PROFILE

Zach Zalowitz

Omnichannel Solutions Lead, SCApath

Zach Zalowitz is the Omnichannel Solutions Lead for SCApath, a retail supply chain consulting firm specializing in strategy and systems implementation. He has worked with over 40 leading suppliers over the last two decades on key digital transformation projects in a number of roles. Zach is widely considered a triple threat in the consulting space, having an extensive background across leading Distributed Order Management Solutions (IBM, Manhattan Associates, Aptos), a full understanding of store and call-center operational execution, and thirdly in change-management aspects of the transformation.

Prior to his role at SCApath, Zach co-led the Design Lead team within Manhattan Associates Order Lifecycle Management Professional services, where he was one of the first OMS U.S. consultants. He has spoken on the topic of Order Management at numerous events, most recently at NRF, and has been quoted in a handful of leading digital publications.

Zach has a Bachelors Degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, focusing on Supply Chain Management and a collateral in Marketing. When not focused on Omnichannel and OMS, Zach is an avid music producer and hiker, recently having ascended Kilimanjaro.

To learn more, visit: www.scapath.com

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  • Posted on: 09/23/2019

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

    I led a panel on this exact topic (albeit not only Macy's) last week. The hurdles discussed were:
    1. Awareness from the customer that the offering exists;
    2. Eligibility of SKUs to provide through service, i.e. ability to pick them by set times to make available for pickup. Some SKUs fare better than others, and the common mistake mentioned was "over activating" SKUs at first.
    3. Consistency in delivery - As with UberEats, DoorDash and other services that deliver food, finding the marriage between the pickup occurring on time and getting it to the consumer, un-damaged and within a reasonable timeframe is a big bogey.
    My take is this - When we say same-day, we really mean "as fast as possible." Proximity to customer, accuracy of inventory (in stores) and a standardized experience for "the last 10 feet" are what separate good same-day programs from great same day-programs. The industry still has a lot to learn about this, and kudos to Macy's (again) for being out-front on having this capability. I expect others will follow in Macy's and Target's steps in coming two or three years ...
  • Posted on: 09/17/2019

    Have U.S. malls lost their sense of community?

    Good question Dick. My take is, people generally got less interested in malls. The merchandise mix waned and they realized they could get online what previously took a mall trip. This gave rise to trying to reinvent ways to get them back in and, to your point, the theater/health clubs don't get inside traffic, they get traffic to where they are physically located in the mall. For Phipps in Atlanta, the movie theater is in middle but I also don't think it drives that much more traffic (during the night?) to the high-end stores. My point is, the mall needs to have a new purpose.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2019

    Have U.S. malls lost their sense of community?

    Malls definitely can revive the sense of community, but not without some serious changes. I for one think major book-end department stores should begin to vacate and (to the other question) I think experiential retail is *not* over-hyped -- it's just on a maturity curve and hasn't fully caught on with most retailers. Experience is the only leg up in physical retail, so I'm actually left wondering why it hasn't caught on quicker. For example, there should be a Peleton studio in every mall. Sell men's business casual clothing? You should have personal stylists that track and understand your customer preferences and sizes (looking at you J.Crew and Banana Republic). Coffee snob? Barista lessons. Aspiring photographer? Photo lessons and post-editing lessons (why isn't there an Adobe store, yet?). I'm longing to go back to my youth in the '90s where the mall was the place to be, but I think given the macroeconomic issues most retailers are afraid to invest and take a risk.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2019

    Will bringing the outdoors inside stores work for J.C. Penney?

    Viable sales opportunity? Sure, anything new or assortment-extended is. The question is why. In an overall market where foot traffic is declining for most, I just wonder whether this is the thing that helps pull people into the stores. To others' points in their comments, this sounds more like plugging a missing assortment for outdoors, rather than a competitive leg-up. Here's a crazy idea - get local Boy Scouts (and Girl Scouts if they want) to come to J.C. Penney on a Sunday to learn the basics around outdoor survival skills. Box off part of the parking lot and make an event of it. Offer them discounts on select items while there. The parents buy something for themselves, and something for the kids. Give them a return coupon for a future visit in the coming three months (for a low percentage off). Back to the point - J.C. Penney needs to get folks remembering why they were so great before, and a new group of people in the door who haven't shopped there before. Offering this to someone like me, who can just as easily go to Eddie Bauer online, REI or any of a number of other similar stores doesn't move the needle. It has to also be a cost play, and that's usually at the expense of quality... Catch-22.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Will Walmart’s customers accept its rejection of the firearms ‘status quo’?

