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Martin Mehalchin

Managing Director, Retail and Consumer, PK

Martin Mehalchin leads the Retail & Consumer industry team at PK, the Experience Engineering firm that combines great design and strong technology to create pioneering experiences that accelerate outcomes for customers, partners and employees.

Martin founded the Retail practice at Lenati, which was acquired by PK in 2018.  Martin has spent his career working with executives and managers to help them define their strategies and then translate those strategies into results. He has 15+ years of experience developing strategies and driving innovation for retailers and brands. He is an experienced speaker and seminar leader and he particularly enjoys helping clients understand how to use advanced technologies to drive business growth.

To learn more, please visit the PK blog …

  • Posted on: 06/17/2020

    Who will come to J.C. Penney’s rescue?

    This would be the boldest move yet for Authentic Brands but it could be a great one (with obvious benefits for Simon and Brookfield). It would be a mistake to try to revive the current Penney's, but ABG could use the store footprint to create lifestyle-oriented shops that are anchored in the brands in their impressive portfolio. I'd advocate for a clean start: drop the J.C. Penney name and launch something completely new based on a refreshed assortment and a connected (digital/physical) retail model.
  • Posted on: 06/09/2020

    Loyalty marketing is at a crossroads

    Nike's unconventional approach to loyalty (Nike Plus is a membership program with no points or rewards) has paid off during this Spring's crisis. They made the premium workouts on Nike Training Club free for their members and have been giving members unparalleled virtual access to their athletes and other influencers via the member-only communication channels in their app. Nike already had an emotional connection with their consumer and there's every indication that the connection has grown in 2020.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2020

    Is curbside pickup just getting started?

    The pandemic is accelerating the growth of curbside as a standard option offered to the consumer. The challenge is to execute it as a well designed, seamless experience that is also efficient within the retailer's operating model. We are working with several clients who've stood up improvised curbside offerings in the last 30 days to design the long term experience and model.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2020

    Nordstrom focuses on seamless shopping as stores reopen

    The small format Nordstrom Local stores that Nordstrom began piloting in Los Angeles in 2018 are perfect for a "new normal" of online-first, social distanced shopping with physical locations used to bring pickup close to the customer and fill gaps in the online experience, like the confirmation of garment fit. This pilot format was more ahead of its time than they realized, and I'd expect them to expand it as they reallocate their capital spending.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2020

    Best Buy is getting back to business with scheduled appointments

    Best Buy is a well-managed operation and there is a lot to like here. Their response strategy includes strong integration of digital and physical retail, a thoughtful redesign of the shopping experience and, best of all, it leverages the strength of the "blue shirt" store associates who were one of the key components of Best Buy's turnaround over the last decade.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2020

    Will shoppers go to the mall because Simon says it’s okay?

    Consumer traffic returning to malls will be a trickle not a flood and very few consumers will go to hang out and browse like they used to. If anything, malls being open may make it easier for retail tenants to move some of their currently stranded inventory to off-mall locations or into their e-commerce fulfillment flow.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2020

    Can Neighborhood Goods’ platform help brands hurt by the pandemic?

    Every little bit helps during a crisis like this and the Neighborhood Goods initiative certainly seems inspired by the right motivations. However, the best solution for brands (indie or otherwise) in the long run is to foster a direct relationship with their consumers and reduce their reliance on wholesale channels altogether. One idea for the Shopifys and the Etsys of the world would be to create virtual spaces to shop local: an online showroom that merchandises indie brands specific to the local areas of different consumers.
  • Posted on: 10/28/2019

    REI’s new #OptOutside message: Save the planet

    The enhanced #OptOutside program is great for driving awareness and giving members a further reason to engage with the brand and its mission. The shift of the business model toward mindful consumption will have a much greater long-term impact. REI is moving in the direction of being an outdoor co-op that happens to have stores after decades of being a retailer that happened to have co-op governance.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2019

    What does artificial intelligence mean for loyalty marketing?

    We too often see retailers treating loyalty and personalization as separate, at best loosely coordinated, initiatives. They should be deeply integrated. Personalization and the AI behind it feeds on the richness of our data set at the individual consumer level. The #1 way to build this data set is through an effective loyalty program that incentivizes every transaction to be "logged in" and uses progressive profiling to build the non-transactional elements of the consumer's profile.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2019

    Can b8ta do for fashion what it’s done for consumer tech?

    I'm a little more skeptical than the pack on this one. b8ta is good for the industry and the business model is certainly interesting. The stores themselves though feel like a moderately re-worked version of the old Sharper Image. I've visited the one in Seattle several times and never came close to purchasing something. In fashion, a store built around brands paying for placement is much less likely to hold appeal for consumers. The best fashion stores are built around the aesthetic of an owner or chief merchant. b8ta's model doesn't speak to a cohesive assortment that shoppers feel is "just their style."
  • Posted on: 10/09/2019

    REI opens outdoor adventure gateway concept

    I was able to spend some time with the team at REI that worked on this concept and store. They started by really getting to know the local community and deeply listening to both the locals and visitors to the area. The store is tailored to the needs that were uncovered in that process and it represents an exciting new departure for REI. All retailers should be open to this level of consumer input into new concepts.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Simple answers to fix retail’s loyalty marketing mess

    David's points are all valid. The way we encourage our clients to approach it is to think about loyalty as an outcome rather than just a program. If you start from that frame you can steer around the discount trap and focus more on benefits and perks like the ones that Nikki suggests in her comment, or implement a membership model without a points economy like Nike and Lululemon have.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2019

    Indochino bets big on showrooms

    I tried the Indochino experience last year and found it to be lacking. While the showroom staff was polite and friendly, the process end to end took a long time and required a lot of rework. The fitting appointment itself takes close to an hour, my suit then arrived weeks later than it was promised and despite the exhaustive measurements taken the suit did not fit. The alterations to fix the fit issues took several more weeks. I've had a much quicker and more seamless experience buying at Nordstrom and working with their in house tailors for alterations. I had a similar experience with a "personalized" shirt from Stannt that does not fit as well as a typical shirt bought off the rack. Bottom line: apparel is hard and the showroom companies struggle to deliver on their promise of a perfect, custom fit.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2019

    Will retailers see more rewards from multi-banner loyalty programs?

    I advised Foot Locker on the design of FLX and advocated for the multi-banner approach. The huge benefit to the retailer is the improvement in consumer data and insight that comes from having a consolidated view of not only the member's spend, but also their engagement with the program and the banners and their redemption choices when they have rewards. For the multi-banner shopper (believe me, they are out there) the feeling of being recognized and rewarded for your overall loyalty to a family of banners contributes to emotional loyalty over time.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2019

    The new boss is different than the old boss at Starbucks

    The jury is definitely still out on this one. Starbucks is a mature company at this point and their home market of North America is pretty saturated for them. It's remarkable and a tribute to Howard that he was able to drive a second era of growth when he returned as CEO. Starbucks has an enviable platform both digitally and with their physical stores, but I believe that they need to keep evolving their legendary experience to maintain customer loyalty. It would be a mistake to focus on down-market competition like Dunkin' and McDonald's at the expense of premium, reserve experiences that create the halo for the overall brand.
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