PROFILE

Perry Kramer

Managing Partner, Retail Consulting Partners

A retail leader for over 30 years who is currently a managing partner with Retail Consulting Partners and prior to that was a Senior Vice President with Boston Retail Partners. Perry has provided consulting services to many of the nations’ leading retailers including Meijer, Tapestry, Estee Lauder, Federal Express, Rent a Center, Tailored Brands, Finish Line and dozens of others and been published in dozens of media articles and have a strong following in the press.

Prior to acting as a consultant for the last 9 years he was CIO at a digital receipt and retail information company. Prior to that he was the VP of applications for BJ’s Wholesale clubs and held director level positions at multiple other retailers. Additionally, he is a past Chairman of the Board of Director for the Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) and a co-author of the first ARTS data model and several other standards.

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  • Posted on: 01/18/2022

    Are retailers getting closer to nailing last-mile delivery?

    The interesting point is that 42% of those retailers that are highly satisfied with their same-day delivery process see cost as a challenge. The message here is that to execute same-day delivery effectively there are no short cuts. The tier one delivery providers, OMS systems, and Customer Care systems have the capabilities. The maturity of these processes is filtering down to the tier two level in each of the major components of a successful same-day delivery solution. Consumers are driving this and retailers and their software vendor partners will need to continue to step up. As the process continues to mature and become more competitive, license and service costs should drop slightly unless labor costs offset the economies of scale.
  • Posted on: 12/20/2021

    Kroger eliminates paid COVID-19 leave for unvaccinated

    Right or wrong, this is a thoroughly discussed business/financial decision. The key factors at Kroger I’m confident included: how do we control rising healthcare costs? How many team members are we going to lose and have to spend time/money rehiring and training in a very competitive market? How do we best protect our team members and minimize the number of employees exposed to COVID-19 positive people? We need to allow retailers to make these financial decisions and let them face the results in the court of public opinion.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2021

    Can Safeway slam the door shut on shoplifters?

    Safeway and all retailers will need to continue to adapt the physical store to protect its customers, employees, and bottom line. If the same changes were made in a rural location in the Midwest, we would not be talking about it. Unfortunately, these types of changes need to be made to deter theft and will soon become the norm in many areas. In the Home Depot example, someone will figure out how to defeat the Bluetooth security measure. However for many retailers the approach is to continue to add levels of deterrence as there is no single solution.
  • Posted on: 11/24/2021

    Jury says CVS, Walgreens and Walmart bear responsibility for opioid epidemic

    This is a tough pill for retailers to swallow. If they had not filled many of these transactions and started challenging doctors retailers probably would have been sued as well. These large retailers generally have a good relationship with law enforcement. However the retailers are also limited insofar as what they can share with law enforcement is limited by HIPAA regulations. Their only recourse in the future is to find ways to work with law enforcement more proactively.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2021

    Will paid perks pay off for Williams Sonoma?

    Paid loyalty programs can be very successful. Assuming Williams Sonoma has done the research to build an accurate financial model the program should drive further loyalty and spending with its most loyal customers. The focus of these programs is always to expand spending, services, and top-of-mind presence with a retailer's most loyal customer. As long as they have built a financial model that can support the price point the program should be successful.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2021

    How disruptive is the rapid delivery model to grocery?

    Rapid grocery delivery will continue to be very disruptive in the grocery channel. Larger grocers are already building their own dark sub-stores in adjacent footprints and inside of their existing footprints. The model will continue, and grocers will need to determine their best path; partner or build their own. The good news for many grocers is that they have built a lot of the infrastructure over the last few years as they developed BOPIS and self-service models. Additionally, in general, established grocers have a stronger supply chain process in place. Although they may need to look at segregating the breadth of products they offer in-store from the rapid delivery process.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2021

    Will physical and digital retail operations perform better on their own?

    The greatest long-term profit potential is 100 percent tied to having a unified approach to operations. There is no disputing that retailers have struggled to develop a unified commerce approach for many years. This is mostly because a true unified commerce experience is very complicated and continues be a moving target driven by innovation of new features and services. In the short term we may continue to see some retailers separate the digital channel for the quick wins and to defer the unified commerce struggle. This separate channel approach brings with it significant inventory and customer service challenges.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2021

    Should retailers set time guarantees for curbside delivery?

