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: 01/27/2021

    Will Walmart gain an unrivaled edge by automating its local grocery fulfillment?

    Walmart’s logistical prowess is an advantage in the battle of the big leagues with Amazon and Target. As noted in the article, Walmart’s micro-fulfillment centers will play a complimentary role to the traditional in-store fulfillment services and further optimize their streamline delivery. And while LFCs have a place, they will not render large grocery warehouses obsolete – lots of people still like to buy food in person.
  • Posted on: 01/26/2021

    Is a labor storm developing at retail?

    The pandemic has exposed a number of festering labor issues and there have been some changes to the way frontline workers are being treated, however, I don’t believe that the fundamental dynamics in the relationships between frontline workers and management will dramatically change. And while there’s no doubt that the passage of higher federal minimum wage will I impact retailers – the largest of which can more easily manage the extra labor costs – unfortunately, smaller businesses will struggle with this.
  • Posted on: 01/25/2021

    Will Godiva’s stores ever come back from the pandemic?

    Godiva is rightly responding to market conditions. It’s clear that the market for premium chocolates remains, so adjusting distribution to online and other channels beyond their stores makes good sense in the short to near term. I do believe that physical stores will come back to being important for Godiva as a way to showcase and sell their chocolate products, and it seems they'll have even more store locations to choose from, given the high vacancy rates that we’ll see in retailing for the foreseeable future.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2021

    NRF 2021: Will Lululemon ever get tired of winning?

    Some brands just seem to capture the zeitgeist and Lululemon is one of those "it" brands. Despite premium pricing and some controversy, the brand has been on a tear for more than a decade. According to latest reports from the company, they are looking at footwear and say that their product pipeline is full. Lululemon has also entered the workout equipment business in its acqusition of Mirror. The way Lululemon is going, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another strong decade ahead.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2021

    What’s next for data privacy?

    Privacy is becoming more not less important and retailers need to be very mindful of this. And we are starting to see companies respond accordingly. Apple is a good example. Today they talk a lot about the important role they play in securing customers privacy. Privacy and personalization aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive if done right – and that means disclosure and ability to opt out. But while the industry and tech leaders can agree that privacy is important, the lack of national privacy standards will continue to make this problematic and require companies to find their own way for the foreseeable future.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2021

    Is My Pillow being ‘cancelled’ or is its CEO trashing the business all on his own?

    This is a an example of how overt political positions can really impact your business and brand. Had there not been controversy about Mike Lindell and his extreme views, I doubt that we would know his name. Mr. Lindell is entitled to his views and as the Founder/CEO of his company, it’s his right to express these views through his company. However if you take strong positions then you need to be prepared for the fallout, and that’s what Lindell is now facing. Ultimately, I believe that this exposure will hurt My Pillow’s success going forward.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2021

    Should store associates deliver online orders?

    I admire Zumiez for creatively deploying their employees to serve customers. Overall I think it’s a good idea, as long as you have employees who are willing and able to participate. The big concern would be related to liability issues of having employees traveling around making deliveries, but these are manageable. While every retailer could theoretically offer this type of personal service, it doesn’t scale very well and so it wouldn’t be practical for every retailer.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2021

    What is Marc Lore’s legacy at Walmart?

    The acquisition of and the installation of Marc Lore as the leader helped transform Walmart into an online retailing contender capable of competing with Amazon. That’s a pretty significant achievement. The fact that Lore remained at Walmart for five years is also impressive given how often these types of acquisitions end badly. In retrospect, I believe that both Walmart and Lore should be pleased with what they accomplished together.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2021

    Will paying associates to get COVID-19 vaccines work for Dollar General and Trader Joe’s?

    Gary, I do agree that employers should take a stronger position on vaccinations, and that's what I said in a RetailWire post a few weeks back. However given the confusion about vaccines and sincere concern some employees have about it, forcing people to inject something into their bodies does impinge on human rights if you make it a condition of employment. Since the goal is to get people vaccinated, offering incentives seems like a balanced approach.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2021

    Will paying associates to get COVID-19 vaccines work for Dollar General and Trader Joe’s?

    Given the public concern about vaccinations, the Dollar General approach makes good sense. Offering incentives to employees for taking the vaccine will certainly encourage more employees to get vaccinated. Employees do have the right to decline – and that is their prerogative – however, these employees must continue to strictly follow health and safety protocols that are already in place. This is not a perfect solution, but the more people that get vaccinated the better. Yes, I believe the additional stimulus announced will provide at least a short-term boost to retailing and the economy in general, which will provide more time for vaccinations to occur and the pandemic to subside.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2021

    Is Amazon on its way to becoming America’s favorite grocer?

    Amazon has been pursuing the grocery category for years, and the pandemic has helped it advance its position. The biggest winners have tended to be the biggest players who have the depth and capabilities to adjust to the changing market dynamics that the pandemic has created. Kroger is a good example of one that has done well. Amazon is a formidable competitor in virtually any category it pursues and I expect that it will build on the momentum from 2020 and continue to become an even bigger player in grocery.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2021

    What leadership lessons have retailers learned during the pandemic?

    The pandemic has tested the mettle of every executive. I agree that being purpose-driven and employee focused has been key to successfully navigating the challenging circumstances in which every retailer found themselves, regardless of whether they were deemed essential or not. There are many lessons to be taken from the pandemic, probably the most important is for retailers to realize just how vital their front-line workers are. Hopefully retailers remember this after the pandemic.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2021

    Convenience retailers aren’t letting the pandemic get them down

    Yes, convenience stores will come through the pandemic well and some of them may be stronger on the other side. As the pandemic rages on, convenience stores have become an essential supplier to many people for a wide and expanding offering of goods. I think the greatest opportunities are being uncovered as convenience operators expand their offerings, particularly in ready-made food -- a category that had been gaining importance even before the pandemic.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2021

    Did Amazon Pantry outlive its usefulness?

    Amazon's Pantry model is just one of many and simply put, the lack of consumer interest killed it. Ultimately, the key issue is how people shop for goods. I suspect that most shoppers don’t differentiate between essential packaged goods and other grocery items, and so it didn’t make sense to treat these items separately. There’s an endless list of possibilities for why this program may not have been successful but, the point is, it wasn’t for Amazon -- but that doesn’t mean other players couldn’t necessarily make it work.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2021

    Should your DNA data be used to sell products?

    This is potentially very dangerous. Being stalked digitally online is bad enough, but to willingly provide private companies with your DNA – perhaps your most personal of personal information, is reckless and short-sighted. It all starts innocuously enough, until your DNA gets used to exclude you from, say, insurance coverage. The possibilities for abuse are endless. Notwithstanding the interest in consumer DNA mapping services listed, I don’t believe that people will generally be interested in giving up their DNA for marketing purposes.

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