PROFILE

Mike Osorio

Vice President Retail, Tori Richard Principal, Osorio Group LLC, dba JAM with Mike®

Mike is an internationally experienced executive retail professional with a diverse career in luxury travel retail, department stores, and specialty food/gifts & apparel, including prior roles at 3Sixty Duty Free, DFS Group Limited, Harry & David, Gottschalk’s, and Macy’s. After a successful decade at DFS Group Ltd., the world’s leading luxury travel retailer (www.dfsgroup.com), he launched his consultancy, Osorio Group LLC (www.jamwithmike.co), in January 2018.

In May 2018 Mike engaged with 3Sixty (www.3sixtydutyfree.com) over a one-year contract as President Organizational Change & Effectiveness, helping the world’s largest inflight duty free retailer in its transformation to a significant player in both inflight and airport retailing.

As of May 2019, Mike has joined Tori Richard as Vice President Retail, eCommerce & Marketing to help this iconic Hawaii resort wear brand (www.toririchard.com) enter its next phase of growth, overseeing all aspects of Hawaii-based retail stores, online and digital communications, and marketing.

In addition, Mike serves on the boards of four startup companies in Utah, Texas and Hawaii, including Mana Up (www.manauphawaii.com), helping Hawai’i startups become global companies.

Mike brings his experience and capabilities to individuals, teams and organizations in their quest to deliver personal and business growth, deliver top and bottom-line results, and create the foundation and vision for future competitiveness and success.

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  • Posted on: 05/20/2020

    Will face masks be a lifeline for apparel retail?

    It is absolutely an important addition to most apparel brands, particularly those with a strong emotional connection with their audience. Once the CDC announced the need for all of us to wear cloth masks to protect others, our small Hawaii-based resort apparel brand provided over 30,000 free masks to families throughout the US. From that, the customer response from both brands was a keen desire to purchase masks. So we went back to work and are now producing and selling 5 packs of exclusive fabric masks for $58. Our second brand is selling a 4 pack for $34. Both at prices well below the averages out there. We feel strongly that we should not seek higher than normal margins for this accessory product.
  • Posted on: 05/12/2020

    How should retailers manage touch-but-not-buy?

    Apparel retailers will need to reopen as state and local government proclamations dictate. They must provide staff and customers with a reasonably safe shopping environment which will include masks, gloves and hand sanitizer for staff, and clear guidance on handling returns and try-ons (whether in a fitting room or on the sales floor). Steaming is the generally agreed-upon tactic for sanitation of apparel, and leaving returns untouched for at least 24 hours will allow product to be returned to the floor (after steaming). Cleaning POS surfaces between transactions, offering contactless payment options, and ensuring 6 foot distance between customers in line, will all help. However ... the real pain point for reopening retailers is the potential for lawsuits from people claiming infection from being in the store -- whether legitimate of not. The next round of federal assistance must include reasonable liability protections for retailers and others who open during a pandemic which is not close to being under control.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2020

    What should retailers do about social distancing renegades?

    James, this is exactly right. We must first ensure our staff are provided masks and we require them to be worn. It becomes, for now, another piece of their "uniform," which we are required to provide. However, we cannot require our staff to be the mask police. They can explain the requirement to customers in a friendly tone, and if the customer refuses to comply, they must simply walk away. I like the phrase you suggest they use.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2020

    How should indie retailers prepare to reopen under the now normal?

    There are excellent resources available to indie retailers via NRF and other industry bodies, along with Federal, State and local published guidelines. While I agree there is a lot of competing and confusing noise out there, a bit of Google search can bring any independent retailer what they need to ensure the basics are in place to ensure compliance for employee and customer safety. I agree with the statements supporting the positive opportunity for local indies to thrive as we begin re-opening as a large percentage of consumers are in the mindset of favoring local businesses of all types. The key is to both provide a high level of service with compelling products in-store, as well as a hard pivot to DTC selling via owned websites, IG & FB paid advertising, as well as Amazon and other multi-brand platforms. With the aid of PPP and other loan & grant programs, indies need to spend into both in-store and digital customer engagement.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2020

    Will shoppers go to the mall because Simon says it’s okay?

