Zach Zalowitz

Director, Retail Consulting, Envista

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.

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  • Posted on: 02/15/2021

    Is the toy category’s pandemic sales boon coming to an end?

    To rephrase the question, we might ask ourselves "when the consumer patterns change and the need to occupy the children's time indoors changes, what will that behaviour shift to?" I imagine there will ultimately be a drop, albeit a protracted one given that the current pace of the vaccine roll out may start to overlap with the start of the peak season of 2021. I think the shift may be back to more communal *outdoor* games and moreover sports will begin to get back into the fold.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2021

    Is My Pillow being ‘cancelled’ or is its CEO trashing the business all on his own?

    He has every right, as an American, to freedom of speech so long as it doesn't incite violence. The retailers have every right to do what they feel is best to protect their brands. There's no "cancelling" going on here. Take another example, Justin Thomas the golfer. He said a slur against gays the other day at a tournament, and Ralph Lauren dropped him as a spokesperson. Nike has done the same with other athletes that haven't acted up to snuff integrity-wise. I'd consider lying about fraud in an election as a low-integrity move, so they're well within their rights (however large his sales might be) to drop his products. By the way, we're talking pillows here, a commodity item. I'm sure Bed Bath & Beyond will be fine...
  • Posted on: 10/26/2020

    Where are curbside and BOPIS services falling short?

    Here's a running list of problems, throughout the process. 1.) Not giving clear communication as to how/when to pick up the items at the onset, 2.) Poor notification and remediation of an out-of-stock, 3.) Lack of SMS alerting for pickup (with link to notify you've arrived), 4.) Lack of dedicated and clear pickup parking areas, 5.) No dedicated fulfillment specialist, rather they are designated along with all the other responsibilities at the store. Add those five things up and you have a very clunky process. The two big issues I've seen in the half dozen BOPIS projects I've done in the last three years are; First, showing the wrong SKUs as available or choosing the wrong inventory protection level for the SKU and, second, trying to meet customer pickup SLAs using designated capacity from the stores vs. having a full time picking and pickup crew.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2020

    Bed Bath & Beyond CEO’s turnaround plan may just work

    I'm making the call now - Bed Bath & Beyond will look and feel more like what Target is now by this time next year. You'll start to see more internal and celebrity brands and a less cluttered store (CFO announced earlier). Step 1, the "put the team together" step, looks complete. I think they have what it takes to execute, but staying focused and on-message wasn't always the strength in the last regime -- so I'm curious to see how well they focus on change management!
  • Posted on: 09/30/2020

    Will same-day deliveries be a difference maker for Bed Bath & Beyond?

    This is welcomed but brings parity for them to other retailers. The immediacy of CPG products and other household items makes more sense for same-day delivery. Don't forget, most retailers (save maybe Amazon) still pass this cost along to the consumer so the question is, is a Bed Bath & Beyond customer willing to pay an up-charge for same-day delivery? The more likely answer to that question is that they'll go to Target/Walmart for those same products. The reason, to me, is that Bed Bath & Beyond still struggles from an operational standpoint and is just now stepping into the store fulfillment space (ironically they have had the technical capabilities to do this for many years). Net, this is a day late and a dollar short. It doesn't move the needle.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2020

    Why does Amazon want a fitness tracker?

    They want it for the same two reasons everyone else does. They want to collect your data and then sell you stuff based off that (sorry, three reasons -- they want to sell the data that they collected about you). I see way more concerns right now than value being added in, for example, calculating body fat percentage just from a video/picture of you.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2020

    Culture is the key to creating a company that people want to work for

    I think the biggest hurdle is visibility of actions (not just words or a mission statement). Culture, to me, has to permeate all areas of the organization. If the organization doesn't see leadership both setting the example and reminding the organization of the "why" of the organization, then no fancy internal marketing or communications can bridge that. It starts with actions. I can say that for me, where I work now at enVista, culture starts with our leadership and you can see it in action every day. Truly a level playing field here where our leadership takes accountability and where any/everyone can have a voice in decisions and give input.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2020

    How is Tractor Supply acing the pandemic?

