Adam Silverman

SVP Marketing, Theatro
Adam has extensive experience innovating and operating multichannel retail businesses. For nearly 20 years, he has held eCommerce and marketing leadership positions for top tier retailers such as Musician’s Friend, Target, Alibris, and Wet Seal. During that time, he led significant digital transformation projects including selection and integration of enterprise commerce applications, created award winning digital shopping experiences including the first social commerce application, and developed effective brand strategies. As Principal Analyst at Forrester, Adam drove research and thought leadership of in-store technologies and strategies, and has been featured as a retail technology thought leader on NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Internet Retailer. Adam grew up on Long Island NY. and holds a BBA in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has also studied International Business in the UK at University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. For more, visit:
  • Posted on: 03/08/2018

    Robots become the moving force behind Zara’s click and collect ops

    The challenge with click and collect (and any store fulfillment orders) is that old store processes just don't work. For the past few years, all aspects of the process (receiving the order, picking, staging and retrieving the order) have been ad hoc and very manual. Throwing robots at the problem should happen only when the processes have been ironed out and optimized for profitability. Almost every retailer would see a significant benefit (in profit, efficiency and speed of service) with purpose-built processes and flawless communication. For instance, solutions exist today that anticipate when the customer is about to arrive and automatically alert the back room staff of their pending arrival. This ensures product is ready for pickup without the need for expensive robots.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2017

    Is workplace collaboration a drag for headquarters personnel?

    While HQ teams might feel overwhelmed with too much communication and collaboration options, the retail hourly workers at the stores are suffering with few tools to help them collaborate and get work done. The retail industry should focus on holistic collaboration across all roles, especially those in the field, if they want to maximize the value of collaboration in their orgs.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2017

    Walmart puts robots to work with humans in more stores

    Having accurate inventory in stores is critical to drive a unified commerce experience for customers, as well as improve operational excellence for retailers. Retailers will increasingly employ technologies such as robotics, RFID, and connected shelves to perform these tasks, allowing associates to pivot from operational tasks to engaging with customers and creating exceptional experiences. The future of work is changing, and the workforce technology industry will shift from providing traditional task solutions to offering collaboration and knowledge-based applications that empower associates to drive top-line business results.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2017

    Will lessons learned at Amazon Books translate to Whole Foods?

    Expect everything that Amazon has perfected online to be translated into their stores ... and then some. Frictionless transactions, personalized recommendations and seamless unified commerce experiences will be the norm in-store.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2017

    IKEA buys TaskRabbit to give consumers relief with furniture assembly

    The primary benefits are threefold. First, it extends the value proposition of IKEA and broadens the base of potential customers who typically would not shop at IKEA (this is Ken Morris' point above). Second, it adds incremental sales to existing customers who don't have the time to go to the store, purchase, transport and install an IKEA product. Buying on their site often requires a hefty shipping charge and slow delivery times -- it's clear IKEA wants you to buy from stores (their model is dependent on it). And third, it gives IKEA insight into other products and services that their customers may need. It will extend share of wallet and drive long-term growth for the organization. The TaskRabbit acquisition should not be seen as a profit center, but rather a utility to help the core IKEA business grow and expand.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2017

    Are retailers getting comfy with click & collect?

    The most obvious challenges are exposing inventory visibility and allowing the sale to occur online for an in-store item. The industry has been tackling this for five or so years (more in the case of leading retailers) and for the most part this is understood. The execution of click and collect, as the article states, is where the rubber hits the road. There are four areas that need focus:
    • Customer order and pickup experience -- providing stellar progress communication and an easy to follow processes once the customer arrives in the store, and ensuring that the speed of service is faster than if you were to just come into the store to purchase the item off the shelf.
    • Associate execution experience -- This is one of the biggest pain points in the process. Associates need to have clear expectations on customer arrival times (why not have the customer indicate when they are going to arrive?), processes for moving product to a staging area for fast retrieval and quick notifications when new orders come in and when customers actually arrive. The tool set here needs to be agile and on demand.
    • Product productivity -- Retailers need to employ personalization technologies found online to encourage attachment rates and add on purchases when the customer comes into the store to pick up their item. How many of us have not purchased batteries for an item that required it, just to be disappointed when we go home that we can't use that new gadget? Every customer will appreciate a friendly reminder to purchase batteries. With apparel, mine customer data (you have it from e-commerce, right?) and provide suggested items AT THE POINT OF PICKUP. Heck, set up a fitting room near the pickup area and make it easy for the customer to try on the item.
    • Post purchase -- Did you follow up with the customer on their experience? Are you offering additional solutions/products that will match their in-store purchase? In certain retailers, there is also an opportunity to personalize the experience by having the message come from the same associate that serviced the customer in the store. Extend the experience. Internally, are your planners and merchants planning store inventory for these orders? Are your marketing teams using click and collect sales data to determine the best items to promote that encourage a store visit? Are they partnering with the merchant teams to ensure the stores can support the campaigns from a product perspective?
    What else have I missed? These are not solely click and collect challenges. These are now core retail opportunities.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2017

    Millennials, not Boomers, say associates are key to shopping experiences

    Context is key for these surveys. Millennials like to engage with associates ONLY if they are knowledgeable and helpful. Without connected associates, Millennials will resort to their own smartphone to get answers. The fact that they like both automation and engagement means their needs change frequently. Employ automation to remove friction from the shopping experience (i.e. checkout) and ensure connected associates are able to help engage shoppers on a moment's notice.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2017

    Will the Walmart/Google voice deal give Amazon’s Alexa a run for its money?

