• Natalie Walkley
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Natalie Walkley

Director of Marketing, Deck Commerce OMS
Ideator & writer with 12 years of experience in marketing and SaaS technology.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2020

    Will Whole Foods draw more Prime shoppers with one-hour curbside pickup?

    This will be popular with Prime shoppers, especially those who are not in geographic regions of Prime Now (2-hour delivery). However, given the specialty-type groceries at Whole Foods, I would be curious that this is successful as a "new" customer expansion move, versus a current-customer adoption move. (I.e. Maybe more current prime customers use it than new signups.) I don't think they'll struggle with picking orders and curbside, as they obviously have a lot of intelligence in that area and will bring their fulfillment knowledge to Whole Foods curbs. ;)
  • Posted on: 10/20/2020

    Will virtual recruiting and onboarding hurt seasonal hiring?

    It doesn't seem that "virtual" life is going away anytime soon—so retailers will have to find a way to adapt and make it work for hiring as well. For store associates, there is a chance that candidates who interview well virtually might be more likely to engage effectively with customers. For the fulfillment and supply chain side of the house, it might be trickier because many workers have English as a second language, so retailers would need to accommodate accordingly.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2020

    Are older shoppers wiser amid the pandemic?

    The results from the study are fascinating — but it is a rather broad conclusion to claim that it is their viewpoint that dictates their proclivity to stress/anxiety. Other factors to consider:
    1. Young people are generally more social than older people, therefore social restrictions would impact them more severely. (Think of all the college experiences, proms, baby showers, kids' birthday parties, weddings, etc. that have been canceled.)
    2. Many Millennials (average age of 25-40) have young kids at this point, which adds additional stress and anxiety to life, even when we are not in a pandemic. ;) Throw in a lack of childcare and online school for many, and it's a stress cocktail.
    As an "elder Millennial" (as one comedian coined it) I have seen these factors first hand— while for our parents, life hasn't changed very much other than not getting to see their grandbabies as often. No data point is a one-size-fits-all, but these are certainly noteworthy to the increase in anxiety and stress.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2020

    Will Amazon’s new online store disrupt the luxury fashion and beauty business?

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. A few years back a colleague of mine said, "People only go to Amazon when they know what they need, not when they want to browse." I remember strongly disagreeing because, at the time I was on a huge "Interesting Finds" kick on Amazon. (If you aren't familiar— this was a section where Amazon highlighted unique finds from smaller retailers and influencers could curate recommendations.) Spoiler: I spent a lot of money by "browsing" that section. Now this is under the "Gift Finder" section of Amazon—which I do think is more of where folks browse -- because who knows what to get their 10-year-old niece that has everything already? All that is to say, this may take off with a specific subset of people who already shop luxury, but my guess is that it will remain obscure (like the Interesting Finds section) for the majority.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2020

    Which COVID-19 consumer habits will stick?

    In college, I did a summer internship where I sold books door to door via The Southwestern Company, and they taught the mantra—> It takes 3 weeks to build a habit. For consumers, 6+ months of living a certain way will inevitably create (even subconsciously) certain buying habits. And not all habits are self-proclaimed or self-predicted. When it comes to what will stick — any experience that offers consumers blatant *convenience* will most likely continue, as that is a common theme in the buying experience, pandemic or not. (I.e. Omnichannel experiences, flexible fulfillment, faster shipping, 3rd party delivery services, etc.)
  • Posted on: 09/08/2020

    Will Santa be bringing as many toys this holiday?

    From what we are seeing from customers and trends overall, I think the toy category will see gains. Why?
    1. Overall, this has been a tough year and people will look for some excitement to finish off the year;
    2. Many children missed birthday parties, social activities, in-person school, sports, etc. so "Santa" might make up for losses and disappointments;
    3. Many parents spent some time during quarantine “purging” closets and toy boxes — making room for new items.
    In order to have a smooth peak season during the holidays, toy retailers should button up their omnichannel technologies to ensure a seamless customer experience. (It’s worth noting that omnichannel shoppers tend to spend more both in transaction size and lifetime value, so it is a worthwhile effort!)
  • Posted on: 09/08/2020

    Has COVID-19 revealed pickup’s pain points?

    Curbside pickup or buy online pick up at curb (BOPAC) has come a long way in a short amount of time. A few shortcomings — Many retailers still have disparate systems (app, POS, notifications), clunky processes, and implement them quickly without much QA to ensure a smooth customer experience. The sudden high volume for omnichannel orders has put a strain on the less-than-ideal time frame to launch. For example, I recently ordered takeout from an established restaurant and ran into the following snags:
      The app had incorrect information of what was available;
    1. Since the item I wanted was marked “unavailable/out-of-stock,” I called to place my order over the phone;
    2. I went through an automated system (which was pretty impressive) but I was never able to speak to an associate to ask about the unavailable item;
    3. I went back to the app and placed my order (sans my favorite food), to pick up curbside. (Note: only because I am on a strict diet did I not consider going to another vendor.);
    4. Somehow the two bags of my order were separated in the pickup area, so my husband came home with only half of our order :( ;
    5. The food we did receive was not accurate (sides missing, toppings incorrect).
    In the restaurant’s defense, they did offer me a full refund — but it highlighted the snags many businesses (even ones with mature infrastructures) are facing. (And left my husband very hungry!) The customer experience is crafted through a combination of people, processes, and omnichannel technology—and in order to truly master curbside, BOPIS, BOPAC, etc. retailers are going to have to take a look at all aspects.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2020

    Culture is the key to creating a company that people want to work for

    I couldn't agree more that culture is the key to recruiting and retaining people. One of the biggest hurdles I have seen over the years is finding people that match your company DNA. Companies have to look beyond skillsets, certifications, and previous success, and look at who individuals are as people — their motivations, their attitudes, how they are wired, and so on. Of course this is hard to discern in a standard interview process, hence the challenge for creating a strong employee brand. When an employee says, "these are my people" — they have most likely found a place they will thrive.
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