PROFILE

Ryan Grogman

Managing Partner, Retail Consulting Partners (RCP)

Ryan is a respected advisor in the retail technology industry. His diverse background includes several senior positions both as a retail executive as well as a consultant. Ryan has worked with a variety of retailers across home entertainment, luxury goods, apparel, specialty hardware, book publishing, tires & batteries, consumer goods, and wholesale goods. He specializes in developing technology strategies that align with corporate and customer objectives, along with technology selection and implementation projects for in-store, mobile, order management, and e-commerce solutions.

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  • Posted on: 02/25/2021

    Are Americans ready to do some good old-fashioned ‘revenge shopping’?

    Discount retailers like TJX will clearly see increases once more people feel safer about shopping in-store, but I would attribute that more to "value shopping" than "revenge shopping." TJX's price points and selection will resonate with consumers who are more tightly controlling their spending as they weather the longer-term financial impacts of the past year. I think revenge shopping will likely be a factor for certain luxury goods retailers, higher end apparel retailers, and the exotic location travel industry.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2021

    Is Hobby Lobby making a mistake (a big one) ending 40 percent off coupons?

    For as much as 2020 has shown that consumers can adapt to different modes of shopping, general consumer behavior does not lend itself to change when there is no perceived benefit or requirement. By using heavy couponing in the past, and to some success, Hobby Lobby effectively gained a lot of customers and established the use of those coupons as part of their shopping expectations. Now, by trying to shift away from them, and doing it abruptly, the promise of everyday low pricing will not be enough to immediately convince fickle customer that they'll save as much money. As David Naumann highlighted, these types of transitions are best handled over a period of time. In addition to his idea about limiting the coupon usage, Hobby Lobby could use this transition as an opportunity to introduce a loyalty program whose top tier members could still use the coupons, and then gradually shift them towards other benefits.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2020

    Which 2020 returns options will stick?

    Contactless returns make a lot of sense given the current state of the pandemic and with many shoppers still avoiding entering retail locations when possible. Retailers that have already invested in people, processes and technology to support curbside pickup should be able to leverage those solutions for curbside returns as well, and I think curbside retail in general will continue as a trend post-pandemic. Retailers with only the deepest of pockets will be able to support free home pickup for returns processing but, if Target or others join Walmart, it may become a way to fend off lost sales.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2020

    Best Buy shrinks sales floors for a more fulfilling experience

    The shift in Best Buy store layouts six or seven years ago to account for the rise in showrooming made sense at the time, and the planned shift to account for the rise in omni-orders makes a lot of sense at this time as well. It's another example of Best Buy being reactive and proactive to shifts in the consumer journey. Even if shopper behavior heads back to pre-pandemic tendencies, Best Buy seems well positioned to have the flexibility to optimize for whatever the trends are happening at the time. More than likely, the need for more store fulfillment and pickups will remain for the foreseeable future.
  • Posted on: 12/01/2020

    Does COVID-19 provide retailers with new opportunities to bond with customers?

    The phrase "We're all in this together" has been over-used during 2020, but it certainly applies when assessing the bond between retailers and consumers. Shoppers can identify with the challenges these organizations are facing in putting their frontline employees into potentially hazardous environments and they appreciate the extra lengths retailers have gone to in order to implement curbside pickup or expedited product delivery. Retailers are doing their part to help make our shopping experience safer, and that's going to resonate with consumers. The ones who are succeeding will see increased loyalty carry over post-pandemic.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2020

    Amazon aims to keep holiday deliveries ‘spoiler free’

    Even outside of avoiding package spoilers, delivery flexibility has seen an increased demand from consumers over the past several years. As online and digital retail grows closer and closer to real-time fulfillment, modern customers want the ability to not only track that order in real-time but to have control around how, where and when it gets delivered. Given the added aspect of having the majority of the household at home, delivery flexibility takes on a new dimension as certain shoppers don't necessarily want gift recipients bringing in and/or opening packages as they are dropped off at front doors. Outside of Amazon, many direct-to-consumer brand retailers are also seeing increases in demand for spoiler-free packaging, so that it may not be directly explicit where the order is coming from upon initial inspection.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2020

    Will GameStop play better online?

