The Retail Apocalypse is Old News. Now What?

In 2019, regardless of size, tenure or segment of business retailers, brands and suppliers must recognize that they can no longer navigate the new landscape with old maps.

Tomorrow’s retail winners will be nimble, data-driven, fast-to-market and cost efficient. They will have the foresight, fortitude and fearlessness to disrupt their own identity and legacy models.

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

The rate of change will escalate. There is no time for deep contemplation. Winners will leap, measure and then optimize.

Failing fast will be a requirement, not an option. Succeeding fast will be a requirement, too.

The Alchemist’s Retail Prophecies for 2019:

Warning: One can identify prognosticators who use a crystal ball to predict the retail future. They’re the ones with glass shards in their bleeding hands and smoke issuing from their charred eyebrows.

What I learned from playing a doctor on TV

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Zach Braff as JD Dorian, “Scrubs” — © ABC/Disney

I’m not a doctor, but I really did play one on TV.

25 years ago, I sold consumer products, mostly luggage, to HSN and QVC. I hired a “guest host” to appear on-air, to work with the network “show host” and to demonstrate our products. One day the guest host was delayed, and I ended up with make-up on my face, a microphone up my shirt and an IFB in my ear. Continue reading “What I learned from playing a doctor on TV”

For legacy companies facing disruption, corporate innovation won’t be enough

Today corporate innovation is all the rage. Large companies host accelerators, launch internal startups, and court potential startup partners in a quest to harness young companies’ innovativeness and energy for themselves.

But large legacy companies shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater by neglecting their core business and assuming it has minimal room to grow.

In this article, I will detail how our company, Randa Accessories, grew from 25 to 50 percent market share in several categories and channels by focusing on its core business and adjacent “bridge” categories, and offer some takeaways for other businesses based on that experience. (I will also describe how Randa launched its own successful internal startups — I’m not saying corporate innovation isn’t useful, just that it needs to be one part of a broader strategy to excel.)

First, a little about Randa. You many not know our name, but you know our products. Our products are available under 50 brands, and are sold at over 20,000 points of sale, and millions of digital touch points.

We’re the world’s largest men’s accessories company. We sell ties, and belts, wallets, bags, hats, slippers and luggage.

Randa is completely vertical, business-to-business and direct-to-consumer, with 4,000 employees working from 23 global offices.

Our culture emphasized growth and efficiency and led us to success in revenue, margin, penetration, and market share.

For example, we’re the leading supplier of belts to Nordstrom… and to Walmart, to Kohl’s and to Amazon, and The Hudson’s Bay, Liverpool, Printemps, El Cortes Ingles, David Jones, John Lewis and to Costco.

We spent over $50 million to assure that when a consumer walks into a retail store for pants, they immediately see our belts nearby. Dress shirts? There are our ties…

And then, we hit a wall. 

Continue reading “For legacy companies facing disruption, corporate innovation won’t be enough”

The End of Mass Marketing: Go Small, or Go Home

Once upon a time… business success was based on providing a narrow segment of consumers with a narrow segment of products, uniquely suited to their needs, sourced and advertised locally, and sold at a local store.

Over time, the spread of mass media — TV, national newspapers and magazines — along with the expansion of national retail stores, and the growth of a global and highly efficient supply chain, led to a world of mass marketing, mass production, and massive retailers. The retail world moved from personalized products for localized, niche markets to mass-produced products for mass markets.

Mass marketers thrive on “must-have” items — huge volumes of single styles, sold across many market segments to an audience of consumers eager to have the item they saw advertised in mass media, and which, in turn are produced in great scale and efficiency.

This strategy worked. Until it didn’t.

Continue reading “The End of Mass Marketing: Go Small, or Go Home”

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?”

New Brand, Old Brand, Private Brand, National Brand

 

This week Target Department Stores added two private brands, and exited one exclusive national brand.

On August 3rd, 2018, Target launched “Wild Fable” and “Original Use,” while announcing that the company will be ending its fourteen year deal with Hanesbrands, Inc. for Champion “C9” at the end of next year. 

Continue reading “New Brand, Old Brand, Private Brand, National Brand”

8 Human Truths: A Path to Impulse Purchasing

The Hershey Company idenitified “eight human truths” to help retail partners increase impulse purchases.

1. Indulge. Shoppers seek permission to “give in” to the guilt. They know they can’t be good all of the time and really don’t want to be. 

2. Delight. New flavors? New packaging? An exciting retail display? Offer something that breaks up the sometimes mundane or noisy…

3. Score. Help shoppers feel they’re beating the system by giving them a sense that they’ve found a great deal. Make it fun to follow an impulse.

Continue reading “8 Human Truths: A Path to Impulse Purchasing”

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””

Amazon & Private Label. It started with a simple battery.

On the surface Amazon‘s move into private label appears to be a deft move.

Analysts predict that nearly half of all online shopping in the United States will be conducted on Amazon’s platform in the next couple of years. That creates a massive opportunity for Amazon to more than double revenue from its in-house brands to $25 billion in the next four years. That’s the equivalent of all of Macy’s revenue last year.

It started with a simple battery.

Continue reading “Amazon & Private Label. It started with a simple battery.”

Ralph Lauren Charts a New Course

It’s been tough road for Ralph Lauren as the company approaches it’s 50th year.
Revenue has fallen, the company is closing it’s iconic Fifth Avenue flagship store, and it’s legacy strategy and products are struggling to find a new path in the changing retail landscape.
However, a revitalized management team, led by new CEO Patrice Louvet, appears to be navigating a course toward success.
Last week, Ralph Lauren reported results that beat analysts’ expectations. On a global basis, margins improved, promotions and inventory decreased. (Although North American sales for Q4 were down, Asia and EU were up).
The stock popped +14%.
Mr. Louvet has a refreshing focus on consumer insights and path-to-purchase, a “listen more and speak less” approach. I’m a fan of Mr. Louvet, the refreshed RL management team, the brand(s) and the company, and… of discovering and delivering on the consumer’s “job to be done.”
Fingers crossed…