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: 11/13/2019

    Study: Consumers don’t enjoy doing their holiday shopping online

    Based on the study, it appears that the displeasure from the experience has nothing to do with the front end but rather on the back end in fulfillment. Some of these issues are self-inflicted as retailers have begun competing on faster shipping times. What this study is showing is that those promises are being under-delivered on. The retailers that will win at the end of this Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be the ones that quickly solve these issues.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2019

    What happens now that Nike has called off its deal with Amazon?

    It is definitely a power play between two giants. The biggest risk a retailer has when selling via Amazon is price contamination and loss of control over the brand story. The biggest benefit is access to more consumers that are slightly more price-conscious. It is a difficult trade-off for any brand to make. However, with Nike being the first, there is a chance that other brands that want to either expand their own DTC e-commerce business or take back some control will now feel more empowered to do so.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2019

    Survey says consumers want online orders shipped fast and free

    The baseline keeps shifting. On the one hand, retailers are constantly trying to outdo one another to deliver quality service and shopping experiences and then, on the other hand, consumers get used to it and demand for it to become the "new normal." Retailers can sometimes get stuck in a never-ending cycle of trying to top one another.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2019

    Will a curated online marketplace make Brooklinen a home goods star?

    The success for any online marketplace is determined by critical mass. You have to have enough buyers and sellers to make the platform sustainable for the long-term. Once you have critical mass, then you can diversify. Think of Uber. They started out working with one use case and then as they got more people on their platform, branched out to other adjacent use cases that are still focused on transportation from A to B. It started still with B2C (food delivery through Uber Eats) and migrated to B2B (logistics through Uber Freight). For Brooklinen, the benefit to consumers is a one-stop shop experience while for manufacturers or sellers, it is likely an additional channel to sell their products and general brand awareness. The next step in Brooklinen's journey is to investigate how they monetize both sides. Should they take a cut or commission (like ride-sharing apps such as Uber) from the seller? Should they have more of a subscription offering for sellers (like Etsy)? Should the consumer also have to pay something besides just the price for the item bought?
  • Posted on: 10/10/2019

    Personalized promos add up to a ‘win-win’ for retailers and consumers

    Successful personalized promotions are contingent on the quality of data that is available. If a r/e-tailer is able to define the shopper segments - their price sensitivity, how much they use promotions to trigger a purchase and what types of products/promotional events they gravitate towards - then personalization can be very effective. However as the study corroborates, a common pitfall is when r/e-tailers become exuberant about the immediate financial uptick they get from promotions. This is not sustainable long-term as promotions become a lever to meet financial targets and consumers get hooked on using promotions to trigger a purchase. R/e-tailers then have swung too wildly the other way and look for avenues to reduce their promotional dependence.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    What if stores innovated like restaurants?

    While restaurants definitely do innovate, the challenges that retailers face are different which could explain the speed of innovation. Retailers have to:
    1. Work with hundreds of thousands of SKUs vs. a hundred (at the top end) for restaurants.
    2. Deal with branded manufacturers vs. purely suppliers. As a result, retailers rely on the manufacturers to do the consumer innovation on their end. Retailers do have their own private labels (e.g. 365 at Whole Foods) that they can use to innovate on but driving a visible difference can be difficult. Retailers also do not have full control on trade terms which are jointly set by both parties.
    3. Identify channel conflict that can exist between brick-and-mortar vs. in-store vs. other formats where the same product is sold. Restaurants, on the other hand, own the full chain and the format (food court vs. standalone) which usually affects price and sometimes selection. Also, the occasions are different. Restaurants cater to immediate consumption vs. retailers also catering to those who want to stock up.
    There are definitely lessons to learn about using store layouts to encourage conversion of purchase, speedy checkout, delivery etc. The assortment itself is a challenge.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2019

    Zulily thinks it can beat Amazon and Walmart on price

    While many retailers like to think acquiring consumers using price is a winning strategy, more often that not, a price war gets triggered. It is hard to imagine that Zulily has a supplier and logistics cost advantage over Amazon and Walmart. A few moves on key products by them can easily erode a lot of Zulily's margins quickly and then it becomes a race to the bottom. Many companies that are now almost extinct have tried price match guarantees (RadioShack comes to mind).
  • Posted on: 10/01/2019

    Do retail metrics need to be reinvented?

    I think the P&L metrics should not really change. As the store format is evolving and retailers are using a combination of brick-and-mortar, online, and pop-ups, metrics move away from the store (like same-store sales) and more towards the consumer (like average price per unit, total transaction size) etc.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2019

    Can Forever 21 come back from bankruptcy?

    For brands to survive for decades, they have to constantly innovate to meet the trends that their target consumer segments want. Forever 21 really peaked in the three decades between 1990 and 2010 when teens wanted massive closets with lots and lots of pieces to build their ensembles. However now, Millennials and Gen Z are trending towards minimalism and thinking about the broader impact that fashion should have when it comes to sustainability.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2019

    Will free same-day delivery boost Macy’s online sales?

    The biggest questions that will determine whether the free same-day delivery is a success are:
    1. Will customers buy enough in every transaction to offset the cost (somewhere between $0.01 and $8 which was the fee)? Very often the real costs are not factored into retailer decisions which can hurt profit dollars down the line.
      1. Will the number and frequency of "trips" represented by tickets/transactions be incremental? Otherwise, there is potential to cannibalize in-store impulses. Shoppers can absolutely be impulsive online but they are usually better at postponing the decision by "saving for later" than they are in-store.
  • 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.

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