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: 01/22/2021

    NRF 2021: Will Lululemon ever get tired of winning?

    Living in Vancouver, Canada, I have witnessed the growth and success of Lululemon from its inception. Their brand is so strong today that nothing short of a major PR disaster could bring them back to earth. Lululemon will have continued success regardless of the eventual move of customers back to the gym, no matter what exercise trends continue or develop in the future. Lululemon started as a yogawear company but quickly became "the" iconic athleisure apparel company that everyone attempts to mimic. Rounding out their total experience by expanding into yoga and now exercise classes with the introduction of Mirror, there is no stopping them. No matter where you are in the world today, out on the streets, in shops, restaurants, and eventually back at the gym, you will see that curvy so highly recognizable Lululemon logo worn by millions of women and men.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2021

    Do boutique hotels and housing make sense for RH?

    I'm a great believer in expanding and elevating a brand's awareness through associated partnerships. This may include mattress brands being promoted in luxury hotels such as the Four Seasons or product placement on network television shows like HGTV. This allows the consumer to experience these products in their own environment while also promoting the brand simultaneously. A win-win! RH is going far beyond these brand associations by expanding into hospitality, food and beverage. As well, they are investing heavily in real estate to achieve these lofty ambitions. In my book, great real estate locations are never a bad investment. However delving into areas beyond a company's own expertise does seem risky. Specialization and experiential retail are more important now than ever. Will RH's expansion outside its home furnishings category elevate the brand? Perhaps, but there are many risks associated with this type of expansion outside one's own expertise, which may have a deleterious effect in the end. I wish RH luck with this expansion. Will it elevate the brand? Definitely. I hope that it's a well-executed launch, provided there is no misplaced hubris on the part of ownership.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2021

    NRF 2021: How are Lowe’s and Wayfair defining operational excellence?

    Firstly, both Lowe's and Wayfair benefited exponentially as the world went into lockdown during COVID-19. As consumers nested and improved their surroundings, these stores were clear winners while many specialty stores and independents struggled. Would they have seen growth over the last few years? Absolutely. Would they have seen triple-digit growth over the last year had the pandemic not arrived? I don't believe so. Wayfair finally made a profit for the first time this year. This is no coincidence. Moving forward, as societies enter back into socialization as the pandemic fades, every retailer must continue to be caring and empathetic not only to their customers but to the world as a whole. Retailers must hyper-personalize their offering to their customers or risk losing them to the next great brand. A well-rounded company is obviously a good thing. However a specialized company that provides products in a more personalized manner, in-store or online, will always be a leader in its industry.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2021

    What is Marc Lore’s legacy at Walmart?

    Walmart has made incredible inroads into e-commerce, making sure it integrated all channels. Their distinct advantage from the start is their substantive retail locations and warehousing infrastructure. Marc Lore has done an incredible job integrating many platforms in creating Walmart's new renewed e-commerce rollout. He has taken only the most significant pieces from all of his acquisitions, failures or not, and blended them into a successful online strategy. Will Walmart continue to gain market share from Amazon? Well, they have lots of competition other than Walmart, such as Target for one. Walmart's brand, which identifies with the lowest prices on quality goods, is powerful; however Amazon continues to strengthen its fortress, which seems impenetrable.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2021

    Does a Staples/Office Depot merger now make more sense?

    With many duplicate offerings in retail in the U.S. today, I fear mergers and acquisitions will be predominant in 2021 and well into 2022. There is still a place for strategically placed brick-and-mortar office supply stores. Many schools have already come on stream physically, and consumers still want to try out their pens and feel notebooks' and binders' quality. Staples has been on a tear to renovate all of its stores into experiential marketplaces, which will compete with Amazon. These retail outlets provide much-needed jobs, which many locals will support more now than ever! By offering quick same-day delivery, curbside pick-up, and frictionless returns, the in-store experience will become an advantage for all brick-and-mortar retailers once COVID-19 is conquered. After all, consumers are human beings who still want to socialize and have amazing experiences now more than ever!
  • Posted on: 01/11/2021

    Retailers give customers refunds and tell them to keep items

    Absolutely. I ran into this issue when I was in retail home furnishings all the time. When an item is slightly damaged, defective, or not wanted, it is often more costly to return the item, especially if it is oversized. The other issue many manufacturers and third-party sellers have is what to do with the repackaged items once they receive it, assuming it's even in good condition. The last and most important part is the impact all of these returns have on our environment—the increased carbon footprint, packaging, and perhaps the total trashing of the items returns create. Letting the end consumer simply keep the item or, even better, donating it to someone less fortunate in need is the best solution for everyone!
  • Posted on: 01/07/2021

