Verlin Youd

SVP Sales & Business Development, 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: 11/12/2021

    Frontline workers say management isn’t listening to them

    Bob, you are right on. Retailers like Walgreens, Macy's, Total Wine & More, Tractor Supply, Bass Pro, and many more understand the challenge and the impact of taking action by implementing real solutions that provide immediate value.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2021

    Frontline workers say management isn’t listening to them

    Yes, there is a huge gulf of communication between store teams and headquarters. This has become even more apparent and more urgent as democratization of communication becomes ubiquitous across our entire society, thanks to social media and modern technologies. If a store team member is not connected to their peers and management, real time and all the time, they are going to feel they are disconnected and that not only do their thoughts and opinions not matter, but also that they don't matter to that organization. In this situation, there is no way anyone can really listen to the frontline. At the same time, if a leadership team -- including HQ -- is not connected to their frontline store team members they have no chance of having the agility and adaptability needed to survive in today's fast-paced retail market. In this situation, there is no way that leadership can show they are listening and responding. As Bob Amster mentioned, some retailers understand the issue and are driving real solutions to not only address the issue, but reap business benefits as a result. Next time you in a Walgreens, Total Wine & More, Container Store, Tractor Supply, or Bass Pro/Cabelas, check out how they are connecting every team member all of the time to drive customer experience, associate engagement, and significant productivity gains -- of great importance when everyone is short-staffed. Bottom line, if retailers don't figure out how to listen and respond to their frontline, that frontline going to turn over even more than they already are!
  • Posted on: 07/08/2021

    Could Dollar General become a go-to healthcare resource in rural America?

    Simple answer, yes. Why? Location, location, location. Dollar General has 16,000+ stores scattered throughout the rural US. Many of their customers and stores are far from a Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart, let alone a Target, Urgent Care, or Emergency Room. Drive most two-lane highways in the US and you're bound to come upon a Dollar General. Other benefits? Serving a very under served population that needs better medical advice and care and would see an increase in quality of life and decrease in overall cost impact to society. Challenges? Many! The right merchandise is one thing, but having the right "services" will require additional expertise and/or automation that would help deliver those services consistently in a highly distributed environment. Maybe an opportunity to run a dedicated video-based medical service leveraging the in-store network. New idea? Broadband internet guest access for those in-store or in the parking lot, a la Tractor Supply.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    And/or they need to find a way to be more efficient in other parts of the business, maybe in how they staff and support the store team across the board.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    Profitability of omnichannel can be achieved. One of the great benefits of the pandemic was the realization that delivery of omnichannel was possible, even if much of it was by brute force (throwing labor hours at it) with some getting it better than others but all realizing it's possible. A key to profitability is actual implementations that can be used as reference in driving the optimization required to get to profitability. Retailers as different as Walgreens, Tractor Supply, The Container Store, Wawa, Total Wine & More, and several others are using new store associate technologies to drive that optimization and profitability today!
  • Posted on: 03/29/2021

    Will drop shipping become a major catalyst of online growth?

    First, why hasn’t this been the case for years already? In a world where customer experience, including product availability, has been the focus for a long time, this should be old hat by now. Second, it’s been done very successfully in the B2B world for years, so there are many lessons learned and experience available to accelerate implementations. Finally, partnership will become even more critical in order to set correct expectations for customers and deliver consistently.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2021

    What makes some ads more shareable than others?

    It would be interesting to see research on what makes TikTok, Instagram Stories, Facebook Reels, and others go viral then compare that to ad sharing. I suspect the factors would be very similar.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2021

    Amazon is America’s biggest clothing retailer and there’s no close second

    Two factors, both related, are equally important in 2020. First, lack of friction or as some have put it, convenience. You can shop from anywhere at anytime, interrupt shopping to do other things and come back easily, easily see reviews, complete the purchase easily and it magically appears when and where you want it. Second, COVID-19. Many who were hesitant about Amazon for clothing felt pushed to Amazon and realized that it's a decent experience. Some will stay, some will go back to stores, many will do both.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2020

    What does a good shopping experience look like for Christmas 2020?

