file. Getting a home delivery from Whole Foods, now that its arrangement with Instacart has come to an end, means getting piles of packaging to keep things cold. Non-recyclable packaging. I ordered once and never will again. Now they're going to sell high-end plastic party supplies? Dudes -- what are you thinking?
  • Posted on: 08/07/2019

    Walmart trains quarterly for active shooter events

    I can't imagine any of it. The Uber Eats driver bringing food to my house last night was afraid to come on the property because he couldn't see the address. He was afraid he'd get shot if he was in the wrong place. He was Latino. Can I imagine that? Nope.
  • Posted on: 08/07/2019

    Walmart trains quarterly for active shooter events

    Swell. I feel like I live in a Third World country now.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2019

    What are the signs of a dying retail business?

    I'd like to add another item to the list as well - dirty stores and messy product set-up. This is important because retailers tell us in our surveys that "if only they had the money, they'd make their stores cleaner." As a consumer, a dirty store tells me "these guys are short on cash and cutting corners." So whether it's actually true or just perceptually true, this spells doom for a retailer. So, keep your stores (and bathrooms!) clean, well-stocked with product neatly arrayed, and customers will be attracted.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2019

    Will outsourcing jobs help Lowe’s associates better serve customers in stores?

    I don't get the connection. This is a reduction in force, period. I cannot believe it will cost LESS for outside workers for the same number of hours, so service levels will by definition be reduced. I thought Ellison would find a better home at Lowe's than he did at JCP, but it seems he still believes he can cost control and "streamline" his way to success. Retail doesn't work this way, and he ought to know better.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2019

    Amazon kills its Dash button – what comes next?

    Instacart remembers everything you've bought, and I find that really helpful. That's always where I start -- because most of the time, I buy the same stuff over and over again. It's not a perfect service, but it's a really good way to trigger my memory.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2019

    Amazon kills its Dash button – what comes next?

    I don't know what the company learned. Maybe that people can remember they need something between doing the laundry and getting back to their computer or phone? That shoppers aren't willing to pay $4.99 just in case they have bad memories? I feel the same way about reordering built into appliances. I keep asking myself why I need a smart refrigerator or a smart thermostat (I actually need a new thermostat), and I can't come up with a single reason. In terms of reordering tech built into individual products, I suppose the UPC could be used for that. Scan it into a shopping list. Or a QR code if you want to be fancy. I don't think of myself as a Luddite at all. I just want things to have a purpose.

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