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.

  • Posted on: 10/14/2021

    What lessons should retailers take from the Theranos fraud debacle?

    Clearly, partner vetting failed in this case. Especially unusual for a drugstore. A top source of revenue in the medical field is labs. Every time labs are outsourced, money goes to a third party. You can see why Walgreens and other retailers with health services found this appealing. Proper vetting or not, the underlying problem is the lying by Theranos. Majority of white collar crimes are not done in malice to others, but in ones own delusions of grandeur. The belief that you can get away with it has fueled many breech of ethics and has warmed many prison cells. Theranos executives will not get away with it. The fact that people rarely do is still, however, not a deterrent for the next ethics breech-in-waiting.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2021

    Rather than compete, Walmart inks exclusive deal with Netflix

    Walking away from Vudu gave Walmart the right to explore a new approach to video. This partnership with Netflix allows Walmart to have a stake in the video market while leveraging their core strength in retail. Whatever these two companies make of this partnership, is yet to be determined but it has all the necessary makings of a successful venture. Online. A Netflix store within Walmart is another story. It's still Walmart. It would be nearly impossible to deliver on consumer experience expectations. However, a freestanding Netflix Experience Store is something worth considering.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2021

    Is the internet the great price equalizer or anything but?

    Algorithmic-driven prices can truly transform ecommerce experience for consumers but currently, it only benefits retailers. While consumers can certainly compare prices and shop around, the time value of money saved in doing so, is often not worth it. Very few consumers are aware of the algorithms, so, retailers indeed have the advantage. Today. As ecommerce continues at double digit growth, it's likely retailers may course correct themselves as more options to buy divide dollars and variable pricing challenges patience of consumers.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2021

    Mobile retail aspires to attain food truck-like popularity

    Let's be honest, most retailers have their hands full trying to figure out curb side pickup. The idea of putting a shoppable truck in front of shoppers homes is ambitious, at best. Progressive retailers, like Kroger, who have dabbled in drone delivery, may dabble here; it fuels innovation. However, most serious efforts will come from digitally native merchants that don't have retail operating expenses. Still, we will need to see a mental shift from shoppers before this has any real scale. Despite the unprecedented growth on ecommerce, brick and mortar still own the lion share of retail sales. Shoppers are used to going to stores. There is something oddly cool yet weirdly creepy about having your local store pull up in your drive-way.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2021

    Is working in retail a real job?

    This is unfortunate, but working in retail stores has never been perceived as much beyond a mediocre paycheck for mediocre people. This is not the case, but the perception is long standing. What puzzles me is that the corporate side (e.g. Walmart HQ) can have highly coveted industry positions while at the same time, people shun their stores. It's the same company. Retailers have to take responsibility for this. Why start paying for college now? Were store employees not worthy of this years ago? Why start career pathing, bonuses and incentives now vs years ago? Retailers carry the brunt of this weight for the way they have publicly treated their own employees. Some store employees have to risk their lives for what is still a mediocre paycheck and yet few retailers have made meaningful efforts to enforce employee safety. Covid has put a lot of things in perspective. Particularly, the value of human life. If retailers are lax in showing store employees are truly valued, then many of these employees have, or will, seek higher meaning and value in what they are doing with their lives every day. Somehow, getting shot, stabbed or smacked just for showing up at work, just doesn't seem worth it.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2021

    COVID-19 has put grocers and CPG brands through some changes

    Omnichannel is certainly where to focus for grocery and CPG. More and more, retailers can show that omnichannel shoppers are their most valuable shoppers. Collaborating to remove friction and provide relevant product solutions at fair prices is one of the best things that retailers and CPG can do right now.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2021

    Whole Foods goes from free to $10 grocery delivery fee for Amazon Prime members

    Amazon is a smart company. They knew the ramifications of this before announcing the decision. What they are essentially saying is: "Whole Foods is not in the grocery delivery business. Whatever it costs us to exit by way of discouraging fees, is not nearly as much as it would cost us if we continued down thia path. We accept related loss." The only thing that will change their minds is if this becomes a PR issue (beyond what they have already anticipated). Or, if enough customers walk out of their over-priced stores.
  • Posted on: 09/24/2021

    Is livestream grocery shopping on the way in the U.S.?