    There are certainly a lot of parallels to be drawn to Blockbuster Video back between 2000 and 2008. GameStop had enjoyed tremendous success with its physical stores given that online bandwidth had not yet allowed most console gamers to switch to pure online play. However as internet speeds continue to increase into homes, games are increasingly switching to downloadable formats. Because GameStop itself is not a game content producer, they need to find creative ways to demonstrate their value to their customers and suppliers. I agree with their shareholder who is pushing for a much stronger and dedicated push into online. The stores as they exist today will be a relic within a few years (or less); however, continued experimenting with different gaming niches and concepts may be able to net value out of a greatly reduced number of locations.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2020

    Stop & Shop goes back to the future with nostalgic brands

    Nostalgia and throwback marketing has been popular for quite some time in the entertainment industry via countless TV show and movie reboots and retro-gaming. And everyone is aware of how cyclical apparel can be in resurfacing and repopularizing old trends. I think bringing back popular brands and items in the FMCG space makes a lot of sense to drive attention as well. I'm not sure they'll move the needle too much in terms of total incremental revenue, but launching a "new" product that already has brand resonance ingrained with many consumers is a great way to grow sales.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2020

    Sorry, Virginia, there will be no Santa at Macy’s

    Well said George. Whereas I was only advocating for options where all recommended safety protocols (social distancing, masks, a cleansed environment, etc.) could be put in place, the sheer fact that Santa's presence will drive additional crowds in an already crowded location could be inviting unnecessary danger to the situation.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2020

    Sorry, Virginia, there will be no Santa at Macy’s

    I feel like there could have been creative ways to maintain the physical presence of Santa in a healthy and safe manner. Be it the plexiglass option that was mentioned in the article, or perhaps having him safely cordoned off but still able to wave to children. If anything, young children being able to see "the real Santa" wearing a mask and practicing social distancing would help reinforce for them that we're all in this together but can still live our lives safely.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2020

    Postmates looks to solve local retail’s last mile

    This is a synergistic opportunity for retailers without the staff, processes or technology to handle last-mile delivery. However, similar to DoorDash for local food delivery and Instacart/Shipt for grocery delivery, the ultimate success will depend on how well the financial model proves viable for both the retailer and the consumer. Most consumers have expectations for free shipping from retailers, especially during the holidays, so it remains to be seen if they'll be willing to pay either $4.99 or $12.99 to receive goods from local retailers who previously didn't have multi-channel offerings.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2020

    The Container Store cleans up with a Netflix series

    Product placement has had a long history in the entertainment media space, with many success stories and quite a few misses. Like all forms of marketing, it’s a matter of ROI on the spend itself. How much is the placement going to cost my organization, how well is my brand being represented, what is the target audience for the media, how many impressions will I be getting, and what sort of new customer growth or revenue will be generated? Specifically for The Container Store, this has been a great win because of the massive spike in home organization and DIY home improvement during 2020. It’s a leading, respected brand in that space, and it provides the answer to the question, “Ok, but how can I do that for MY home?" for many home improvement show audience members. I expect to see additional collaborations between brands and the streaming, more agile content providers going forward.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2020

    Where are curbside and BOPIS services falling short?

    Over the past seven or eight months, retailers have ironed out many of their curbside process wrinkles and gotten progressively better as the year has gone on from an execution standpoint. The ordering process, wait times, location designation and car loading have increased as retailers have become smarter about balancing internal efficiency with customer convenience. The biggest obstacle and ongoing sense of frustration is accurate inventory visibility. By not having a good sense of true product availability to promise, retailers are going to disappoint customers with either out-of-stock notifications or substitutions. Some of the visibility concerns are around the still being repaired supply chain, but retailers must do a better job of implementing real-time inventory that can be promptly reserved for BOPIS and BOPAC orders.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2020

    Macy’s is turning stores dark for the holidays

    As others have noted, Macy's hand has mostly been forced in this situation. Too many stores and too little foot traffic had them on a downward trajectory even prior to the pandemic. That being said, I think this is a smart move which drives some value out of underperforming locations and likely helps consumers get online orders fulfilled quicker. If nothing else, Macy's is at least recognizing the PR value in a headline that reads about converting to a dark store to meet surging online demand vs. a headline that reads about having to close yet more stores before the holidays.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2020

    Staples to accept returns from other stores

    Staples has been looking to expand beyond just an office supply and printing solutions organization for the past several years, and the partnership with Optoro appears to be the next step in their roadmap. Their Staples Connect format suffered the unfortunate timing of launching just as the COVID-19 outbreak hit the U.S., but it showed their commitment to be an overall solutions-oriented destination for businesses and individuals. Staples needs foot traffic for their physical store approach to make both sense and money, and with the large number of retailers which Optoro supports, this partnership should indeed drive consumers to their locations where they'll hopefully make some home and home office purchases while processing their returns. Even though Kohl's has been one of the larger retailer which has embraced this concept, I would not be surprised to see others join the fray, such as convenience locations that have already dipped their toes in pickup lockers or struggling mall tenants that may use this as a last gasp for foot traffic.

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