PROFILE

Liza Amlani

Principal and Founder, Retail Strategy Group

With over 20 years of retail insider experience and industry knowledge in merchandising, buying, product development and strategy, I bring an end-to-end perspective to help navigate the ever-changing retail landscape.

I have worked closely with retailers such as Ralph Lauren Europe and Canada, Club Monaco, Nike, and Walmart as well as departments stores in North America, UK, Ireland and across Europe. Working with both luxury and mass merchant retailers across global markets, my perspective on retail is through my industry experience lens.

The last few years have been spent in retail consulting, supporting several major business transformations across merchandising, product creation, speed to market and materials management.

Website: www.retailstrategygroup.com

Newsletter: www.themerchantlife.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/TheMerchantLife

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  • Posted on: 09/21/2022

    Gap is cutting 500 corporate jobs as it searches for a CEO and answers

    Layoffs are not the answer. It's a short-term solution to a problem that is rooted in Gap's go-to-market strategy. Gap Inc. needs to better understand how their customer has evolved and what is important to them. Leveraging insights will drive better product decisions and will translate to how and where they engage with their customer. Rethinking the operating model and building product-focused teams that put consumers first will drive the right merchandising strategy across all Gap Inc. banners.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2022

    Is Kroger’s first-party data ideal for driving programmatic connected TV ads?

    The lines on privacy may be a bit blurry here as you go from country to country. That being said, if Kroger used their data for good and worked with advertisers to share data to drive better product and marketing decisions, then I am all for it. The last thing a consumer wants is to be targeted for ads that are not relevant. If you don't have a pet, babies or need a heart rate monitor, the brands marketing to these consumers clearly don't know them. I would rather receive targeted marketing that made sense for me since I know that my data is being collected and sold.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2022

    Will Patagonia’s ownership help save the planet and its retail business?

    Patagonia is paving the way for retailers, brands and consumers to rethink their consumption and impact on our planet. The message is on brand and exactly the shake-up our industry needed. Just as many fast fashion brands are being called into the spotlight, every brand needs to be held accountable for their retailing and production practices. The timing is perfect and Chouinard is legendary. Hats off to Patagonia.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2022

    Is now the right or wrong time for retailers to invest big in their businesses?

    Now is the exact right time for retailers to invest in tools and update processes that will get them closer to their consumer. Rethinking go-to-market and merchandising strategies, better predicting what the consumer wants, getting faster to market and building deeper relationships with their shopper is critical to staying afloat. Understanding why revenues were down and why excess inventory is still an issue are directly related to right product at the right time and in the right place.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2022

    Meijer thinks smaller (but not small) with its new grocery concept

    The smaller concept store is a good move for Meijer. They have done the work in understanding their local customer and will now serve and delight them, meeting them where they live and work. Meijer has been targeting their local community and learning from them. This strategy will further inform their merchandising strategy and will most definitely drive growth.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2022

    Is Target ready for what comes next?

    Target will be ready for what comes next if they rethink their merchandising strategy and why they were overstocked in the first place. Right sizing inventory means they didn’t buy into the right categories and overbought. This reality tells us that Target has not implemented predictive analytics or addressed archaic ways of building a line plan and going to market. Retailers cannot go to market and plan buys the way they did pre-pandemic. Looking forward and reevaluating assortment planning processes is critical.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2022

    Will circular commerce drive traffic to stores?

    Circular commerce will drive traffic to stores undoubtedly. There is nothing like the thrill of finding treasures or one-of-a-kind pieces. In many cases, resale may be the only way for customers to get into aspirational brands. Aligning values with consumers on sustainability will capture the other end of the market - the ones that care about fashion’s environmental impact.
  • Posted on: 08/11/2022

    Is inflation transforming dollar stores into bigger grocery destinations?

    Consumers are more price conscious than ever. As long as dollar stores expand their assortments and localize the product mix, customers will keep shopping (healthy options or not).
  • Posted on: 08/08/2022

    Walmart goes tiny to reach nature-loving vacationers

    Walmart is meeting customers where and how they want to shop. With an opportunity to curate product assortments, the Getaway partnership will give Walmart leverage compared to other retailers tapping into the outdoor market. Connecting with the outdoor community and consumer, Walmart can learn what the customer is looking for and close the feedback loop quickly. Capturing customer insights that will drive product and marketing decisions is going to make this partnership successful.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2022

    Kohl’s throws back with Levi’s

    Kohl’s needs more than partnering with Levi’s but it’s a step in the right direction. Rethinking the merchandising strategy to build assortments that connect with consumers is exactly what brands should be doing. Product is what will bring shoppers into the store and focusing on the right product in the right place at the right time is more important than ever. Retailers are accustomed to restructuring the operating model, but they need to start with their merchandising and go to market strategy. How they go to market, enabling digital tools to drive efficiency + accuracy and reducing skus that don’t perform is a start.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2022

    Best Buy offers a new way to shop with its first-ever digital-first small box store

    This is a positive move and forward-thinking strategy from Best Buy. And this is exactly what retailers should be doing -- meeting their customers where and how they want to shop. Testing a digital-first shopping experience is smart and relevant for a category like electronics, where shoppers may need more guidance in what to select. We have all been disappointed with trying to find the best headphones or the right iPhone case when buying online -- this experience removes the guesswork.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2022

    Macy’s keeps going small and off-mall

    I've been studying the off-price industry for some time and Backstage is the cash cow that Macy's should be leveraging in a big way. With existing excess inventory and by partnering with their current vendor base, off-price could help Macy's win in their large format stores, in malls or not. I'm not convinced Macy's Backstage assortment strategy leverages lessons learned at the mall stores but I will say that there is a lot of work to be done on the shop floor. Visual merchandising is more critical than ever and crowded racks are not the answer. Consumers still want to see product stories and shop in an environment that is inviting, even at a discount retailer. A distinction for the consumer on full price vs. Backstage is important and I don't think Macy's has the strategy down yet -- signage is not enough. There should be a clear separation of both concepts as it can be confusing for the shopper which will translate into loss of sales.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2022

    Macy’s keeps going small and off-mall

    Flagships and anchor stores need to rethink their strategy and meet customers where and how they want to shop. Macy's is on the right track with smaller format stores - the challenge will always be the assortment strategy and if it's hyper-localized and curated for these markets. The merchandising strategy must be executed well and there is no room for error. Macy's doesn't have the best reputation for having the right product at the right time which triggers extensive promotion activity, devaluing the brand. Visual merchandising matters more than ever and so does having the right brand ambassadors on the floor. Building community and trust is part of the customer experience for a smaller format store. I want to see Macy's succeed and think they could - if they get their ducks in order.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2022

    Is luxury retail’s sweet spot?

    Right on the mark -- and the money. Luxury will continue to thrive as aspirational consumers and the wealthy buy into products that have a longer life.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2022

    Will Yeezy find it easy to operate stores?

    This is a great move for the Yeezy brand and will engage his followers/fans through another point of engagement. Kanye West meeting his customers where they want to shop will drive an increase in profitability for the brand as physical retail has a lower CAC. What will be interesting to see is how the brand will use customer insights to drive their merchandising and marketing strategy - connecting all the dots and closing the feedback loop. YZYSPLY will be what Supreme was 20 years ago - HOT.

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