PROFILE

Meaghan Brophy

Senior Retail Writer

Meaghan is a retail writer for Fit Small Business where she offers how-to advice and buyer’s guides for business owners.

Meaghan Brophy is also the editorial director Independent Retailer, the industry’s trusted source for indie retail news, where she covers retail trends, tech, ecommerce, marketing tips, and keeps her finger on the pulse of the industry by visiting with and interviewing retail store owners.

Before becoming a full-time retail writer, Meaghan has held retail and business management roles. Through these positions, she’s gained ample experience in sales, employee training, human resources, customer service, and leadership.

In her free time, Meaghan enjoys tap dancing and a quiet cup of coffee. She also holds an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University.

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Meaghan is the Senior Retail Writer for Fit Small Business where she offers how-to advice and buyer’s guides for business owners. Previously, Meaghan Brophy was the editorial director Independent Retailer, where she covered retail trends, tech, ecommerce, marketing tips, and kept her finger on the pulse of the industry by visiting with and interviewing retail store owners. Before becoming a full-time retail writer, Meaghan has held retail and business management roles. Through these positions, she’s gained ample experience in sales, employee training, human resources, customer service, and leadership. In her free time, Meaghan enjoys tap dancing and a quiet cup of coffee. She also holds an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University.
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  • Posted on: 10/22/2020

    How crucial is last mile fulfillment to 7-Eleven and the c-store channel?

    Last-mile fulfillment is incredibly important for convenience stores. As others have pointed out -- it's right in the name. In order for a convenience store to be successful, it has to be convenient for customers to shop from them. Location is a big part of that, but local delivery, order-ahead options, and curbside pickup are an increasingly important part. It will be challenging for convenience stores to be able to offer these services profitably. Grocery items have notoriously thin margins. Pick and pack operations involve additional labor expenses, which usually cannot be made up through higher prices for BOPIS services. In order for this to work, convenience stores will need to focus on prepared foods and other items that have higher profit margins.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2020

    Will downsizing (food packs) bring a merry Christmas to Sam’s Club?

    Sam's Club will absolutely have success selling smaller food packs this holiday season. In general, having smaller packs would help expand non-business membership. During the pandemic, I'm not so sure if membership would expand, but they will definitely be able to better meet the needs of current members. Combined with ship-from-store efforts and contactless shopping, Sam's Club is really setting itself up for success this holiday season.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2020

    Can ‘boo-bags’ save Halloween?

    I remember neighborhood boo bags from when I was a kid. It's a smart idea, and will hopefully be a great way to drive community engagement and give families a little bit of fun. Curbside or appointment-based trick-or-treating and virtual costume contests will also help get kids and families into the spooky spirit. In terms of sales, I'm not sure that will be enough to offset a retailer's losses. Smaller and local retailers can try assembling and promoting activity and craft kits, or even Halloween-themed gift baskets. These items are higher margin and could appeal to the many families that will be home and looking to keep everyone busy on Halloween this year. However, it's likely that many retailers' Halloween sales will still be down from last year.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2020

    Are Amazon’s flying security drones a threat to homeowner privacy?

    I think privacy concerns around Ring Always Home Cam are completely justified. The amount of data Amazon is collecting is absolutely nauseating. Compare this with today's other discussion around only 43 percent of brands having unified cross-platform analytics capabilities. Amazon has the best cross-platform analytics and is taking it to the next level - inside your home. Personally, I think the privacy concerns way outweigh any of the benefits this device could provide.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2020

    Do consumers need beauty products delivered within an hour?

    During a time where people are attending events or traveling regularly, I can see this service being popular. However with the pandemic and current state of the economy, I would expect less demand for same-day delivery on non-essential items, especially considering Sephora's higher price point.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2020

    Should restaurants charge a pandemic fee?

    In addition to having to pay for extra sanitation supplies and rising food costs, restaurants are also operating at greatly reduced capacity. I think it's perfectly reasonable to include a COVID fee (although I would probably call it something else). Many service businesses, like salons, are charging extra fees for each appointment to offset PPE costs. However, any business doing this needs to be extremely transparent and upfront. Clearly state the charges and reasoning behind them on your website, any booking or reservation pages, reservation confirmations, signage as customers walk in, and on the menus. There should be no surprises when customers receive a check. Many people want to support local businesses, so as long as they know what they are paying for and why.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2020

    Has the local movement become a way of life for Americans?

