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: 05/25/2022

    Nordstrom is staffed, stocked and ready to serve as store traffic increases

    Nordstrom and The Rack are the perfect combination of serving their customer with right price, right product and at the right time. Off-price is booming and full-price luxury sales are on the rise. Nordstrom's secret sauce is putting their customer in the middle of their retail end-to-end. Customer service and produce obsessed brand ambassadors and an assortment that is driven by insights and creativity is what other retailers need to strive towards. It's not magic. It's common sense. Meeting the customer how and where they want to shop is critical and Nordstrom is a winner.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2022

    Will Adidas help Foot Locker get over Nike?

    Assortment is everything and putting the customer in the middle of an assortment strategy is critical. Adidas is hot right now - especially with their luxury collaborations. The challenge for Foot Locker will always be their ways of working. Siloed banners and redundant processes is going to slow them down, no matter their product strategy. They need to keep up with their vendors and having archaic processes driven by manual ways of working will always hold them back.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2022

    Amazon tests same-day delivery from malls

    Fulfillment from malls is nothing new and Amazon is doing what it does best - leveraging every channel/vendor they have to get the customer what they want as fast as possible. The most interesting part of the strategy will be around real-time inventory management. The data will be the critical driver in delivering the right goods at the right time. This will be a great lesson for other brands and retailers on the importance of real-time inventory management and why upgrading their tech stack is critical.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2022

    Can Old Navy plot a new course and keep its inclusivity pledge?

    Old Navy needs to give the Bodequality strategy a chance. It takes time to capture data to truly understand which sizes should be allocated to the stores and where customers will shop a particular size. Leveraging the data is critical. This is an inventory management and planning issue. The Bodequality strategy should continue its course. The nuances of traditional product development and planning processes are very limiting and capturing the right depth and size scales is something many brands can't do, let alone execute at scale like Old Navy. While speaking to Suzanne for this WSJ article, I stressed the importance in understanding how planning teams are limited to size runs and size scales today. It costs more (as DVF pointed out) and initially, extending sizes will show a loss until we know what actually sells at what size and predict what the customer is going to buy. Until we push teams like sourcing/costing, factories, product development, planning and even fit to think differently, it will be a painful process to expand size ranges. But this work needs to be done. We can't keep planning the same 2-14 size runs as this doesn't represent the customer.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2022

    Which exec role should guide the path to the metaverse?

    No matter what exec role guides the path to the metaverse, product should drive the customer experience no matter the channel. We should be moving away from siloed ways of thinking about channel and merchandising strategies. Customer experience should be embedded in product delight. The metaverse is just another channel in which to serve and engage with the customer which should be top of mind.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2022

    Will Walmart’s career path strategy give it a recruiting advantage?

    Walmart’s career path strategy is spot on in retention, recruitment and empowerment of retail workers. The strategy sets Walmart apart from other retailers and I hope they will learn to do the same. We need to empower our retail workers and staff so they become true brand ambassadors embedded in great customer service. This is what retail needs today.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2022

    Nordstrom Local is summering in the Hamptons

    Meeting customers where they hang out and gather should be a steadfast rule of any retailers. I love this strategy for Nordstrom and it will help elevate the experience for existing and new customers. The showroom experience can be a great one and planning events like a wine tasting or cocktail party alongside the local mobile shop could engage even more customers who love elevation and exclusivity.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2022

    Should Zara (and other retailers) be charging for online returns?

    Retailers will have no choice but to start charging for returns until they can solve the sizing challenge. Zara is also a culprit for unrealistic styling and should be called out as not being able to visualize what a product looks like on a body will increase the rate of returns.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2022

    Will the lack of skilled people derail retail’s digital supply chain transformation?

    Most challenges with any transformation and rethinking ways of working comes down to seasoned staff not wanting to change. It can be daunting to think that your role will change as your organization enables new technology or processes because it could mean job loss. Empowering existing staff and bringing on new and diverse teams will help implement a successful transformation.
  • Posted on: 05/06/2022

    Which personalization techniques work best?

    Personalization, especially via email marketing, can be so hit or miss. Once you get it wrong, the customer will remember and never trust you. I’ve had many emails sent to me after I have bought a baby gift where the retailer targeted me with product suggestions of everything I would need after my baby was born. I clearly bought off a registry from their website. It can be annoying and frustrating.
  • Posted on: 05/05/2022

    How should retail companies best navigate the abortion controversy?

    Any company, retail or not, should be following Levi's in its example of supporting their employees and their communities. Our voices are everything. How retailers and brands support or do not show support will translate to customer and employee loyalty. Aligning with values on equality, diversity and inclusion, racism and abortion rights are the very values that will fuel the "great resignation." Like customers, employees have more choices than ever and it's important to remain authentic in what we believe in. Make a stand.
  • Posted on: 05/05/2022

    Macy’s goes small outside the mall

    This is bigger than the reinvention of Macy's - it's about rethinking the purpose of the anchor department store. It's a great strategy on getting closer to the customer and meeting them in their communities. The challenge will come down to localized and curated merchandising assortments that are reflective of what the local customer is looking for. Insights and data will help drive these decisions and old school retailing methodologies such as boots on the ground, shopping the market and building physical relationships with the local customer.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2022

    L.L.Bean is taking a month-long mental health break from social media

    A strategy that is truly being authentically executed. L.L.Bean is putting their money where their mouth is and practicing what they preach. Authenticity is so important in retail messaging today. Transparency on strategy and processes is exactly what will drive customer loyalty. There is so much noise out there from brands talking health yet photoshopping body shapes and faces and many of us are sick of it. We want reality and truth in messaging and marketing. L.L. Bean is doing a wonderful thing and I’m here for it.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2022

    Are Walmart and Abercombie too late for the activewear party?

    Walmart and Abercrombie are not late to the game at all. In fact if they didn't invest in the performance category, I would question their merchandising strategy. Capturing insights and closing the feedback loop is critical as in any new product launch. Learning from the customer from product mix, gaps and opportunities, fit, aesthetic and sizing is critical as in any journey. I am excited to see the new assortments and how they resonate with the customer.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2022

    Will a bigger gas discount drive Walmart+’s subscriber numbers higher?

    This is a great strategy for Walmart and will help their customer in their everyday life. This is not only a great perk for their subscribers, but it's added value that will translate into loyalty for the retailer. If you are not looking to join Costco, Walmart is a great alternative and will definitely attract new customers. And we need to give Costco a run for their money at the pumps!

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