    In many cases, a great shopping experience will mean great execution of BOPIS and BOPAC, ensuring the customer gets what they purchased, when it was promised, and with a smooth and positive experience. Some have this figured out already - kudos to The Container Store and Tractor Supply. Many others have struggled with BOPIS for ages and don't seem to be doing much better for curbside - I will spare the guilty this time, but you know who you are. This will require retailers to invest in the people, process and technology required to not only deliver the expected experience but to be able to do it without losing money.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2020

    Chipotle battles escalating delivery costs

    The first step, agreeing with Ben Ball, is that restaurants should be completely transparent about the delivery charge from the third party. This will help those delivery providers feel the competitive pressure that will naturally drive prices down. Second, it seems that restaurants should reward pick-up/take-out by providing some kind of incentive, maybe a small incentive for the first trip (free non-alcoholic drinks) and an incentive for returning for pick-up. Additionally, make it a great experience! Experience matters. Third, restaurants need to consider the cost/benefit of having their own dedicated delivery capability. A couple of our local restaurants have done this and it seems to be working well -- they even advertise that it helps them provide better price/value for their customers. For some that will be an option, although not for others.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2020

    Do consumers need beauty products delivered within an hour?

    Speaking as the father of two daughters and as a husband, I have seen more than a handful of health and beauty emergencies, from dropped products, broken applicators, and just plain running out before anticipated. Similar to same day grocery deliveries, this is likely to start in urban environments where demand is likely to be the greatest and then slowly move out to suburban environments as retailers work out how to provide this service profitably or are required as a competitive response. Great point made below that many health and beauty products are already available same day and in some cases within an hour from the likes of Amazon/Whole Foods, Walgreens, CVS, and supermarkets. I only see the trend continuing, however, it will be interesting to see how retailers price in this service particularly in comparison to BOPIS/Curbside offers.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2020

    Retailers and brands shortchange cross-platform analytics tools

    First, we need to recognize that this is hard stuff. First, getting all data in a unified data lake/pool/warehouse is very difficult. Second, ensuring data accuracy is difficult. Third, creating and deploying analytics that actually result in insight, let alone action, is difficult. Finally, getting the right stakeholders to decide and execute actions from those insights on a timely basis is difficult. Throw in the classic issues created by siloed organizations and, most importantly, siloed measurements and incentives and you have the perfect environment for inaction or late action. Let's get the measurements and incentives aligned and the source of those measurements centralized and then you can expect to make progress on enterprise analytics.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2020

    Walmart has changes in-store as the holidays near

    Customers are already exercising more caution, wearing masks, physically distancing, touching merchandise less, and having fewer interactions with fellow shoppers. As Mohamed Amer mentioned, retailers will have to keep an eye on crowds, however I suspect that like holiday sales, shoppers will be spread out over a longer holiday shopping calendar resulting in fewer people in the store, even on heavy shopping days. Like everything else related to retail, COVID-19 has sped up the inevitable changes that were coming.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2020

    Will curbside pickup be Costco’s Achilles heel?

    First, I am sure that Costco has a team watching this space closely already and it wouldn't surprise me if they have one or more plans that could be executed if and when they decide it's right for them. As was mentioned by my friend Bob Amster, they have thrived through the pandemic. A large part of this pandemic success was due to a focus on stock availability. They have had toilet paper, paper towels, sanitizer, water, etc. available, albeit in limited quantities, from early on. If anything, they've built a more loyal customer base over the last few months, loyalty that will pay off for a long time to come. Now if they would just stock Topo Chico in NC...
  • Posted on: 08/26/2020

    Should grocers go full steam ahead on new store openings?

    Smart retailers, including smart grocery retailers, know that the best time to make strategic investments is during market disruption and chaos. Opening stores is a smart investment especially if it includes enhanced on-line ordering, curbside store pick-up, and new business processes and technology to support real-time product substitution and cross-selling. I'd love to see opinions about which grocers are doing this best today.

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