PROFILE

Nicola Kinsella

SVP Global Marketing, Fluent Commerce

Nicola has over 20 years’ experience in technology that spans eCommerce, supply chain and logistics. At Fluent Commerce, an enterprise SaaS distributed order management company, she heads up Product Marketing. Her job? To use her unique blend of hands-on tech and marketing expertise to craft compelling product messages — ones that will resonate with retailers and brands globally, and fuel both sales and partner enablement.

Prior to joining Fluent Commerce, Nicola spent 5 years at Bridge Solutions Group, an IT consultancy that specializes in distributed order management. Awards received during her tenure included: Forbes Best Management Consulting Firms: IT-Implementation 2016, 2017, 2018 and IBM Business Partner Award: 2016 IBM Commerce Winner.

To learn more, visit: fluentcommerce.com

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  • Posted on: 05/11/2022

    Do Netflix subscriber headwinds hold lessons for retailers?

    People are cutting subscriptions because inflation is up, costs are rising, and they need to cut back. And there is a lot more competition in the original programming space than ever before - so you have to provide a lot of value to justify the spend. The lesson for retailer subscriptions I believe is less about subscription fatigue and more about understanding that uptake of subscriptions in a bear market will be much lower than a bull market. And you have to provide a lot of value to justify the spend if you want to attract a critical mass. Which will be difficult for many. Perhaps an "airline alliance" model would make more sense for retailers who can't provide enough value on their own.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2022

    Does resale make sense for Dick’s Sporting Goods?

    It totally does. And while camping and outdoor goods make sense because they tend to have a high value — so there is more margin to work with — Dick's would build a really loyal following if they enabled trade in and sales of used sporting equipment. Kids grow so quickly, especially their feet. So being the "go-to" place for parents to shop used equipment, even at lower income levels, would be a great opportunity to build brand awareness and loyalty long term with the younger generation.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2022

    Will Buy with Prime give Amazon an answer to Shopify?

    For sellers, another payment method to help eliminate friction in the checkout process, and an opportunity to build their own brands in a way they can't on Amazon.com. For other platforms, another payment offering that will no doubt feel convenient to their customers. But to Amazon? A lot more data. Customer data, order data. Don't underestimate the gold that provides to Amazon.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2022

    Is spinning off or selling Buybuy Baby the right move for Bed Bath & Beyond?

    New parents are some of the most profitable customers ever. For long-term growth, better that Bed Bath & Beyond figure out how to convert those young parent customers into long-term Bed Bath & Beyond customers through all their children’s life events rather than spinning off the more profitable entity.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2022

    Are JCPenney’s owners a good fit to take over Kohl’s?

    Winners in retail are investing heavily in the customer experience. While Kohl's is an innovator that keeps pushing the envelope and creating lots of new partnerships to enhance the customer experience. JCPenney is not. The big concern is that any cost cutting measures will curb Kohl's ability to innovate and actually reduce long term shareholder value, not increase it.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2022

    Has Barnes & Noble turned the page?

    Localized assortments are definitely a win. So many retailers have centralized buying that doesn't allow enough flexibility for regional preferences. While tech can help with forecasting, there is an art to retail merchandising — especially in stores — and empowering store managers to maximize their revenue is essential. But it's also concerning that only 10 percent of sales are online. This looks like an opportunity for future growth. While discovery in-store is great, a lot of discovery is happening online — through reviews, "frequently bought together" and "people who bought this also bought" or "people who like this also liked" type recommendations. But to do this well, B&N needs to launch campaigns (maybe through their stores) that drive more online reviews so they can enable enhanced digital discovery in a way that differentiates from Amazon. For example they could enable customers to:
    • Sort search results or categories by number of reviews;
    • Follow reviews of friends (like Spotify);
    • Follow other reviewers that you like (make it easy to view or subscribe to notifications when they post a new review);
    • Recommend reviewers to follow;
    • Add more categories to "Reader Type" to help people find other reviewers like themselves.
    B&N has a loyal following of readers, and there are definitely more opportunities to engage them and build a tight knit digital community that inspires more brand loyalty and repeat purchases.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2022

    Are fuel-driven deals worth pumping?

