PROFILE

Gwen Morrison

Partner, Candezent

Gwen’s career is focused on the intersection of retail experience, brand activation and innovation.
As CEO for WPP’s Global Retail Practice, she spent over 15 years helping clients and agencies navigate the dynamic retail environment across the world with focus on shopper behavior, technology transformation, format development and corporate responsibility. She has worked with major international brands across CPG, Retail, Banking and Automotive.

Gwen has led industry research in emerging markets and has written for business publications such as HBR and Brandweek. She serves on the editorial board of Journal of Brand Strategy. A frequent speaker at international conferences including National Retail Federation, CES, and Retail Leaders Forum in Sydney Gwen also guest lectures at Northwestern University, U of C Berkley and University of Arizona. Gwen serves on the Advisory Board of Fashion Group.

As a partner with Candezant advisory, Gwen consults retail tech start-up companies. She is a senior advisor to Open Voice Network and co-chairs their Commerce Community.

To learn more, visit: gwenmorrison.com

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  • Posted on: 05/21/2022

    Should Apple have killed the iPod?

    If everyone who "loved" Marshall Fields actually shopped there, it might still be with us today.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2022

    Has science-based marketing taken a pandemic hit?

    There are a couple of themes here that deserve to be considered. Emotional connection to brands wins over rational, performance based claims, with some category exceptions. But the broader theme here is whether there has been a decline in trust, perhaps accelerated by the experience of the pandemic. Political affiliation adds another layer to this. Before the pandemic, scientific claims of global warming were under attack by certain political groups. Marketers need to understand if their audience includes those with a belief system that generally distrusts science.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2022

    Should grocery shoppers and delivery personnel be talking?

    This has potential for helping shoppers get more of what they want but also creating nightmares for the retailer. If a third party " picker" is the direct line to a retail brand experience, they'd need significant skills in customer service.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2022

    Victoria’s Secret expects to have a beautiful experience on Amazon

    This moves gets broad exposure to Victoria's Secret beauty products with their own storefront on Amazon. The VS brand imagery combined with the category price point offers shoppers an easy "I deserve it" treat, which may prove to be right in step with the economy.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2022

    Are Walmart and Abercombie too late for the activewear party?

    Walmart can learn from the specialty brands and deliver better value for their shoppers. Michelle Smith can bring a lot to the party as the designer looks at flattering fits and styles that bridge exercising in the the gym to the "around town" wardrobe needs. With Walmart's footprint, it should grow the category. Abercrombie and Fitch may face more challenges.
  • Posted on: 04/22/2022

    Will workouts drive loyalty for Lululemon?

    Creating and supporting a connected community has infinite value for Lululemon and other brands who stand for health, wellness and fitness. The relationship of sport and fashion continues to impact streetwear. So hopping into a Lululemon fitness class doesn't require a change of clothes and in fact encourages enthusiasts to take their activewear to the streets.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2022

    Should dietitians patrol Kroger’s supermarket aisles?

    Giant Eagle has had dietitians in their stores for years and for a subset of customers, this has established incredible loyalty. I've heard shoppers (selected for an annual meeting) describe how their Giant Eagle dietitian worked with them personally to evaluate labels, identify certain prepared foods to avoid and get really familiar with the produce department. The testimonials celebrated customer weight loss and renewed energy and appreciation for the long-term health benefits of a balanced diet. A quick desktop search indicates expansion of Giant Eagle's program to identify healthy foods for their shoppers.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2022

    Does Amazon have an edge in capturing America’s youth?

    I agree with Nikki Baird that their parent's account is the gateway for Gen Z and Millennials' experience with Amazon. The pandemic strengthened their dependency on Amazon for access to both replenishment items and items for office, projects, home basics and beauty brands they are already familiar with. The jury is still out on apparel shopping.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2022

    Will limited-edition exclusives become the next big thing in grocery?

    Limited-edition, like seasonal merchandise, breaks up routine shopping behaviors and creates some excitement. For grocery, it could be treated as a boutique area similar to Target's swing shops. I see an opportunity for CPG brands to bring in some of their international products. For example Lay's Kobe Steak Flavor from Taiwan fetches about $8 a bag at a NYC shop called Motherland Exotics. Why not feature it in U.S. grocery?
  • Posted on: 03/15/2022

    Will customers grow to love Walgreens’ digital cooler doors?

    I love the look of digital doors from a distance. Chill and Freezer doors present a physical barrier to shoppers who need to practically get eye to eye with the packaging in order to discern what the product is. The dynamic, animated images bring the category to life. However there needs to be a link between the exterior door graphics and the products inside. Surely technology can solve for this. Until then, it's confusing and even misleading for the shopper.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2022

    McDonald’s and Starbucks suspend Russian ops, Uniqlo stays open

    Retailers can be purposeful in all aspects of their business as they serve communities. It sends a strong signal to cease operating in Russia, in solidarity with Ukraine and the free world. The challenge will be deciding when it's appropriate to re-open their doors to Russian consumers as this will also send a strong signal.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2022

    Can shoppers save money while reducing food waste?

    My understanding is that the majority of food waste in the U.S. is attributed to restaurants. The app Too Good to Go is a solution that allows restaurants to sell meals towards the end of the day that would otherwise go to waste. These range from bakery "surprise bags" to upscale dinner menu items. It was reported that Le Pain Quotidien saved almost 4,000 meals during 30 days of the pandemic by "redirecting" them through the app. When consumers begin to participate with platforms such as this and Flashfood that aim to reduce waste, it demonstrates the problem to them and makes them feel like part of the solution. In the U.S., 40 percent of edible food does not get consumed. We need more innovative models like these with dynamic pricing tied to shelf life.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2022

    Should Facebook’s eroding user base worry Meta much?

    Yes, Facebook/Meta should be concerned. Blaming competition for a slowdown doesn't sound promising and younger audiences want the latest. Remember the campaign, "Not your father's Lincoln"?
  • Posted on: 02/08/2022

    Should grocers leave delivery to third-party providers or do it themselves?

    At the end of the day, shoppers want the retailer to be responsible for their delivery experience. This resonates with a personal purchase I made from Whole Foods via the Amazon app recently. I received some "expired" produce and chose to return for fresh items. The manager of the Whole Foods where I made the return acted as if they had nothing to do with the delivery order. Yes, I could have saved myself a trip and just rejected the items from my order online, but I needed the replacement ingredients. This emphasized how disconnected the channel experiences can be, even when one company owns them.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2022

    Are ultra-fast delivery services bad for neighborhoods?

    Delivery is certainly changing the look and feel of neighborhoods. On a recent visit to a large university I was struck (not physically) with the number of Grubhub delivery robots cruising along the campus sidewalks. With the increase in autonomous vehicles (in this case Yandex self-driving robots) city planners will be tasked to rethink urban infrastructure.

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