Paula Rosenblum

Managing Partner, RSR Research

Paula Rosenblum is co-founder and Managing Partner at RSR Research and is widely recognized as one of the industry’s top retail technology analysts. She has been selected as one of the “Top 50 Retail Technology Influencers” from 2014 -2018. She also writes a blog for Forbes and is frequently quoted in other major media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, NPR Marketplace and many others. She serves on the advisory board of three consumer goods import companies.

Previous to her years as an analyst, she spent over 20 years as a retail technology executive and CIO at companies including iParty, Hit or Miss, Morse Shoe, Domain Home Fashions and others.

Paula received her MBA in 1991 from Northeastern University, with a major in management of High Technology firms and was nominated to the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. She’s active in a variety of organizations supporting human growth and development, and in particular has been involved with the RetailROI charity since its earliest days.

Other Links from Paula Rosenblum:

RSR Research blog

  • Posted on: 07/31/2020

    Nov. 2021: How should retail plan for a return to normal?

    I think retailers have to assume this is going to go on for a while and, in fact, based on a survey we just ran they are expecting 12-18 months, though some are optimistically thinking six to 12 months. Plus we don't know what things are going to look like when this is over. What will the economy look like? How many people will have died? How much wealth has been destroyed? What will be happening to the climate? In RSR's view retailers have to become agile, because when push comes to shove, we know very little about what the post-COVID-19 world is going to look like. I am not sure many of us realize just how devastating this truly is. We already have more than 150,000 dead in the U.S. alone. And we're nowhere near done. Agility is key.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2020

    What didn’t Jeff Bezos know and when didn’t he know it?

    Jeff Bezos was a Golden PR machine for years. That’s over now. Let’s face it, kids. His retail operations don’t make money, he’s a master of distraction and the company packaging is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Jeff Bezos should find some good works to do, including taking better care of his employees.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2020

    Will Amazon become the go-to place to buy face masks?

    Personally, I prefer medical supply places. I don’t have a lot of trust in Amazon's masks. It’s not clear which ones are medical and which are not (the landing page from a search perspective is very confusing), and I just prefer to get the ones that make the most sense for me. But it does have the convenience factor. One thing that Amazon's supply chain problems early in the pandemic did for me was open my eyes to other, equally quick sellers.
  • Posted on: 07/28/2020

    Has retail adaptation become more about survival than competitive edge?

    There once was a shoe chain called Joan and David. There actually were people with that name and Joan was the buyer. Joan and David’s clients aged out. The company didn’t change, now we have no Joan and David. There is no “back to normal” and none of us quite know what the end game will really look like. In the mean time, it’s all about continual adapting and shrinking expenses while things settle out. Perhaps there is retail business in a steady state in Europe and China. In the U.S., it’s all upside-down.
  • Posted on: 07/27/2020

    Are boycotts becoming bigger risks?

    It’s pretty simple. People have had enough and it seems as though boycotts are the way to get through the companies in a capitalist society. Vote with your wallet. It doesn’t help that frustration levels are high from the pandemic and political beliefs are fractured. I suppose for every person who won’t buy a Goya product, there is another who will. This isn’t going away any time soon. We live in a terribly polarized society where companies are faceless yet easy targets. The real question is, “how effective are these boycotts?” I think they’re somewhat effective.
  • Posted on: 07/24/2020

    Has retail permanently downsized?

    I didn’t know they dropped out of Hudson Yards. Left Bal Harbour too, I think. Wow.
  • Posted on: 07/24/2020

    Has retail permanently downsized?

    Too many bad or over-stored chains has been the US story for a long time. No market is infinite, and we long since hit the upper edge of ours.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2020

    Best Buy connects strong sales to frontline worker performance

    It’s always good to take care of your employees. It’s a hard lesson for retailers to learn, and it’s not quite a silver bullet, but it’s pretty darned close.
  • Posted on: 07/22/2020

    It is a different year. Walmart is closing on Thanksgiving.

    My gosh. Are pigs flying? I applaud this move. The Thanksgiving Day openings were a terrible idea from the jump and if this turns out to be the one good thing to come out of this era, so be it. The whole Thanksgiving/Black Friday doorbuster madness was bad for families, profits and just about everything else I can think of. At least this pendulum has swung!
  • Posted on: 07/21/2020

    Will wholesaling change L.L.Bean for the better?

    I think it's a good idea. Better than incurring the cost of opening its own stores, and enhancing the brand of the stores it's actually in. I don't see a big impact on L.L.Bean's core business. It just feels accretive to me.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2020

    Struggling retailers lay off workers and pay millions in executive bonuses

    See, this is the dictionary definition of "tone deaf." It's one thing to give someone a "stay" bonus in more normal times when a company goes into chapter 11 -- I can wrap my head around that -- but NOW? Seriously? It's tone deaf and is not going to help morale in any manner, shape or form. Better the C-suite occupants should go and work WITH the front line workers for a day or two. It's not a good time to anger the people. It's just not.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Retailers need way more fulfillment space to keep up with booming online sales

    There is an entire industry dedicated to maximizing the cube and the footprint of distribution facilities - the materials handling industry. If they are truly distribution centers, no, I don’t think they will need to continually expand their DCs. I worked in this space a long time ago but, even then, we were bringing the work to the workers, maximizing the cube, and creating efficiencies with technology.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2020

    Dunkin’ retreats from gas stations

    I've been a fan of Dunkin' for years and years. I love the coffee. Do I feel like they need to sell gas? I don't think I've ever bought a doughnut at a gas station, really. Doesn't feel right. So do I think it's a good move? Yeah, I do. Less risk and fewer non-controllable factors.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Has the pandemic changed shopping behaviors forever?

    Whether Boomers or Gen X see a permanent shift in behavior or not, Millennials and Gen Z surely will have a different way of shopping and thinking. Many of the things you cite were already on their list, but affordability has moved to the top of the charts. We are witnessing the end of an era, I think, and consumers will be more frugal than at any time since the Great Depression. And then there’s the matter of “putting Humpty back together again” once we start to get out the other side of the virus. Clearly things are going to have to change. I worry most about the luxury segment which I thought was ripe for a fall in the first place. The next few years are going to be wild.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2020

    Walmart debuts virtual summer camp and drive-in movie programs

    Brilliant. This is all about good will and becoming a more integral part of the community, I suppose the company could offer merchandise drop off right into the trunk of your car as a convenience, or a grocery pickup point on the way out, but it’s a pretty wholesome way to get out of the house without additional pandemic exposure. Really clever.

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