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: 08/08/2022

    Is Amazon’s deal for iRobot all about mapping Americans’ homes?

    I made a joke about this over the weekend, and my family thought I was down a conspiracy-theory rabbit hole. Amazon using Roombas to map out our homes and monetize the data (through their own product sales or selling it off to third parties) seems pretty likely. I also think it makes sense for Amazon to capitalize on already-successful smart device concepts. While Alexa devices are ubiquitous, Amazon has not been as successful with some other smart-device ventures (eg Dash buttons). 

Roombas are an easy connection into the Alexa ecosystem.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2022

    Is inflation the true cause of recent supermarket closures?

    Grocery is a tight-margin business, so rising supply and labor costs force grocers to re-evaluate the profitability of each store. 
However I don’t think inflation is the only cause. 
Supply chain disruptions, stockouts, pivoting to e-commerce and BOPIS models play a role here, along with changing consumer preferences. Inflation was just the final straw.
  • Posted on: 04/01/2022

    Cashierless stores graduate to college campuses

    College students are more likely to embrace cashierless checkout than other demographics. College campuses are also a great testing environment because if there is a way to game the system or trick the technology, students will find it. College shoppers won’t reflect the average shopper outside of the controlled college campus environment, but it’s a good way to stress test the technology and concept.
  • Posted on: 04/01/2022

    Is Pacsun’s mall on Roblox the start of something ‘metaversally’ big?

    Pacsun’s approach to operating in the metaverse is really smart and strategic. Pacsun’s core customer demographic is 18 to 24, so by bringing the brand into the metaverse and specifically Roblox, Pacsun is simply meeting shoppers where they already spend their time. I also think Pacsun is on track with the way it creates virtual products. From the Mall Rats to the Roblox Golden Wings, Pacsun is embracing the element of fantasy and fun that’s present in the metaverse in a way that resonates with shoppers, instead of just translating their physical products into a digital world.
  • Posted on: 03/25/2022

    How did Abercrombie pull off its comeback?

    If you told me five years ago that I would be shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch again, I never would have believed it. 
As a teenager, I remember being intimidated by the extra low-rise fits and super tiny sizes. Now, in 2022, I find their styles and sizing to be much more approachable. Behind the scenes, Abercrombie has done a lot to improve the quality of its clothes, aesthetics, and operational logistics. 

 From a marketing standpoint, TikTok has been one of the best things to happen to Abercrombie. Viral try-on and haul videos have brought the brand back in front of former customers who may not have otherwise thought to give the store another chance. 

And, to Abercrombie’s credit, they seem to be really listening to the reviews and feedback from these videos. 

  • Posted on: 03/07/2022

    What does Russia’s war on Ukraine mean for U.S. retail?

    U.S. citizens and businesses are feeling the impact of higher oil prices. In addition to having a direct and immediate impact on the wallets and spending habits of many Americans, the high oil prices can also lead to higher freight and delivery costs, which consumers will also likely pay for. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will also likely have a large impact on wheat supply and prices, as Ukraine is a big exporter of wheat. This would make certain groceries and dining out much more expensive. Of course, the biggest concern is for the safety of the Ukrainian people and stopping Russia’s invasion of sovereign countries. 
 Paying higher prices for goods is just something that U.S. retailers and consumers will have to take on.
 I’m glad to see that many global retailers reacted swiftly in pausing sales and business dealing with Russia.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2022

    Amazon says first clothing store will be a fashion and technological revelation

    Apparel stores have been attempting to incorporate online shopping into the in-store experience for years now with smart fitting rooms and QR codes. Conceptually, Amazon Style appears to merge the best of e-commerce and in-store shopping experiences. 

Amazon Style’s display model will allow for beautiful merchandising and easier order fulfillment. Plus, encouraging all shoppers to try items on may help reduce returns. The biggest hurdle I see is staffing. Retailers across the country are experiencing staffing shortages, including Amazon. The premise of Amazon Style seems to be convenience and an elevated shopping experience, which can be very labor-intensive to execute. Amazon will need to have enough employees to promptly pick and deliver app orders to fitting rooms and checkout counters; otherwise, this concept won’t work.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2021

    Do retailers get how social holiday shopping has become?

