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.

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  • Posted on: 09/27/2022

    Is the customer really the most important thing in retail?

    Amazon prides themselves on being "customer obsessed." It works. You make different decisions when you are "customer led" and not just "customer aware." Anyone who thinks they can make decisions without factoring in customer data and insights without a negative impact to the business is fooling themselves. To be clear, that doesn't mean doing everything a customer says. It means truly interrogating customer data, generating smart insights, and iteratively tweaking your offering to meet their needs.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2022

    Are biases still holding back marketing analytics?

    To become a data driven organization you need to evolve your internal processes, KPIs and evaluation metrics to match. Both evaluation metrics for people performance, but also data performance. It takes time to design and roll out a program like that. While cognitive bias training should be part of the overall change management approach, at the end of the day you need to completely rethink the way you measure outcomes and the inputs to those outcomes.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2022

    Will Patagonia’s ownership help save the planet and its retail business?

    How do you plan for the future at a consumer brand that is a market leader in terms of their commitment to sustainability? Sell to a lesser brand? No. IPO? It would destroy the brand. Find a non-profit organization whose mission aligns with your own? This is a really creative take on succession planning. And one that stays true to the brand, and will no doubt generate even more loyalty from beloved fans. Well done Yvon!
  • Posted on: 09/15/2022

    Will climate change make supply chain disasters the new normal?

    Most retailers are using fairly rigid legacy systems (e.g., ERP, distributed order management, inventory planning), and have longer buying cycles that don't allow them to respond rapidly to changes in supply and demand. The recent supply chain issues have resulted in both empty shelves in some categories and inventory bloat in others. Getting it right over the course of six to 12 months is hard. Let alone doing the analysis required for long term strategic planning. This might include catastrophe modeling to determine the potential impact to their suppliers, stores, distribution centers, and the amount of demand generated from high risk areas, so they can develop proactive plans to mitigate risk. But most roles within a retailer are focused on day-to-day operations or short term planning. In some industry verticals, we're seeing more chief sustainability officers, a strategic role that looks across the business and leads development of longer term strategies for improving key sustainability metrics, but also assessing risk across the business. It will be interesting to see if more retailers consider adding this role.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2022

    Do retailers face too many conflicts as they move into logistics services?

    Distribution is what retailers do best. And if you're a mid-tier retailer who wants to improve your delivery experience and you don't directly compete with Gap or American Eagle, who would you prefer to give your distribution business to, Gap and American Eagle, or Amazon, Walmart, or Target? The former makes more sense. The question is, can Gap and American Eagle deliver other merchandise as effectively as they can apparel? Or will they struggle with shipments that require more cartons and odd sizes, versus the poly bag common in apparel distribution? That could be a deciding factor in their ability to attract prospects.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2022

    Why is Lowe’s moving its marketing ops under its merchandising veep?

    Building a strong brand isn't the same as merchandising. This feels like a short sighted move. Partly motivated due to a (hopefully) temporary inventory glut that needs to be cleared out. But just because you need to clear the shelves due to unexpected shifts in supply and demand doesn't mean marketing should be focused solely on promotions. Lowe's risks the slow degrading of its overall corporate brand image long term, and losing sight of the end to end customer experience across channels, if they focus too much on promotions and merchandising in their marketing organization.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2022

    Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s new turnaround plan work any better than the previous one?

    Given I've had BBB ship me the same item twice, as a "Ship from Store" delivery from two different stores, I'm not surprised. Those sorts of mistakes can kill your margins on omnichannel orders. And not getting digital right, isn't an option. Bed bath needs to get their inventory and logistics in order. If that means using national brands that have more reliable supply chains than their own private labels, then that's what they should do. Unfortunately they launched many of their private labels in the middle of the biggest period of supply chain disruptions we've had perhaps ever in modern commerce. I'm afraid they're going to have a tough run for a while.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2022

    Is Kohl’s putting too many of its eggs in Sephora’s basket?

