PROFILE
  • Avatar
    • fa
    • tt
    • gg

Craig Sundstrom

CFO, Weisner Steel
  • VIEW ARTICLES
  • VIEW COMMENTS
  • Posted on: 07/13/2020

    Will Boomers and Gen X keep shopping online post-pandemic?

    This is something of a trick question, since habits were evolving even before the crisis, so the chance of returning to "old" literally is zero (though perhaps "largely" anticipates this). But back on point, we just don't really know. Certainly the more online habits become normalized, the more likely they are to persist, but there are a variety of reasons for not shopping online -- particularly if the experience is negative -- and those will persist, regardless. But generally, I think we've moved a couple years up on pre-existing trends; whether it's a permanent shift or there's a pause, we'll just have to wait and see.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Retailers need way more fulfillment space to keep up with booming online sales

    Why would it plateau (assuming that online sales themselves were growing)?
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Is consumer arrogance driving word-of-mouth recommendations?

    No Ralph, you've got (at least) two in agreement. Based on my amateur research, I'd say at the moment about 40% of people like arrogance ... and the percentage seems to be dropping.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Is consumer arrogance driving word-of-mouth recommendations?

    What do I think of it? It makes me cringe. There. That having been said, I don't doubt there's some truth in it, but what a "half empty" view. For every person who brags, isn't there one (or more) who simply wants to share good news with people? Whatever and however companies might choose to make use of reviews, I don't think saying "we're going to leverage arrogance" is going to get a very good one from people.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Can a socially distanced event launch a sneakerhead hub?

    Quick question: what's worse, "social distancing" being a challenge to maintain, or it NOT being a challenge (because no one is there in the first place)? Hmmm... Anyway, this might actually be a good time to open up, with many things still closed and people looking for things to do and places to go. Then again, I may be wildly wrong (and admittedly the crowds that have been waiting for the Guggenheim and the Met to reopen probably don't see this as an alternative). And I think the cart may be before the horse: popular brands > popular flagships, not the other way around ... but I certainly wish them well (and safety).
  • Posted on: 07/09/2020

    How blemished are beauty retailers by COVID-19?

    My two cents worth is that the close proximity of clinicians (to people's faces) is the real danger here -- as opposed to surface transmission -- but anyway: "47 percent of respondents wearing less makeup ... 21% wearing no makeup." So apparently, somewhere between a quarter and two thirds decrease in demand. I can't imagine anything being more of a challenge than that ... a true OMG! moment.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2020

    Dunkin’ retreats from gas stations

    At only 0.5%, it doesn't sound like a big deal either way, but I'm unclear on why this is being presented as an "either/or" ... have to think Speedway made some push to end it as well. As for the pandemic's impact on the future, if it includes a lot more WFH, then I could see a lasting impact as I imagine a "swing-by" on the way to the office is a major source of sales ... and one that would presumably be lessened.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Macy’s plans for the Christmas rush

    I'm baffled as to how curbside is a "big secret weapon" since it isn't ANY of those three things (particularly as far as Macy's is concerned; it operates in large spaces with curbside access that - while superior to in-line stores - is worse than standalone locations). And how is Santa going to be handled? (Or maybe Macy's itself doesn't do that anymore.) At the risk of making Scrooge look upbeat, it's hard to be optimistic about the holidays this year: large crowds could be a safety hazard, but the LACK of large crowds would be a financial hazard. Bah, humbug!
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Has the pandemic changed shopping behaviors forever?

    It's difficult to translate the findings into predictions, since the percentages have to be multiplied by 53 percent - the group the percentages actually applies to - and THEN added to the corresponding groups who want to "get to normal" (and whose preferences aren't stated). Then again, maybe I should just answer the actual question: at this point we just don't know; the Depression lasted a loooong time - four to 11 years, depending on who and where you were - with very little in the way of backstops against catastrophe that we have (and take for granted) presently. That having been said, the pandemic has impacted things in different ways - more broadly and much more rapidly - so one can't just say "it's shorter" and be done with it. I think a lot of key institutions are reaching a tipping point, and if things don't recover soon we'll start to see systematic failure(s). So at that point, consumer behaviors will change... and probably not in a good way.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Can remotely managed mobile-marts safely bring groceries to areas in need?

    Hate to be a pessimist but... well, let's skip over a long list of issues and just look at the way that the pandemic has impacted food production, created basic shortages of product and caused unemployment (which precludes impacted people from being able to buy). I don't see how this really addresses any of those issues. (And if you're unconvinced about this not working, we can come back later to discuss the security concerns about it that I have.)
  • Posted on: 07/06/2020

    Has COVID-19 exacerbated online return challenges?

    Although there are probably a few concerns related to goods being contaminated, whether or not these concerns are necessary is a matter of opinion. Most of the problem is simply one of volume: returns have always been a bottleneck, so the more sales > more returns > more of a bottleneck. How to optimize? I think many retailers will be tempted to enact more restrictive policies just to make things go faster, but I'd advise against it. With volumes up, and more people than ever buying, it's a great time to make a good impression (and with lots of people out of work and most online selling exploding, it's a good time to make a second good impression by hiring some of those people ... even if only temporarily).
  • Posted on: 07/06/2020

    Will Wegmans need a post-pandemic makeover?

    I seldom question management decisions on specific policies, since they almost certainly have more info available than I do (and I'm not going to change tactics here), but suffice it to say, when one of your major marketing advantages is a broad selection, paring back SKUs is problematic. This would be a really good opportunity to put that intelligence on customer buying habits to good use and make sure all the cutbacks don't fall on a particular type of customer. I think people will be understanding, even when they lose a favorite item -- particularly given the present circumstances -- but losing five or six of them is likely to damage the relationship.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2020

    Amazon’s traffic is way up, but others are doing even better during the pandemic

    I question -- at least with the data presented here -- that Amazon's competitor's "gained more." If (since we don't have the actual numbers, we'll hypothesize based on perceptions) Amazon went from 1500 to 2250 and some other retailer went from 10 to 37 , who really gained "more"? Relative gains don't mean much when the actual numbers are vastly different ... and they are.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2020

    Are automated freight trucks ready to carry retail’s heavy load?

    Hey, but you can keep your eyes closed!
  • Posted on: 07/02/2020

    Are automated freight trucks ready to carry retail’s heavy load?

    I'm surprised by the polling results: about two thirds think trucking automation is unimportant ... hmmm. (I think there may be an age-related bias at work here.) That said, I'm pleased that the usual overly enthusiastic endorsements appear absent ... methinks enough of us still have our jetpacks on backorder to know "the future" is often further away than it seems.
  • Apply to be a BrainTrust Panelist

  • Please briefly describe your qualifications — specifically, your expertise and experience in the retail industry.
  • By submitting this form, I give you permission to forward my contact information to designated members of the RetailWire staff.

    See RetailWire's privacy policy for more information about what data we collect and how it is used.