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: 07/27/2022

    Are digital-only coupons discriminatory against the elderly and poor?

    I hesitate to stereotype seniors as less able to access tech including digital coupons. For some it is difficult, for others it is not. Personally, I have struggled to " get the deal" using my phone. Promotional offers need to fit into the cadence of shopping. Once we are asked to stop in the aisle, pull out our phone, get to the app (often with poor connectivity in the store), and add the coupon to our loyalty account, the squeeze is not worth the juice. For those with limited data plans, it really is an imposition and can be unaffordable. Retailers and brands should evaluate what the experience of redeeming an offer is to the full range of shoppers.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2022

    Lowe’s gives full-time store staff the option of a four-day work week

    It sounds like a move that will be popular with current sales associates and future hires. What is not stated, however, is how Lowe's will balance staff shifts to fully cover weekends. Also, a four day week implies fewer hours and there may be a threshold for maintaining full benefits. Many retailers have been criticized for scheduling employees for just under a full compensation level.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2022

    Is luxury retail’s sweet spot?

    Luxury brands are enjoying growth and get the added bump with the increase in travel (which goes hand-in-hand with duty-free designer brand purchases). Just yesterday I saw a substantial line outside Chicago's Gucci store, where they limit the number of clients. Some may be wealthy while others covet rare accessories that telegraph status. When you peel the layers of the onion a bit, you'll find that their limited edition collections and collaborations with artists have energized older luxury brands and opened access to younger markets. Louis Vuitton x Supreme was one of the earlier examples that appealed to both high fashion and streetwear enthusiasts back in 2017. Leveraging social media and the hype surrounding exclusive drops, the company saw 20 percent annual growth. Fast forward to June 2022 when Gucci announced their HA HA HA collection with performing artist Harry Styles. These partnerships allow luxury houses more "brand width" as they are positioned alongside the partner's social purpose and sustainability commitments. They also freshen the fashion house's iconic designs to appeal to Millennials. If retail brands pitched to middle-income shoppers were to take a page from these marketing strategies, then indeed luxury could be retail's "sweet-spot."
  • Posted on: 06/27/2022

    Will a new rewards program prove Bed Bath & Beyond’s critics wrong?

    Adding another complicated layer to their loyalty program is not even close to a silver bullet. I'd guess that only shoppers with significant need (new home, dorm room, etc.) would expect the 29 dollar fee to pay back.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2022

    Are mall shoppers hungry for in-stock data?

    This would be useful to shoppers in a couple ways. For a pre-planned purchase, it assures shoppers the item is there and helps justify the trip (given the price of fuel, shoppers may think twice.) A "reserve this item" feature would be valuable in this scenario. For an impulse apparel purchase, shoppers often discover something they like, but in the wrong size. Being in the store (in the dressing room) with this search tool would be efficient. They might even add "suggested accessories" as this becomes further developed.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2022

    Convenience stores need to automate or get left behind

    Convenience stores ofter serve the "on the go" consumer. The need things as they are mobile. All the points mentioned regarding assortment and partnerships are valid, but the mindset is not always about getting goods to the home. C-Stores also serve the needs of shoppers moving from one place to another and speed is an essential component of convenience.
  • 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?

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