PROFILE

Paula Rosenblum

Co-founder, RSR Research

Paula Rosenblum is widely recognized as one of the industry’s top retail technology analysts. She has consistently been selected as one of the world’s “Top Retail Technology Influencers” by various magazines and other publications from 2014 to the present day. She is frequently quoted by many major print and digital media outlets and is also a retail contributor to Forbes. She serves on the advisory boards of two early-stage retail start-ups and has recently started a new blog on substack.com.

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 knows retail.

Paula remains a Managing Partner of RSR Research.

She 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.

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  • Posted on: 12/01/2022

    Walgreens rolls out 24/7 delivery and parents with sick kids do the happy dance

    I’d just be happy if I could consistently get through the drive-thru lane quickly. I once ended up missing my Tamiflu window because I had to wait in line for an hour for them to tell me they didn’t have any.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2022

    Was the high-traffic Thanksgiving weekend a promise of things to come?

    I keep talking about this with a stockbroker friend of mine. We keep reading about the impending recession (I even get a newsletter every day with the subject line, "Inflation is here and the recession is coming" offering helpful advice -- grrrrr...), but there just isn't a lot of evidence that it's happening. Retailer earnings are going to take a hit, but that's because they've had to push out excess inventory.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2022

    Was the high-traffic Thanksgiving weekend a promise of things to come?

    That's excellent, but I think we have to wait until the end of January to see how the season pans out, and to see if retailers actually make any money.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2022

    What does the promotional climate mean for off-pricers and resale?

    Off-pricers always win.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2022

    Is being the low price leader critical to Amazon’s ongoing success?

    Price is table stakes now. Assortment and on-time delivery are the differentiators.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2022

    Do digital coupons discriminate against those who can least afford it?

    Definitely a tricky question. We passed the ADA Act so anyone could get in and out of a store. But last I checked, signage isn't in braille, and what about those who can't read at all? And how many people really don't have access to tech at all? It has been famously quoted that there are more mobile phones in India than toothbrushes. I don't think it's any more accurate to call this "discrimination" than anything else that could be perceived as exclusionary, and as someone who doesn't really do coupons, unless I'm buying online (then I'll search for promo code sites) I'm probably not so qualified to say. I suppose I would say "put signage in the store" -- but I'm not sure how you drive traffic for those without digital access. If it's TV commercials, then signage will suffice.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2022

    Will cracking down on serial returners solve retailers’ return problem?

    Exactly what I logged in to say. Those numbers sound light. Welcome to the world of DTC where returns replace the fitting room. This has been going on forever, since the catalog days. Can retailers make it go away? I suspect the company with the easiest returns policy wins. There isn't much loyalty anymore, so be careful what you wish for.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2022

    Do retailers need to add chief trust officers?

    Okay, I have absolutely NO idea what this is talking about. We want to install a Chief Trust Officer when we have no idea what makes a business trustworthy? Guess what -- if you're not trustworthy, your customers will let you know quite quickly. This may be more appropriate for pure tech companies than it is for retailers. Hey -- I've got a noble idea. You want to feel trustworthy? Stop re-targeting me. Stop selling or renting my name. What was it Lao Tzu said? So many translations of Chapter 38 in the Tao: "When the Great Tao falls into disuse, benevolence and righteousness come into vogue. When shrewdness and sagacity appear, great hypocrisy prevails. It is when the bonds of kinship are out of joint that filial piety and paternal affection begin. It is when the State is in a ferment of revolution that loyal patriots arise." Just do the right thing, for goodness sake.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2022

    What price will Target and other retailers pay for their holiday sales promotions?

    In "regular" times, those comps would not be bad. An increase in traffic is also good. Grocery sales were still strong. But I can't understand why Target expected the arc of the second half of 2021 to continue into 2022. There was serious pent-up demand. There was some money in people's pockets. Now, much of the demand has been satisfied. I have said for a really long time that one could not assume 2021 sales would be comparable to anything. I suppose if I had the patience, I'd roll back to 2019 and then roll forward, stripping out the outliers that were 2020 and 2021 and assume a more "traditional" trajectory. I'm disappointed that Target made this mistake and overbought in the end. Profit margins will be depressed until inventory becomes scarcer again. It's that simple, really.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2022

    Is durability a more sustainable selling point than sustainability?

    I'm not sure this is a deep insight. Durability and the resale market live in the same universe, as Mark said, as a piece of sustainability. But sorry kids, sustainability isn't going away. The primary industry newsletter itself is in a panic over it on the luxury and fashion side. You still can't put toxic dye in the water, still need to be better with cotton (which is having volume issues anyway due to lack of irrigation water), and still need to stop burning things. Sustainability isn't going away. It's time to change.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2022

    Retailers have scaled way back on seasonal help for Christmas

    I think it's a bad move. On the one hand, retailers need to bring shoppers back to stores. E-commerce is just not as profitable and the customer is a lot less "sticky." On the other hand, they're going to make it harder to shop by placing an early and big bet to shore up earnings? I think it's a bad move.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2022

    Gap is now selling on Amazon. Desperation or genius move?

    Once upon a time Gap had 600 stores. The first third got closed in the prior 10 years, before this last round. The brand has lost its way. I think this is mostly a nothingburger for both. It doesn't cost Amazon anything, really. Gap can presume something is happening for it. But I still don't know what Gap stands for. I guess they gave us a hint by talking about "modern American essentials" but how did Yeezy fit into that? Meh.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2022

    Is Trader Joe’s success formula becoming obsolete?

    If anything, I always felt Trader Joe's was expanding its footprint too slowly. I've waited 20 years for a Trader Joe's I can shop at without it being a day trip! That day has finally come. I don't care as much about e-commerce, because Trader Joe's with its poorly designed checkout stands, remains a real adventure that I actually enjoy.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2022

    It’s Etsy versus Hobby Lobby to begin the 2022 RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge

    Hobby Lobby has so much baggage in my mind that I wouldn't even watch their commercials. Until they renounce their ways (homophobic, dishonest, and that's just the beginning) Adele could sing their commercials and I wouldn't watch.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2022

    What will happen to Kohl’s after Michelle Gass goes to Levi Strauss?

    I feel like Kohl's has become a thrashing revolving door. The smaller format stores were an interesting idea, and obviously Levi-Strauss thinks Ms. Gass knows what she's doing. Activist investors do a LOT more harm than good (remember JC Penney). I've dealt with them in past lives, and they are worse than useless. Everyone's an expert -- until they're not.

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