    Trend-jacking the surge in gas prices is smart marketing. They're top of mind. But surging gas prices are also driving higher demand for electric vehicles. Long term, it will be even more interesting to see which gas station chains manage to reposition themselves as EV charging stations with offerings that better fit a 20 minute charge cycle rather than a 5 minute pump cycle. Think more short term "sit down" experiences rather than just "grab and go."
  • Posted on: 04/15/2022

    Lands’ End is doubling down on third-party relationships

    Lands' End needs to tap new markets, so this approach makes sense, and other strategic retail partnerships would be good additions. But given the limited line most of these retail partnerships will carry, would love to see BOPIS options where customers can order on Lands' End's site and pickup at a local store too. As a traditional catalog business, where consistent size and fit are important, Lands' End is perfectly suited to provide its ecommerce shoppers a predictable product experience that will inspire repeat sales and returns down. With new ways to discover and experience the brand, I have no doubt these partnerships will help drive additional ecommerce revenue for Lands' End. For other brands with a similarly consistent product line, it could be a good approach.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2022

    Is resale a better fit for lululemon than other apparel brands?

    Resale will always benefit an aspirational brand like Lululemon more than a discount retailer. And they have a clear goal - to attract the younger value shopper - which is good for building brand loyalty in a younger crowd who perhaps doesn't yet have the disposable income to afford full retail prices of their products. But maintaining high product quality will be key to making this program successful.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2022

    Does Amazon have an edge in capturing America’s youth?

    All those branded boxes that arrive every week have an impact, and will leave their mark on young impressionable minds. We can't help but like the familiar -- it's the way we're wired. Will they see the Amazon brand more than all other brands, no. But possibly more that any other retailer.
  • Posted on: 04/08/2022

    Expensive gas slows foot traffic

    Why drive to a store when you can shop online? Unfortunately for retailers, rising gas prices impact delivery costs as well. It's going to be really important to focus on fulfillment efficiency to reduce labor costs, ship from the location closest to the customer to keep delivery costs down, and find new and creative ways to maximize the value of each sale when customers are in stores.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2022

    Shoptalk 2022: Retail media is the message from Instacart

    The Instacart value proposition is interesting. They've become a grocery e-commerce hub, which will definitely be attractive to CPG brands given the opportunity to advertise at the point of purchase inspiration. The revenue share with grocers is an interesting model to drive adoption. It's a smart move. And most grocery retailers, especially regional chains, don't have the margins to invest in the tech to pull this off themselves. So it's a win-win. But creating an ad platform that meets the needs of sophisticated media buyers like CPG brands won't be easy. It will be interesting to see if they decide to build, buy or partner to accelerate this rollout.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2022

    Is Target and Levi’s expanding partnership a win-win?

    Great move by Target. Another example of how strategic partnerships in specific categories are helping them differentiate from competitors. They've got great traction with Harry's shave brand, Apple, and Ulta Beauty. Watch for this trend to continue. As for Levi's I don't think this devalues them at all. If anything it makes them more accessible, particularly as you move further away from cities. Levi's isn't an "exclusive" brand, it's iconic because it's so inclusive. And it's a great fit for the Target shopper.
  • Posted on: 03/25/2022

    Instacart is moving into the ultrafast lane

    The fact is, same-day delivery only makes up a small proportion of online orders today. While consumers like to have fast options, they don’t often utilize them. Combine that with so many people moving out of cities in recent years, and this look like a risky move. But Amazon changed our perception of delivery with their fast fulfillment and Amazon Prime so maybe Instacart can do the same for grocery. The interesting parts are data and ads. Grocery has struggled to invest in data at the rate of other retailers, so Instacart provides them with an interesting opportunity. And with their new ad model, perhaps we should look at them more as a marketplace that will drive most of their revenue from ads over time, rather than a fulfillment service. It’s going to be interesting to watch.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2022

    Will retailers stop the presses on print circulars?

    Not going to lie. The Lands' End, L.L.Bean, Northern Tool and Crutchfield catalogs all inspire purchases in our house. In part because they cut through the digital clutter. Not saying they should continue, because the environmental impact isn't great, but retailers are going to need to do something more innovative than email. And if it's an app, it need to provide an experience that wows enough to prompt downloads and word of mouth recommendations. They need to do something different.

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