    This is a refreshing opportunity to drive excitement in the grocery channel. Historically slow to change, US grocery may not be on the forefront of livestream grocery in the next 5 years, but it will be interesting to watch the major chains test and learn. Not surprising to see Albertsons step up and lean in. However, it's hard not to wonder how much technology has fragmented grocery and the consumer experience in this channel over the past few years.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2021

    Ron Johnson loves stores but says retail is moving to ‘commerce at home’

    Retail stores are not going to disappear and be replaced by digital commerce or commerce at home. There is a fantasy that digital commerce is going to take over the world. It's not. However, it has and will continue to change the world. These puffery statements are misleading. Consumers have been doing commerce at home since the first online store opened its virtual doors. For certain, we are trending more experiential for stores but it's unlikely that stores will revert to full on experiential show rooms across the world. Consumers still like to touch, see, smell. More so, after this past year, human engagement is something to be relished (socially distanced, of course).
  • Posted on: 09/21/2021

    Buybuy Baby creates digital platform to help parents raise healthy and happy babies

    The one instant benefit of this campaign is the potential to go viral. New parents love talking to other parents. Just takes a few to put on social media how helpful just one of these services are and buybuy Baby will be ingrained as a resource on this space. It will be worthwhile to seek the testimonies, quotes, reviews etc that come out of this campaign. If managed correctly, this customer-level feedback could be as valuable as the campaign itself in building a viral network and trusted community.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2021

    Will overstocking get retailers through the holidays?

    This is a scary situation for retail. As a former retail buyer, the one thing you could control was how much inventory you bought. Now that's not true and it's a precarious position to be in. Fear of out of stocks, sadly, is going to drive most retailers to overbuy. When you consider the impending situation, it's hard to blame them. Out-of-stocks during peak season is any retailer's nightmare. Yet, it's not too far off from reality for most. This is truly a case where retailers and their vendor partners have to plan for the worse and hope for the best.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2021

    Will Kohl’s be known for something other than its retail partners?

    This is like looking in the mirror and seeing a tiger instead of a golden retriever. We have to give Kohls credit for their ambition. It is, in fact, the ability to see a future others cannot that often brings about change. However, this is a long game and the elasticity of Kohls brand identity may not quite stretch so far as to be a destination for beauty, or a shopping destination for consumers looking to make returns. Yes, they should leverage their ability to be nimble but they cannot forget they are first an apparel retailer. This fact has to fit into their vision and transformation and currently, it seems to be lost.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2021

    Can Kroger offset its margin headwinds?

    Passing on costs to consumers is always risky. Once you take price and consumers react negatively, many don't stick around and wait for retailers to course correct. Supply chain pressures are going to continue. Grocers are in a delicate place because food is not discretionary, cost of goods keep rising and consumers are only concerned about feeding their families. Kroger has to take a strategic approach. Where can price increases be most equitably distributed without making consumers feel their dollar is not stretching as far on grocery essentials? Likely easier said than done.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2021

    Will throwing money at drivers solve the trucker shortage problem?

    Throwing money at this shortage is a short-term solution. When the average 46 year old male decides it's time to retire soon, they still won't have a pipeline to replace him. Despite the fact that e-commerce growth has increased the need for truck drivers, it's still not a popular industry nor one perceived in a favorable light. This is where the ATA can step in and show how the industry has evolved, with more appealing benefits and new career pathways (maybe everyone does not want to be a driver forever). The industry needs a makeover; one that reinforces the critical role truck drivers play in today's commerce-driven economy. People want to feel like their work makes a difference. Well, here is one industry where that is more true now than ever before. Better pay and benefits always help but a better industry perception can set them up for the long haul.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2021

    Store associates shouldn’t have to be the mask or vaccine police

    If retailers can have requirements of "no shirt, no shoes, no service" then why can't they also add, "no mask, no service"? It is counter productive to ask for proof of vaccine to enter stores. Then, retailers will have to pay someone to stand at the door and check (touch) proof all day long. Who is an expert in vax-proof cards? You can't read half the writing on those cards anyway. Rather, we need to go back to the beginning: wear a mask or shop somewhere else. And, limit non-essential shoppers. An entire family of four does not need to pick out ground beef together. This is not an easy line to tow, we saw it earlier when mask requirements were in force; some shoppers will just not comply. However, retailers must prioritize the health and safety of their employees. Further, if their shoppers all get sick and stop coming to their stores, then where would retailers be? Retailers have to draw the line. Masks are in. Vaccinated or not. The CDC has to support this.

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