    We are in the early phases of conversational commmerce, and this partnership, for the time being, makes sense. Behind the scenes, Google also removed their annual fee for Express, which removes a ton of barriers for customers. What Google gets -- more products, more (potential) adoption of Google Home and Express, more customers, more potential search revenue (future position that aligns with their business model). What Walmart gets -- a foothold in the home, data, experience with conversational commerce (this is a huge plus IMO). What Walmart DOES NOT GET -- a branded "voice"! The future of retail brands will be in conversations. Brands will be portable and increasingly attached to an intelligent personal assistant. Walmart just gave this brand position to Google. It's akin to setting up a storefront on eBay vs creating your own storefront. Walmart must/will create their own personal assistant. Will Google allow that personal assistant to have a presence within Google Home? Likely not.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2017

    Should all retailers offer subscription services?

    We're taking about channels again. Of course more services that are offered online are going to shift spend from stores to web. Some of the other comments also resonate -- even though each delivery is a touchpoint for the retailer to optimize, consumers don't stick with subscriptions (because they don't see the value). This info combined leads to the following obvious guidance. Don't think channels. Instead focus on the customer. Offer subscriptions that stick ... primarily in consumable products that have a predictable usage pattern. If you go the Birchbox route (a curated box), expect high acquisition and churn. And finally use the info and data you are gathering to offer services in a local store. Buyer of dog food? Offer dog training classes or free grooming with the purchase of 10 bags of food. Drive the channel engagement and use subscriptions as a reason to communicate and engage.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2017

    Will more promos fix Dick’s Sporting Goods pricing challenge?

    Promotions will work to drive demand and gain new customers. For the next year, the business will see incremental benefit to net profit assuming they don't spend it all on heavy acquisition channels. Then customers will expect the discount and no longer buy full price. Sales will tank unless the retailer keeps up the discounting. If your research says you are not price competitive, become more agile and get your prices in line. Create more own-brand products to boost margins and keep costs down. Find ways to creatively lower costs. Improve the experience of shopping with you to drive LTV. Invest in acquisition that is lower cost. The easy lever is discounts and driving marketing dollars to promote those discounts, but that lever tends to get stuck wide open. Tread carefully!
  • Posted on: 07/31/2017

    Is ‘free’ a big enough incentive to get consumers to try click and collect?

    Here we are again -- discussing how discounts drive behavior. In every survey I've ever done (I was a Principal Analyst at Forrester focusing on the Digital Store and had access to lots of survey data), customers will always indicate a higher adoption of new tech or process if an incentive is offered. BOPIS allows customers to avoid shipping fees which will always be a top reason for using the capability. However subsidized discounts to drive adoption rarely work long-term. It's good for awareness, but if the core capability doesn't add much value then the subsidized discount will not succeed as a tactic to drive long-term adoption. The good news for BOPIS is the higher adoption rate year-over-year. This shows there is real value. And by the way, Walmart is not subsidizing their BOPIS discount. They are leveraging existing infrastructure (i.e. trucks already going to the store for replenishment) and therefore delivering the product to the customer (at least to their store) with lower cost. They are passing this savings on to the customers and NOT subsidizing BOPIS. Big difference.
  • Posted on: 07/25/2017

    How will smaller rivals survive in an Amazon and Walmart world?

    Retailers are struggling not because they are are doing a poor job of understanding their competition, but because they are struggling to understand their customer.
  • Posted on: 07/24/2017

    Do consumers want to be recognized across channels?

    While the data in this survey is meaningful, it requires more context to understand the insight. In my experience, customers who take these surveys often express that creating convenience is their top priority. But when you ask them if they want their history "recognized" as a separate question, consumers typically don't see value in that because it's not tied to a benefit. Customers will give up personal data if it helps them. And when retailers act on personal data, being more covert than overt can often be the difference between being helpful and creepy.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2017

    Will Walmart’s innovation strategies pay off?

    There's a big difference between long-term strategic investing and acquisition activity. It's good to see Walmart stretch out and begin to disrupt themselves, and that will pay dividends. The true test will be how their long-term thinking evolves and how that manifests in their culture, their products (not merch) and the experiences they provide to their customers. Look at the bulleted list in the article and compare it to Amazon's list. Which one is more customer-centric? The clear winner is Amazon, which drives convenience for both B2B and B2C customers.
  • Posted on: 07/18/2017

    Is online fulfillment from stores too complex for e-grocery?

    Omnichannel fulfillment, whether it is in grocery, specialty apparel or home goods, requires the same shelf-level inventory accuracy in order to meet customer expectations. Let's face it -- offering a "substitution" and having the customer agree to these terms is in the retailer's best interest; the retailer deferring responsibility for accurate inventory. This won't last long. It just takes one grocer to have accurate inventory and expectations will be set higher for everyone. Even if grocers get this right, inefficiencies in store fulfillment processes will suck out all of the profit. So what should grocers do? Continue to invest in their inventory visibility if they want to be relevant in omnichannel retail, but also begin to invest in store processes and solutions that make the picking and packing of items efficient. The store is not a warehouse and should be treated differently. With the right tools associates can be agile, picking and fulfilling items throughout their day. The alternative is a bulky fulfillment process borrowed from warehouse management that is wedged into the store as a stop-gap. Store fulfillment -- from systems, to processes, to people, need to be re-imagined for the grocery market.
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