Michael Terpkosh

President, City Square Partners LLC

A wholesale, retail and supply-chain leader with demonstrated success developing and executing strategic initiatives in category strategy, merchandising, marketing, and consumer insights. Strong record creating innovative programs to meet the challenges of ever-changing industries. Experience consulting with manufacturers and retailers domestic and abroad. Leader of many company-wide initiatives delivering enhanced business efficiencies while creating new sources of company revenue. Managed teams from 12 to 175 associates locate across the United States.

  • Posted on: 02/26/2020

    Independent grocers need to make dramatic upgrades in marketing tech

    For any retailer, the critical marketing technologies are: customer internet shopping/ordering, some type of rewards/loyalty program, mobile technology marketing and promotion analytics. I agree with the insight that independent retailers have been falling behind with these marketing technologies because of cost. But these marketing technologies are now table stakes to retail success. A smaller independent retailer struggling with cost and associate expertise needs to turn to their wholesaler for help and expect their wholesaler's support in these areas.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2020

    Should grocers just say ‘no’ to big CPG brands when it comes to shelf decisions?

    Large, traditional CPGs with their legacy brands are not driving sales with grocery retailers like they have in the past. Small-medium companies are driving most of the grocery sales growth. There are many reasons for this including innovative products, better for you items, and new ethnic brands. As the grocery business has shifted, to meet the changing consumer demand, large CPGs have become out of touch with what is driving the grocery business. The result is that their usefulness as a vendor partner has diminished in the eyes of the retailer. Plus the availability of many sources of consumer and market data from syndicated data companies has empowered grocery retailers to drive their own analytics, insights and shelf decisions. The larger CPGs may never be able to get a seat at the partner table again.
  • Posted on: 02/21/2020

    Unilever will end marketing to young kids to fight childhood obesity

    Not to be jaded about this, but isn't Unilever using this change as a marketing campaign to adults? We all hope (wish) that CPGs do the right things and do not focus on trying to market their products to kids. However it seems this is not the norm, but the exception to current CPG marketing practices. Meaning when a CPG makes this change they can create a marketing campaign about the decision. Maybe someday when the majority of CPGs take the high road on marketing to kids, we can then call out the exceptions as the bad actors in the business.
  • Posted on: 02/21/2020

    What does it take to make collaboration work within organizations?

    In my experience, the most critical are diversity and equality. Teams that are equally empowered to speak freely and from a diverse cross-section of the organization will create collaboration, which = energy. Get a group of people this far and the energy will propel them to ideas and actions. Then it is time for leadership in/of the team to mobilize the team on the time frame, action steps and accountability to get it done. There are two reasons many organizations have an execution gap. First, they don't practice using the four components everyday in projects of any size. This can't be a "one-off" or "big project only" process. Second, organizations move through for the first three components successfully only to fail on mobilization and leadership.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2020

    Shoppers have a love/hate relationship with self-checkouts

    I believe shelf-checkout being convenient to the consumer is a direct inverse relationship to the number of items a consumer is purchasing. The more items to scan/purchase the less convenient shelf-checkout becomes to the consumer. In regards to the concerns about cashier job losses, most retailer's today can't find enough people to work in the stores. The lack of retail employees may push many retailers towards more shelf-checkouts.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2020

    What does it take to earn the trust of consumers?

    Consumer trust in brands starts and ends with transparency. As the bar graph shows, consumers want to know brands are safe, socially conscience, and ethical. This comes not just from the brand PR telling consumers how great the brand is -- these building blocks of trust must be the foundation of how the brand operates. Social media is a great monitor of actual brand business practices creating unparalleled transparency for the consumer.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2020

    Will Macy’s cut its way to improved margins and future growth?

    Macy's can't save their way to prosperity. A new store format is good, but long overdue. Macy's continues to try to be successful in the higher priced, over-inventoried, cluttered department store format. They are getting hit from too many sides. Online, second-hand, and other retailers reinventing themselves. The new Target remodels are creating a similar feel to department stores and should be a big concern for Macy's. Plus, with Sears going away and J.C. Penney on the ropes, it does not appear Macy's is getting much uptick from less brick-and-mortar competition. In the end maybe Macy's will survive, but they may be the only survivor in the traditional department store space.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2020

