Mark Ryski

Founder, CEO & Author, HeadCount Corporation
Mark Ryski is the author of two books on retail analytics, Conversion: The Last Great Retail Metric and When Retail Customers Count – books that are widely considered the definitive reference guides for the retail industry. He is also the Founder and CEO of HeadCount Corporation – the leading authority on retail traffic and conversion analysis. Founded in 1994, today Mark and his dedicated team work with retailers across virtually all categories and sizes from independents to large chains.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2022

    Should investors be worried after RH lowered its forecast for the second time this month?

    I believe that earnings reports and outlooks like RH are going to become common for the foreseeable future. While some categories will remain strong, many discretionary categories are going to feel the impact of what already feels like a recession. Higher interest rates will naturally impact big ticket purchases but, as interest rates continue to rise, the impact will be felt more broadly. Overall, I’d say the next year or two look like they're going to be tough sledding for many retailers – furniture and otherwise.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2022

    Retail workers want the right to defend themselves

    Good points Ryan. For additional context, in 2021 it's estimated that were 298 M smartphones in the US ... 298 M vs. 440M.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2022

    Retail workers want the right to defend themselves

    These stories about confrontations in stores are truly terrifying. And while everyone should have the right to defend themselves from physical harm, a better option is to hire trained security personnel. Retail leaders cannot expect frontline staff to service customers and police unruly customers, let alone defend themselves from physical harm. Meaningful investments in security need to be made.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2022

    What worked at Target didn’t work for Mark Tritton at Bed Bath & Beyond

    Ultimately the CEO is accountable for results. Full stop. However boards (especially those with activist directors), often place unrealistic expectations on their leaders. Tritton appeared to have everything required to turn Bed Bath & Beyond around, but let’s not forget that he started in 2019 – and then the pandemic hit. Good luck to the interim CEO -- I expect it will take a considerable amount of time to recalibrate the business and find another CEO. What will Sue Grove need to do in the short-term? Successfully execute some of the plan that Tritton laid out.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2022

    Retailers tell their customers to keep their returns

    I do expect to see more retailers simply telling customers to "keep it" instead of returning it. The fact is, it’s more costly to manage returns, not to mention the environmental impact of the returns that often end up in landfills. That said, retailers need to be mindful of potential abuse by customers who take advantage of a too liberal "keep it" policy. Retailers will also need to be very thoughtful about which products they offer "keep it" to, and which customers.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2022

    Are mall shoppers hungry for in-stock data?

    This tool could have great appeal, but it could also contribute to a terrible shopping experience if the inventory data is not accurate. I applaud Simon for undertaking value-added services like this, however online inventory accuracy has been a challenge for many retailers, and so synchronizing inventory data with the mall operator could prove to be very challenging. As noted, some retailers have continued to struggle with getting their inventory visibility correct, and so getting their own house in order should be their top priority.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2022

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

    Bed Bath & Beyond continues to face significant challenges. After setting high expectations with new leadership, the impacts of the pandemic, supply chain and finding a new footing have all complicated the turnaround effort. While I’m still generally bullish on Bed Bath & Beyond, they have their work cut out for them, and now time is not on their side. Strategies and vision are great, but you need to ultimately execute and deliver meaningful results.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2022

    There might soon be no one left to hire at Amazon’s warehouses

    Amazon has done a lot of things right, but employee relations is not one of them. It seems like Amazon took a difficult labor situation and made it significantly worse in the ham-handed way it has dealt with employee concerns, bad press and the unionization push. Notwithstanding the progress made in automation, Amazon will still need humans for the foreseeable future, and so it’s in their best interest to completely re-set their approach to employee relations. Workers have never had more clout than they do today, and it behooves all employers to be mindful of how they conduct employee relations.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2022

    Study: Flexible scheduling challenges are keeping store managers up at night

    YES! Providing store associates with more flexible scheduling will give them more control over their time and result in more engaged and happier employees. The trick is to align frontline labor to when shoppers are visiting the store, which is critical to maximizing conversion. Store managers need to watch their store traffic trends closely to ensure that they have coverage during peak traffic times, and then to make adjustments based on ever changing conditions. While this can be more challenging with flexible schedules, ultimately, happier employees will deliver better results.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2022

    Uber Eats ships big city meals nationwide

    I understand the novelty of the idea, and for a very small percentage of people this might be something that they would do. However the cost is prohibitive, not to mention the profoundly terrible environmental impact of shipping a deli sandwich across the country by airplane.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2022

    Will Walmart become the go-to shopping destination for cord cutters?

    I agree that “No one has cracked the code around video shoppability...” and I’m not sure this will either. However this does appear to represent a step forward in making products immediately accessible from TV and video like never before. Enabling consumers to view and ultimately buy from TV and video content makes great sense, and I expect that the other platforms will or have already been working on something similar.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2022

    Kroger CEO says customers are ‘rethinking their shopping’ habits

    Excellent assessment Dave. I agree with you. There is a lot more going on than typical inflation, and so it becomes even more difficult to try to predict the outcomes.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2022

    Kroger CEO says customers are ‘rethinking their shopping’ habits

    In many ways what we’re seeing in grocery has played out many times in the past when inflation has gotten out of control. When costs go up, people change their spending habits and that’s clearly, and perhaps most immediately seen in grocery spending. It’s hard to say if today’s inflationary spending trends will be similar or different from the past, but part of it will depend on how long the inflationary period lasts – at this stage it looks like we’re in for a long summer.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2022

    Does Amazon need a great Prime Day now more than ever?

    Yes, this year’s Prime Day is especially important for Amazon. With new leadership, and slowing sales, the online juggernaut is looking to show strong results in a market that is facing historic inflation with consumers under tremendous pressure. Amazon’s Prime Day playbook is well established, so the big question is: will consumers respond?
  • Posted on: 06/16/2022

    Should analytics drive category planning?

    The number of SKUs and complexity of identifying subtle signals in the data make merchants' job even more difficult. Part of the challenge is in the amount of data merchants must analyze, but the other challenge is in how the data is being analyzed. SKU-level sell-through has been the key measure, but these data need to be combined with other data to truly find new insights that traditional sell-through data alone cannot provide. Additionally, merchants need to do this analysis faster than ever before to adjust to changing conditions, product availability and changing consumer buying patterns.

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