PROFILE

Rick Watson

CEO, RMW Commerce Consulting

Rick Watson founded RMW Commerce Consulting after spending 20+ years as a technology entrepreneur and operator exclusively in the eCommerce industry with companies like ChannelAdvisor, BarnesandNoble.com, Merchantry, and Pitney Bowes.

Watson was one of the first employees at ChannelAdvisor, spending 10 years there in various executive capacities and launching many of the company’s flagship offerings. He was then recruited to launch the third-party marketplace at BarnesandNoble.com, expanding the company’s product catalog by over 1 million items. After the successful marketplace launch, he served as CEO of Merchantry and led the company to a $30M acquisition by Tradeshift. Upon fulfilling the transition obligations of Merchantry to Tradeshift, Watson directed the cross-border product strategy of Pitney Bowes, a $450M business, comprised of Borderfree and the eBay Global Shipping Program.

Watson’s work today is centered on supporting investors and management teams incubating and growing direct-to-consumer businesses. For his latest project, in partnership with WHP Global, Rick was critical as the leading resource who architected the WHP+ platform, a new turnkey direct to consumer digital e-commerce platform that powers AnneKlein.com and JosephAbboud.com.

To learn more, visit: rmwcommerce.com

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  • Posted on: 04/14/2021

    Is e-grocery killing or inspiring impulse buys?

    I agree with you George. But I think people are liking the convenience of online shopping more than anything. It's a priority even more so than saving every dollar.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2021

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

    It's a more difficult message for consumers. Net negative.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2021

    Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s new ad help change how consumers see the retailer?

    Optimizing their real estate is the key here. Ads are nice but ultimately, people are looking at their screens too much for them to move the needle. Stopping discounting and promotions so much didn't work out so well for J.C. Penney. You can make the right theoretical moves from the outside and still miss YOUR consumer. I predict a long road still ahead. Why do I walk in here instead of Target, Lowe's, or Walmart?
  • Posted on: 04/12/2021

    Will faster deliveries prove to be a valuable loyalty perk for Gap?

    On its own, it won't help. Inventory/merchandise issues are by far the biggest problem inside of most apparel retailers. Faster shipping generally means that a brand will lose money faster if their supply chain isn't optimized (see: Target as a counterexample that does it right).
  • Posted on: 04/12/2021

    Amazon’s Prime Day is coming earlier and possibly twice

    I think most major marketplaces can support multiple big sales days per year. They drive consumer excitement, allow the retailer to try new things, and generate a lot of new advertising revenue. Alibaba's 11.11 and 12.12 comes to mind. There are always new sales days on the horizon.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2021

    Will Google Maps bring a new dimension to the in-store experience?

    There are two things that are being optimized out of retail. Inventory and humans. What they have in common? They hit the bottom line. ;-) It's the investor-ization of everything.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2021

    Will Google Maps bring a new dimension to the in-store experience?

    There are a few reasons that Instacart has pretty good guesses for what's there -- order activity, its personal shoppers verification, and ML algorithms to predict demand and sell-through. Google would have to similarly invest to address this market more fully.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2021

    Will Google Maps bring a new dimension to the in-store experience?

    I've long thought that Google Maps has the best chance of any app to become what in Asia is known as a super-app. There are a whole host of context-specific applications based on what's happening around you. Commerce/retail is firmly in that equation. Customer service, browsing, fulfillment and delivery are all part of this value chain. Most mobile searches are inherently local -- about 46 percent. This is the key to understanding this technology and what's coming behind it.
  • Posted on: 04/01/2021

    Will a ‘skyscraper’ store change how groceries are delivered in cities?

    Micro-fulfillment is definitely the future in tight areas and cities. It does not mean exclusively, however. Target is not currently using micro-fulfillment but has been very successful with small-format stores in urban areas. Walmart has started experimenting with micro-fulfillment as well. Let's not get carried away, however. Automation is not the "end all," and micro-fulfillment has trouble with cold-chain (expensive), heavy/bulky or irregular items, so it is not yet suitable for all applications. Experimentation is still needed by most players at this stage in order to get to the cost/financial profile needed to justify the investment.
  • Posted on: 04/01/2021

    Do consumers see brand activism as genuine or simply pandering?

    Authenticity requires honesty which means risk and vulnerability, I believe that is the key element. Activism requires action in defense of a cause that is not always universally agreed upon or understood, which also requires risk. Risk is anathema to most brands, and so they tend to shy away from it until it's too late (public tide has turned against it). I think many brands could use risk as a signal, and ask themselves a few questions:
    • What is the payoff for this risk if we are right about a particular trend, cause, or idea?
    • What is the risk for not doing something?
    • What is true to our mission, as consumers would recognize it?
    • What do we have to say that is unique?
    • How could we set a positive example in the world?
    The big challenge for many brands is they "drink their own Kool-Aid" thinking their corporate values on the wall are recognized by consumers. They need to be demonstrated every day.
  • Posted on: 03/31/2021

    Can Google become a legit alternative to Amazon for sellers (and buyers)?

    Google is not well-positioned to be a replacement for Amazon -- it isn't really trying and shouldn't try. Google Smart Shopping is great and works well as a traffic-driver. I would love to see them continuing to invest in helping local businesses through tighter integration to Maps, similar to their recent deal with Albertsons, etc.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2021

    Will hiring a celebrity designer turn Walmart into a fashion destination, à la Target?

    All things considered, Jet.com was a big distraction. Yes, their dot-com performance greatly improved in the last five years, but did they need Mr. Lore to do it and famously clash with their culture, etc.? Or did they just need to make it a much bigger focus?
  • Posted on: 03/16/2021

    Will hiring a celebrity designer turn Walmart into a fashion destination, à la Target?

    I don't think Walmart will be able to escape its brand, and probably it shouldn't try. Collaboration are nice because of unique inventory, as long as they are on-brand. Why do people walk into a Walmart? Everyday low prices. What is the last reason people walk into a Walmart? "Elevated fashion." I don't like this move too much.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2021

    Which retailers are the most innovative in the business?

    I don't follow this post. Many are not retailers -- Some are technology companies (Shopify), some are brands (Nike, Canada Goose). There are a few marketplaces in this list, which I could squint and count as retailers according to one definition, but most brands would not consider them retailers.
  • Posted on: 03/10/2021

    Live from TikTok, it’s Walmart!

    I really think this is in the best interest of both companies. For TikTok to become more mainstream, it needs to keep expanding its demographic. Tiktok's results/ROI are improving quickly for brands. For a retailer to learn how to use this successfully is a must. I would also say this -- Walmart must make its own livestreaming investments and develop its own personalities too. Paying influencers is an important component but ultimately a short-term game. Long-term the winners will learn how to develop their own new authentic online influencers similar to the way they develop their own brands.

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