    Retailers share how they make the most of their trade show visits

    Pre-planning is key! Usually a retailer has more exhibitors to see than there is show floor time. So having a plan of how to efficiently navigate the show floor is very important. This includes being prepared to buy based on sales history and sales trends. Exhibitors love retailers that are ready to buy and commit to cases. Don't assume there is no "Show Only Deal" if it is not posted. A retailer needs to ask exhibitors to sweeten their deals for case commitments. Also, as a retailer don't be afraid to leverage one exhibitor's brand against another. For example, If a retailer want to order a mid-tier laundry detergent work back and forth across the brands during day one, cocktail party one, etc. Allow the brands a chance to improve their deals for a day two commitment from the retailer to buy.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2020

    Kimberly-Clark solves some mysteries around click-and-collecting

    CPG brands are not as engaged with retailers when it comes to working together to drive online sales. Manufacturers are happy to provide marketing trade dollars and maybe they have some "internet insights" to share. However these same CPGs have a difficult time partnering with retailers on the inner workings of retailers' internet presence. There are two barriers to partnering that can drive online sales when overcome. First, CPGs need to provide technical, internet-savvy marketing people who are able to work effectively with retailers. Second, retailers need to be proactive with CPGs, allowing the CPG people to work side-by-side with the retailers to address online sales opportunities.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2020

    Are retailers ready for the coronavirus?

    The readiness of American retailers and restaurant operators is no better or worse than that of any other developed country. Meaning it has not been top of mind nor are the vast majority of businesses adequately prepared for it as part of a business disaster recovery plan. Retailers and restaurants need to look at this from the top of their organizations to the bottom. First and foremost, how do you stockpile cleaning and hygiene supplies across the supply-chain and in each retail location for employees and customers (as they enter the store)? Second, establish and enforce higher frequency cleaning of all spaces from retail floor space to supply-chain operations to corporate office space. Third, escalate and educate around policies for employees staying home when sick. Finally, a retailer better have a great action plan to address public perception if one or more of their retail locations has an employee virus outbreak.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2020

    Move over plant-based meat, lab-grown meat is coming

    There is enough room in the marketplace for many types of meat alternatives. Just look at what has happened in the milk category. The trick is determining the types and brands of meat alternatives that resonate with the consumer, creating long-term CPG success. It is inevitable that as more CPGs come into this space retail prices will drop and pricing parity with meat products may happen. Retailers need to move cautiously into this category and are better off partnering with a supplier to hedge their risk.
  • Posted on: 01/23/2020

    Cross-brand collaborations open up store shelf space for CPG brands

    Pro: Major CPGs get incremental sales from mainstream consumers that look for and want new, unique items. Most of these items are fads. Con: The incremental sales are short-term meaning when next year rolls around, the CPG needs a new item fad to drive impulse sales to make their sales budget. Pro: In many cases the mashups are cheaper to create and produce than the cost of a true innovation product development pipeline. Con: As consumers continue to move towards better-for-you items these traditional brand mashups will become less and less relevant. Con: There is also a con when a major CPG buys a smaller better-for-you company and then over-extends the brand name into too many other categories, destroying the better-for-you company brand image.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2020

    Does IKEA need parking lots?

    I too love this concept. The multi-generational return to urban cores makes this type of store a great fit for U.S. metro areas. As Baby Boomers retire they don't want to have to lug around big, heavy boxes. Especially if they can get delivery and set-up. Young generations want the convenience without the sweat and without driving to the store. I see this as a win-win for all parties.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2020

    Best Buy CEO faces alleged misconduct probe

    Retail businesses need to watch and learn from these types of issues and establish and/or maintain in-depth policies to govern personal relationships at work. Then when an issue arises, the retail business can address the issue in a firm and fair way for all involved parties. These situations are never easy and all employees watch how a retailer addresses these situations. Retail business leaders need to evaluate their current policies and, if I might say, also evaluate their HR teams to make sure they are strong and ready to tackle these type of issues at any level in the retail organization.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2020

    Wegmans has a better website, but did it need one?

    A strong website and mobile app for any retailer, including grocery channel retailers, must keep up with current technology, web-features and the latest functionality. Consumers have certain expectations for their internet experiences. Let's call these HIGH EXPECTATIONS. As consumers browse across the internet their expectations are constantly changing and being raised by the coolest, most awesome functionality. Retailers need to keep up to maintain their internet relevance. Wegmans spiffing up their website and mobile app allows them to bring their excellent brick-and-mortar image to the internet.

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