Carol Spieckerman

President, Spieckerman Retail

Carol Spieckerman is an internationally-recognized authority on retail and brand positioning. She specializes in future-proofing her clients’ retail strategies and positioning them for high-volume success with key retail decision-makers and influencers.  As president and CEO of Spieckerman Retail, she tracks Retail TrajectoriesSM that cut across categories, tiers, environments and borders and transforms them into actionable strategies for her brand marketing, agency, licensing, and technology clients. Carol is an author and regular contributor to leading retail and business media. Her credits include the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes, Dealerscope, Women’s Wear Daily, Bloomberg Business Week, Private Label Buyer and Retail Wire. Carol speaks at corporate and industry events around the world including the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the International Licensing Expo. Her blog, The Right Brain of Retail, is considered a “must-read” by major retailers, brands and suppliers and her retail insights are prominent on Twitter @retailxpert.

  • Posted on: 12/13/2019

    Kroger still deciding whether to extend free grocery pickup

    Kroger's indecisiveness could easily alienate customers. Kroger needs to either go all-in or sit this one out. Free pickup is already beloved by Walmart shoppers so the standard has been set. In other words, thanks to Walmart, free grocery pickup is already an expectation. If Kroger cuts the program at this stage, or (horrors) starts charging for it again, shoppers will have every excuse to shift to another source. Stop fiddling, Kroger. Go for it!
  • Posted on: 12/13/2019

    Is there any limit to how many stores Dollar General can open?

    Before Dollar General pulled the trigger on BOPIS, the only way it could kill with convenience was through physical scale. Now that the starting gun has fired, store saturation makes even more sense. I'm also glad to see the comparatively cautious rollout of DGX alongside its traditional stores. Regardless of short term success, no doubt Dollar General is learning a ton about Millennial shoppers through DGX and building bridges to a new generation of value-oriented shoppers. Going forward, Dollar General will have a lot to offer in terms of instant recognition and convenience for digitally-native brands. Will that be the next power move now that the brick-and-mortar base is linked to digital?
  • Posted on: 12/12/2019

    Will IHOP fans flip out over its new fast-casual breakfast foods concept?

    IHOP may have caught grief for previous experiments but hey, at least they're trying new things. With breakfast bowls proliferating in grocery aisles, Flip'd is an awesome way for IHOP to own breakfast with an efficient, customer-friendly concept. Maybe they'll jump on the bandwagon and add meatless (Beyond, Impossible, etc.) and/or eggless (e.g., JUST Egg) options as well.
  • Posted on: 12/12/2019

    Kroger and Walgreens are in a purchasing alliance and seeking more partners

    Kroger is no stranger to platform partnerships and strength-in-numbers alliances (see Dunhummby). It only makes sense for Kroger and Walgreens to take the next step in scaling efficiencies between the two organizations. Global powerhouse potential here, whether or not they officially tie the knot.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2019

    Will Google take ‘going local’ to another level?

    Google's suite of localization tools is a thoughtfully-bundled solution that will help retailers (hopefully of all sizes) get a leg up. I've been saying for a while, "digital drives discovery" and is a critical component to brick-and-mortar retailers, even those that have no intention of venturing into E-commerce. Google just made it easier for retailers to pull the trigger without over-thinking. Smooth move!
  • Posted on: 12/11/2019

    Will same-day delivery make for a merry Old Navy Christmas?

    Although BOPIS makes sense, same-day delivery is a perilous path for Old Navy. Old Navy's quality and sizing can be quite uneven so same-day delivery is a two-way ticket to massive returns. Also, who really needs an unwrapped hoodie or pair of pajamas, stat? Is Old Navy offering free returns? If not, it's a hassle for customers. If so, it's a drain for Old Navy. I'm all for retailers building portfolios of complementary convenience options, but this feels like an afterthought. Of all the power moves Old Navy could have made for the holidays, same-day delivery isn't one of them.
  • Posted on: 12/10/2019

    Will female-led pop-ups add pop to Macy’s Christmas?

    Great addition to the arsenal! Macy's is smart to go all-in with limited-availability partnerships and women-led business in particular. Women-led businesses are definitely a thing these days and Macy's shouldn't sit it out. Some of these businesses also address the identity spectrum making things even better for Macy's as it casts a wider niche net. Initially, shoppers may not be aware of every partnership Macy's has forged but word should travel fast thanks to these brands' already-developed content and social media platforms. Many brand tentacles makes for a better Macy's holiday season. The question is whether Macy's can or will keep it up. If not, Macy's may face a post-holiday buzz kill.
  • Posted on: 12/09/2019

    Why do so many people say ‘no’ to retailer loyalty programs?

