PROFILE

Melissa Minkow

Director, Retail Strategy, CI&T

Retail strategist and spectator for CI&T — a customized digital solutions provider for some of the largest global retailers. Passionate about drawing from consumer insights, pop culture phenomenon, and outside-of-industry best practices to improve the retail landscape.

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Melissa has overseen CI&T's retail strategy and industry perspective for a year now, after 2 years in merchandising strategy at Target, 6 years covering omni-channel, e-commerce, and social media retail at Gartner, a stint in pharmaceutical market research, and the completion of a Kellogg MBA. She is a retail futurist whose methodology is rooted in cross-industry consumer insights and innovation.
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  • Posted on: 12/01/2022

    Walgreens rolls out 24/7 delivery and parents with sick kids do the happy dance

    Typically 30-minute delivery and 24/7 delivery isn’t something I get excited over because consumer need isn’t there in many categories. Where Walgreens sits, though, 30-minute delivery and 24/7 delivery make a ton of sense and will definitely be appreciated by customers. This is the epitome of convenience given the items shoppers rely on Walgreens for.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2022

    Was the high-traffic Thanksgiving weekend a promise of things to come?

    Over the last few years we’d seen holiday creep, where retailers offered discounts much earlier than Black Friday and consumers took advantage. This year consumers didn’t have the financial bandwidth to buy earlier, bringing significance back to Black Friday. Even when the economy smooths out, I expect this extreme price-sensitivity and more planned holiday spending to stay. Consumers usually maintain shopping behaviors learned during tough economic times.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2022

    What does the promotional climate mean for off-pricers and resale?

    This would naturally be a tough time for year-round discounters and second-hand. Consumers' first holiday shopping thought is seemingly to go where they usually can only buy full-price because it’s a rarer moment for deals. This isn’t to say that second-hand and year-round discounting will struggle in other quarters, or even the early months of the fourth quarter, but when the last month of shopping arrives the retailers doing out-of-character deals are the ones taking center stage.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2022

    Is being the low price leader critical to Amazon’s ongoing success?

    Price is absolutely the primary reason for Amazon’s ongoing success. Even in categories where it’s hardly leading, there’s still an expectation from consumers that they’re getting the lowest price. Closely behind price though is the convenience of buying. There is no retail platform that’s more efficient when it comes to enabling shoppers to make quick, well-researched purchase decisions.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2022

    Black Friday is back as record number of Americans are expected to go shopping

    I’ve been predicting that in-store Black Friday would be a big deal again to consumers for two primary reasons. First, consumers have been gravitating back towards brick-and-mortar over the last few months since they’re once again comfortable shopping in person. Secondly, the economy has meant that consumers are keeping tight budgets. So the readiness to buy gifts hasn’t been there until closer to the actual holidays, and the reliance on/hope for significant Black Friday deals is stronger than ever.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2022

    The direct-to-consumer kitchenware brand Our Place gets physical

    I like the return to experiential retail that's going on -- the fact that there's a cafe and room for an entertainment-based outing makes the store a full-on destination. In addition to driving repeat foot traffic in those ways, they'll also want to create collections that necessitate repeat purchase. Kitchenware can be a category where consumers are buying only once every few years, so messaging around new launches will be key. I'd also go one step further to suggest building a content-based app to accompany the products they sell and showcase them in creative ways.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2022

    H&M brings rotating experiences to its new Brooklyn boutique

    I was thinking the same thing re: Story! This isn’t a new concept by any means, but I’m also curious to see how it does. I think the KPIs that make the most sense are foot traffic, time spent in store and sales. This is experiential retail, so if it gets people in the door and spending time, that’s a win.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2022

    Where is the innovation we should be seeing in store brands?

    This is actually a really tough question to answer. When it comes to grocery, consumers tend not to deviate a ton in their purchase decisions. Innovation in food that garners shopper interest unfortunately usually comes from the diet industry. It's hard to generate demand for a new food product if consumers don't understand it or know what to expect when it comes to how it will taste and how they'll be better off for eating it. Innovation is always important, but it has to be driven by consumer needs and interest.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2022

    Local artists now have their own retail holiday

    As someone who loves supporting local artists and most often ends up discovering them by way of galleries, I love this but worry about the consumer awareness it will drive. Partnering with retailers to showcase art is always a great idea but doesn’t seem to disrupt the status quo enough. It would be great to see artists exhibiting in concert halls and on commuting paths where passers by are already artistically interested or have extra time for observation. Ultimately, there are so many opportunities to showcase local art, so hopefully the attention this shopping holiday gets will inspire more art placement in areas where consumers can confront the pieces.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2022

    Will two digital-first concepts prove more successful than one for Panera Bread?

    It seems that the same erosion of the mid-range in apparel retail is now happening in food/dining. Fast casual sat in between fast food and high-end dining experiences. As the gap between lower and higher income widens, retail category offerings tend to as well. Low-contact, digital-first experiences in fast casual make complete sense given the direction retail in general is headed.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2022

    Will retailers use facial recognition tech to reshape store layouts?

    This seems like tech for tech’s sake to me. I doubt the ROI on this will make it worthwhile. There’s too much margin for error and it’s also easy to tell which sections shoppers are eyeing just by asking sales associates what they’re seeing. I can’t see consumers being comfortable with this.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2022

    Will Target’s new store format be even a bigger hit with its guests?

    This is super interesting to me, as it feels like a very modern take on the department store. The extra storage space is smart given that there's been an increased premium on storing inventory the third-party way. I'll be curious to see how profitable this is since rent will be higher, but I do trust that Target knows exactly what it's doing here.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2022

    Can Disney marry streaming and shopping?

    This is a perfect marrying of fandom merch and content. Consumers are already using their phones while streaming, so the scanning and smartphone buying won’t interfere with current viewing habits. The exclusivity piece of this is where the value comes in for fans to be loyal subscribers and early watchers. It just all fits seamlessly together, in my opinion. Eventually, it would be very cool of Disney to use this data to create 1:1 products for individual consumers.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2022

    Will Adore Me bring love to Victoria’s Secret?

    I'm really curious to see how this pans out. It's smart of Victoria's Secret to do, but finding the overlap between the brands and new opportunities for each will be interesting to watch. This will have to be handled carefully.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2022

    DSW is adding shoe repair services throughout its stores

    This is a creative way to draw consumers into stores that maybe wouldn’t be planning on it otherwise. Retailers need to be thinking about different ways to get people in stores, beyond just recycling products. I hope we’ll continue to see a variety of strategies that achieve this.

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