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: 03/27/2020

    The coronavirus outbreak has shifted the online competitive landscape

    The best approach for ANY company during these times is simple: Do good works for your community.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2020

    Joann Stores and Neiman Marcus sew hope for healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus

    I have said this before, and will continue to sing the same song. Consumers will remember what retailers do during these times. So great for Joann to be doing this, when one of its competitors (who shall remain nameless here) is instead taking the opportunity to rake in money and subject its workers to needless harm. Three cheers for the good Karma guys.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2020

    Should retail close?

    Of course they should. This is a once-in-a-century event. Keep e-commerce operations open as long as you have enough automation in the DC to keep the number of people close together to a minimum. How is this even a question?
  • Posted on: 03/13/2020

    Is blockchain the answer to supply chain visibility?

    Technically speaking, blockchain is meant specifically for untrusted parties. I think the words you really mean are verification and validation.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2020

    Is blockchain the answer to supply chain visibility?

    Blockchain works, though its scalability has yet to be proven (rather it has been disproven several times -- I assume tweaks continue). However... Besides that, while I get that the ledger nature of the history provides opportunities for automated and better accuracy, there are other ways to solve the problem. Many have existed for a while and yet inaccuracies are on the rise, not decline. I mean, EDI has been around forever. It works. When used. And if I look at similar types of initiatives in merchandising over the years there's always a reason why adoption doesn't quite happen. I don't think this is a big priority for retailers. Visibility is, but I don't think the blockchain revolution is going to make it happen.
  • Posted on: 03/12/2020

    Why is Neiman Marcus shuttering its Last Call off-price business?

    "This is not a pullback." Of course it is. The company does a ton of business online in its core business, has had some tough times, and wants to focus solely on its core business. This is not a terrible idea at all. Clearly Mr. van Raemdonck has seen financial assessments that show it just isn't worth it. It seems that some retailers end up losing focus when they open new formats with different products. There's real overhead there -- designing, buying, store operations, distribution centers, etc. I don't think it's a bad decision.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2020

    Are online sales metrics irrelevant for brick and click retailers?

    I don’t know why anyone would report online progress separately, unless it was notably underperforming in prior years. To us, it’s just another comparable channel.
  • Posted on: 03/10/2020

    Will rival retailers buy Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ technology?

    It remains fascinating to me that Amazon is still pushing this technology, even as it installs traditional self-checkout machines in at least 10 percent of its Whole Foods Markets (and this technology in none of them - I asked!) I can't stress enough how challenging I believe keeping this technology up and running will be for retailers. Small box retailers like convenience stores, won't be able to afford the employees to care for and feed the cameras, sensors, etc. Large box retailers will deal with shrink, customer complaints (I didn't buy that!), and more maintenance woes. This is without getting into the customer-facing side of the equation. Let me just say that how it became "frictionless" for a shopper to do the work that two to three in-store employees used to do is quite beyond me.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2020

    Can retailers ensure stores are coronavirus-safe?

    I do have to say this will be a boon for online retailers, assuming they can keep their employees healthy. Discretionary spending may be down (no need for new clothes when you’re not going out) but staples will definitely get bought via online.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2020

    Can retailers ensure stores are coronavirus-safe?

    I am sorry to sound like Nancy Negative, but I think this is going to be awful for retail. And I don’t think there’s much retailers can do about it, really. Malls are the biggest losers in this situation. Crowds and no control over what others do are a real “watch out.” Strip malls might do better, as long as shoppers can zip in and out. Instacart is already a bit overwhelmed with home deliveries. One thing stores can do is keep their bathrooms clean. Believe it or not, this is a thing. Retailers consistently report to us that they know their bathrooms aren’t clean enough, but they don’t really want to allocate the funds to improve the situation. The other thing they can do is test their employees. Of course, that implies we have test kits available, and they seems to be a future project. We are way behind the rest of the world in testing, These are small things retailers can do, but I honestly don’t think they can hold back the tide.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2020

    Instacart just leaves deliveries at the door as customers hole up against the coronavirus

    I have to say that Instacart is addictive. I started using it because I had knee problems and now -- I just use it. It's easier. And FYI, Amazon Fresh already just rings the bell and walks away. It's one reason I don't use them anymore. Whole Foods Market has lost all my business because it stopped using Instacart when the contract ran out. Instacart or Shipt plus a local grocer is a real winner for the top line.
  • Posted on: 03/03/2020

    What will it take to fix J.C. Penney’s shrinking sales problem?

    The moderate priced department store is a dying creature. Even the high-end stores are at risk, but mid-line? Too many other consumer options. In many ways J.C. Penney wasted a decade: doing massive stock buybacks in 2011, then hiring Ron Johnson who might have had good ideas but no real clue how to execute them (without limitless funds), the re-hiring of Mike Ullman to get back to ground zero, bringing in Marvin Ellison to ... do something (start selling appliances, I guess), and finally making the right move with Jill Soltau. But we have to ask ourselves -- is there a reason for J.C. Penney to exist? Even at the very beginning of the lost decade. What would be missing if it didn't? And that's the core problem. It's stuck in the middle. I don't think there's a radical reinvention to be had. I wish the chain well, but I suspect its future will lie in a much smaller footprint across the country.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2020

    Retailers go into business triage mode as coronavirus enters the U.S.

    Would you go to a mall knowing what you know now? I wouldn’t. I think the potential for disruption has been significantly understated. You cannot find hand sanitizer anywhere. No face masks. Empty shelves reported in Costco and others. Until this thing peaks, we can expect real disruption. I’m not playing Chicken Little here, but the economic impact has only just begun.
  • Posted on: 02/28/2020

    Are email marketers adapting to modern realities?

    I don't see any email marketing best practices. To me, most of it is still "spray and pray." I keep getting emails advertising refrigerators I've already bought. If I'm just researching a company, I end up being served up ads about the company that I didn't care at all about. I will also get served up ads based on that same refrigerator (already bought) from other sellers. I know there's software that does a better job than that. I've been pitched on it enough. But it seems that retailers aren't gathering the right data. It's inexcusable not to know that the person at this email address already bought that refrigerator. And all the while, more and more sites won't let me in while using an ad blocker, so I have to see even more irrelevant ads. So perhaps someone can show me who is doing it right. I haven't seen it at all.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2020

    Are loyalty cards key to online-to-offline attribution?

    The short answer is yes, but the benefits are bigger than just advertising. It's about knowing your customer and her preferences. A lot of grocers have had that opportunity for years, in a store-based world. Whether they actually use that data or not is another question.

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