Verlin Youd

SVP Business Development & 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: 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.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2020

    Best Buy produces record results doing things differently in the pandemic

    No surprise that Best Buy results are highly correlated to binge watching, work from home, and school from home. That and for the omnichannel (still don't like that term) investment reasons cited by many below, Best Buy has been able to take advantage of the situation. I believe that those investments and just as important their willingness to try new things all the time, including ramping up fulfilling online orders through stores, will keep them in positive territory for the rest of the year.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2020

    DSW tries to make itself ‘essential’ with Hy-Vee partnership

    Smart move on both parts. If the Walgreens/Kroger partnership makes sense -- picking up your Kroger groceries at your local Walgreens, then why not a step further and make DSW stores a place to pick up groceries. It's a perfect time to try an innovation like this, and if it doesn't work they can fail fast and try something else. Kudos for using an interesting time for all to innovate!
  • Posted on: 04/13/2020

    How transparent should grocers be about employees infected with COVID-19?

    I agree with Bob Amster and Jeff Sward, and like the term "radically transparent" in this case. Transparency is now an expectation and retailers would do well to use this COVID-19 situation to increase transparency where it may have been less comfortable previously. I support privacy in not divulging the employee name but full transparency in reporting cases as well as the cleaning that has occurred as a result.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2020

    Is Amazon facing a crossroads with the coronavirus pandemic?

    First, it seems that Amazon is having weeks of Prime Days at this point. Demand, volume, and sales are certainly up, even if delivery windows are extended beyond normal. Second, customers, as always, will decide the fate of Amazon and are also going to give Amazon a bit of a break as they deal with this crisis and actually seem to be able to deliver better than many retailers. Bottom line, Amazon is going to do just fine and come out of this crisis stronger than ever, using their experience to again raise the bar on delivery performance and customer value.
  • Posted on: 04/01/2020

    Will socially distanced shopping launch robot delivery for the masses?

    I largely agree with the comments from Bob and Paula. However, as innovation in remote delivery continues and those developing these technologies figure out the business case, the reality of the current pandemic and likelihood of others to follow can be added to the potential ROI. The technology and social acceptance isn't there yet but is likely to be bolstered by the current coronavirus situation.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2020

    Will a lack of paid sick leave cost retailers as the coronavirus outbreak spreads?

    It seems to me that this is the right time for retailers to rethink their sick leave approaches, particularly in light of competitive positioning for the best employees. Winning retailers know that engaging and empowering store employees has become a critical strategy to drive customer experience and store productivity. Sick leave, even without consideration for COVID-19, is a great differentiation opportunity.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2020

    Are strip centers where it’s at for Macy’s and Sephora?

    Convenience, it's all about convenience. Shoppers are more focused than ever, driven by the fact that there is less time they are willing to spend shopping. They don't want to walk the mall but rather hit the store that has what they're looking for or where their BOPIS order is being delivered. There is an interesting relationship between this story/question and the Target story/question today. It's all part of the same trend and adaptation to consumer preferences. There are growth opportunities for both Macy's and Sephora. The question is which is more likely to succeed.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2020

    Target thinks small to succeed big time

    Makes total sense from a few perspectives: 1.) gives them access to strong urban markets, 2.) provides an even stronger BOPIS/click-and-collect network, 3.) takes advantage of "convenience" positioning. It will be interesting to see if and where they chose to include the CVS pharmacy as part of the footprint and put themselves in direct competition with Walgreens and standard CVS, who are already capitalizing on the convenience offer. Thought I'd share some Target related humor I saw earlier this week.

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