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: 03/25/2020

    How should retailers guide staff through the coronavirus crisis?

    This is a great list, Bob. I would also add that retailers need to ramp up and establish tighter protocols around store cleaning. Also, they must work together with employees to come up with best practices around minimal contact checkouts with options like:
    • Implementing contactless payments;
    • Setting guides for customers to maintain social distance while waiting in line;
    • Bringing online or phone orders out to customers' cars.
    The other thing retail managers need to keep top-of-mind is that their employees are going through a lot right now with kids being home from school, having sick or at-risk family members, trying to provide great service to on-edge customers, and the stress of employees putting themselves at risk by coming to work every day.
  • Posted on: 03/25/2020

    Are retailers and landlords destined to head to court over rents?

    Ricardo, that is my take as well. Struggling storefronts and landlords need to work together. It's unlikely that businesses will be opening up stores any time soon, so landlords would be smart to work with their current tenants as much as they can. A legal dispute just adds costs to each side.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2020

    How can indie restaurants survive the coronavirus?

    Cathy, I agree. It's really sad to see - some indie restaurants in my area are already shuttering for good. Restaurants operate on such thin margins as it is - a pandemic coupled with a recession means we will see many indie restaurants close their doors. Curbside pickup and delivery are helping a few restaurants stay open, but that doesn't help the servers and bartenders who are out of jobs. And as consumers continue to tighten their wallets and cut back on spending, many people simply won't be able to order takeout and support their local businesses even if they want to.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2020

    Burlington Stores walks away from e-commerce

    It definitely makes sense for Burlington to walk away from e-commerce. If, after 11 years, the sales aren't there and the margins are too small, there's no point in trying to force a costly operation shoppers aren't interested in.
  • Posted on: 02/26/2020

    Will fulfilling third-party vendor orders give Walmart an edge over Amazon?

    This is a no-brainer. Honestly, it's surprising that Walmart hasn't offered fulfillment services sooner. This move will definitely result in more third-party sellers joining the marketplace. However, it's less clear whether that will translate to additional customers. Amazon has such strong brand loyalty that I doubt many shoppers would switch to Walmart, even though there's no annual fee for free two-day shipping.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2020

    What are the biggest barriers to AI adoption for retailers?

    I find it hard to discuss AI in one broad bucket because it has so many different applications and use cases. Like the study suggests, chatbots, self-checkout, and even personalization are practical and low-barrier uses for retailers. They are relatively easy to implement, and the benefits in improved customer service are tangible. AI can also be beneficial for predicting supply chain demands (Amazon has been doing this for a while). However, inserting new tech in a complicated supply chain is a lot harder than adding a chatbot to a website.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Kohl’s vs. Macy’s

    The Kohl's spot is energetic and gives shoppers a clear reason to buy from Kohl's - they have the season's hottest gifts and toys. However, the Macy's ad does a fantastic job of connecting with core customers through the use of their Thanksgiving Day parade as the kickoff to the holiday season. My vote is for Macy's.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Etsy

    Both commercials are strong. Amazon has used the singing boxes to pull at heartstrings for a few years now, and it is an effective strategy when it comes to invoking the holiday spirit while also showing how Amazon deliveries play an integral role. However, I like Etsy's commercial better. I think it does a great job of highlighting not just products, but the people behind the products. When it comes to attracting more customers, I think Etsy makes a stronger case as to why shoppers should buy from them.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Should Santa be a loyalty program perk?

    What a Grinch move. There are plenty of times when it makes sense to have invite-only events for rewards members - this is not one of them. Taking Santa away from a child that won't understand why they can't go this year is a shortsighted response. Instead, they could have offered early access to rewards members, or dedicated certain nights to rewards members.
  • Posted on: 11/04/2019

    Will Old Navy succeed with a one-price regardless of size concept?

    Size Yes is absolutely a great (if overdue) move for Old Navy. A majority of shoppers are not "sample size." The shopping experience needs to cater to the customer, not the other way around. Shopping is a social activity. Separating women's sizes into different departments (or even different stores) with different pricing makes it hard for friends and family to shop together. Size Yes should become a permanent concept for Old Navy, and other retailers should take note.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2019

    Will free deliveries for Prime members make Amazon the driving force in online grocery?

    A few curious Prime members will try out free grocery delivery. Big grocery players like Walmart will try to respond by also offering free grocery delivery. The problem is, consumer demand for online grocery shopping isn't quite there yet. People still like picking out their produce and the social interaction that comes with regular grocery shopping - for now. A few years from now, online grocery will likely gain traction. Amazon is starting another race to the bottom. They have the cashflow and willpower to lose money on grocery delivery (which is very expensive and logistically challenging) so that when consumers are ready to buy groceries online, Amazon will already be dominating the market.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2019

    Seven things store managers should do now to be ready for Christmas

    These are all good tips. I would take the suggestion of shift starter meetings - which every store should absolutely do - a step further and recommend that store managers get in the habit of providing one-on-one coaching for employees throughout the day. Developing those practices of role-playing sales situations now will make the process much more natural during the holiday season, instead of an added stressor. Plus, having those individual coaching sessions ahead of the holidays will help employees gain the confidence, feedback, and sales skills that will make them successful once the Christmas season starts. I would also add that even with a great sales team, a store needs a stellar appearance, welcoming environment, and great product selection.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2019

    Should Amazon be charging for ‘curated’ toy guide placements?

    As someone who has studied and worked in publishing, this is both upsetting and not at all surprising. Gift guides are generally meant to be editorially independent. If that is not the case, they should be clearly labeled as sponsored. Unfortunately, as we see here, that doesn't always happen. I suspect that ad dollars have a significant impact on what products make the cut for gift guides of many major retailers. However, small businesses and independent retailers have an opportunity to create truly curated guides that shoppers can trust.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2019

    REI ventures into drop shipping

    Dropshipping makes perfect sense for a retailer like REI where customers need specific parts for gear. There is not much sense in stocking each of these items in-store or even in-warehouse for the very occasional shopper. However, it's important for these pieces to be available from a customer service standpoint. So dropshipping is the logical solution. Dropshipping doesn't make sense for every retailer, but for REI it seems to be a no-brainer.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2019

    Will Best Buy wrap up Black Friday sales with a price match guarantee in October?

    Best Buy's price guarantee is a smart move. TVs are a notoriously popular Black Friday item that typically sells out fast. This promotion lets customers get the same deal without having to brave the crowds on Black Friday. Best Buy is known for exceptional customer service, so I am not surprised by this offer.

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