    I don't think the retailers are compelled to do anything. I think it's genuine in intent, but to others' points, it's not as if they are saying "we're going to give up 5 percent+ of our revenue." This *is* the right move to make, but it's one you make whether you're Walmart or not, because it's the right thing to do. Anything else is a publicity stunt. To the other questions, the consumer will see the genuine nature of the move and reward it in kind. Super simple...
  • Posted on: 08/30/2019

    Target leans on vendors in trade war

    Should Target absorb the entire hit for the tariff increase? No. Like others have noted, it's a game of leverage. The concern I have with this is the ripple effect it will have on U.S. and global economies. Target is, in essence, spreading the pain and the bullwhip will come back to bite us if other major retailers do the same. What's worse, the consumer's cost going up 5 percent or a series of medium/small business going belly-up because they were passed the cost by all the retailers they sell to and couldn't see through to the other end of the tunnel?
  • Posted on: 08/12/2019

    Nike to marry predictive analytics and RFID to optimize inventory performance

    A definitive "YES" is the answer. This is a current edge that will absolutely become a competitive necessity, however RFID still continues to lag as fully adopted technology in part due to cost. I've been seeing a lot of players in this space. Onera is another company making waves, where the optimal inventory and inventory protection levels are calculated in real-time to ensure proper distribution of inventory to its greatest need. I see more of the use cases in taking "stale" store inventory and shipping it via ship-from-store, but that's a byproduct of planning. The real gold is going further upstream to distribute the inventory quicker to the best place, up-front, before it goes stale!
  • Posted on: 08/12/2019

    Does North Face’s new concept point the chain in the right direction?

    Yes, it's a smart move going "experiential," specifically for a brand like The North Face where, outside of a standard winter jacket, you use the products for your "not so everyday" use. The move closes the gap in the consumer's mind and brings them closer to the actual use. As for making it chain-wide: it works for The North Face. Maybe an Eddie Bauer too, along the same lines. Canada Goose has freezers you can walk into to try on the jackets. For The North Face, I'm not sure it makes sense if you have north of (guessing) 20-30 stores. it takes away from the experience of going to the "flagship" itself.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2019

    What are the signs of a dying retail business?

    It may seem somewhat technical, but a retailer that has both an online presence and physical stores, and either doesn't show store inventory or shows it and it's inaccurate. This doesn't necessarily mean "failing" but this to me is a red flag that they are behind the times, and points to a broader issue of not adapting to the times and meeting customers' expectations (which goes to the KPI point above).
  • Posted on: 08/06/2019

    What are the signs of a dying retail business?

    Totally agree. Seems to be the simplest thing to control (the restroom being clean).
  • Posted on: 08/06/2019

    What are the signs of a dying retail business?

    AMEN. I actually saw this at a retailer I was working with. They were actually doing financially well and stopped innovating and reassessing experiences, and quickly became part of the pack, and have since begun to more heavily run promotions.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2019

    What are the signs of a dying retail business?

    Totally agree with you Neil - Energy in stores from the employees should (in most cases) transfer to the customer. A disconnected employee won't create a welcoming environment, and sales drop as a result.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2019

    Will free, same-day pickup give Sam’s Club the edge it has been looking for over Costco?

    I just don't see this as a competitive advantage to lure customers away. As others from the BrainTrust have commented, this is now a given in the industry. To another more mechanical point - I imagine the AOV for a general Sam's Club/Costco order is high and items-per-ticket is high as well. If they're capping the lines per order at 15, then I see this as a potential disconnect and a bad shopping experience. What happens when you spend 20 minutes to purchase the 15 and want the 16th item? Disappointing. Operationally, this could be a disaster. Average order pick times on a store with 10,000 square feet or less is around four to five minutes for a two-line order. Here we could potentially average eight to 10 lines an order, and the store format is much larger (and the inventory velocity, especially on a Saturday/Sunday, for example, could be substantial, which would lead to more shorted order lines). Just leaves me wondering how easy this will be to consistently maintain high fill-rates. Couldn't imagine they ever get this down to a standard two-hour pickup window (which points to the speed part of the top two reasons, those being speed and convenience). All that said, Walmart's pickup and curbside offerings seem to be working, albeit different order profiles...
  • Posted on: 07/08/2019

    Target expands its college tour

    Absolutely Heidi. Great points. I'm thinking the "in between classes" BOPIS experience to get household essentials or snacks (or adult beverages?).
  • Posted on: 07/08/2019

    Target expands its college tour

    Call me biased, but this is yet again another opportunity for a pickup in-store feature, even moreso because of the location and demographics of a college student. There's also the prestige of shopping at "Tar-jey." I for one wish I had this back in school. The only places to go were off campus or the UC, and prices were ridiculous. I see this as a success for them in the future and expect it to expand even further. One challenge though may be the higher percentage of theft/lift in the stores, thus more inaccurate inventory (and therefore higher number of shorted BOPIS orders that can't be fulfilled).

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