Verlin Youd

SVP Partners, Theatro
Verlin is a global retail technology solution executive with 20 years of successful retail industry and software experience. He is currently SVP Global Sales for Theatro, an innovative start-up dedicated to driving efficient and effective communication across the entire workforce, especially hourly workers. Verlin has held senior executive positions at a number of innovative solution providers, including Verizon, SCOPIX, SAP, Motorola, IBM, and Systech Retail Solutions. As Managing Principal at Verizon Verlin was responsible for delivering value to the largest retail clients. At SCOPIX Verlin was SVP Sales, Marketing & Delivery and drove high ROI value using video analytics and business intelligence. A Retail, Wholesale & Transportation at SAP, Verlin was responsible for the global retail, wholesale, and transportation solutions portfolio and business. Prior to SAP, Mr. Youd was the VP/GM of Global Industry Solutions for Motorola where he led strategies and initiatives across all target industries including Retail, Wholesale, and Transportation, as well as Manufacturing, Energy and Utilities, Healthcare and Field Mobility. Verlin held the same position at Symbol Technologies prior to Motorola’s acquisition in 2007. He also spent time at IBM and Systech Retail Systems (now part of Oracle & Omnicorp), where he held a variety of executive and management roles in roles in sales, marketing, solutions, channels, product management, and development. Verlin holds a BS in Finance from Brigham Young University, and an MBA from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He resides with his family in North Carolina where he is active in local community groups, activities and charitable organizations, including the Retail Orphan Initiative (RetailROI) where is enjoys focusing on initiatives in Haiti, his second home. All opinions expressed by Verlin are his own, and not those of his current employer.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2019

    Chrome extension shows Goodwill to shoppers, not to Amazon or Walmart

    Credit to Goodwill! There is a large and growing demographic of those willing to purchase something second hand. Amazon has been offering "used" versions of some items for quite a while and second hand/consignment has been growing in both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar. When you think about it much of eBay is second hand as well. Additionally, Goodwill has taken a clever approach, using a plugin that exposes the Goodwill offer when someone is shopping other very popular e-commerce sites. I do expect that Walmart, Amazon, and others will respond with their own second hand strategy, either directly or in partnership.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2019

    Okay Google, how can you help grow Walmart’s online grocery business?

    Simple answer, yes. Conversational commerce is set to grow very quickly as consumers continue to use voice capabilities to talk to their technology be it their phone, their Roku remote, their car, and their smart speakers. I would expect it to grow at rates similar to mobile commerce in the early days. Conversational commerce is also invading the store for the use of store employees. Drop into any Container Store, Home Depot Canada, Neiman Marcus Last Call and a number of other well known retailers and you'll see store associates using conversational commerce enabled by an AI driven personal digital assistant to better serve customers by connecting to each other and enterprise systems.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2019

    Will a new name and private labels give DSW a leg up on the competition?

    Quick answer, yes. DSW needs to continue to adapt, blend e-comm and store, ensure the right store experience, and stabilize leadership to continue success. The new name and private labels will be important adaptations to position against the competition.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2019

    Can BOPIS keep up with its own success?

    I agree with many of the comments below but would add a wrinkle. It is critical to have the product available when the customer arrives, a designated space to store it so that it doesn't end up in someone else's hands, and someone to help the customer immediately. These can all be done using processes and systems available today. However, the critical challenge is the orchestration of all of the above in such a way that any/all "friction" is removed, meaning the customer shouldn't have to wait in line, the product must be easy to find/deliver, and ideally a store team member should be available just in time to deliver the product as well as any other special offers in the moment. The "magic" is the retailer's ability to handle this orchestration and "wow" the customer into coming back for more and more. Retailers like The Container Store understand this, are executing well today, and are continuing to innovate to stay ahead of the competitive curve. I'd encourage anyone to try BOPIS with The Container Store. You're likely to learn a thing or two and come back for more!
  • Posted on: 10/22/2018

    Stores rarely ID customers before they check out

    Great point Kenneth, identifying is just the start. If you are going to identify customers you must have a means of communicating that to the right store personnel and providing those personnel the means of delivering value to the customer as a result. If you can't provide the value, you better not be doing it.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2018

    Stores rarely ID customers before they check out

    Evan, I understand the point, however, today's in-store experience could be compared to having to register and input all of my personal information each and every time I log on to Amazon. I am happy to have a store retailer maintain that information and know that I am in the store if it provides better convenience, service, and value. I would love it if when I go into my favorite hardware store they already know my latest projects rather than having to explain it all to every employee I encounter. Wouldn't it be great if the employee of my favorite department already knew my clothing size and preference and didn't waste time going through all of that when they could be finding and showing me what I like and need? The right combination of service focus, people, process, and technologies should be able to deliver and help keep stores relevant.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2018

    Stores rarely ID customers before they check out

    Some great comments already. In my case, I am happy to be identified on Amazon and other e-commerce sites because of the convenience, service, and value. I would be just as pleased to be identified as I walk into a store if I received similar convenience, service, and value. Of course, in both cases this is based on my consent and control of when and where I am identified; always having the ability to be anonymous if and when desired. I would think than many, not all, would feel similar.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2017

    Gillette’s odd promo delivers some very weird results

    Interesting approach and issues. It seems like the perfect excuse to include something in the package that basically says "Sorry if we got your birthday wrong, but enjoy the free razor on us as we are confident it will be a great experience for you too!"
  • Posted on: 11/02/2017

    ‘Tis the season to hype those Christmas deals

    Everyone has come to expect that Christmas (or holiday season) push to start as soon as Halloween is over, meaning November 1. That said, its not just about promotions that start on November 1, but intentional marketing, communications and expectation setting for either immediate promotions and/or promotions to come later. Building demand through relevant messaging of value and excitement for promotions to come soon is just as important as promotions that start today. It is critical in addressing competitors starting promotions early but who could also be risking early season profits and late season sales.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2017

    Why are so many associates being deprived of tech by their employers?

