What Can Today’s Retailers Learn from the Captain of the Titanic? Plenty.

Like the captain of the Titanic, leadership of failed and failing retailers has been publicly, and occasionally brutally, criticized. In some instances, this criticism is clearly deserved, in other cases not.

It may not be as bad as it seems.

Despite the painful passing and decline of retail industry stalwarts including Linens ‘n Things, RadioShack, The Bon-Ton Stores, Toys R Us, Sears and Kmart, retail chains including Macy’s, Kohl’s, Walmart, Target and other major retailers are showing financial improvement. Macy’s stock price is up 40+ percent year-to-date, Kohl’s is up 30+ percent, and Target is up 25+ percent. The rumors of the death of brick-and-mortar retail have been greatly exaggerated. And, Sears, Kmart and JC Penney are still open for business.

Recently, I participated in the Annual Retail Forum at Columbia Business School where a keynote speaker addressed a question from the audience: “

How would the speaker approach the precarious position of a challenged major retailer? What steps would you recommend?”

The response was,

“Shut it down…they don’t deserve to stay in business.”

This, “throw in the towel,” response brings to mind a key question we should ask ourselves. What would we do if we found ourselves as CEO of a retailer at risk of complete cataclysmic failure? One obvious metaphor is that of being captain of the Titanic. You may not remember, but the Titanic had a bonafide captain: his name was Edward John Smith.

Continue reading “What Can Today’s Retailers Learn from the Captain of the Titanic? Plenty.”

Where are Brands Headed in the Amazon Era?

David J. Katz Podcast

An Interview with David J. Katz – eCommerce Braintrust

Today we have a really fascinating and informative interview with David Katz, of Randa Accessories. He shares with us a lot of his knowledge about brands, where they come from and where they are in the Amazon era. As a result of David’s abundant history in direct marketing, he has a really unique perspective on this topic. On the show today he talks about how his direct marketing has evolved and why he believes that brands are becoming more important, even with the seeming migration of consumers away from brands and towards private labels.

David is the alchemist and Chief Marketing Officer at Randa Accessories, a leading multinational consumer products company and also the largest men’s accessories business worldwide. He is also the co-author of the bestselling book Design for Response- Creative Direct Marketing That Works a frequent public speaker referred to by the press as a retail industry expert.

As a company, Randa is still very involved with the Amazon ecosystem. As  both a seller and a vendor on Amazon, the company continues to have a robust partnership with Amazon, despite the fact that Amazon is moving powerfully forward into private label brands in the accessory space. Tune in to find out what David has to share about brands and where they fit in today’s consumer ecosystem.

  • Kiri Masters

Continue reading “Where are Brands Headed in the Amazon Era?”

Private “Label” vs. Private “Brands”

Let’s be careful not to confuse private “labels” with private “brands.”

Private label merchandise is generic goods, sold as a commodity (and commodities have price as their value proposition). Private brands, when properly executed, are truly brands, exclusive to a retailer or channel of distribution, with distinct brand attributes, supported by significant marketing. 

Overall, private “label” continues the “race to the bottom,” favoring low cost producers. The problem with the race to the bottom is that you might just win — or worse, come in second. 

Continue reading “Private “Label” vs. Private “Brands””

Department Stores & Apparel: The Future is Blurry

Morgan Stanley predicts that the department store share of the apparel market will drop from 24 percent in 2006 to only 8 percent by 2022.

Many analysts continue to predict that, this year, Amazon will become the largest retailer of apparel in the United States. 

Top apparel retailers are ranked as Walmart, Amazon, Target, Macy’s, Kohl’s, The TJX Companies, Gap, Costco Wholesale, Nordstrom, Ross Stores, and JCPenney.

Continue reading “Department Stores & Apparel: The Future is Blurry”

22 Billion Minutes per Month

Americans spent 22 BILLION minutes on Amazon shopping platforms in December 2017 alone. More than the next nine platforms combined.

Interestingly, there is a large gap between time spent and dollars spent on mobile vs. desktop devices: while Americans spent nearly two thirds of their online shopping time on smartphones or tablets in Q4 2017, more than 75 percent of e-commerce dollars were spent on desktop devices. This indicates that many people browse products on their mobile devices, but prefer the convenience of a larger screen and keyboard to complete the checkout process.

#retail #ecommerce #shopping #smartphones #tablets #checkout #mobiledevices eBay Walmart Kohl’s Target Macy’s

Data and chart from Statista Global comScore, Inc.