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Paul Conley

Director of editorial research for Digital Commerce 360.
A 30-year veteran of the content world, including stints at top journalism brands such as Bloomberg, CNN, and CFO. Specializing in writing about retail, e-commerce, restaurants, and food/agriculture. Two-time keynote speaker for the American Society of Business Publication Editors. Named to the “25 journalists to watch in content marketing” list.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2020

    DTC brand sales soar in a time of social distancing

    "I expect we will see a smaller number of DTC brands leading the pack with an ever-growing distance between second-tier players..." Agreed! As the COVID-19 crisis eases, there will be a nasty fight for market share in most segments of DTC. The battlefield will be digital marketing. The big players will bid up the rates for targeting and retargeting to levels we've not seen before. They know if they win now, they will be sitting pretty for a long time. Smaller players will have a tough time attracting eyeballs and driving conversions. The only realistic play they have is to commit to very sophisticated methods of audience segmentation, etc. It won't be easy. And it won't be pretty.
  • Posted on: 04/14/2020

    Has COVID-19 turned fashion into an endangered retail species?

    I seem to remember similar sorts of predictions after 9/11. There was a sense then that "everything has changed" and that some portions of American life would be lost. In particular I remember people predicting an end to "frivolous" and non-essential activity. Fashion was mentioned often as something that would be sacrificed. Yet fashion never went away. Instead new brands emerged. And new retailers. Trends developed that could not have been predicted (leisurewear, sneaker culture, etc.) I suspect the same will hold true when this crisis fades into history. Maybe we will all wear masks. Maybe women's gloves will come back in fashion. Maybe hoodies will come with plexiglass face masks. But fashion, and the people who make it, sell it, think about it, and love it, will still be here. The trick for retailers today is to survive long enough to be part of it.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2020

    Are retailers nimble enough to give consumers what they need and want right now?

    I've been surprisingly pleased by what I've seen grocers/drugstores/etc. do here in NYC during the crisis. They're not perfect, but they have been nimble. On the other hand, there are some areas in digital where retailers seem to be stuck. I can't imagine I'm the only person still getting poorly re-targeted ads from companies I did business with ages ago.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2020

    Pre-bagged produce proves popular during pandemic

    Years ago I worked with Tom Karst, the journalist mentioned in this story. No one knows more about the produce industry than Tom does. He's almost always right. And in this particular case, I see loads of anecdotal evidence backing up his theory. Here in NYC, we're all reducing the time we spend in a store. Nothing saves time like grabbing a bag of produce rather than picking through a pile.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2020

    Apple wants its store staff to try work-from-home tech support

    This seems like a fantastic move for Apple and its store employees. Frankly, I'm a little surprised that any employee would pass on the offer. Sure, the company is still paying all employees. But that can't last forever. It would seem the wisest move would be to accept a new role and work to support the company. There are 10s of thousands of workers across the country who would have loved a we'll-train-you-to-work-from-home offer from their employer.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2020

    Should retail associates be treated like frontline health responders?

    Shout out to Trader Joe's, which here in NYC seems to be doing the best job overall in managing social distancing in its stores and in the lines outside. Everywhere else I've visited seems to still be struggling to enforce the rules.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2020

    Retailers act to protect seniors from coronavirus shopping chaos and contamination

    This may be the loveliest gesture I have ever seen from the retail world. I'm proud to be part of such an industry.
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