Shikha Jain

Senior Director, Simon-Kucher & Partners

Shikha is a Senior Director in the Boston office.

Since joining Simon-Kucher in 2012, Shikha has specialized on all topics related topline growth. Her portfolio of clients spans the B2C world within consumer goods, durables, cosmetics, fashion/apparel, grocery, consumer services, consumer internet and luxury goods. Shikha works with C-level executives to find solutions for effective go-to-market strategies across price strategy and optimization, portfolio architecture, promotional effectiveness, consumer segmentation and value proposition and revenue management organization creation. While her work has been primarily in the US, she has experience across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Shikha graduated from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with a concentration in strategy and marketing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Mathematics from Smith College. Prior to her MBA, Shikha was an Analyst for a global investment bank focusing on M&A and capital markets advisory.

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  • Posted on: 09/03/2019

    Will H&M’s ambassador program turn employees into social influencers?

    As there are so many fast fashion options to choose from, employees at a particular brand already have the affinity with the brand's style. With H&M's employee influencer program, there is no conflict between the individual and H&M as both work for the same company. The program likely has additional side benefits - creating aspirations for employees who want to be a part of the program and increasing retention rates.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2019

    Target leans on vendors in trade war

    Keeping prices low is Target's value proposition so the move makes sense for maintaining Target's advantage here. While on the surface they likely have blanket buyer power, it's not that black and white. Target provides household brands at great prices and those brands are important to drive traffic to the store and that's when certain suppliers counterbalance the buying power. There is enough demand for their products across many channels. To achieve success, Target might have to take a more balanced commercial and trade terms strategy to win with customers and suppliers.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2019

    Lord & Taylor to be sold to Le Tote

    What a bold move! There are so many interesting trends happening here.
    1. A rental service going into a high-end department store tells us they need the physical brick-and-mortar presence and that maybe consumers are not ready for 100 percent e-commerce businesses.
    2. The lackluster performance of L&T shows that the large store formats are on the decline and newer generations browse and shop very differently.
    3. A rental subscription business making such a bit bet indicates that they believe either majority of consumers still buy vs. rent or that the rental market is going to take off much faster than expected.
    In terms of thinking through the merger there are a lot of considerations.
      How much overlap, if any, does Le Tote expect in the consumer base? I'd imagine very little since L&T is typically more sophisticated vs. Le Tote which seems to be be aimed at a young professional audience.
    1. How will the technology for curation be used in-store and has Le Tote tested this?
    2. What will be the different business models used? Will it be primarily rental, rent-to-own, or buy right out? How will these different models interact and how will the assortment be fenced by business model?
  • Posted on: 08/27/2019

    Will Nordstrom’s sustainable fashion site win over eco-conscious consumers?

    Addressing sustainability has really taken off and become mainstream in the last three or four years. The fact that Zara, a fast fashion brand, wants to make all its cotton and linen material sustainable, organic and recyclable by 2025 and that H&M now has sustainable collections featured in their stores means that fashion retailers are not just listening to consumers but also recognizing that they have a big role to play. In a recent study at Simon-Kucher with ~800 consumers, we found that sustainability was the #2 most important CSR cause (after fair labor and fair trade practices). That said, sustainability has been increasing in importance but is still middle of the pack when it comes to the ranking of value drivers and comes after things like price, quality, brand, functionality, style, etc. Another interesting finding is that Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X care more about sustainability than Baby Boomers so while it is already late, it is also the right time for brands to become eco-conscious to capture the trend. Finally, sustainable clothing can demand a premium of 15 percent to 30 percent which means that if the economics work for fashion manufacturers to invest in transforming their operations and supply chain to become sustainable, then they will be rewarded on the top line.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2019

    Will Disney shops entertain guests inside Target’s stores?

    Disney is undeniably the most desired license brand available. It has something for almost everyone. Target is more likely to benefit since the incremental revenues for them from Disney are likely to be more than the other way around. Target will likely see higher than average basket sizes for shoppers but I am unsure whether having Disney will drive traffic. Essentially, the move will help increase in-store purchases for existing shoppers.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2019

    Is it time for retailers to create a tech strategy for pop-up shops?

    If the goal of the retailer is to put the consumer at the center, then pop-ups are the way to go. You can reach new consumers you might not have before (especially for e-tailers going offline), be agile and nimble in your operations without the burden. Pop-ups also match the theme of the next generation of shoppers which revolve primarily around impermanence (think Uber replacing car ownership). As is the case with new formats, the logistics and data will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated but I will not be surprised in 20 years when the pop-up format will represent a sizable channel for retailers.
  • Posted on: 08/22/2019

    Groupon hopes its rewards program engenders more loyalty

    What was most interesting to me was that a.) revenue has been down because of reduction in active customers and b.) the loyalty program was launched quietly. I would be interested to see if Groupon is able to use the program to continue to provide value to deal-oriented shoppers especially since so many companies already run their own promotions or partner with credit cards to promote. I don't think that this will be what saves Groupon but it could stop some of the bleeding in the near-term.
  • Posted on: 08/22/2019

    Will shoppers thank heaven for mobile checkout at 7-Eleven?

