Carol Spieckerman

President, Spieckerman Retail

Consistently named a top retail influencer, Carol Spieckerman is a recognized authority on retail and brand strategy. She launched Spieckerman Retail in 2000 in the wake of a career building multi-million-dollar businesses from the ground up. Her platform positioning workshops help retail-reliant companies accelerate B2B business development and increase thought leadership. As an advisor, Carol builds communications strategies that drive awareness, engagement, and action. She speaks at corporate and industry events on her latest Retail Trajectories – proprietary calls to action that transcend trend across categories, borders, business models, and touchpoints. Carol is passionate about making complex subjects easy to understand, solving tough retail positioning and business development challenges, and aligning companies with where retail is going next. You can find her thought leadership in leading business and retail publications including Reuters, Forbes, Grocery Dive, WWD, and Retail Wire and in her podcast, Spieckerman Speaks Retail. Carol also serves as a speaker and content provider to leading trade groups.

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  • Posted on: 06/28/2022

    ThredUP asks consumers to boycott Shein’s pop-up shop

    As predicted, the uber fast, super cheap fashion wars have commenced, with sustainability shade as the weapon of choice. ThredUP and Shein are transforming the fashion game in entirely different ways. Shein is a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut yet environmental concerns and UFLPA enforcement threaten to slow its roll. ThredUP has a solid sustainability promise and has every right to sing it from the rooftops to draw a contrast with Shein and other faster fashion rivals. A boycott may be a bridge too far, yet some consumers may see it as an example of ThredUP's passion for sustainability.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2022

    Uber Eats ships big city meals nationwide

    The far-off cravings service doesn't have to onboard millions of consumers in order to make sense. A subset of food fans will open their wallets and potentially become repeat customers for Uber Eats (and the far-off food purveyors). It's all good!
  • Posted on: 06/21/2022

    Will Walmart become the go-to shopping destination for cord cutters?

    The Roku partnership marks a major step forward for shoppable content. No doubt the platform will continue to be refined. Walmart's scale will onboard shoppers to Roku's payment platform and Roku's capabilities will promote Walmart's wares. It will be interesting to see how Walmart integrates the service with its in-house agency in the future. Once again, Walmart has made a move that will send game-changing ripples across the industry.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2022

    Will country star Miranda Lambert raise Walmart’s profit margins?

    Like many retailers these days, Walmart is determined to make up for lost margin by doubling down on discretionary categories. Unique or exclusive brand deals are a nice way to draw attention and blur price comparisons. The Lambert-sponsored Wanda June collection is a great fit for Walmart and a nice complement to the impressive Pioneer Woman/Ree Drummond home collection. Both stars were already positioned as lifestyle brands prior to making deals with Walmart and both enjoy large social media followings. Miranda Lambert's live performances will create even more buzz for the brand.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2022

    Is Best Buy’s home pickup recycling service worth the price?

    Much like Amazon Prime, Best Buy's Haul-Away service isn't for everyone, and consumers who opt in have likely done the math. I have spoken with friends who sign up for these types of services at the point of need, then cancel after the need is met. Best Buy's Haul-Away could be considered a fair deal for consumers remodeling entire kitchens, for example. The new appliances are ready to plug in after Best Buy takes off, maybe with a couple of laptops thrown in. The success of Best Buy's Haul-Away service will hinge on long-term usage and loyalty to the program.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2022

    Is now the perfect time for grocers to sell imperfect food?

    I was a Misfit Market customer for a while and backed off after several deliveries that didn't work out. The irregular produce wasn't a problem at all, yet inconsistencies with quantity and quality were. Since then, I've seen that they've changed the model to steer customers into non-fresh grocery items. I like the concept and feel bad for these companies. It's difficult to make sustainability claims when padded packaging, cold packs, and shipping are part of the deal and I've seen in forums that they get a lot of flack for it. It's also hard to ensure quality overall. Grocers would have an easier time executing ugly produce plans if only because shipping and sight-unseen variables would be mitigated.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2022

    Are ‘neighborhood stores’ what Google fans have been searching for?

