Sheri Blattel

Associate Principal, Cushing Terrell

Sheri Blattel brings 30 years of design experience to her work in the retail sphere and along the way has partnered with some of retail’s biggest names including Whole Foods and Crate & Barrel. She co-leads Cushing Terrell’s retail design practice with a passion for branded and unexpected experiences. Sheri believes physical retail environments are critical to a retailer’s success and meeting the needs of today’s consumer.

Recently published in Contract Magazine with her article, The Intersection of Health, Wellness, and Retail. Sheri has published several pieces on authenticity and storytelling and is an avid participant in the industry’s leading conferences and trade shows, serving on panels and sharing her knowledge of the retail experience and current trends.

Sheri is committed to inspiring diversity, equity, and inclusion in both her practice at Cushing Terrell and in the retail industry.

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  • Posted on: 04/22/2020

    Will virtual trade shows replace in-person events?

    I predict a balance of both physical and virtual that will vary across industries. There are some inherent benefits to a virtual platform for quick-hitting informational webinars and brief presentations. Those have been standard practice for some time. The volume of people gathering in close proximity will transition over time as we adopt new physical distancing protocols resulting in a phased re-entry to hosting large scale conferences and trade shows. Personal interaction cannot be replaced, it must exist in some form. Some of the best contacts and opportunities in my career have been a result of the informal exchange in the coffee line or introducing yourself to the attendee sitting next to you in a presentation.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2020

    Sam’s Club rolls out concierge service and H-E-B does a Favor for seniors

    It is a new order for grocery retail during this crisis. Be it small independent grocers or large corporate retailers, everyone is doing their part on the front lines of the fight against this virus to provide for the essential need of food and sustenance. Efforts are being put forth by many grocers to provide for the senior segment in such a way that helps to lessen their risk and fears while making food shopping more accessible. All of grocery retail is to be commended. Believe that grocery retail will be forever impacted in new and innovative ways resulting from this unprecedented event.
  • Posted on: 03/24/2020

    What’s the right messaging amid the coronavirus outbreak?

    Messaging is important in both stable times and uncertain times. Retailers need to be authentic, compassionate, and transparent. Sharing what they are doing to support their internal teams and their communities is important as well as tailoring the message to match the brand and service. Silence during this time is not golden.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2020

    Costco is refusing returns on hoarded items

    Costco is not the only retailer establishing return policies on specific items as well as imposing limits on number of items purchased. It is a necessary and appropriate retailer response during this time. Retailers have shortened hours to provide more stocking time overnight to restore shelves with products. There is also what we hope to be a temporary demand issue as food production and suppliers work to catch up. The hoarding behavior for many is a basic physiological response being stimulated by fear and panic. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs places physiological needs as the foundation, food and shelter are those basic fundamental needs. Understandably the risk of exposure and tampering are of concern which further supports retailers' positioning.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2020

    Instacart just leaves deliveries at the door as customers hole up against the coronavirus

    For the short term, this will be the makings of a perfect storm. With each passing day more people are being asked to work from home and limit their outside interactions. Travel is down or cancelled.Conferences and meetings across the country are being cancelled or postponed. Visits to any places where there is concentration of people will be avoided. All these scenarios create the opportunity and demand for more delivery services in grocery, ready to eat food, goods, and potentially even services such as dry cleaning delivery as more people are opting to have items deep cleaned. There are multiple challenges: keeping up with demand along with having available workforce and the supply-chain challenges as the increased demand for items depletes resources and availability. There will also be an impact on brick and mortar in-store sales during this time. Retailers and providers are faced with difficult challenges until the COVID-19 novel outbreak is under control. The upside is that many who have not before utilized delivery services or who have been reluctant will experience the convenience that will hold beyond the current crisis. This does also present the need for continued evolution of new solutions to keep up with the increased use of these delivery platforms. I believe retailers will be faced with both immediate challenges and some lingering permanent challenges as this situation plays out.
  • Posted on: 03/05/2020

    Will Rent the Runway get hit by the coronavirus?

    The rapid spread of Covid-19, the varying information available and the myriad of press releases has placed cause for concern on everyone's mind. Transparent and accurate communication is critical from retailers to consumers in these uncertain times. As mentioned, events and gatherings are being cancelled and/or postponed nationally at a multitude of levels. For Rent the Runway, those events are a driving factor in their business platform. They are certain to see an impact as well as all other secondhand and rental entities. The reality is that the impact spreads beyond this segment to all business as well as retailers, suppliers, entertainment venues, restaurants, malls, and places of gathering until there is confidence re-established surrounding the spread and impact of this virus. While there is risk associated with the virus, vigilant hygiene and appropriate precautions are the best defense.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2020

    Shoppers have a love/hate relationship with self-checkouts

    Self checkout is intended to provide a friction-less, convenient, and consumer driven experience. There will be shoppers who prefer this option and still shoppers preferring the traditional checkout check stand experience. Technology improvements will go a long way to enhancing the friction-less component and eliminating the challenges that slow the self-check process and create hassles. As for impact on job loss, the entire workforce is shifting in retail so I believe there is a space for everyone. It is critical though that some form of CX occurs at the self-checkout point to provide added security as well as a brand ambassador on hand to reinforce the consumer experience.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2020

    Is it time for retailers to move beyond fulfillment and on to experience?

    A consistent and unified brand experience is the expectation of the consumer regardless of what "channel" they are utilizing on their journey. Ultimately, success lies in an experience where the end-to-end journey, regardless of your interaction point, exemplifies and delivers on that consistent brand experience. Retailers cannot simply "move beyond fulfillment and on to experience," they must embrace and deliver on both by meeting the consumer where they are and considering that each consumer has differing preferences that modulate based on what product they are purchasing and what fits into their particular lifestyle. Technologies will continue to advance, creating more avenues for consumers to access purchase options, blended with the continual need for engagement and connection to the physical product and brand.
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