David Leibowitz

Worldwide Director, Industry Strategy, Microsoft

David has worked in the shoes of retail, having held senior leadership positions or consulting to many well known global fashion and footwear brands. He has incubated new market (product & services) offerings across CPG and enterprise technology and education. He has also launched award winning software in use by retail/CPG, K12 / Hi-Ed and Finance industries.

Currently with Microsoft, David helps organizations globally drive the reinvention of cross-industry experiences.

You can find him writing at:

Postings are solely the opinion of the author and the author reserves the right to be wrong in many cases.

  • Posted on: 10/19/2020

    Should local book stores be taking on Amazon?

    "Local book store" sounds an awful lot like "Blockbuster Video." With the move to digital media, rather than print or paper, I'm not sure that Amazon is their greatest threat. The model has been disrupted, customer expectations have changed. The way we consume printed information has changed. It's time to adapt.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2020

    Staples to accept returns from other stores

    The partnership with Kohl's was a win-win. Amazon was less reliant on UPS for returns processing, and Kohl's offered something that UPS/USPS cannot -- a channel to sell Amazon products. For Kohl's, it generates much needed foot traffic. And every customer who hands over a return receives a coupon day pass. I can see this making sense for Staples in much the same way. Accepting returns from other retailers is the new "accepting coupons for competitors." If it generates in-store traffic, then it's a win.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2020

    Is Petco really a health and wellness retailer?

    It's differentiating, not confusing. Walk into a Target and you're offered CVS wellness solutions. Walk into a Kroger, and they have pharmacy and wellness too. And Banfield pet hospitals are already tucked in the back of many PetSmart (a Petco competitor) locations. The reason is clear on all counts. Selling a bag of kibble or a flea and tick collar is now a commodity purchase that can easily be shopped across a number of grocery, convenience and online channels. Offering wellness services to pet parents is a smart move to keep people coming back to the stores for services they simply can't get via BOPIS.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2020

    Can ‘boo-bags’ save Halloween?

    "You've been booed" is fairly common in the 'burbs, at least from what I've seen. Good fun and excitement for the kids in the lead up to Halloween. Is this a possible proxy for Halloween? Possibly -- if it's a delivery. Net/net, it's still a hand-off from a neighbor's house to yours, so I'm not sure how much anxiety this alleviates. Some other options exist. For example, Mars brand just launched a virtual trick-or-treat app called Treat Town. Something like that might work too. At the end of the day, Halloween sales will be way down overall (events, confectionary, costumes). Retailers and CPGs will try their best to pivot and I hope they are successful. But if we take a step back, Halloween is likely the canary in the coalmine of what we may see in the Christmas holiday season.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2020

    Will Levi’s Secondhand store give the brand a sustainable advantage?

    Good move by Levi's to follow the market. Secondhand fashion will thrive - as I covered here.
    • By 2029, the resale and secondhand market is expected to be higher than all of fast fashion;
    • 50 percent more people went all Marie Kondo on their closets during COVID-19;
    • The secondhand apparel market will hit $64 billion by 2024;
    • 88 percent of consumers have adopted new thrift related hobbies during COVID-19.
    What’s also driving the shift to circular fashion? Charitable donations are down as eco-conscious consumers bargain hunt while trading cash in favor of tax incentives.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2020

    Will Amazon’s palm reader reveal the future of retail payment?

    As you mention, biometrics is already part of the mobile device carried by many. Or they have pin authentication. So I'm dubious of the investment in another payment terminal, or even a new POS/kiosk -- when the technology capability is already in the pocket of most consumers. Along with supporting technology like NFC, Bluetooth, encryption. If I were a retailer, I'm not sure I would invest heavily in terminals. Rather, I'd look for ways to ease the scan, product collection, and payment in the device that has been adopted by consumers. By focusing on apps rather than new hardware, there's also a lower barrier to entry - and it's easier to adapt to customer behavior changes in-store and at the curb.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2020

    Can IKEA drive a used furniture movement?