    Making a blanket guarantee to have products available in a very short window is an appealing approach to many customers. From a retailer's point of view, it sounds like a lot of risk when considering the challenges hiring and retaining staffing and in-store sales traffic. The critical component in this area is to be able to commit a time for availability and meet that commitment. Consumers expect a time commitment to flex up and down. However they also expect accurate and frequent communication and meeting those commitments. Grocers are often going to an appointment-based approach which I think will continue to proliferate for larger purchases.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2021

    Will JCPenney’s ‘new, inclusive beauty experience’ relaunch be a hit?

    J.C. Penney is working through the short-term loss of Sephora as a destination location. However in the long term the broader set of products appealing to a broader set of customers in a demographic that may be better aligned to J.C. Penney's is a win. Adding buyers and owned inventory and the associated supply chain issues to the mix, though, will ramp up costs that will have a longer payback cycle that everyone hopes J.C. Penney can work through.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2021

    Is working in retail a real job?

    To change the perception and inspire more people retailers must continue to refine an advancement path, focus on providing benefits for more positions and working to increase the number of full-time positions. These changes and others need to be messaged through an increased recruiting process at the community college and university level. Retailers have a tendency to spend unnecessary recruiting dollars and ignore significant talent they may have in their stores when they are recruiting for corporate positions. Making these changes and leveraging social meeting to promote the messages will slowly turn the tide for some. However the segment of the population that is trying to live in the gig mentality will always see retail as a temporary landing. I’m a person who ran a register and was a department manager coming out of college and made it to the CIO level. There are thousands of similar stories that need to be leveraged.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2021

    Will layaway programs go away for good (or bad)?

    Buy now pay later transactions are continuing to grow as can be seen in Mastercard’s recent announcement to build its own multi-payment post-purchase card process. The buy now pay later transactions offer retailers significant inventory advantages. Instead of the retailer acting as the consumer's closet and having to restock canceled layaways after peak shopping days and missing markdowns the merchandise is now paid for and in the actual customer's closet. Certain niche retailers may continue to offer layaways, but I would expect the use of layaways to wane. It is also interesting to note that the layaway transaction has been dropped from the majority of the POS software available.
  • Posted on: 09/24/2021

    Destination XL Group proves a unique fit for customers who don’t like to shop

    DXLG does have a model that will last because of their focus on omnichannel experience and quality products and partners. Their understanding that the significant majority of shopping experiences cross the digital channel at some point is critical to success. Also, their commitment to their specific segment with clothing that is specifically tailored for the segment will differentiate them. One of my best friends is 6 feet 6 inches tall and his wife starts most of their shopping online and finishes in the store and is very loyal to the brands that fit best. This segment is as much about the person buying the clothes as it is the person for whom the clothes are bought.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2021

    Online grocery shopping is pretty much all about convenience

    The customer is looking for reliability and quality in addition to convenience. The key parts of convenience that many retailers still struggle with are having the products/brands that the consumer desire in stock, having a consistent delivery that matches the customers schedule, and having strong interactive communication about the order status. Until these foundational elements are mastered the rest will keep many customers away as pandemic conditions subside.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2021

    Do retailers need a chief data officer?

    The need for the role has been evolving for the last 15 years, and continues to grow in importance. For retailers that capture customer data, this information is one of the retailers’ most valuable and complex assets. Overlaying customer data with the increasingly complex set of merchandise data (attributes and supply chain visibility) has been a growing challenge for retailers. Combining these two sets with the rapidly evolving omnichannel fulfillment/delivery experience offers tremendous opportunities for cost savings and increased sales if the data is managed correctly. I’m not sure it needs to be a “C” level position. However the role clearly needs to be a leadership position in the IT organization. In addition to being responsible for maintaining the integrity of the data the position should also be responsible for the delivery and definition of the data and key reporting definitions. Almost every retailer has multiple reporting platforms and teams that should be rationalized under this role. There are also dozens of other data points that should fall under the purview of this position including planograms, traffic counting, HR data, scheduling and WFM data, and dozens of similar applications with data.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2021

    Are Home Depot and Lowe’s about to hit a sales wall?

    The largest challenge DIY has right now is evolving the product mix to meet demand and keeping their supply chain full. If they can keep the products that consumers want in stock they will continue to see sales growth and some loyalty. The continued demand to evolve the home office and the increased cost of homes will contribute to strong consumer demand for several years. COVID-19 was a significant catalyst for the way that people see investing in their homes now that they spend more time in them.

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