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Mary Henslee

A customer loyalty expert and market research guru, Mary has designed and run loyalty programs for Brierley + Partners, Kobie Marketing, T3, Cheetah Digital, Zales, American Airlines, 7-Eleven and many others. Key retail clients have included Barnes & Noble, American Eagle Outfitters and Ascena Group. Mary enjoys learning about the customer and helping her clients create unique programs that drive emotional loyalty and customer value.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2020

    Brides-to-be say ‘yes’ to their dresses in AR

    As a mother-of-the-groom to be, I think AR try-ons can work really well for bridesmaid dresses. Friends in different states who can't travel to shop together (currently, due to quarantine restrictions, and in future due to time and money limitations) can still enjoy a fun, shared virtual experience. AR for apparel shopping is definitely only going to continue to grow.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2020

    Will Levi’s Secondhand store give the brand a sustainable advantage?

    This trend is perfect for Levi's, which has always been one of the most in-demand brands in vintage stores. And buying direct from Levi's assures the customer that they are getting an authentic item, not a counterfeit knock-off. I had feared that concerns about buying used clothing during a pandemic would kill this sustainable trend, but I am very glad to be proven wrong.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2020

    Will runners subscribe to a 100 percent recyclable shoe rental plan?

    I like this concept, if the product quality meets runners' demands, and if subscribers are given a choice of styles, fit and colors for their replacement shoes. I think the shoe subscription idea has "legs" (feet?) especially for children's shoes. I suggested this idea pre-COVID, to allow parents to get a larger size every six months as their kids grow.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2020

    Neiman Marcus launches digital hub to bring the in-store experience online

    I am most impressed with Neiman's partnership with Fashionphile, encouraging their customers to sell and recycle their luxury goods. This creative and brave move may push their high income shoppers to replace some older accessories with new purchases from Neiman's (sellers to Fashionphile get a 10% bonus if they take their payment on a N-M gift card). But more importantly it shows a dedication to sustainability that a new generation of shoppers will appreciate, while highlighting the durability of luxury fashion. Of course, I believe they should also encourage In-Circle members to participate, with point bonuses, and early access to the most desirable products on Fashionphile, etc!
  • Posted on: 07/30/2020

    Beauty becomes a digital beast

    Beauty is very much influenced by social media, and the quality of digital technology will continue to improve the online try-on experience. So digital engagement will definitely continue in this category, even though many shoppers will also return to in-person shopping. Customers will probably continue to be leery of using testers even after a vaccine and other virus control measures have been achieved, but new methods and technology will be developed to make in-store sampling once again feel safe.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2020

    How can retailers differentiate curbside delivery?

    Retailers and restaurants should use their customer loyalty programs to improve curbside delivery, and use BOPIS to promote their loyalty programs. Let members have first access to desirable pickup slots and reserved lanes/parking spots; have standing weekly pickups and orders for members to which they can add or delete items; offer members early or late pickups or have their orders ready faster. Utilize members' data to improve customer service - just like for any other store operation.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2020

    Will the return of sports bring a bonanza for retail?

    Baseball is back! And there are many rabid fans out there who are missing sports, or are just desperate for entertainment options. Travel is postponed, theaters are closed, few new movies are being released, so this is an opportunity for retailers and other sponsors to develop creative promotions. Just one example -- my local Tom Thumb offers a discount on your purchase when you wear a team jersey on game day. As long as sports can be safely played (and there are certainly no guarantees of that) there will be fans, even if viewing from home, and marketing opportunities for their partners.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2020

    Will wholesaling change L.L.Bean for the better?

    L.L.Bean is a great, classic brand, and if they limit the products offered, select great partners with the right geo and demographics, and control their pricing, L.L.Bean could effectively increase sales and, more importantly, broaden their customer base by introducing new audiences to their brand.
  • Posted on: 06/02/2020

    Nordstrom crushes inventory optimization

    Nordstrom made some smart decisions early on, and were able to benefit from smart use of their multiple sales channels. The ability to fill online orders from store inventory was a tremendous help. They will be well positioned to bring in fresh stock when customers are looking for Fall merchandise, while their competitors are still unloading summer leftovers.
  • Posted on: 05/27/2020

    Bookstores could be in store for a post-lockdown boom

    All booksellers, both national chains and local independents, should benefit from the population yearning for entertainment and enrichment as they stay home more. There will be a continued increase in interest in physical books as readers look for an escape from their screens. Booksellers also offer related products like jigsaw puzzles, board games, stationery and small home decor that is in high demand right now. They should inform and inspire their customers by sponsoring virtual book clubs with access to authors, who have time because they cannot travel on book tours right now. Engage with social media, including bookstagram influencers, to build their customer base. And they should collect information to enrich a customer database, and ideally a loyalty program, with zero party data from customers who shop online, to maximize customer engagement and retention as stores reopen.
  • Posted on: 05/12/2020

    How should retailers manage touch-but-not-buy?

    National guidelines for displaying, touching, trying-on and returning apparel need to be developed based on science, and broadly communicated and followed. All employees and customers should wear masks, and either gloves or hand sanitizer should be provided at the store entrances. Reducing the risk of infection flare ups and making customers feel safe enough to shop, while providing them access to goods, will go together.
  • Posted on: 04/22/2020

    Beauty brands’ pandemic-era content aims to be more than skin deep

    Brands should absolutely expand the content they are providing to their loyal customers, but the content needs to be relevant, and the brands need to have genuine authority on the topic. This may be something that is clearly adjacent to their category, such as using scents and lotions to help relax and improve sleep patterns, for beauty brands. Other topics that might be more relevant now for beauty brands are how to look your best on Zoom or Facetime, or how to enhance your eyes and care for your skin when wearing a mask.
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