PROFILE

Rachelle King

Retail Industry Thought Leader

NOTE: Comments and opinions are Rachelle’s own, not her employer’s.

Rachelle has 15 years of sales and marketing experience spanning the retail, agency and CPG industries. Her retail experience includes working on the legendary Beauty Team at CVS. On the agency side, she served as Retail Strategy Director at Geometry where she led retail strategy in the commerce and shopper marketing space for CPG, retail and finance clients including Coca Cola, Kroger and American Express. Her CPG experience includes sales planning, trade marketing and creating go-to-market strategies for industry leaders including Unilever, Pfizer and L’Oreal. In addition to traditional CPG, her experience includes consumer products licensing with sports and entertainment partners including Disney, DreamWorks, Major League Baseball and NFL.

As Director, North America Trade Marketing for The Topps Company, she established the first trade marketing department in the trading card industry and forged ground breaking partnerships with top retailers including Walmart and Target. She spent two years in Bentonville leading retail sales and marketing for a direct to retail (DTR) partnership between DreamWorks and Walmart. Her retail work spans food, drug, mass, specialty/beauty, hobby, convenience, dollar and ecommerce channels.

Rachelle holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Advertising from Purdue University and a Master’s Degree in Management Strategy (with distinction) from NYU. Originally from the Chicago area, she’s a long-time New Yorker.

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  • Posted on: 05/05/2021

    Are retailers making it too tough for seniors to shop online?

    Accessibility should be top of mind for all consumers. Whether inexperienced, low vision or manual dexterity -- website design should be done from the lens of your consumer. Given the number of Boomers that have migrated to online shopping, this is both necessary and practical for a positive user experience. While seniors may venture out to stores once pandemic restrictions lift (we all will), they are not likely to forgo the convenience and discovery of online shopping, unless retailers and brands devalue their user experience.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2021

    Kroger takes flight with drone delivery test

    Unsurprisingly, Kroger, always innovative and always leaning into what's next. If I'm the leaders in ground transportation, I'm paying attention. While drones won't wipe them out tomorrow, the list of major retailers investing in this technology is nothing to dismiss. Smarter, faster, cheaper is the language of last mile delivery and drones are becoming fluent fast. Still, with a 5 pound weight limit, there is some obvious room for continued development. Not withstanding the curious case for drone air traffic control, it's unlikely that the emerging relationship between drone technology and retailers is a fad.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2021

    DoorDash tries tiered commission structure to deal with restaurants’ complaints

    DoorDash has offered a transparent path to their commissions and an attempt to suggest it's fair, nothing more. The lowest rate is punitive to smaller restaurants that may rely on this service while the highest rate just takes more money out of their pockets. In some cities like NYC where restaurant delivery is an everyday way of life, consumers actually know their delivery teams and restaurants managers and they advocate for them. While DoorDash may have attempted to address industry complaints with this new structure, they should also consider consumers who want to be treated fairly (excuse me, $4.99 delivery fee) and also want delivery teams and restaurant owners to be treated fairly. In the end, consumers will have the final say.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2021

    7-Eleven spending $70M to promote the convenience of its new tech

    The new spot certainly does give a refreshing, new take on 7-Eleven. It's likely that it will resonate with the right audience. 7-Eleven parking lots are already a social gathering spot in some neighborhoods. Leveraging this insight boosts authenticity in the creative and brand message which is what consumers want to see today. Still, franchisees may not find the ongoing upgrades as inspiring. During a time when store traffic has been down, the last thing owners want to hear about is investing toward longer vs shorter term gains. An upgraded experience is always nice, but you can't take experience to the bank.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2021

    Why did Amazon open a hair salon?

    It takes a lot for a new idea to see the light of day at Amazon. If a hair salon has made it this far then we can be certain there is something to be gained, learned or both. But salon goers can be finicky. The infusion of more experiential services is leaning in the right direction. While I'm not sure I'd place any bets on Amazon Salon just yet, I do think the Professional Beauty Store could be something to reckon with.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2021

    Will stock ownership work as a loyalty program perk?

    A smart, new take on loyalty. This will appeal to consumers who really want to stretch beyond their current savings schemes and feel like they are accomplishing something tangible--without much effort. Retailers and brands will reap the benefits. The long term ride to getting meaningful value out of fractional shares might discourage a few. However, for the patient and the willing, this could be a building block to even more investing. The US market may be influenced by early adopters. Initially, the more perceived equity in participating brands, the more perceived equity in the program.
  • Posted on: 04/22/2021

    Are associates better than influencers for shopping livestreams?

    Really interesting take to leverage associates for livestreaming. For some categories, store associates may have tacit knowledge, contextual experiences and personal passions that may be hard to translate to an influencer. However, there may be some trade-offs for that level of authenticity. Right now, influencers are "sexy" and hot commodities. Some store associates can't really compete with that kind of appeal. Further, not all store associates are influencers; some are simply there to ring up your order or point you in the right direction. Good influencers are skilled at building buzz, excitement and yes, influencing. I'd suggest peeling back a few more layers; particularly as it relates to possibly having employees do the same work as influencers at little or no influencer cost.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2021

    Are you ready for the retailer-as-service revolution?