    The common attribute is a proactive investment in technology and people to handle cross-channel commerce. REI is another great example, and so is Ulta. These companies realize where the puck is going to be and they skate to the puck. The ones that haven't fared well were mired in internal politics, took an incredibly long time to deploy their technology and under-invested in the right human capital.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2020

    Why does it take a crisis for retailers to get innovative?

    The barriers exist both culturally and within the systems necessary to execute on the omnichannel strategy. It's been my experience that the change-management component has a huge influence as to whether to start, or whether retailers have started only to stop (or worse, fail). The technology barriers have, over the last five years specifically, become a moot point. If you need systems and system-process to execute, then there are a number of technologies and partners available to execute. You simply need a leader in the organization, a goal to hit, and to have it adequately staffed. This obviously means an investment is necessary but the question should be, what's the payback period and where in the business is the payback going to occur?
  • Posted on: 07/15/2020

    Are subscriptions a winning strategy to get through the pandemic?

    Retailers should most definitely consider launching this functionality. We have a number of my current customers achieving this in their OMS and others that need advanced analytics go to a standalone application. Differentiating comes down to ability to skip or hold subscriptions, and also the ability to apply AI/ML into fine-tuning what the next subscription box shows (vs. giving the same KIT over and over again, for example). We'll only continue to see the subscription business grow, the question is can this be done with a leading OMS or do some retailers need to pay the premium for advanced standalone solutions.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2020

    Has COVID-19 exacerbated online return challenges?

    Similar to other things, this pandemic is highlighting existing issues exacerbated by increases in commerce volume. For too long the issue of returns and returns management has been under-served. The real solution lies in resolving returns before they happen, and retailers should look to ensuring better fit up front in the buying process and expand the use of crowd-sourced reviews in their online buying process to head off returns happening in the first place. Likewise, induction of returned goods back into supply chain has been long misunderstood as a cost-center vs. a competitive advantage, meaning retailers look at it as a cost of doing business and not an opportunity to rebalance (sellable) inventory in their network while "saving the sale" to the customer. Solving the retail returns problem is easiest when you stop the need for returns before they happen, and this is often where retailers are under-invested.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2020

    Lululemon moves into in-home fitness with $500M deal for Mirror

    This is exciting, and I think they're getting this company for a steal! I love that a largely apparel-based company is getting into the whole "ecosystem" sell. You're going to see a lot more of these to come!
  • Posted on: 06/15/2020

    Should Children’s Place’s future be digital?

    I see this move to close stores and lean more into e-commerce as critical to success in the future. It sounds like they have a substantial fulfillment network which is highly automated in the DC, which is great if it's the case! From a store perspective, taking up fewer square feet for the inventory in the stores (if not doing SFS) and creating more experiences, paired with a fast/automated fulfillment network may be the best approach for them. One thing they can do is take a long and hard look at which stores should be vs. shouldn't be fulfilling. There's still benefit to ship-from and ship-to-store flows, but often companies like Children's Place over-activate stores, just because they think it's the right thing to do. This reassessment may open up more speed and maintain cost for when it's not always best to fulfill from a DC that is perhaps not as close.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Is the future of retailing going dark?

    No need to over-answer this one -- an emphatic "yes."
  • Posted on: 06/02/2020

    Do retailers need to go beyond ‘reopening playbooks’?

    These measures are only good to the extent that people are notified of them and see and perceive them as being done. As an example, for a grocery store that has been open all along, it's critical someone near the grocery carts is seen at all times, reassuring that the carts are indeed clean and ready to use. Similarly, I think people are going to look to the traditional retailer to tell them what measures they're taking and, importantly, to see those measures being reinforced verbally and optically to give reassurances that they're in a safe and "clean" environment. One thing for sure, nothing is going to be normal for a long time, and I imagine these playbooks become game plans for what the new normal becomes.

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