Retail Ramblings Podcast

Episode #1 - The First Ramble

Episode Highlights:

  • Retail winners. This week’s retail winners are Sephora, The Home Depot and Fabletics. We explore how these top retail brands are growing their footprints and setting themselves apart from the competition.
  • Retail losers. We take a look at this week’s retail losers, which include Lowe’s, Campbell’s Soup and Macy’s. We provide commentary around what these well-known retail brands can be doing to bounce back after some disappointing announcements.
  • The retail roadmap. We discuss the latest trends dictating the future of retail.
  • Data dive. We talk about some interesting uses of data, and show how big data can have some unintended consequences.

Listen to Episode 1:

Show Notes

Retail Winners & Losers


1) Sephora

2) Home Depot

  • Home Depot has prospered while many retailers shrink or even collapse.

  • Haven’t opened any new stores since 2008

  • Sales per location, and per customer, are fuelling the revenue rise and pumping up profits

  • Right business, right time: recovery of home values

  • Sku optimization and vendor accountability also fuels their continued success in such a bad time for retail

3) Fabletics

  • The “athleisure” wear company co-founded by actress Kate Hudson is growing like crazy.

  • Value proposition = reasonably priced workout sets.

  • Started as purely ecommerce play and a subscription service, and customers are able to choose a top and bottom matching or complimentary set starting from $19 – which is much cheaper compared to other players in the field like Lululemon and etc.

  • Twelve new physical stores are planned for this year. Most will be around 2,200 square feet and open throughout the year.

  • The new locations will join 18 existing storefronts that opened in late 2015

  • Fabletics Announces 12 Store Openings For 2017



1) Lowe’s

2) Campbell’s Soup

  • Lower quarterly sales for their staple products: tomato soup

  • Spent on advertising campaigns

  • Indicative of the packaged foods  industry in general

  • Campbell Fresh continues to disappoint: down 6%

  • Struggling to transform image: Campbell fresh

  • Changing consumer trends towards organics because of health/food quality

3) Macy’s

  • Barometer for the industry

  • 100 stores need to close

  • Experts suggest that they need to close more

  • Indicative of department stores in general: 3200 stores closed and counting

  • Why is this occurring in contrast with Sephora?

  • Sephora is using technology to keep costs engaged and vendors enabled

  • Sephora creates more modern shopping experience

  • Using data and information to drive decision making, not anecdotes



The Retail Roadmap

1) Personalization as a trend:

  • Why Retailers Are Racing to Crack the Personalization Code
  • Retail industry in general is moving away from a product focus to a customer focus, and with that comes the trend of personification

  • Brands that use technology and data to offer customers personalized experiences are seeing revenue increase by 6% to 10%, two to three times faster than those that don’t

  • Walmart’s opened a new technology incubator called Store No. 8, where they will invest in emerging technologies including machine learning and artificial intelligence, key toolsets for personalization.

  • Nike’s is doubling its direct connections with consumers through personalization and digital membership.

  • Challenge: consumers are feeling “restless” about the personal data collected on them and are torn between the benefits of giving up their personal data and worries about what appears as invasive and “creepy” marketing.


2) Shopping Through Search

  • Right hand side of google search function
  • Also integrated into image search

  • Terms matched to products

  • Brands need to focus on prominence, positioning, pricing

  • SEO for Shopping: making your brand front and centre

  • Seven Hot Digital Trends In Retail Right Now


3) Cool find: Retail in Real Time

  • Real time visualization of popular US consumer spending would look like.


Data dive

A look at big data in retail:

  • Good example: Costco to target people who bought a contaminated product –  Rather than send out a blanket warning to everyone who shopped at Costco recently, Costco was able to notify the specific customers that purchased those particular items.

  • Big data is a term that we’re hearing a lot in the retail world with brands and retailers taking advantage of it in different ways. There’s still a fine line to cross between convenience and creepiness. Today the question is transforming from “what do you know about me?” but rather “How are you going to use what you know?”

  • Brands are becoming smarter about what information they use, when they use it, and how. Brands are using big data to look promotion performance, seasonality, and regionality – variable that are becoming more and more important.