    Grounding Google's story in brick and mortar makes sense. The company appears to have pulled out all the stops to ensure a store-of-the-community vibe for its Brooklyn brick and mortar. This shouldn't be seen as just a vanity marketing play as a slew of immersive hardware launches are set to be unleashed by Meta, Apple, and others. Google must aggressively articulate its value and connect consumers to its products sooner than later or risk getting left in the dust.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2022

    Robots and drones and Walmart’s supply chain, oh my

    Walmart's robotics and drone expansions are the latest examples of the retailer taking the lead, playing a long game, and leaning into strategic partnerships. The drone expansion will generate plenty of naysaying initially, yet Walmart is poised to singlehandedly accelerate drone adoption on both the consumer and retailer side. Walmart's big robotics shift will further separate Walmart from the supply chain-addled pack. In this environment every advantage counts and Walmart has the deep pockets to test, learn, and deploy at scale.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2022

    Will Adidas help Foot Locker get over Nike?

    Well this discussion is well-timed! In my latest podcast episode (Not Everyone is Nike. Maybe That’s a Good Thing), posted this morning, I take on the post-Nike world of retail and the ripples from its wholesale pull-out. The big question is whether broad assortments of non-Nike brands like Adidas can fill the void left by Nike. In the meantime, predictions that a flood of brands would follow Nike's narrow direct-to-consumer game plan have largely been unfounded. In fact, a slew of brands is leaning into wholesale once again.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2022

    Can Old Navy plot a new course and keep its inclusivity pledge?

    I have a hard time believing that the BODEQUALITY program is singularly responsible for Old Navy's woes. The disappointing profitability posted by Walmart and Target attests to the challenges retailers are weathering, especially in discretionary categories. Even so, it's difficult to run a program like BODEQUALITY profitably for a value retailer like Old Navy. The emphasis has been on highlighting bigger sizes, which do cost more to make, yet Old Navy also offers small and petite sizes. Representing a full range of sizes takes up a lot of room and adds complexity to an already-stressed supply chain. Given the lackluster response to the program, Old Navy might get away with making modifications.
  • Posted on: 05/19/2022

    Is the retail sky falling?

    A combination of surmountable factors finally culminated in a temporarily insurmountable situation. Pent-up demand and shoppers returning to stores, combined with retail's odds-beating resilience throughout the pandemic created a false sense of security. For now, this is a humbling moment rather than an irreversible downturn.
  • Posted on: 05/19/2022

    C-store customers want an app to order ahead

    Order ahead apps arguably make more sense for c-stores than other tiers of retail. Road warriors, truckers, and frequent travelers are loyal to various major chains, many of which are expanding food assortments and dining options. In other words, travelers often know exactly what they want, and from who, in advance of a visit and likely have planned other aspects of the stop to make the journey more efficient. Apps allow travelers to get back on the road faster and avoid crowds. App integration will be a logical upgrade as several major chains announce marketing and merchandising overhauls.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2022

    Are shoppable ads finally ready for prime time?

    Yet more validation for retailers morphing into media companies and ad agencies. Shoppable ads will quickly emerge as the shiny new offering within retailers' agency arsenals, ensuring acceleration. Amazon's recent enablement of in-media product placements, retailers' growing obsession with live streaming -- off to the races!
  • Posted on: 05/18/2022

    Walmart and Target report higher sales and lower margins

    The challenges Walmart and Target are experiencing can’t be eradicated in a single quarter. Excess inventory and markdowns threaten to become the unwelcome gifts that keep on giving into the back-to-school season. On one hand, Walmart is well positioned to weather inflation when compared to its competitors – it has the buying clout and business model diversity to adjust. Yet Walmart also operates under a low-cost premise and relies heavily on price-sensitive categories like grocery to drive traffic. Any uptick in prices can impel shoppers to migrate to seek out alternatives such as ALDI or dollar stores. When that happens, both Walmart and Target lose the ability to trigger sales in higher-margin general merchandise. Target may be better positioned to sell higher-margin apparel and home goods while shoppers are in its stores, yet its hard-won improvements in grocery are what drives the footfall.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2022

    Which exec role should guide the path to the metaverse?

    Like most things in retail, it depends. For now, many retailers see the metaverse as a branding exercise, so tucking it under marketing makes sense. Crate & Barrel's decision to add metaverse explorations to existing responsibilities demonstrates the cautious curiosity phase that many retailers are in now.

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