PROFILE

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 www.ConsumerXretail.com.
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  • 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.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2020

    Walmart teams up with Shopify to give Amazon a run for its money

    If Walmart's deal with Shopify yields something akin to their arrangement with Advance Auto Parts, I can see it benefiting consumers. As we balance out our in-home and in-store shopping behavior, having more interesting choices within the context of convenience that Amazon and Walmart offer can only be a good thing. Although the first 1,200 Shopify retailers may get lost in Walmart's 33,000 third-party vendors. According to the website Ecomerce Platforms, there are over 500,000 active stores running on Shopify, and they’ve collectively driven more than $40 billion worth of sales. So, yeah. Scale.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2020

    Should Amazon, Walmart, others be held liable for workers sickened by COVID-19?

    Good question. Thing is, the NRF represents retailers, not retail workers.
  • Posted on: 05/05/2020

    Will free listings elevate Google Shopping?

    Now is the time tor Google to open up and let it all in. I guess. This would only work if they are also reaching consumers in a way that will enable a shift from the behavior that sees us go to Amazon first when we are ready to buy.
  • Posted on: 05/05/2020

    Can J.C. Penney make it without Sephora?

    I don't think consumers see Sephora at J.C. Penney as a bad thing. But it seems the relationship has served its purpose for Sephora -- helping build the brand -- which I expect is doing just fine online during the current pandemic. I see this as Sephora's move to create more flexibility in its contract and now is the time to apply pressure. JCP is not in a good position to negotiate. They need Sephora more than Sephora needs JCP. Is it wise to fully pull out? Maybe. Maybe not. If JCP is viable, then revenue and reach remains important to Sephora, but they may achieve that at Macy's, too.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2020

    Are Target’s skyrocketing online sales retail’s new normal?

    We're seeing the payoff of a diversified portfolio of ways to separate a consumer from their money. Seriously, we know the best players have read consumer behavior over the last 10 years and given us as many ways to shop as we like. It's no surprise Target has benefited from the way they do business. They consistently operate in a way worthy of consumers' trust. In a time of crisis, it follows that consumers gravitate to them.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2020

    Can grocers help sit-down restaurants stay afloat with to-go meal programs?

    We're going to see in the coming weeks an uptick in demand for variety. The novelty of homemade sourdough is going to fade. Grocers carrying local restaurant meals makes a lot of sense. While the logistics and packaging issues are different from a take-and-bake pizza or the like, it seems the operational part of the equation is where retailers can step up. This could reduce the number of trips customers take out of the house and alleviate the need for each restaurant to figure out online ordering and pick up. This gives retailers more differentiating points, restaurants more volume and consumers more choices.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2020

    Is it time for ‘essential’ retailers to stop running in-store promotions?

    I wish I could say Lowe's doesn't get to have it both ways, but it seems they will. It's really disingenuous to go ahead with a promo like this and then hide behind all the measures they've taken to "protect" their customers and staff. They are willfully ignoring the seriousness of the threat.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2020

    Is Amazon facing a crossroads with the coronavirus pandemic?

    Well, it took a global pandemic to slow Amazon's roll. The reliability we've come to expect is in short supply. It wasn't too long ago the promise of same day delivery was the latest in holy grails. Also, it wasn't too long ago they were taking extraordinary steps to keep quiet warehouse working conditions and efforts of their staff to unionize. Perhaps in some way this is stripping away the mythos of Amazon. They will remain the behemoth, but they will have some ground to make up on those extraordinary promises they were making and keeping.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2020

    How can stores get social distancing right?

    While limiting behavior is counter intuitive for retailers and their associates, they do have the ability to amp up control over what people do in stores. We don't have strong enough guidance as to what works and what doesn't and what the new rules are. Retailers are left to figure out their own way of dealing with this -- someone at Walmart thought one-way aisles is important -- makes sense, I guess. But Target and Kroger are focusing their adaptations to in other areas. Thing is, we don't have evidence as to what works and what doesn't, so we have a seemingly tossed salad of what to do. While it's not usually their job, essential retailers will eventually have to be behavioral police. In the meantime they should be increasing their security and management staff's training toward enforcing rules. This is the only way we'll eliminate behavior we see as putting others in jeopardy. Perhaps a return to olden times is in order -- when you asked the proprietor for what you need and he or she collected it and rang you up. Think of an in-person e-comm experience where you share your list and runners gather your stuff.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2020

    Will off-pricers be major share gainers post-coronavirus?

    Given the glut of spring/summer inventory out there and the timing of when we think stores will re-open, we may see off-price retailers gain new share. We may also see unsold inventory--especially in colder climates--stick around for a year or be re-directed to warmer environments and heavily discounted. Consumers will be in a value mindset for a significant period, but as back-to-school and holiday looms over merchants' heads, they'll need to free up open-to-buy. While value retailers will benefit in the relative short term, they can't take all the inventory that is out there. I would expect those same retailers to re-think their online positions and messaging. No business today can ignore the vital importance of connecting with consumers online, especially for transactional sales.

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