Chuck Palmer

Senior Advisor, ConsumerX Retail
Chuck is a retail strategist with a consumer behavior bias. He focuses on the nexus of consumer behavior, technology and creativity. With more than 25 years experience across the worlds of online and offline retail, retail strategy, operations, consumer behavior and in-store digital visual merchandising (digital signage networks). You can read his blog at
  • Posted on: 06/21/2021

    Can Victoria’s Secret shift its brand image from sexy to empowering?

    As Victoria's Secret tries to find its new relevancy and identity, I have to wonder what sort of work they are doing internally to shift core thinking and culture. If this is "just" window dressing, so to speak, it will have been a colossal waste of time, money and for the hired guns, brand capital. The scale and reach of the VS Enterprise could be leveraged to provide all sorts of good to consumers and the brand itself, but if at its core they aren't committed to a sustainable strategy, this will be just what it appears -- a one-time campaign.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2021

    How should (and shouldn’t) retailers honor Juneteenth?

    As a white, middle aged guy, the first thing that comes to mind is that I don't really have an opinion on this. But of course I do. Retailers and brands need to quietly talk to their staff and customers about Juneteenth in order to learn. I hope many don't touch it, as it is not theirs. Let's listen to the folks who hold this holiday as precious and go from there.
  • Posted on: 02/17/2021

    Will Nordstrom celebrate or regret its decision to give brands a lot more control?

    Nordstrom giving over control to brands? YIKES. At first glance, this makes my heart ache. The merchant in me is saying they are giving up on the art of the assortment that they have built their brand on. On a deeper level, the concession model has been 5% of their revenue (test and learn) and the plan is to drive that up to 30%. So, they're not giving away the store; only part of it. I hope the strategists and merchants at Nordstrom approach this the way they have traditionally met disruption and change -- by doing it the Nordstrom way. I can see them working with the brands to keep with elevated service, assortment and visual standards. This could be very powerful if the brands tailor assortment, presentation and staff to the local market. Could be interesting.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2021

    Nordstrom is determined to get closer to its customers

    Are we witnessing the re-invention of Nordstrom? Perhaps the idea of department stores? Or is it just a return to a brand standing for many things? With the consolidation of ecommerce operations (remember bargain basements?) and projecting a reduction of traditional wholesale as a percent to total sales (marketplaces?) the Nordstrom folks seem to be looking at the new retail landscape very differently than most. I think Nordstrom Local is just the earliest indication of a distributed model that puts the customer at the center and caters to her changing desires over time.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2020

    Apple removes other brand audio products from its store shelves

    Seeing non-Apple merchandise in Apple stores has always seemed weird to me. It's like shopping at Tiffany and finding a Kay Jewelers chocolate diamond mixed in. ...Huh? I expect all those accessories are a mere convenience for customers. It's not like they need the add-on sales. I've always expected the non-Apple assortments to be curated through an Apple lens, but I've been mostly disappointed by their merchandising. If they asked me--I should check my spam folders, maybe they have--I would say remove the clutter of all that extra stuff and keep the focus on the coveted products they are known for. I would love to see what their design folks would do with bags and cases and desktop accessories.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2020

    Do consumers need beauty products delivered within an hour?

    Of course Sephora is experimenting with one-hour delivery. How ever consumer expectations have changed regarding instant gratification, the Holy Grail still seems to be instant gratification. Or at least the perception of such things. If we were to survey Sephora's customers we would probably see an even spread of expectations of delivery. I think the key benefit for Sephora is the competitive advantage of the first mover position.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2020

    Should restaurants charge a pandemic fee?

    I'm pretty sure supply and demand still applies here. As much as I'm a fan of honesty and transparency, it just seems wrong to add a fee or charge to a bill. I expect that would suppress demand. And while supply--space and time in a restaurant plus the food--is limited, this reveals the question of value. Is it all worth it?
  • Posted on: 08/24/2020

    COVID-19 will redefine the meaning of Christmas creep in 2020

    Given public health concerns and economic and social uncertainty, I wonder if folks won't invite Christmas in early this year. There are practical and pragmatic concerns, of course, but the emotional aspects of that special time of year might be what we want in October and we'll want to make it last through December. Halloween will be muted at best this year, so it may allow more mind-space to the ideas of giving and gathering, even if it is watching loved ones open presents on a screen.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2020

    Is Sur La Table too late for the home cooking craze?

    Like most current retail discussions, Sur La Table should be looking at this as a tabula rasa (see what I did there?) opportunity. When it was primarily a store and catalog business, it's key advantages were the robust in-store classes and it not being Williams-Sonoma (without much differentiation, really). They have an opportunity to rationalize their assortment, shift focus to digital first, introduce a relevant loyalty program and amp up reasons for consumers to lean in.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2020

    Can retailers mitigate holiday delivery fee spikes?

    With increased shipping fees passed on to consumers--whether in the retail price or the shipping cost--will come a dampening effect on holiday sales. By fourth quarter of 2020, consumers will be deep in the uncertainty of our times. Retailers who maintain the perception of low-cost or free shipping/delivery will win. Consumers will see this not so much as providing convenience, but that retailer keeping our best interests at heart. My advice is to do the math, take a hit, keep and win customers' loyalty.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2020

    Nov. 2021: How should retail plan for a return to normal?

    November 2021, IF there is a successful vaccine distributed next year. That sounds realistic. Dr. Emanuel is the kind of expert we should be learning from and basing our expectation on his work and perspective. We really need to abandon the notion of "normal." It's liberating, actually. We all know retail has been in flux for many years and in the before times it was a slow but inevitable slog. Since February of 2020, the force of change in retail has been at warp speed. We should be working on writing the playbooks and scripts for what's next, based on practical, pragmatic strategy and realistic execution.
  • Posted on: 07/27/2020

    Are boycotts becoming bigger risks?

    Any data on why? Is demand from support of their CEO or fear the products will not be available if they are pulled from shelves?
  • Posted on: 07/27/2020

    Are boycotts becoming bigger risks?

    Every day, it seems, we are confronted with something that we cannot control--from the pandemic to aggression from our government. One of the things we can control, that we share with others is how we spend our money and in turn our relationships with brands. "Boycotting" or spreading the word about a brand's actions--in agreement or not--is a low-risk way to take a stand. Am I boycotting Goya or Chic-fil-A? I can't say that I was a customer of those brands and now I'm not. What I can say, is if I am tempted to buy from them, I will think twice and most likely not make the purchase. Will this make the company less money? Probably not. But I feel a bit better about it. My point is, what a brand does or does not do is increasingly the meaning consumers engage and buy from that company. Current times have accelerated and amplified this evolution to meaning-driven purchases. That said, that dude from Goya seemingly shot himself in the foot, but probably not really.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2020

    Will personalization work for produce?

    Farming as a service sounds amazing. I can see the consumer appeal to deeply personalizing produce. I can see it becoming reliable over time, but if you get sick of the yam you chose to grow months ago, do you have to take it? Secondary trading markets? This raises a lot of questions that the current market has already answered, but the sense of control and knowing where food comes from holds great appeal.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2020

    Will grocers maintain COVID share gains as restaurants reopen?

    For the foreseeable future, trust will be a driving force in consumers' minds. I have seen a few examples of how retailers partner with local restaurants to effectively become distribution points--either in-person or via home delivery. The concept of "share of stomach" assumes a pie divided. Whereas a consumer-centric model would allow for partnering. Large grocers have a moment of trust that could allow them to expand their relevancy and necessity in consumers' lives. A single source for all their needs, whatever they are. This would entail re-imagining business models and operations, but now is the time to innovate and accelerate.

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