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David Adelman

Founder, The Adelman Group

David is a prominent retail strategist, blogger and retail authority.  Before founding TAG, a retail customer experience consulting company, David spent over 25 years in retail store development, sales, marketing, and operations.

He developed Western Canada’s first mono-brand retail home furnishings store, Just Bauhaus, the manufacturer’s first partnership into retail home furnishings. David owned and operated Thomasville Home Furnishings
in addition to eight branded home goods stores throughout western Canada. He has worked with major international brands, including Moroni, Natuzzi, Palliser, Thomasville, and Bauhaus.

David has written several articles and been interviewed by news outlets on today’s dynamic retail environment.

David’s associations include:

  • Customer Experience Professional Association (CXPA)
  • Retail Industry Professional member
  • Retail Council of Canada member
  • Rethink Retail Guest Speaker
  • Royal Roads University, Guest Lecturer, Judge Final B. Comm
  • Capstone presentations, mentoring, coaching students

To learn more, visit:

  • Posted on: 05/11/2021

    Are brands and retailers defining authenticity on their own terms or consumers’?

    A product's authenticity comes largely from a brand's heritage. It isn't easy to have instant authenticity with any product unless the brand representing it has provenance. It doesn't matter how you package it today; consumers want to trust a brand first. Once they have achieved this trust, it will be much easier for a brand to convince them that their products are truly authentic. Take Dove, for example; their award-winning ad campaign showing women in their underwear promoting their gentle soap created authenticity by not showing typical models. Unilever is also a heritage brand that starting selling Dove back in 1957. Today a brand can't promote its products on TikTok, through influencers or on any social media platform, and expect it to be universally accepted as authentic -- you have to earn it!
  • Posted on: 05/07/2021

    Walmart is going all in on 24/7/365 telehealth

    It is always a good thing when more healthcare is provided in any community, whether in person or virtually. Mental health concerns, in particular, can be accessed very easily through telehealth compared to physical diagnosis. Anytime a retailer expands its brand to show "compassion and caring " for its customers, it's always a good thing. Although Walmart's acquisition of MeMD will be costly initially, in the long term I believe it will not only pay out in dividends but also in spades!
  • Posted on: 04/30/2021

    7-Eleven spending $70M to promote the convenience of its new tech

    Being cool and drinking Slurpees is one thing, but trying to drive business to its retail stores by focusing on Gen Z might be a waste of money. What really drives most customers to a 7-Eleven? Simple Answer: A car or truck. With most vehicle manufacturers transitioning to EVs by 2025, 7-Eleven must focus on determining how they are going to get these e-drivers to stop if they only sell petrol. Perhaps a long-term strategy of unique and healthier products, in addition to quick-charge EV stations, might improve their long-term store traffic. I envision an ultra-modern 7-Eleven of the future with a state-of-the-art curved glass tech waiting area where customers can plug in at the same time their vehicles are. Slurpees will surely follow.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2021

    Will stock ownership work as a loyalty program perk?

    The majority of consumers and the general population don't understand the stock market. I don't believe forcing them to take a very small bit of a stock or an ETF as a reward will work long term. If I am a fan of a brand I will keep buying at their stores especially if I am rewarded with a special VIP sale event, loyalty cash or earned points. I feel that for those who are "truly educated investors," this may seem like a way for large companies to increase their stock value through their most loyal customers. Today it's all about trust and transparency; perhaps consumers should have a choice rather than an extremely small piece of pie that might be worthless years down the road.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2021

    Are associates better than influencers for shopping livestreams?

    Nothing can replace a true Brand Ambassador; however, live streams will only be increasing in frequency, as we've seen happen in Asia over the last few years. Influencers have instant, short-term credibility but do they truly believe in the products they are promoting? Brand ambassadors and highly trained associates have the detailed knowledge that consumers crave. They can answer questions relating to how a product is manufactured, its sustainability, or even if it will fit into a customer's lifestyle. Influencers are like paid actors, getting paid to promote various consumer products. A true Brand Ambassador will have the inherent enthusiasm to gain the most important part of any transaction -- trust.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2021

    Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s new ad help change how consumers see the retailer?

    Bed Bath & Beyond's new television commercial is all about branding and only branding. It will definitely reinforce that a happy home means a happy life, but it will have no impact on their merchandising or pricing strategy unless they integrate it. The pandemic has already reinforced the value and benefits of a comfortable home; perhaps Bed Bath & Beyond should focus on their integrated marketing strategy and not just a fluffy IKEA-like commercial. Coupons have become a crutch for Bed Bath & Beyond in trying to grow sales. I feel they must initiate a new omnichannel loyalty program and phase out their old antiquated coupon strategy if they intend to move forward and grow revenue.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2021

    Will faster deliveries prove to be a valuable loyalty perk for Gap?

    Customer loyalty rewards programs are a key ingredient for brand success at any level. Let's face it; everyone wants to feel special. The evolution of social media proves this point poignantly. However the rewards program's effectiveness is determined by how it is rolled out. If it's simply listing you as a customer number by mentioning your first name, that might do; however it's much more effective if a brand can take loyalty to the next level by initiating a high degree of personalization in their communications. Personalization might include "previews" of upcoming sales, suggestions for personal style, or even getting customers' opinion on new styles and category launches. Make your best customers feel special, and they will be with you for life! Will personalized fulfillment for good customers work? Definitely, however a brand must communicate to their customer that they have taken these initiatives just for them. Amazon Prime members have been getting expedited fulfillment for years now. Why shouldn't other brands follow? It just makes sense. The only drawback I can foresee would be Gap, Inc. incurring extra overhead costs for making this change. Saying that, even with a slight increase in costs, I believe expedited fulfillment without an annual fee for their top-tier customers is brilliant!
  • Posted on: 04/02/2021

    What will travel’s potential recovery mean for tourist retail?