    Thanks for sharing some really interesting studies and an excellent discussion question. First, let me apologize in advance for for the length of my response, but this is a personal passion and I welcome any and all comments to my response below. Several issues have been identified by others, including cost, training, ROI models and the like. I agree, and would also add several other factors that combined have created a significant barrier to deployment, a barrier that is being breached right now: 1. Mobile devices to this point have required the associate to use their hands, taking away much of their ability to to help a client consider and compare merchandise. You need your hands to help customers find, try on, and purchase merchandise therefore associates must be able to use the technology without occupying their hands. 2. Mobile devices to this point have all had a screen, requiring the associate to occupy their eyes, causing them to miss opportunities to engage shoppers and some intimidation factor for shoppers who don't want to disturb an associate who seems to be occupied already. Voice recognition technology has finally advanced to become a real option to replace screen heavy applications. 3. Mobile devices have been cumbersome to carry due to weight and size. Even cell phones worn on the belt can get in the way, not to speak of challenges for women and men wearing nicer clothing required in some retail environments. If you remove the screen, and drive innovation in power efficiency, devices can be much smaller, lighter, and truly wearable. 4. Mobile devices have created a risk of loss as often they have a market value outside of the retail environment, with the like of phones, tablets, even more enterprise class devices that have a secondary market value. This can be addressed with a solution that is very industry specific in function and form as well as able to be completely disabled when it has left the retail environment. 5. In most cases, the deployment of mobile devices has required a significant up front capital expense or at best a multi-year lease obligation. Given the multiplier factor identified by others, this becomes a heavy and risky proposition. Packaged SaaS solutions that include hardware, software, and services can assist in addressing this issue, letting retailers use them when they have value and just turn them off when they don't. 6. Despite advances and investments in WiFi, there are some challenges in both coverage and the applications' ability to handle moving between access points (APs) in a dynamic retail environment. Innovation continues in this area and recent developments offer much better capabilities and performance. There are solutions that are starting to address the issues listed above. Solutions that are hands-free, screenless, voice driven, smaller/lighter and far more wearable, have drastically reduced external market value. Hardware, software and services all packaged in a pay as you go SaaS model and designed to perform in a distributed WiFi environments are in market now. For one example, see, a technology being piloted and deployed by a number of well known retailers who understand the issues of the past and see the benefits moving forward. I believe mobile devices are at another tipping point, and fueled by additional investment in both consumer and enterprise wearables, there will be a dramatic increase in use as retail winners capitalize on innovation and market trends to drive business results long imagined. (Again, sorry for response length.)
  • Posted on: 06/19/2017

    Will the Bonobos acquisition give Walmart a fashion edge?

    Peter, maybe you've nailed it on the head. They may be buying to get additional digital competency, business model innovation, and incremental customers.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2017

    Will the Bonobos acquisition give Walmart a fashion edge?

    Makes total sense to me. Walmart has to continue to be relevant to the current as well as target markets and this kind of acquisition seems to meet the qualities of a good acquisition; strong management, strong brand, strong operating model, complimentary competencies, complimentary customers along with a bit of overlap, and likely earnings positive. If Walmart is going to remain competitive, let alone relevant in the future, they must be making moves like this. Interested to see their next moves too.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2017

    Should Amazon buy Macy’s?

    To be honest -- having thought about this all day I have had moments where I think it is brilliance and other moments where I think it would be sheer folly. It could be either based strategy and assumptions of business/execution model. Consider what it would look like if each Macy's store became both a showroom and hyper-local distribution center for on-line purchases. It does sound beyond crazy, but some of the best innovations have looked that way at the outset.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2017

    What will the sale of Craftsman mean for Sears and Stanley Black & Decker?

    Great move on the part of Stanley Black & Decker and it will be interesting to see how they position the brand and if they keep the lifetime warranty that has kept the Craftsman brand where it remains even with the years of challenges at Sears/Kmart. As for what it means for Sears/Kmart, it's really just the latest step in a long, slow decline of the retail side and the ongoing investment strategy of Mr. Lampert. Sad to see a brand like Sears and Kmart die a long slow death, but the world changes and Mr. Lampert seems to have a strategy to maximize value.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2017

    What would an American Apparel acquisition do for Amazon or Forever 21?

    I am agreeing with Paula -- it's a good buy for Amazon with an established brand that still retains equity value with teens and young adults. It would be interesting to see how Amazon treats the 200-plus brick-and-mortar stores in their bid ... maybe they would become mini local distribution centers?

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