PROFILE

Stephen Rector

Founder, President, Bakertown Consulting

Stephen Rector is an international retail executive and consultant, with extensive experience leading merchandise strategy, sourcing, pricing, and curation across a variety of channels, including ecommerce, mobile, physical stores, and digital marketplaces like Alibaba’s TMall & Taobao platforms, Tencent’s WeChat platform , as well as Amazon’s Marketplace.

His work across a broad set of categories has yielded accelerated growth for digital and physical retail business models in both North America and Asia.

Stephen has been a guest on Bloomberg TV’s Daybreak Asia & Daybreak Australia discussing ecommerce & digital trends from both a Chinese and American perspective. He has also been interviewed by Yahoo Finance & Reuters.

Currently, Stephen is working with a brand management company based in New York City developing their direct to consumer business & overall ecommerce business strategy.

Previously, Stephen helped establish Macy’s merchandise strategy and supply chain in China, creating a multimillion dollar international expansion business for the iconic American retailer and department store chain.

Prior to Macy’s China, Stephen led women’s merchandising for fast fashion retailer Rue21 and served in leadership positions at Macy’s Inc. in New York City.

His expertise and international business network spans across North America and Asia, helping companies build efficient global supply chains for fast fashion, navigate international customs for import & export, establish fashion & trend centers of excellence, recruit and develop talent, and deploy merchandise planning and forecasting tools.

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  • Posted on: 10/18/2019

    Nearly half of online fashion shoppers say social media inspired their last purchase

    Social commerce is the wave of the future - be it shopping via Instagram, customer reviews or using Twitter as a brand's “customer service department.” Brands with stores should use social media to complement their in-store strategy, otherwise they will become irrelevant to young consumers.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2019

    Gymboree to get a new start as part of The Children’s Place

    This makes sense - take what worked from Gymboree and capitalize on that, without the baggage that caused them to liquidate. Whether or not that means new standalone stores - I'm not sure if that is even necessary considering the current store count of The Children's Place - they should focus on online and in-store and take learnings from the results.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2019

    Will shoe swapping be the new shoe shopping?

    Where does Shoe Bank make money? Do they take a commission off the sale of the item a person puts up on the site? While this is a novel idea, I don't think it will cause sales to drop at traditional shoe retailers, nor will it cause issues for RTR or other platforms.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Will customers give Walmart the keys to their homes?

    Many people (myself included) have no problem letting people into our homes to do plumbing and electrical work while not physically there. So assuming there is a level of trust that Walmart is vetting their delivery people, what is the difference in letting a person deliver groceries to your kitchen? Not that much actually. There could actually be demand for this - but the tests will need to prove it out from a financial perspective in order to scale.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2019

    Will Best Buy wrap up Black Friday sales with a price match guarantee in October?

    This is great for the members of their loyalty program! Special discounts, exclusive availability and more will continue to be offered to the most loyal shoppers. This is also a smart marketing move to get more people to sign up for the My Best Buy program! Black Friday, here we come!
  • Posted on: 10/14/2019

    REI ventures into drop shipping

    Endless aisle is a key buzzword in the industry, however, it's not for everyone. For fashion retailers, sometimes "less is more" is a better strategy to tell compelling stories and not overwhelm the customers with too many choices.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2019

    Can Target’s chief merchandising officer turn Bed Bath & Beyond around?

    Smart move by the Bed Bath & Beyond board to bring in Mark Tritton. By taking the Target method of turning goods quickly, the Bed Bath & Beyond stores should look cleaner and more organized than the current state of affairs. I believe the future for Bed Bath & Beyond just got quite a bit brighter with this announcement!
  • Posted on: 10/09/2019

    REI opens outdoor adventure gateway concept

    This is a brilliant idea - not only is REI going to be in a place where tourists flock, they are also giving back to the local community which will help maintain a loyal customer following throughout the year. To have a location close to where customers will actually use the product they are purchasing makes a ton of sense. I am excited to hear where else they will be opening these concept stores in the future!
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    Best Buy makes a big bet on health tech

    This is a win-win for Best Buy - diversification of product categories while catering to a target customer that has money to spend. Health tech products will continue to be a huge growth category as the U.S. continues to age - Best Buy is smart for making this a focus for the company and making noise about it in the media.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2019

    Zulily thinks it can beat Amazon and Walmart on price

    Before competing on price, I would suggest competing on or exceeding the competition on service. From my experience, it takes much longer for a Zulily package to get to a customer versus both Amazon and Walmart - so by matching price what does the customer get? An item to come a week later? Doesn't sound like a winning proposition to me.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2019

    Foot Locker invests in streetwear e-commerce platform

    Foot Locker continues to invest in digital-first companies and it's a very smart move. They are gaining customer data and insights from these other platforms that can help make better decisions for the Foot Locker brand in terms of store openings, merchandise assortment and inventory levels. NTWRK has come a long way already in the year since it has launched in terms of its own platform. It will be exciting to see how the financial investment of Foot Locker will improve the NTWRK experience in the near future.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2019

    Can Forever 21 come back from bankruptcy?

    The low price, fast sell-through model worked for a while at Forever 21 but, as foot traffic in malls dwindled, those stacks of clothes did not move. They have been known to "recycle" merchandise - pulling it off the floor as the season ends and then putting it back out the following year. The customer is smarter than that. And while foot traffic slowed, they did little to grow their online business, and with such low price points it probably was very unprofitable. Lots of things to improve on, including getting inventory levels in check and a focus on digital. I give them a 50/50 shot at this point.
  • Posted on: 09/30/2019

    Is Rent the Runway over-promising on deliveries?

    This seems like growing pains to me, but with social media these pains are made so prominent and glaring that RTR could see a blip of an impact on sales in the short term. I do think it's great that the CEO is out front with this issue to their customers - it shows a level of compassion to their customer's needs that sometimes is lacking from other companies.
  • Posted on: 09/26/2019

    Will selling online be the start of something big or bad for Marshalls?

    E-commerce is all about efficiency and getting products that a customer wants and needs as quickly as possible. The "thrill of the hunt" is not easy to replicate online. Therefore I'm not sure if this will be a big part of TJXs business ever. One thing that will be interesting to see is which "best" brands that have no problem sending excess goods to TJX stores will allow their brands' names to be posted on marshalls.com. It's easier for luxury brands to selloff when they know a customer will see one or two of them in a store - it's a different conversation when you see your product at a discount on an off-price website versus your own branded website.
  • Posted on: 09/24/2019

    What will Apple’s reinvented Fifth Avenue flagship mean for the brand?

    It's very important for brands like Apple to continue to raise the bar in terms of the customer experience and put other brands on notice. The timing of the opening is spot on - not only with the new product launches but with the holidays coming up. The doubling of the Genius Bar and increase in employees is smart, as this will become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.

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