    Retailers call on Trump to end the national chaos he created

    Nothing has been done up to this point -- it's a bit late now. Just let the Presidential transition happen and let's all move on to normality as vaccinations start to put an end to the virus and Joe Biden takes over as the 46th president of the United States!
  • Posted on: 01/06/2021

    Chewy is barking up the right tree when it comes to customer loyalty

    Personalization in 2021 will be key to building lasting customer relationships with every brand. Zappos remains a leader in personalization by getting to know each customer no matter the issue. Chewy has taken this philosophy one step further by acknowledging their customers' passion and love for their pets. Showing you care is essential for any brand today. Any company that doesn't lead with compassion and invest in better communication platforms with its customers will fall far behind the competition moving forward.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2021

    Have retailers solved their long line problems?

    Providing constant communication with your customer is key in removing friction and frustration resulting in a better experience. The pandemic has definitely accelerated many companies' internal platforms to eliminate it with information upgrades. Best Buy was a leader in jumping to curbside pickup well before other chains. Communication with customers in line, whether they were there for BOPIS, curbside, or to buy a particular product, was amazing. They eliminated frustration with long line ups by speaking to each customer, letting them know their product information and approximate wait times. Increased CX training in customer communication will be key in 2021, providing the necessary tools and information for all retail staff to deliver an amazing shopping experience inside or out!
  • Posted on: 01/05/2021

    Do retailers need to jump on the e-gift card bandwagon?

    Once we come out of the pandemic I feel that gift cards, although convenient, will be thought of as impersonal by many. As consumers are welcomed back to safe brick-and-mortar environments, I believe personalization will be the key to maintaining a long-term relationship with your brand, which gift cards do not offer. There is still a place for e-gift cards, but I feel there are much better ways to spend your marketing budgets as everyone must focus on sharpening their online platforms. There will definitely be some stickiness leftover from easy repetitive buying habits during the pandemic, but thoughtfulness will take over again with customized suggestions once customers return.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2021

    Are local retailers ready to flex their omnichannel muscles?

    The pandemic left many independents with no choice but to trim their operating budgets, including much-needed online upgrades. However those independents that had the foresight to stay in constant contact with their customers during the pandemic will come out much stronger!
  • Posted on: 01/04/2021

    Will store closings in 2021 beat last year’s record total?

    Unfortunately, many of us will only hear about the chain stores' closure. We must never forget that thousands of small businesses that form our industry's backbone and provide millions with employment will never reopen. Covid was a very selective foe, unlike our many previous recessions. It chose to attack almost anything brick & mortar while giving a swift advantage to anything e-commerce. Chain stores were overstored for years, well before the Pandemic hit. The last recorded stats showed that there was 23.5 Sq. Ft. of retail space per capita in the U.S. compared to just 4.6 in the U.K. That's quite the disparity. Those head offices that had the foresight to reduce their retail footprints and increase their online efforts will be significantly rewarded once foot traffic begins again, hopefully by this summer. Unfortunately, many chains that chose not to renegotiate leases or simply abandon many unproductive locations out of hubris will become insolvent. Chain stores are juggernauts, but you can always get back on course if you have the right person at the helm steering the fleet. Unfortunately for many, 2021 will be far worse than the year we all just chose to forget.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2020

    Will online delivery go more eco-friendly post-pandemic?

    Although Zero Grocery will be catering to a smaller niche market to start, I believe their concept will ignite as Millenials, Gen X and especially Gen Z as they grow up with this sustainable platform. Well, here is a company with a clear directive to provide a more environmentally concept in grocery. I applaud them! So if you're sick about all of the plastic bags and containers that "apparently" get recycled, perhaps you should jump on board and support these new startups. Some of your reading this post might recall the milkman delivering fresh bottled milk and butter to your door in the mornings while picking up the "empties." Steven King once said, "Sooner or later, everything old is new again." We have seen an exponential acceleration of technological advancements in the last ten years, showing no sign of letting up. Perhaps we should all take a breath and look at what we've left behind in our wake.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2020

    Will online delivery go more eco-friendly post-pandemic?

    I truly applaud Zero Grocery for bringing their sustainable delivery concept to market! Although it may be a niche market to start, focused on a younger demographic, I feel it's a great concept. It's also a way for sustainable grocery delivery to gain market share as other larger chains focus on shareholder profitability with little regard for the environment.
  • Posted on: 12/21/2020

    How is Nike excelling at driving loyalty with digital?

    Loyalty, personalization, and great online support are just a few of a great membership program's founding principles. Since Nike's pullback from third-party sellers, they have gained super control over their digital branding platform. More great brands must follow their lead if they don't want to see their brand's dilution.

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