    We have already seen how customers and retailers are handling this in grocery stores like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot. It will likely be no different in malls and the "non-essential" retailers who choose (or are required) to reopen. The differences we see now at currently open retailers in Atlanta vs. in a smaller town will be similar to the differences we will see in the malls in those places. Traffic will likely return, but at a small fraction of "normal" traffic. But it will be a positive psychological move and will begin our road to whatever levels of in-person shopping will exist going forward. Starting, in a reasonably safe manner, is critical. I applaud the effort. Yes, Simon seems to be taking reasonable precautions and all tenants will need to do the same.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2020

    Is it okay to profit from a pandemic?

    I'll comment specifically about the plethora of cloth masks being produced for both donation and for profit. As an executive for an apparel company and as a board member of an actual protective mask company, I can see the lure of jumping into the surging demand for cloth masks. Due the inexpensive cost of producing basic cloth masks, my apparel company chose to produce and give away over 30,000 masks, one set of 4 assorted cotton masks for only the $4 cost of shipping. We do not fault many small makers/brands for selling their similar masks for $8 to $25, because this is the only income they are making while everything is shut down for them. It is possible that later, if mask-wearing becomes mainstream in America, that we might produce a well-made mask that coordinates with our apparel, but only if customer demand warrants it, and we'd sell it at our normal apparel margins -- no gouging. I can see some fashion and luxury brands successfully selling masks as fashion accessories as well -- no different from a scarf or a hat used to fashionably shield the wearer from the elements. The protective mask company chose not to engage in cloth mask production because we are focused on protection for the wearer, and cloth masks only protect others from wearer, with little to no protection for the wearer. As a startup ourselves, we again support small companies who are profiting from cloth mask sales as it is a real consumer need, they deserve a fair profit, and it is likely their only income. In the end, I would echo many voices here stating that a fair profit is reasonable for the selling of masks, other PPEs, and any Covid-related consumer demand products. Gouging is not, and luckily gougers are easily identified and crushed by the transparency of social media.
  • Posted on: 03/24/2020

    What’s the right messaging amid the coronavirus outbreak?

    We will be in this stay-at-home, work-from-home reality for many weeks if not months. Brands and retailers need to play the long game. This is not about getting a sale today, it is about maintaining and nurturing authentic relationships with existing customers, while being out there with authentic messaging that is true to your brand DNA. Inauthentic messaging is being panned across social media, while authentic and often cheeky (but not crass) messages are hitting the right chord. Those that project "we will win this together," and deliver value and some normalcy as people who want to shop begin doing so, are poised to win the long game.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2020

    Can retailers ensure stores are coronavirus-safe?

    Completely agree Paula. There really isn't much that can be done other than:
    1. Communicate clearly the retailer's efforts, a la Nordstrom;
    2. Ensure all in-store management is well-informed, follows basic protocols, and has the supplies they need on hand.
    Other than that, we will need to ride this out. It will pass, but the impact of this will be (and already is) much worse than SARS, etc.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2020

    Retailers go into business triage mode as coronavirus enters the U.S.

    I see three major pillars of the current and coming disruptions: 1. Significantly reduced travel due to both governmental restrictions and corporate business continuity and potential pandemic plans which call for reduced or eliminated non-essential travel. Besides well reported flight cancellations, we are already seeing cancelled conferences and incentive trips and mass attendee cancellations. Travelers are among the highest spenders so this has a significant impact on retail and on all associated travel support businesses. Resort destinations and major conference hubs may feel this most acutely. 2. Supply chain impacts, as well articulated by my colleagues. First with core related products like hand sanitizers and masks, then with component parts and ingredients for everything including medicines. 3. Basic fear. Natural overreaction to the news has people stocking up and hoarding, which will exacerbate the product shortages, and fear of the possibility of contagion has people avoiding enclosed areas such as shopping centers. I am hopeful that the spread will peak then slow relatively quickly now that worldwide governments and businesses have woken up to the severity of the situation. But I think we're in for a few months of disruption before things settle down. I do believe a recovery will come, but we also have to realize that the Chinese consumer will be more focused on domestic consumption vs. international travel retail consumption, which will likely require different strategies to maximize this important consumer. This can be both a short term and long term boost for online and offline retailers of basic household products such as drug stores and mass, so long as they present themselves calmly and with care, and do not price gouge. Finally, this is a good opportunity for retailers to focus on improving the customer's digital experience, to capture a larger share of the consumer's online shopping.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2020