    Totally agree Tara. The results seem to indicate that the Sephora shopper doesn't love the rest of Kohl's offer. They need to up their game across other categories. The model is working. Great. Now it's time to rinse and repeat -- faster.
  • Posted on: 08/19/2022

    If Walmart builds a social influencer platform, will marketplace sellers come?

    It will be interesting to see how this evolves. Ranking of influencer content is based on their number of followers. Ranking of creator content is based on how well individual pieces of content perform (go viral). TikTok favors the latter. Regardless, influencer/creator marketing is essential for driving B2C demand. But the space is changing so rapidly. Part of Walmart's goal may be to get more control over how it works rather than relying on (or being subject to) the ever changing algorithms of the key content platforms like YouTube and TikTok. The question is, will they be able to drive enough content to make it successful?
  • Posted on: 08/11/2022

    Will refurbished products deliver ‘good as new’ results for Walmart?

    It's good for the environment, a good sustainability play for Walmart, fits with Walmart's overall value proposition, and helps gain new market share. And during inflationary times refurbished items, like used cars, definitely see a boost in sales. Key to its success though will be the quality of the refurbishment and the online reviews from customers. Time will tell.
  • Posted on: 08/11/2022

    Can venture funds help retailers keep apace with technology?

    Why invest? It provides the vendor with more financial stability than a partnership alone, gives the retail more control over the vendor's product roadmap, but the retailer doesn't assume full risk like they would in the case of acquisition, and can spread the risks and benefits across multiple pieces of tech. As long as the team that's running the fund is savvy, it's a really interesting play. Because it provides retailers with more opportunities to innovate using cutting edge tech to help them differentiate their offering.
  • Posted on: 08/11/2022

    Is Amazon’s deal for iRobot all about mapping Americans’ homes?

    Data. Data. Data. Amazon isn't the only company doing it. Nor the only retailer. I would expect to see more of these types of deals in the future. Mapping your home with a remote vacuum, understanding your eating/drinking habits from smart fridges, coffeemakers, ovens, etc. Or your hobbies and other home needs from smart watering devices for your garden. When you know your customer really well you can increase sales. Organizations looking to sell to people have always found new ways to learn more about their customers. IoT devices are just the next evolution. Is it a good thing? Not necessarily. But for each new generation more invasive techniques will just feel normal.
  • Posted on: 08/11/2022

    Is retail now facing a warehouse crisis?

    The challenge with building out new warehouse space is that it takes time, often years. Both time to build, and time to get necessary software, labor and operations up and running. Ramping up store fulfillment capacity is a much faster option, can help delay large capital investments, and provides more overall flexibility to weather unpredictable changes in demand. Re: markdown best practices, that's not my area of expertise, but making sure you can fulfill online orders from the location where stock is most likely to be marked down can help keep margins higher. As for canceling orders, typically this is not a voluntary decision. It's due to inaccurate inventory - which is a problem across retail, and more important than ever to fix. This means that investing in the tools that help you keep inventory positions in sync across systems and locations, and optimizing safety stock, potentially at the SKU-location level, is key. Both to prevent the need for overbuying, and to reduce overselling and underselling.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2022

    Is Amazon on the verge of reinventing American healthcare?

    I'm excited that these customer centric organizations are trying to change the healthcare experience for the better, because often the patient experience gets overlooked. Or healthcare providers focus on the actual delivery experience, but not the time consuming logistical experience before you get to a location for treatment. And re the Amazon acquisition, more competition in this space can only be better for consumers overall. Looking forward to seeing how this plays out.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2022

    Lowe’s gives full-time store staff the option of a four-day work week

    This is a great move, and not just for retail. People are struggling across the board with not having enough time. So it's a great way to attract talent. On the flip side, many companies are looking for ways to cut costs in the downturn, and offering a four day week at reduced pay can be a way to retain staff during rocky times rather than laying them off.

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