    The tourism traffic will rebound with vigor once the threat of COVID-19 subsides. Before the pandemic invaded our shores, experiences, whether traveling abroad or simply kayaking down your local river, were the discretionary spend of choice. This was especially true for the important ever-growing Millennial market as they shifted from the material gluttony of their dreaded Baby Boomer elders to experiences. Society had a "wake-up call" since the onset of COVID-19 last year. The pandemic has hampered our freedoms, our innate need for human interaction, and our love for new experiences. I am confident that we will all unleash our inner explorer with a fury once it's safe to come out of hiding!
  • Posted on: 03/31/2021

    Chewy takes a bigger bite out of the pet products market

    There is no doubt that Chewy, along with many other D2C companies, gained incredible market penetration during the pandemic. However they changed their business model to adapt to COVID-19 by investing in automation in their fulfillment centers, allowing customers to access fast and convenient delivery. Besides this technological shift, Chewy, compared to Walmart and Amazon, is a "specialist." You can't buy a treadmill on Chewy unless, of course, it's for your pet! Consumers today feel more comfortable trusting their precious pets with a company that shows they care. With Chewy's successful subscription model and their expansion into healthcare, there seems to be no stopping this determined pet-loving company.
  • Posted on: 03/25/2021

    Why hasn’t plus-sized apparel been an easy win for retail?

    Running a successful retail operation is not always about the bottom line. Many public companies fall into this trap when they become beholden to their shareholder rants and lose focus on their goals. For Loft, this decision was pure stupidity, a shoot from the hip action which instantly became a PR nightmare. What did they expect anyway? Today it's all about "inclusion," not separating certain groups, so they feel like pariahs. It's a simple strategy, include everyone in your marketing. In addition to this, the plus-size market is growing rapidly. Sure, it costs more to produce these sizes, but either find a way to produce it cheaper or spread the increased category cost across the entire line. Simple.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2021

    How to save today’s mall

    Shopping malls needed to change long before the pandemic arrived. Architect Victor Gruen might just be reclaiming what became his most hated concept after creating unintended suburban sprawl back in 1956. The pandemic has accelerated rapid change at the mall just as it has done with e-commerce and brick-and-mortar. We are now finally seeing the mall move to Gruen's original vision: a town square. We can't expect a return to consumers not having to travel in their vehicles to these behemoth centers, however we can soon restart our much-needed social experiences here as the pandemic begins to subside. With a shift to mixed-use, along with various food, entertainment, and unique local experiences, the mall might just become a community meeting place just as Gruen envisioned!
  • Posted on: 03/17/2021

    Will Dick’s repeat its big win in 2020 this year?

    I would compare Dick's success to that of Best Buy. Both chains were first-to-market with their customer experience efforts to make the all-important shift to curbside pick-up during COVID-19. This strategy combined with a frictionless online experience increases the likelihood of continued gains in consumer loyalty long after the pandemic subsides. However as in-store brick-and-mortar shopping opens ups, will this sticky loyalty continue? I believe so. I liken this scenario to brands that have the ability to continue their marketing efforts during major economic downturns. Once the economy starts to regain confidence, these businesses become the major benefactors. I believe Dick's continued development and push to private-label branding will be key to their profitability moving forward as national brands like Nike continue their move to corporate mono-brand stores. Will Dick's success continue? Personalization will be key moving forward for any retailer's success today; however, by continuing to update their frictionless customer experience efforts, Dick's should be able to hang on to the great gains they have achieved thus far.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2021

    Can a celeb endorsement fuel a Payless reboot?

    Payless established itself long ago as the "dollar store" of shoes. It will definitely take a lot more than a celebrity to bring it back from bankruptcy. However introducing a totally new revamped brand with a new marketing strategy focusing on their target demographic might give them a chance. They will need to make a lot of noise and fanfare coming back to the crowded footwear marketplace. A much smaller rollout to test their new concept would make sense before expanding with hundreds of stores. Combining a new e-commerce platform that aligns with their new campaign would be another key entry point to success. However any new strategy requires a lot of creativity, work, time and money, which I'm not sure Payless has.
  • Posted on: 03/10/2021

    Will shoppers get their nails done at Hy-Vee?

    Providing a unique in-store customer experience is key to any retailer's long-term survival. However a nail salon inside a grocery store? I don't know about most people, but if I walked into a grocery store and saw people having their feet scraped combined with the toxic smell of nail polish, I would be out of there! A selection of complementary products like small kitchen appliances, a coffee bar, a snack shop, even garden tools could work; however I believe that any personal hygiene services should be reserved for a different venue. In Canada, I don't believe any retailer would even be able to apply for this type of service where groceries are sold. When consumers shop for groceries, most of the time they want to get in and out quickly. Stopping for a coffee or snack break while in-store, definitely; getting their nails done, I don't think so.
  • Posted on: 03/10/2021

    Live from TikTok, it’s Walmart!

    TikTok took off during the lockdowns as people were hungry for new content while at home. Any brand today that isn't involved in livestreaming is already behind in its marketing efforts. Does a TikTok/Walmart relationship make sense? You bet it does. These platforms have become huge in Asia, which I believe will eventually blow up in North American and worldwide. However Walmart's desire to purchase TikTok might not go over so well with consumers as they become increasingly wary of online privacy concerns.
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