    Oddly enough, the tool that would seem to take loyalty programs over the finish line may be inhibiting participation. Shoppers only want to use so many apps and retailers need to find ways to clearly articulate loyalty program benefits within the mobile environment and outside of it. As the article pointed out, with so many convenience capabilities becoming table stakes these days, retailers need to be honest about, and get creative with, value-add loyalty benefits. I'm not sure that all Amazon Prime members regularly think about the fact that they are paying for the benefits that Amazon offers to them. Yet receiving them sets the bar high for other retailers that may not get away with charging for them.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2019

    To localize stores or not, that is the question for retailers

    I appreciate Nikki's comment that there is no "right" way. Rough Trade could probably get away with attempting to marry London edge with snippets from the local scene. However, it can also stay "pure" to the London sensibility without going through the hassle of localization! Concrete + Water would have a hard time standing out without its highly-localized premise. Retailers and brands vacillate between seeing localization as an opportunity or adding unnecessary complexity.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2019

    Are its Nordstrom pop-ups a sign that Glossier is ready to work with department stores?

    Glossier's hookup with Nordstrom is all upside. More digital native brands are realizing that scale and awareness can't be fully realized in a single, digital channel. Traditional retailers like Nordstrom can tap into digital brands' highly-developed content platforms and social media outreach. The Nordstrom pop-ups will introduce more customers to Glossier and in an environment known for expertise and customer service. Once the pop-ups disappear, shoppers can continue the relationship online. It's all good.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2019

    Will Rent the Runway‘s hotel concierge deal change how people travel?

    Rent the Runway's foray into hospitality/travel is yet another brilliant business extension for RTR. Was it chosen as a lower-volume growth vehicle that won't put strain on the structure? The stakes are certainly higher for people traveling for business or special occasions so "we're sorry" won't soothe any snafus this time. Rent the Runway is setting the standard for innovative partnerships and brand extensions. Hopefully it can remedy supply chain issues to reach its full potential.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2019

    Will Grinches steal Christmas from America’s front porch?

    I once wondered why consumers would choose locker pick-up when they have perfectly good doorways. One answer? Porch pirates! As retailers get better at executing myriad convenience options, losses will only get worse. The best solutions may come from consumers themselves as home surveillance capabilities become more sophisticated and affordable. The good news in the meantime is that consumers do have so many options. Those that live in areas prone to pirating can always switch to store or locker pickup. Perhaps retailers can play a role by recommending alternatives if/when pirating plagues a particular consumer. Add it to the algorithm!
  • Posted on: 12/04/2019

    Do independent liquor stores need a rehab?

    Of the threats mentioned, chain competition deserves its place at the top. My local Walgreens store happens to have the best price on my favorite wine (beating Walmart by $2 and with a discount for four or more, no case required). Once again, it boils down to diversification. Multi-category retailers can move and groove; category killers are more vulnerable than ever as chains attack frequently-purchased categories like wine and liquor in order to drive trip frequency. I've seen that some mid-sized liquor chains are exploring cannabis, however single store operators are in a difficult spot. Their best move is to kill with convenience -- drive-thrus, curbside loading, delivery and always quick and friendly checkouts. Not everyone wants to traverse a football field to grab a six pack. In-store events are another option that resonates with Millennials and Gen Z, but that many operators leave alone.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2019

    Can Barnes & Noble afford to take it easy over the holidays?

    Mr. Daunt's thinking may seem passive, however most of the changes that other retailers are implementing for the holidays have had a longer runway. Retailers have been launching, learning and refining throughout the year in preparation for the holiday shopping season. Rather than throwing things against the wall at this late stage, Mr. Daunt is wise to work with what is already in place. In the meantime, the phrase "following someone else's plan" may have been an unfortunate word choice as it doesn't tee him up as a change-maker. His decision to give more autonomy to store managers should have the effect of localizing individual stores and make enough of a difference until bigger corporate changes take shape.
  • Posted on: 11/26/2019

    Can retailers take a bite out of organized retail crime?

    I've spoken at a couple of events that focus on loss prevention and related functions and my discussions with attendees are always fascinating. Theft schemes, now extending into the digital space, are mind-blowingly sophisticated and in some cases, just plain in-your-face bold and daring. The need for dedicated effort and multi-disciplinary collaboration always rises to the top in these conversations. All too often, loss prevention is treated as an afterthought or isolated to the point of being devalued by other functions. For example, merchandising teams unwittingly implementing theft-friendly strategies. Early-stage input from loss prevention professionals can mitigate future losses. Navigating local dynamics including law enforcement practices and availability, also makes it difficult to standardize processes. Researching and reaching out to community leaders and law enforcement in advance of store openings would seem to be worth the investment.

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