Mike Osorio

President, Organizational Change & Effectiveness, DFASS Group
Mike is President, Organizational Change & Effectiveness at DFASS Group in Miami, Florida. In addition, his consultancy offers paid and pro-bono services to individuals and organizations who can benefit from his experience, capabilities, and proven ability to drive results. Mike can be engaged for individual and team coaching, project management, and non-competing retail consulting. Mike is an internationally experienced executive retail professional with a diverse career in luxury travel retail, department stores, and specialty food/gifts including DFASS Group, DFS Group Limited, Harry & David, Gottschalk’s, and Macy’s. Senior level leadership roles other than his current role have included Region President, Senior VP Organizational Change Management, Senior VP Learning & Development/Chief Learning Officer, Group VP Organizational Effectiveness, and Managing Director (all at DFS Group Limited); Senior VP/GM Stores (at Harry & David); and VP/Director of Stores (at Gottschalk's). Mike is a positive, high-energy leader with demonstrated results in building organizations, teams and top talent. He leads by combining compelling vision and strategy with hands-on tactical execution, successfully driving individual and team engagement and performance. Subject matter expertise in leading change, US domestic and international store operations, P&L management, financial and strategic planning, talent development, organization design and development, internal communication, customer and employee engagement, project management, negotiation, stakeholder and board management, and public speaking.
  • 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.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2019

    The Apple Card is the best thing to happen to Apple since the iPhone

    This is the first Western tech giant that seems to be moving in the direction that Tencent has with its brilliant WeChat platform, which links almost everything one does digitally into one platform. This move by Apple makes it increasingly likely that a large swathe of consumers (in the West) will move onto their platform for an ever-growing percentage of their digital time. Time equals money. Go, Apple, go.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2019

    Has wearable tech already gone out of style?

    As is the case for all digital technology, the best applications provide assistance to a consumer behavior that already exists or wants to exist, e.g. Apple Pay (we already need to pay, this makes it easy and safe), or Uber/Lyft apps (we already need transportation, these make it easy and secure). These are solutions to real needs. Wearable technologies for the most part are solutions seeking a need that apparently doesn't exist in large enough numbers to be commercially interesting (so far). I do think there are some interesting applications for assisting disabled persons and other niche ideas that may become plausible. For now though, it seems wearables have plateaued.
  • Posted on: 03/25/2019

    Does direct mail or email deliver greater results for retailers?

    The question must be answered by focusing on what the CUSTOMER wants, rather than how the retailer wants to communicate (usually due to financial considerations). The typical "right" answer is some combination of direct mailing and online communications. But the correct combination is customer-specific, requiring a relatively sophisticated set of data analytics. For most retailers, it is best to ask the customer what they prefer (directly and via data analytics) and then give them what they want.
  • Posted on: 03/25/2019

    Is there anything special about specialty retail?

    The title "specialty" retail is the hint behind my answer, which is "it depends". The nature of specialty retail is specializing in a particular product category and bringing to it, in the best cases, a point of view that is relevant to a significant population of consumers. As Paula states, the most important aspect of success is for the specialty retailer to sell what people want. Let's make that a given for the purpose of this discussion. Then connecting effectively to the consumer creates relative success. And that's where online disruption impacts specialty retail. The key to harnessing digital disruption is understanding what the customer naturally does, or wants to do, and then investing in digital solutions to ease that activity. Click and collect, shoppable Instagram posts by influencers, seamless shopping between online and in-store, and live chat are a few of the more positive online interventions which if leveraged by specialty retailers prove positive. And when not embraced, tend to prove negative. My view is that the specialty category of retailers will be the big winners in go-forward physical retailing, but the names on the doors will likely continue to change as few of the larger legacy players will be able to morph their financial, sourcing, and merchandising structures to meet the needs of today's and tomorrow's cross-platform shopper. Those that do evolve will have innovative, disruptive CEOs and supportive boards who understand the DNA of the brand and are intimately linked to their customers, allowing them the freedom to evolve their offer and their ability to seamlessly link their online and offline worlds.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2019

    Will a new name and private labels give DSW a leg up on the competition?

    I have been a DSW customer for over 10 years and have always been impressed by their selection of excellent brands and warehouse pricing. In recent years they have invested heavily in onmichannel capabilities and customer experience. I applaud the Camuto Group acquisition and trust they have a good reason for the name change. Two points for emphasis: 1. Changing the name is unnecessary, although it looks to be a corporate name change only. So if it somehow makes them feel better, or more aligned to their company ethos and long-term strategy, then go for it. If they were going to change the store nameplates, that would be an expensive mistake. It does not appear this is the case. 2. The private label focus is brilliant, bolstered by the Camuto Group, which already supplies wholesale for many brands as well as owns several designer brands (and footwear licenses) including Max Studio, CC Corso Como, Lucky Brand and namesake Vince Camuto. So they are not diluting the power of the "designer" focus of DSW as they increase margin through a private label expansion that appears to the customer as more legitimate designer brands.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2019

    Will Costco’s new $15 minimum wage hurt or benefit the chain?

    For its entire existence, a core piece of Costco's employer value proposition has been superior wages and benefits. It is certainly important for them to continue to lead if they want to retain this reputation. The irony is that Costco's leadership in this area is a contributing factor of the now-popular notion of a "living wage," and often used in the drive for a $15 minimum wage. Now that it has become important for all large retailers to prove they recognize their role in driving livable wages (or not), the Walmarts, Targets and Amazons of the world are now increasing the price for Costco to retain their leadership position. In the end, this is very positive for all retail employees as Wall Street will likely price in this "new normal" of labor costs and reduce the negative impact on share prices, thus enabling more retailers to provide a living wage.
  • Posted on: 12/14/2018

    Does fear motivate workers or make things worse?

    The use of fear to motivate performance is an act of laziness, ineptitude, and/or evidence of the poor character of the leader. Other than the use of fear to stop an individual from injuring themselves (just as a parent does for stopping a child from touching a hot stove), there is no legitimate use of fear to motivate performance. Any other view is naive and dangerous.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2018

    Have retail store associates fallen into a hypnotic state?

    This is such an important discussion. The main message is to “mix it up.” Even using the Retail Doctor’s prescriptions, or any of the panelists’, becomes stale if used exclusively. The focus for retailers should be on developing front line supervisors and their direct line managers in creative leadership development. Front line leaders must have the capability and desire to constantly develop new ways to excite and energize the staff, using methods that are relevant for the diversity of today’s workforce. This is about culture and focus on in-store customer experience. It can be done, but take intentional effort on an ongoing basis.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2018

    IKEA assembles holiday messages to drive sales

    The “Maybes” spot is terrific for the American market and is pitched well for our current times in which recognizing the many ways Americans celebrate the holidays is crucial for any retailer to broadly resonate among consumers. However, it is difficult for our very American-centric “experts” panel to judge what is effective in Canada or Sweden, so I won’t try. Given our panel’s agreement that the “Maybe’s” spot was very strong (for an American audience) I will make the leap that the ones for Canada and Sweden are equally effective for those markets. My message: this is an example of American hubris. We cannot and should not dictate the messaging for other countries and cultures, and yet we often try. Our generally expressed lack of cultural intelligence is unfortunate and often limits American brands and retailers as they attempt to expand outside of the American mainland.

Contact Mike

  • Apply to be a BrainTrust Panelist

  • Please briefly describe your qualifications — specifically, your expertise and experience in the retail industry.
  • By submitting this form, I give you permission to forward my contact information to designated members of the RetailWire staff.

    See RetailWire's privacy policy for more information about what data we collect and how it is used.