    How can retailers bring the best of digital commerce to physical stores?

    Having watches and/or experienced various implementations in luxury, apparel and travel retail over the last 3-4 years, I've yet to see a successful AI assist for customer interactions at store level. Once in the store, the customers overwhelmingly want caring, empathetic, knowledgeable associates passionate about what they are selling and the customer experience. AI tools look and feel manufactured and take away from the authenticity of the human interaction between associate and customer. What does seem to work are AI enabled inventory/replenishment tools that ensure the right product is in stock in the right store, and tools that help manage staffing/scheduling. I continue to be convinced (for now) that AI investments should be in impacting data analytics and other non-human aspects of the business, and the best investments in in-store customer experience are related to attracting, hiring, inspiring and retaining the best in-store selling and leadership teams.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2019

    What makes a great assistant store manager?

    For the purposes of this discussion, we need to assume the store manager is competent. The assistant store manager and the store manager should largely be only separated by experience. The ASM is the SM in the SM's absence and a competent ASM is therefore needed to be seen in that capacity by both the SM and the sales associates. The list is a good one, and my top item is the ability to make decisions. The rest of the list are must haves for anyone in the store: competent sales associates as well as managers, but only the managers (ASM & SM) must be decisive in the moment.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2019

    Questions abound about the value of net promoter scores

    Like any “flavor of the month” (and this case of the decade), NPS has significant value but is not a panacea for predicting business success. But when part of a set of measurements that encompass data analytics and human level feedback, NPS can be quite effective. As always, there is no silver bullet for any business issue.
  • Posted on: 05/01/2019

    Are smartphones making sales associates obsolete?

    The balance is achieved by ensuring the sales associates are trained and motivated/inspired to deliver personalized customer experiences with an awareness and aptitude on the digital/mobile solutions their customers are utilizing. Then, that the retailer is digitally and particularly mobile enabled, and that the digital/mobile solutions are what the customer needs/wants vs. what the retailer wants or thinks the customer wants. This requires research, data analytics and a customer-first mentality. In the end, while the level of associate/customer engagement is influenced heavily by the product category being sold, all retail must be customer-focused and experience oriented, which today requires an intentional mobile/digital application and orientation.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2019

    Should retailers promote brand backstories?

    First, storytelling must be authentic and true to the brand’s core DNA to have any value for consumer engagement and to have the potential to spark purchase. Second, this is much less likely to work for large, established brands because much of the power of storytelling is tied to the “discovery” journey of a customer exploring potential products for trial and purchase. For most, there is already a perceived knowledge of the brand and therefore a lack of interest to “learn” more via storytelling. Third, despite my second point relating to customer interest, storytelling continues to be very powerful for employees of those brands and should continue to be leveraged.
  • Posted on: 04/01/2019

    Will a recruiting campaign help H&M enlist new employees?

    H&M is well-recognized for their employee-centric recrutiing efforts. The video shown here is an excellent example not only of the campaign, but specifically of the diversity and inclusion which is at the heart of their company culture. If (and I stress if) this is part of a retailer’s authentic company culture and employer brand promise, then campaigns like H&M’s will be very effective in creating interest for prospective talents, as well as a source of pride for existing employees. If this is not authentic, it will not only be ineffective, but likely create backlash internally and potentially externally on social media.

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