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: 01/19/2022

    NRF 2022: Albertsons’ CEO sees frequency driving grocery loyalty

    It's hard to be loyal to business you don't like (not impossible, just hard). So, if Albertsons is banking on loyalty then, consumers have to first like shopping in their stores. Next, would be all the other cool things like personalization, experience and of course, value. It is refreshing to hear Sankaran think of loyalty in terms of value vs transactions. He's right. Grocery stores cannot build loyalty based on proximity, that's just convenience. But enjoyable, meaningful experiences over a sustained period of time can create the best kind of loyalty. I like where Albertsons is heading with this.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2022

    December retail sales were strong, no matter what the clickbait headlines said

    Finally, the gas-lighting headlines about how depressed retail is has been fact checked. December is not the holiday season. The season can run all of Q4, especially if you factor is smarter, earlier shopping to mitigate supply chain shortages, shipment delays and trying to stay clear of a deadly virus. Consumers adjusted according to realtime circumstances--as they always do. If you manage a P&L and made your number for the year, despite month-to-month fluctuations and a global pandemic; in retail, we call that a good year.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2022

    SCOTUS strikes down OSHA’s COVID vaccine/testing mandate

    At the end of the day, the companies cheering for this SCOTUS ruling are cheering for their businesses, at the expense of their employees and their customers.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2022

    Can Penney’s new leadership (finally) transform the business?

    If only changing the c-suite could change your brand archetype. J.C. Penney is J.C. Penney. While we always want to root for retail transformation, this retailer shares the same mental space as Sears and Kmart. They are likely on the same trajectory too, but these new pedigree hires might slow the pace. Might.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2022

    Are brand and product messages in conflict?

    I have worked closely with product marketers and brand marketers. They are not cut from the same cloth. If companies want to do both, then most would be wise to look internally first and ensure they have the right talent in the right place. While consumers may increasingly choose brands that align with their values, they choose products because they work. Marketers need to connect the two, starting with how they structure brand teams.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2022

    Reality hits omnichannel retail with a hard truth

    At some point, this becomes an issue of theory vs practice. In theory, most consumers will say, just give me whatever is fastest, most convenient and reasonably priced for the quality. In practice, however, consumers are used to doing things a certain way: you buy from store A, you return to store A. While technology is available to offer a different, likely faster and more convenient way to manage returns and other operations, it may take some getting used to from consumers. Retail behavior is long ingrained, easily entertained, yet difficult to change. Therefore, both the benefit and risk of implementing new ways of doing things at retail is adoption.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2022

    Wellness has become fashionable at Saks

    Wellness may very well be the new affordable luxury all around. It's fair to call this striking while the iron is hot for Saks. Historically, department stores were synonymous with over-priced perfume and handbags. Now, consumers are home-bound (again), not spending as much on social outings or experiences; so why not indulge in high-priced wellness. It tackles revenge spending and self-care all at once. This could be a promising move for Saks. Finally, a reason to go to their website other than checking for sales or markdowns.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2022

    Will 2022 be the year of text-to-shop?

    Consumer response to emerging commerce platforms has been positive. The question is not really whether US consumers will engage in conversational commerce, but will retailers and brands invest in and adapt new technologies and operations to advance these new platforms. And, if we're honest, if those investments will pay off. Meaning, we need both the early adopters and mainstream consumers to make these investment profitable. New commerce is not a question of if, it is a question of when. Brands and retailers should be planning now for the future of commerce and bringing both early adopters and mainstream along with them in the process.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2022

    Walmart says it’s ready to deliver groceries inside 30 million American homes

    While many have benefited from the convenience of at home grocery delivery this past year, this is ambitious, even for Walmart. Sending their delivery teams going into garages--maybe (someone has to combat porch poachers). But going into homes and refrigerators feels like we've just crossed some sort of virtual line. Notwithstanding a deadly virus mutating amongst us, how many consumers leave their homes ready for "viewing" before heading out for work in the mornings? Can most consumers appreciate the idea of having grocery shopping done and put away by the time you get home from work? Certainly. Do most consumers want Walmart in their refrigerator with recording camera? Probably not.
  • Posted on: 12/20/2021

    Will localized e-commerce work for malls?