    I'm not certain that "repairing goods damaged in transit" for sale qualifies for the "secondhand" definition. It's a bit of a marketing stretch to take what used to be called "scratch and dent sale" and instead trade on the very big circular commerce trend that is defined by goods that have had a previous owner. Semantics on sustainability aside, circular fashion will hit $64 billion in the next four years, and will continue to thrive. Since it will outpace fast fashion and retail growth overall, it stands to reason that other categories like toys, electronics and furniture may flourish as well.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2020

    Walmart pilots its way into the drone delivery race

    It will still be some time before delivery by drone takes flight. (See what I did there?) Packages are limited to around 10 pounds, drones can only travel short distances, require FAA clearance, require human oversight - and more importantly, not everybody lives with a large landing pad in their backyard. That said, autonomous vehicles do have a place and could be used now. I opined in this piece that small rolling vehicles could be used for contactless curbside pickup by any retailer/grocer today. With the size of Walmart's parking lots, I am surprised they aren't doing this now.
  • Posted on: 09/03/2020

    Will Bloomingdale’s grab hold of the luxury products market?

    The slightly higher lift than expected in luxury still doesn't cover for the overall downtrend at Bloomies. Macy's net sales dropped 35.8 percent to $3.56 billion from $5.55 billion a year earlier. Overall, expect luxury spend to be down as consumers are driven towards intentional essential purchasing behavior.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2020

    Why is being stuck indoors boosting outdoor product sales?

    Yes, the momentum is sustainable because behaviors will stick. Unfortunately, indoor facilities that offered ways to get a sweat on - like gyms, yoga, karate classes and rock climbing -- are closing and will continue to do so. Once restrictions fully ease, people will already have the equipment and comfort level to do more at home - or close to home.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2020

    Do Americans think that Target is the easiest place to shop?

    One of the biggest standouts to me after listening to the earnings call was that Target saw a 30 percent increase in overall spend AFTER consumers tried curbside pickup with them, and that includes in-store shopping. This demonstrates that digital or curbside capabilities can do more than just "top up" the cupboard - it can improve the overall omnichannel experience. Digital first doesn't mean digital only.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2020

    Kroger’s marketplace sets out to ‘deliver anything, anytime, anywhere’

    The online marketplace is the modern equivalent of the shopping mall, minus the food court. It's a good move for Kroger and others, as it requires little investment, and reaps the rewards of a larger basket size while placing the burden of inventory and fulfilment on other partners.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2020

    Will shortages shortchange soft goods recovery?

    Aggressively restock? Absolutely not. An abundance of inventory with the wrong season is a big problem right now. Next, apparel and footwear is too broad. If you segment to athleisure and sportswear, then Under Armour (and Nike, etc) share similar challenges. It's summer time, many are working from home or wearing more "comfortable clothes." Crocs is a bit of an anomaly. They are like the Mini Cooper of shoes. So segment the footwear category to athletic/leisure/casual and business/dress and you'll find something similar. I haven't worn brown dress shoes in five months. Haven't worn a sport jacket either. That's likely why brands like Brooks Brothers are in trouble. On the flip side, I'm burning through sneakers...
  • Posted on: 08/05/2020

    Can influencers make stores feel safer?

    Will they ease fears? Possibly. I guess. Maybe. Not so much. At a time when shop owners and employers are now potentially on the liability hook, in our very litigious society -- I'm not sure I'd want to be the social media person "influencing" folks in any way. When someone becomes ill after visiting a store that was proclaimed safe, is the influencer now exposed to the risk of a lawsuit? (I'm not saying it would have merit.)
  • Posted on: 07/28/2020

    Neiman Marcus launches digital hub to bring the in-store experience online

    Virtual consults are happening everywhere. In the U.K., cosmetics retailer Boots launched one-to-one appointment-based personalization. Sony has remote TV and camera consultations to enable easier shopping from home and direct-to-product experts. Some local repair technicians will even do remote estimation of your next plumbing job. Remote consultation allows for employees with expertise to engage wherever they are (from the home, the back office, or the cosmetics counter if they aren’t helping someone in-store). That helps both shoppers and business owners/employers.

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