    Honestly, I’m surprised that these surveys show Instagram and Facebook are more popular than TikTok for product discovery, even for Gen Z. The biggest challenge for retailers is that shoppers are likely not looking to brands on these platforms for product discovery - especially if it’s not a store they already purchase from. 

Instead they’re looking to friends, peers, and influencers. So retailers need to encourage user-generated content to really tap into social media for product discovery.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2021

    Will AMC deliver blockbuster results in the popcorn aisle?

    Selling retail popcorn does seem like a natural and logical expansion for AMC. I think the third-party retail and owned retail arms will be most successful. The smell of freshly popped popcorn can be hard to resist. Shoppers love a good mall pretzel - why not mall popcorn? However I don’t see the to-go and delivery options being as successful. I’m not sure how well hot popcorn would travel.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2021

    Should Apple join the crowd in lifting mask requirements?

    I think it’s risky to ease mask mandates, especially heading into the winter months. 
However the burden of enforcing mask mandates for customers falls on employees. Given the uptick in combative customers, and people verbally - or in some cases, physically - abusing retail and customer service workers, I support Apple’s decision to ease the mask mandate as it means Apple employees don’t have the burden of enforcing it. 
 I like the approach of businesses “strongly encouraging” customers to wear masks. At least in my area, most shoppers seem to comply with these requests.
  • Posted on: 11/04/2021

    Are the cards stacked against small and medium sized retailers?

    Large retailers have the cash flow to win pricing bids on supplies and hike employee wages. Although I wonder how long they can sustain the increased spending. Smaller retailers are definitely at a disadvantage - they simply don’t have the same leverage big corporations do when negotiating with suppliers. However small businesses are also able to pivot a lot faster, have community engagement, and have more loyal local fans. 

 Small businesses can succeed by getting creative with product sourcing, staying on good terms with suppliers, being transparent with shoppers, and offering great service.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2021

    Does Macy’s or Best Buy have a better approach to gift cards?

    It depends on the store’s target audience and what the customer demand is. Retailers looking to be a one-stop shop can achieve that goal better by offering a broad selection of gift cards. Shoppers can pick up a forgotten birthday gift along with their normal shopping, or holiday shoppers can get most of their gifts from one store. 

 Gift cards take up such little floor or counter space, the cut retailers get for the sale makes it worthwhile. 

 For grocery and box stores, offering an array of gift cards makes sense. For Best Buy, I can see the gift cards being an add-on or impulse purchase. Like an iTunes gift card to go with new headphones or a Nintendo gift card to go with a new gaming console. However for specialty shops or higher-end stores, there’s not a real need to carry other retailers’ gift cards, let alone competitors. 

  • Posted on: 10/25/2021

    Target doubles down on Apple shop-in-shop ‘experiences’

    The Apple/Target partnership is a big deal for Target. It’s also a big deal for Target shoppers that have RedCard, Circle, and/or employee discounts. It offers an opportunity for price-conscious shoppers to get discounts on Apple products that are normally not discounted. 
Having Apple-trained consultants can also help boost foot traffic in Target’s stores. This is a huge win for Target heading into the holiday shopping season, and I expect Apple stores within Target will be successful during the back-to-school shopping season as well.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2021

    Walmart says Amazon’s grocery delivery fee will put a ‘Whole’ in customers’ wallets

    Walmart’s campaign is clever, and they may peel away some shoppers who were only buying Whole Foods groceries because of the convenience of free delivery. However I don’t think they will convert many regular Whole Foods shoppers. Whole Foods is a pricey grocery store, with a different product selection and price point than Walmart groceries. I expect that instead of switching brands, many Whole Foods customers will switch their behaviors. Instead of paying for delivery, shoppers will use the free pick-up option. Or instead of getting frequent deliveries, shoppers will do larger orders less frequently to justify the delivery fee.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2021

    Amazon may have a different kind of review problem on its hands

    I’m not sure this implies security issues but rather points to the larger problem of online marketplaces holding sellers to unrealistic review standards. As a consumer, it’s suspicious to me if every review for a product is 5 stars. Some variance is normal and, at least to me, adds credibility to the raving fan reviews. A genuine and thoughtful response to a negative review can turn unhappy customers into fans if done right. It can also reassure potential customers of the seller’s level of customer service. Contacting the customer directly, especially when the seller is not meant to have that contact info, is a little creepy and not likely to be an effective strategy for improving reviews.

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