    This is a good thing for malls, their tenants and the local community. For some consumers, the closer you live to the local mall, the less online shopping you do. This is an opportunity for those likely suburban consumers to venture into ecommerce shopping in a more controlled environment. It's also a great opportunity for mall stores to test the omnichannel waters and potentially counter declines with in-store foot traffic. Ecommerce may seem a deceptively easy business--on the front end. But, the real work is on the back-end: supply chain management, managing real-time inventory and fulfillment. This is where mall owners will need to step up and invest in technology and resources to enable their tenants to thrive. Otherwise, this may be a short-lived and widely disappointing experiment when it can be so much more.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2021

    Will consumer behavior actually change this holiday season?

    It's amazing how consumer opinion changes based on how or when they have experienced something. It's good to keep a pulse on consumer sentiment but the best thing companies can do now is not to assume anything. Everything is subject to change every day. Yes, we are all experiencing pandemic burnout; yes we are all "over it" but few are throwing full caution to the wind. The virus is uncontrolled, inflation is rising and our health is under constant combat from stress. Consumers want their lives back but realize it's not going back to pre-pandemic. Meanwhile, the new norm changes daily. It's frustrating but there is no silver bullet. This season, brands and retailers have to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Again.
  • Posted on: 12/15/2021

    Print catalogs help customers unplug for the holidays

    Consider the onslaught of digital media marketing on the consumer mindset since 2020. Ecommerce, and with it, digital marketing, accelerated some 5 years in a 1-2 year period. In that space, not only could we lose our perspective on print media, many consumers lost interest in a lot of things as values and priorities shift. However, it is exactly this shift in mindset that may welcome the print catalog. In part because we crave nostalgia during unsettling times but in part due to mental burn out of online shopping. A catalogue can say to weary-minded consumers: "Here, we've done all the work for you. A carefully curated guide of everything you need for the holidays and thousands you don't but may still buy anyway." The catalogue can be a good conduit to offline/online shopping; browser the book, buy online. There are a hundred ways consumers will be overwhelmed for the holidays. A catalogue at their fingertips filled with best of lists may actually be welcomed and helpful if done right.
  • Posted on: 12/14/2021

    Should retailers do more to protect frontline workers?

    This past year has proved that the retail industry can't function without front-line workers. Employers are obligated to protect them. Throwing a few extra dollars at someone to be verbally or even physically abused for trying to enforce COVID protocols is not enough. These measures proposed by the UFCW are reasonable and could help secure front-line staffing as pandemic conditions evolve. The real question is, how much longer will employers go before they take meaningful action; when will they start treating front line workers like they matter?
  • Posted on: 12/13/2021

    Aldi fans can’t wait to shop its ‘Aisle of Shame’

    There is something special about the organic rise of Aldi's "Aisle of Shame." It is authentically from shoppers, not manufactured marketing and likely, hard to duplicate. Therefore, it is best left alone for fans to revel in, derive and share their own experiences. The best thing Aldi can do is to stay true to the origins and intent of this aisle and leave the rest to their "fans." The fact that this has caught on so well is a good indication that Aldi is doing something right. Leave it alone and enjoy it while it lasts.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2021

    Vietnam’s factory closures will hit apparel and footwear supplies in 2022

    The best thing retailers and brands can do now is plan ahead. It's not too early to start cultivating alternative revenue streams. Creativity mixed with a bit of resourcefulness may be a solution. The resell market continues to grow. Can buy back/resell take some of the pressure off of the supply chain? Can brands pull forward simmering innovation pipelines for new revenue streams? This is definitely a long game. Planning for supply chain disruptions and rebalancing revenue streams is a good place to start.

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