PROFILE

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.

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  • Posted on: 02/04/2020

    Can luxury retail attract a new generation of shoppers?

    The most significant changes that luxury retailers/brands need to make are first, to create an open, democratized brick-and-mortar experience. The days of locked entries, intimidating security guards and cold, sparse displays should be over. Luxury brands have a real opportunity to lead in the digital rethinking of physical retail. Switching channels, luxury brands must also break down any remaining resistance to digital. Luxury brands were late to the digital party and some have catching up to do. Digital is critical to driving awareness and accessibility to less-ubiquitous brands. An accessible and exciting flagship experience backed up by an easy-to-navigate digital brand showcase is what's needed.
  • Posted on: 01/23/2020

    Will store closures worsen in 2020?

    The significant factors leading to store closures are 1.) Amazon's digital dominance 2.) Lack of bricks and clicks integration (Walmart isn't closing massive number of stores because they've nailed this) and 3.) The fall of the mall. J.C. Penney and Sears are in peril as are any number of category killers that are still in business. It used to be that retailers feared Walmart entering a category (and to some degree that's still true). Now Amazon's profit-be-damned attacks are rendering category killing a daring business model. Store closures aren't necessarily a death knell. Some retailers can address various markets digitally without saturating them with stores. Either way, the store closure action isn't over.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2020

    Amazon, Kroger, Walgreens and Walmart earn perfect scores for LGBTQ policies

    As retailers increasingly find themselves competing with progressive, perk-heavy technology platforms for talent - inclusiveness isn't a nice-to-have, it's a must-do. Retailers must cast wider nets and ensure that all employees, however they identify, feel welcomed and safe. Corporations are taking the lead here because it's just good business.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2020

    Is a ‘hassle cost’ justified in resolving customer service issues?

    We often weigh in on "product reviews" but many are actually service reviews that impact product sales. How many times have you seen one-star service reviews peppered in with five-star product reviews? This alone is reason enough to show the hand to hassle costs and customer service escalation games.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2020

    Nike offers advice on successful marketplace partnerships

    One could read Mr. Hogue's comments as a direct dig at Amazon and assume that its former relationship with Amazon didn't check enough boxes. So Nike isn't abandoning marketplace partnerships entirely, it's just being more selective.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2020

    Does convenience trump price for today’s consumer?

    Convenience trumps price much more often than retailers (used to) realize. Now retailers get it that they can't afford to force shoppers into a couple of convenience options that are easier or more profitable to execute. Different shoppers define convenience differently and a single shopper can look at it differently depending on the category being shopped, the occasion or even time of day. We're living in an "all of the above" world, where retailers must offer a portfolio of convenient choices. Choice and convenience are synonymous for shoppers. The good news is, retailers that kill with convenience can sell more at full price. It's just that important.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2020

    Consumers want up-to-date online reviews

    I always sort reviews, whether for services or products, by date. For products, doing so ensures that I'm checking out the latest and greatest version of a product and that everything is still up to par. For services, date searches validate that any glitches called out in previous low star reviews have been worked out (or that those reviews were petty anomalies). For service companies, including retailers, it's imperative to engage with positive reviews, not just defend against the bad ones. Validating the props is the best way to ensure that they keep coming. People like to be acknowledged for providing feedback.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2020

    Should Ahold-Delhaize, Albertsons, Kroger or Walmart buy Grubhub?

    At this point, it seems that most retailers are outsourcing delivery (bridge strategy). As open as retailers have been to outside partnerships, the preference is not to share services with competitors when it can be avoided. So it's only natural that some would shift to acquisition (buy) and Grubhub is a logical target. Any retailer that grabs Grubhub could easily rebrand it, mitigating the perception of any disconnect.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2020

    Walmart rolls out self-serve ads

    This is a major development that validates retailers' move toward platform monetization and leverage (not just selling stuff). It also backs up Walmart's unique ability to link its physical scale to its digital platform. Walmart has been quite proactive on this front and has a lot of clout with marketers as a result. As is typical for Walmart, the self-serve ad play checks many boxes and Walmart isn't the only one who will benefit.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Will ‘five pillars’ provide the foundation Bed Bath & Beyond needs to succeed?

    I agree with this and have to believe private brand initiatives are very much on the menu given Mr. Tritton's former areas of focus and accomplishments.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Kroger goes beyond meat and looks for impossible growth with private brand

    Whole Foods has already jumped in with meatless chicken patties, nuggets and more. Trader Joe's (a go-to for plant-based shoppers for some time) has also attacked plant-based/meatless/dairy-less with its private brands. If anything, Kroger is following their lead (though Kroger's meatless packaging and approach more directly takes on Beyond and Impossible).
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Kroger goes beyond meat and looks for impossible growth with private brand

    It's hard to say how this will play out. Since Beyond Meat's initial meteoric stock rise (then fall), the stock been somewhat immune to good news (earnings and placement in major outlets) and announcements from rivals like Impossible have resulted in upticks for BYND. The big takeaway is that, with so many new entrants, quality and price will matter more. If Kroger offers a superior product, it will do well in the long haul. Us plant-based people have never had this many terrific options so former go-to brands will have to keep up. Right now, my fridge/freezer's packed with Gardein, Beyond, Morningstar, Just Egg, Follow Your Heart, Uncreamery, Miyoko's, Herbivorous Butcher...oh my!
  • Posted on: 01/08/2020

    Does ‘selfish shopping’ justify post-holiday discounting?

    Casting nets for selfish shoppers makes all kinds of sense. It's well documented that shoppers tend to spend over shopping card limits. Shoppers feel doubly smart when using a gift card and scoring a deal at the same time.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2020

    Pier 1 to close up to 450 stores as it faces uncertain future

    The major competitive challenge for Pier 1 isn't just Amazon (though of course that is a huge factor). Digital home purveyors like Wayfair and Hayneedle are everywhere and mega retailers like Walmart and Target are attacking home in-store and online. The endless digital marketplace aisles are increasingly crammed with sofas, end tables, chairs and décor and delivery and set up times are shrinking. I've been impressed with Pier 1's store refinements that make it much easier to shop by color or category and the service has been top notch as of late. Pier 1 has lost some of its hippie-ish heritage which has dinged its differentiation. Even so, the brand enjoys recognition so partnerships with other retailers could make sense.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2020

    Do alcohol and shopping mix?

    I've been surprised how few retailers have embraced this possibility. Look at Restoration Hardware, with its spare-no-expense flagships that serve drinks and food. The better to sell those pricey sofas! Visions of college kids boozing it up can kill the buzz but in general, looser customers are good for business.

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