    Mobile checkout has so many benefits. It's faster and more convenient but in addition reduces the number of shoppers that abandon purchase when they see long checkout lines. It might even have 7-Eleven steal share from other similar retailers in addition to c-stores like Duane Reade.
  • Posted on: 08/19/2019

    Kroger’s trucks roll into food deserts

    Why can't the initiative be both? I think that it is great that Kroger is leveraging its core business model for both a good cause and also as an incremental revenue stream.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2019

    Can Jill Soltau rebuild J.C. Penney?

    It's great to see that Jill Soltau has the courage to turn around this iconic brand. What will be crucial in rebranding is to avoid repeating mistakes from history. For example, if the brand will continue to be about "great deals for premium products" and that is who shops at JCP, then reducing markdowns might be a good short-term strategy to regain profits but questionable on its efficacy long-term.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2019

    Is it time for retailers to tier up their loyalty/reward programs?

    For the highest value customers the biggest question is whether loyalty programs keep these customers within their four walls or if they are just another promotional activity that can cannibalize potential future sales.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2019

    Will thredUP make Macy’s more thrifty?

    Two key questions will determine whether the partnership is a success:
    • Does thredUP help drive traffic to the Macy's store that is either purely incremental or increases trip frequency of the current Macy's shoppers?
    • Will having thredUP help sell Macy's merchandise once those shoppers are in the store?
    If the answer to either of these questions is no, then this move may not work.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2019

    Is Nike’s new subscription program for kids a parent’s best friend?

    Overall fantastic idea. Why does this work for the parents?
    • Employs principles of the sharing economy for the right segment - children naturally grow out of shoes at a quick pace vs. adults who have a different needs or occasion in mind (collection/replacement, use case like running).
    • Increases affordability. Allowing parents who might not be inclined to purchase a new pair every time their kids show signs of growing.
    Why does this work for Nike?
    • They have just increased their customer lifetime value. At the middle price point where most will likely gravitate, the annual price for a subscription is $360 ($30 * 12) which is likely far greater than if Nike relied on individual transactions twice or even three times a year.
    • Increasing goodwill and social capital. Happy parents and happy children will increase the favorability that consumers will have for the Nike brand and create halo effects to other parts of their business.
    • Drive customer engagement and increase loyalty. If all your kid’s shoes needs are coming from one brand, there’s really not much need to shop elsewhere.
    • Allows Nike to test subscription models for one segment and seeing whether there is potential to roll-out similar models to other categories/consumers.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2019

    Does North Face’s new concept point the chain in the right direction?

    The most successful brands put their customers at the forefront and allow customers to fully engage with the brand. It's moving towards relationships vs. transactions. Towards services over products. REI does a great job of this - they know that their core segment is the nature-lover or someone that is passionate about the outdoors. Not only do they sell the equipment needed to pursue these activities but the experience around it - workshops and sessions for things like rope knots, camping for beginners and also nature trips all around the world. If we think about pure vertically-integrated apparel, L.L.Bean does this to a certain degree as well through their in-store classes. So if anything, going beyond transactions is not necessarily "new" in the space that The North Face is in but in fact something that they need to play catch-up on so their new format should be a success.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2019

    Amazon adds personal shopping to Prime Wardrobe

    There are many benefits that are already apparent but also some aspects that are still yet to be proven. What will work now:
    1. Overcoming the biggest barrier to fashion. The downside of e-tailing fashion is the ability to try before you buy. There is so much variability in terms of how clothing will look on your body. By allowing people to have zero commitment upfront, it recreates patterns of browsing which can help with surprise finds and impulse purchases.
    2. Creating good and better options. By coming out with two packages – they have leveraged sound principles of packaging. The Prime Wardrobe option caters towards those that want to give it a shot and see if it is worth it. For those consumers that see value and want to upgrade, they can jump into Personal Shopper over time.
    3. Logistics and shipping. The biggest hurdle that consumer product subscription companies face is typically their logistics aspect of shipping goods and Amazon has set the gold standard here especially with apparel that has a disproportionately higher rate of return.
    What still needs to happen:
    1. Building up the seller marketplace. If Amazon is going to be the middleperson between brands and consumers (e-commerce version of the department store), then you need to have a lot of choice for consumers. To achieve mass adoption will require having a good cross-section of popular brands to choose from.
    2. Getting the personal shopper right. Stitch Fix has invested a lot into their team of data scientists that are able to use AI/ML to curate the right products and is a lot that goes into their success. To truly compete, will mean that Amazon is either doing it differently or better. This is still an unknown.

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