    A "Decade of Home" sounds wonderful, and a lot of people are shopping closer to home. However even with this additional support and shift in mindset, indie retailers have a lot stacked against them. Necessary social distance guidelines mean reduced store capacities, which means lower sales volumes. And small shops don't have the cash reserves retailers like Target and Walmart do, so they can't sustain prolonged sales drops. But seeing more people become aware of the importance of shopping local and acting on that is a great step. To keep the momentum, local shops need to make it easy to buy with online ordering and curbside pickup, work alongside other local businesses to advocate and advertise for each other and continue pushing their own value proposition - communicate with customers why it's important to shop local.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2020

    Grocery CEO to anti-maskers – Got a complaint, call me on my cell.

    This move shows a lot of integrity on the part of Ms. Spires, that she cares about employees, and that she leads by example. An important tenet of leadership is to not ask employees to do anything you do not or would not do yourself, including personally upholding company policies. This takes a lot of pressure off of employees.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Retailers need way more fulfillment space to keep up with booming online sales

    Demand for online fulfillment will continue to grow, and retailers will need to be increasingly flexible in order to keep up. There are so many variables including a need for fast delivery/fulfillment times, minimize shipping costs, efficiency, and of course having the right products in the right place at the right time. Chain retailers will need to use a hybrid solution of traditional fulfillment centers, micro-fulfillment and drop-shipping for shipping orders and stores for BOPIS and curbside pickup. The lines between stores and fulfillment centers will only get blurrier.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Is consumer arrogance driving word-of-mouth recommendations?

    The concept of "consumer arrogance" doesn't sit well with me. I think if brands are actively trying to target that specific type of word-of-mouth recommendation, it's likely to backfire. However word of mouth recommendations in general (between friends and family, less so from "influencers") are still a powerful source of new business for many retailers. Small and local businesses, in particular, benefit greatly from positive word of mouth and can be devastated by a few negative social media posts. However I don't agree that conventional marketing will disappear in 10 years. It will continue to change and evolve, but brands will never stop seeking additional exposure.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Retailers focus on making safe spaces for customers and associates

    I agree, Paula. A clear, and enforced protocol is the way to handle this. Having national CDC health guidelines will also take some of the guesswork and stress out of retailers needing to come up with their own solutions. It will also help set shopper expectations because everything will be the same across different stores and communities.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Will Facebook Shops launch social commerce into the mainstream?

    Facebook has been inching toward seamless shopping for so long that the reveal almost feels anti-climactic, though I think the results will be big. For many local shops, Instagram has been the main source for new customers for years now, and Facebook has served as a big engagement and retention driver. The new Shops features will be a nice supplemental tool (in addition to storefronts, online stores, and email marketing) for small businesses to boost sales with current customers and decrease the time between discovery and purchase for new customers.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2020

    Who wins/loses if Amazon pushes Prime Day to September?

    The pandemic and economic downturn will impact Amazon's 2020 results regardless of whether Prime Day is in July or September. In normal years. Prime Day was so successful because it created a brand new shopping holiday without significantly impacting Back to School and Back to College sales numbers. This year, neither Amazon's operations nor consumers' pockets are ready for a blow-out shopping event, as people are still focused on stocking up on essentials. Pushing the sale to September is a smart move. However, I predict department stores will try to take advantage by having sales of their own in July. But as many department and apparel retailers have been advertising deep discounts online for a while now, I'm not sure how many consumers will bite.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2020

    Americans are shopping more impulsively online

    Personally, my impulse buying has absolutely increased over the past weeks. When placing grocery orders for pick-up, I'm sneaking in sweet treats and snacks that I normally don't purchase, as well as a few extra cleaning supplies. I've also splurged on some items that, while they aren't essential, make staying at home more comfortable, like a new set of pajamas and a few houseplants. However I've made most of these purchases through small businesses and independent sellers. I think online impulse spending will remain at heightened levels while we're stuck at home. Once restrictions are lifted, that impulse spending will shift to in-person spending at restaurants and shops.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2020

    Should face masks be mandatory for shoppers?

    Stores should require all shoppers and employees to wear masks, full stop. Requiring masks is the least retailers can do to try and keep employees safe. "Recommending" masks leaves too much open to interpretation and possibilities of selective enforcement. Wearing a mask is certainly not comfortable, but, at least for me, the choice between wearing a mask or unknowingly infecting someone else seems like a no-brainer.

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