    Retailer as a service is not new. Walmart and 7-Eleven have long offered financial services to customers. For some time now, you can get your eyes checked at Sam's Club and and refill your gas tank at Kroger. As with most "new" things in retail today, it's positioning that's new more so than the service itself. The relevance here is the pandemic has shift consumer spending from goods to services. So, now, suddenly, retail-as-a service is a thing. Some retailers may benefit as convenient, low-price services always draw an initial crowd. However, brand marketers should focus on what will drive incremental revenue for them. Retailers are masters at inventing new ways for brands to invest. While these services are novel, it's worth understanding if you can reach the same customer, at the same retailer, by the same means you always have, then these services are nice for customers but not necessarily something brand marketers need to chase.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    The key to a profitable omnichannel strategy is a smart supply chain. In the past, retailers could skimp on the latest innovation but in todays environment, it's going to be hard to succeed if your supply chain is only as smart as you are. This is the time to lean into artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive out cost and improve operating efficiencies. Take small steps but take steps nonetheless because we are not going back to pre-pandemic shopping behaviors. The inter-connectedness of in-store and online shopping is here to stay. It's impossible to say who will come out on top given the rate of digital growth but some indicators of success are retailers with a relentless priority on supply chain optimization and operating efficiencies. Others with loyalty data that can help drive predictive analytics and inform supply chain and merchandising may also find some tailwinds. Still, one thing will not work alone. Success will require end-to-end planning and organizational commitment to winning the long game.
  • Posted on: 04/15/2021

    What will going to mostly full-time staff mean for Walmart’s stores?

    Generally speaking, a full-time gig is often better than a part-time gig, especially when benefits are on the line. So, yes, this will help with both recruitment and retention (provided Walmart delivers on full-time benefits as well). It may also serve to boost store operating efficiencies and even loyalty. For associates holding down two part-time jobs, being able to switch to one full-time job may also improve work/life balance. All roads point to a good deal for store associates. However, Walmart is nothing if not efficient. The cost of this good deed is coming from somewhere. If I'm a peer retail store operator, I'd focus on trying to understand that first.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2021

    Toms finds one-for-one charitable model doesn’t add up for its business

    Cause marketing is only relevant if your cause is socially relevant. It's not that people don't appreciate a charitable pair of shoes, but since Tom's started this one-for-one, what is socially relevant has changed and they have not. While it's noble to be loyal to a cause, to do so and expect recognition from consumers without checking periodically to see what resonates with them is likely how Tom's got here. Marketing strategies should be revisited at least once every 3 years, this includes cause marketing. Today, cause marketing is not nearly as easy as it used to be. Consumers look for brands to take a stand for or against something meaningful and relevant. A good rule for relevance today is if it doesn't make someone on your brand or corporate communications team uncomfortable, you're probably not pushing hard enough. With this change, Tom's has a chance to get inside the heads and hearts of consumers in their respective communities. Depending on the community, it might make some uncomfortable but consumers will see them, hear them and hopefully, respect them for it.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2021

    Why are McDonald’s restaurants leaving Walmart stores?

    Store traffic is the obvious culprit in this dissolving partnership. However, McDonald's store count inside of Walmart locations has been steadily decreasing over the years, even before the pandemic. This is a combination of factors beyond just store traffic; the novelty of grabbing a burger and fries while shopping has faded over the years, McDonald's has added more free-standing stores making it more convenient for consumers to dine outside of Walmart and with that, more food choices have cropped up from meal delivery services to local restaurants introducing delivery through apps like Grubhub. This trajectory has been plotted for some time. A thirty-year partnership is remarkable. They have had a good run. Walmart should consider using the space to provide relevant services for the respective communities they serve. Perhaps more upscale food or, more trendy food truck options, even hair braiding. Either way, they should be open to what localized change might look like and embrace it.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2021

    Is Levi’s poised to become a consumer-direct powerhouse?

    Perhaps an unexpected diamond in the rough of this pandemic has been forcing brands to think differently about how they engage with consumers. This includes a hard look at the value propositions from long-standing retail partners to advancing activation of DTC. One thing I believe to be true about established and dare I say iconic brands like Levi's, is that they are usually the best ones to deliver on a full brand experience. Literally, they can dedicate an entire store to bringing the experience to life whereas in most traditional retail environments, that's simply impossible. Consumers want more authentic relationships with brands. Over this past year, connecting through DTC has been a rewarding experience for both consumers and brands. There is something to understand and cultivate there. That being said, Levi's is not a retailer. There is a reason why established retail has been around as long as they have: they know what they're doing. As DTC continues to grow, CPG companies and brands that endeavor down this path will eventually need to balance the novelty of direct-to-consumer relationships with the functional and often less celebrated responsibility of retail management.
  • Posted on: 04/08/2021

    Will climate action become less of a priority for retail post-pandemic?

    There is nothing like a pandemic to crystalize your priorities. While most executives say they are concerned about climate change, in light of the pandemic we see most actions to combat climate change have stalled. Translation: it's important but not essential ... right now. Still, it will be consumers who motivate merchants and brands to reinvigorate their climate change efforts. The environmental awareness of consumers is only increasing. When this awareness starts to impact purchase decisions (more than it already has) companies will either listen and adapt or, navigate the unpopular and revenue- diminishing downside of ignoring consumer values.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2021

    Will consumers immerse themselves in Dick’s new experiential concept stores?

    It's truly impressive to see Dick's bring this vision to life. They are spot on with delivering elevated experiences for both young and older customers. This is a new era for sporting goods stores and Dick's is leading the way. There are too few stores right now to gauge impact on full-line stores but it's not unlikely that customers will soon come to expect similar experiences at all Dick's locations. While these full experiential stores may not be right everywhere, it's probably a good idea to start thinking of how this elevated experience translates to full-line stores.

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