PROFILE

Perry Kramer

Managing Partner, Retail Consulting Partners

A retail leader for over 30 years who is currently a managing partner with Retail Consulting Partners and prior to that was a Senior Vice President with Boston Retail Partners. Perry has provided consulting services to many of the nations’ leading retailers including Meijer, Tapestry, Estee Lauder, Federal Express, Rent a Center, Tailored Brands, Finish Line and dozens of others and been published in dozens of media articles and have a strong following in the press.

Prior to acting as a consultant for the last 9 years he was CIO at a digital receipt and retail information company. Prior to that he was the VP of applications for BJ’s Wholesale clubs and held director level positions at multiple other retailers. Additionally, he is a past Chairman of the Board of Director for the Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) and a co-author of the first ARTS data model and several other standards.

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  • Posted on: 06/08/2022

    Is an urban retail recovery underway?

    We’re back! Maybe not fully to pre-pandemic levels. However urban shopping and flagship stores will more than survive and be an important part of the in-person engagement recovery in retail. Trade conventions during the last six months are consistently exceeding expectations and as the article noted workers are returning to the urban areas at least a few days a week. The retailers must adapt to account for less frequent shopping as many offices will never return to five days a week in person so retailers should adjust their marketing to drive workers into the stores. The true omni-cart that enables frictionless at-home delivery for in-person shopping will be a must for both urban workers and tourists.
  • Posted on: 06/02/2022

    Convenience stores need to automate or get left behind

    The expanded use of self-checkout, kiosks for ordering and paying for services, integrating mobile apps for customers, adding the use of mobile devices to aid in setting planograms and provide store managers with real time alerting, and integrating closed loop processes for delivery partners and internal delivery process are all either being evaluated by most tier 1 and tier 2 c-stores or are already in process. At a recent conference held by one of the leading software providers in this space every one of these topics was front and center on the agenda and garnered a lot of attention from the participants. Most c-store operators understand they need to automate to survive. Their biggest challenges are building a road map and finding the starting point and then executing. The good news for this space is that for the last several years the major software providers have been building suites and capabilities to enable these functions.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2022

    Do consumers want highly-personalized fridges?

    Personalization will continue to drive add-on margin for almost all retail verticals for the foreseeable future. In everything from sneakers to sunglasses to clothing, consumers are driving personalization with monogramming and custom designs on what they wear. This extends to what they see and use daily, from a Yankee Candle to artwork to custom floor and wall tiles. It even extends to their automobiles. There is no end in sight for personalization of products. It is usually very high margin and can often create reoccurring revenue. Maybe Samsung will run a promotion to change the door cover every other year.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2022

    Victoria’s Secret expects to have a beautiful experience on Amazon

    In this case this appears to be a good move to add the less complex products and extend the brand. Like many other retailers VS may limit its product exposure on Amazon to the fragrances and other beauty products. Amazon offers an excellent platform for VS to gain incremental sales in the fragrances area through name recognition without adding any risk to its intimate products brands. They will need to be careful to not confuse the customer on where to shop for what instead of everything in one place.
  • Posted on: 04/15/2022

    Lands’ End is doubling down on third-party relationships

    The use of third parties will continue to work well for Lands' End and similar brands. A large part of their success is they have been selective in product mix and location mix while protecting the brand's name. By limiting what is available to third parties and in limiting the Kohl’s footprints they can improve the management of inventory demand and sell through. This limited exposure will continue to build brand recognition and loyalty which will translate to improved direct digital sales and enable them to selectively grow store locations and sales.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2022

    Should grocery chains bring transportation in-house?

    For the larger organizations it can have a significant long term positive impact on the bottom line. Especially for an organization that has the cash to invest in large capital investments. In the case of BJ’s they will no longer be fighting with Burris to get the best allocation of goods and fleet availability. This gives them better control of their supply chain which is high priority for almost every retailer. Many of the largest retailers already have the majority of the software and other infrastructure in place for their current operations. They can expand it as well as make the organizational changes needed to onboard the people and processes without starting from zero.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2022

    Will retailers stop the presses on print circulars?

    Many regional grocers have already discontinued the use of print circulars distributed in the newspaper with little to no impact on sales. Given the lead time needed for these circulars, the blunt and less than effective distribution, and the volatility of the supply chain we will continue to see a decline in use of these. Yes, some customers will miss them, but most are not going to switch retailer loyalties when it does not show up in the newspaper. Retailers spend billions to capture and identify their customers and most have a very high capture rate. It is time to leverage that investment instead of throwing a print circular at the wall to see what sticks.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2022

    Will limited-edition exclusives become the next big thing in grocery?

    Limited edition exclusives in grocery will remain important, however the expectations should be lower than in other retail segments such as fashion. In fashion all of the customers expect change and new products. The challenges that limited edition exclusives face in grocery include that the customer is often shopping for her family, not herself, and she is often shopping with a budget that does not allow for waste. The consumer who is not shopping for a family, or has more flexibility in their budget is much more likely to indulge in the new unproven items. This is the consumer segment that is going to expect the opportunity to have new and exciting products.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2022

    Walmart inventory bots flopped. Will Sam’s succeed?

    Piloting robots in the club format has several advantages over the larger Big Box format of Walmart. The larger aisles give customers much more room to move around the robots. Having an environment with 5,000 SKUs give or take 1,000 will make the accuracy of the inventory function much more effective as store associates can quickly react and replenish the inventory from the backstock locations which are usually nearby. Additionally, the club format drives a slightly different set of customer experience expectations which align more with seeing this type of technology. Lastly, the recent increase in retail salaries driven by the challenges in hiring people results in robots having an improved ROI.
  • Posted on: 02/01/2022

    Are Super Bowl ads worth it?

    With the continued growth of the number of social media platforms and the corresponding growth in importance a Super Bowl advertisement that generates positive buzz is probably worth the money. Keeping a brand top-of-mind can be a key factor in retaining customers. In this highly competitive market, retaining customers is often as important as seeing sales growth. Also, skipping an add can be a negative for some brands that have become associated with Super Bowl advertisements.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2022

    Are retailers getting closer to nailing last-mile delivery?

    The interesting point is that 42% of those retailers that are highly satisfied with their same-day delivery process see cost as a challenge. The message here is that to execute same-day delivery effectively there are no short cuts. The tier one delivery providers, OMS systems, and Customer Care systems have the capabilities. The maturity of these processes is filtering down to the tier two level in each of the major components of a successful same-day delivery solution. Consumers are driving this and retailers and their software vendor partners will need to continue to step up. As the process continues to mature and become more competitive, license and service costs should drop slightly unless labor costs offset the economies of scale.
  • Posted on: 12/20/2021

    Kroger eliminates paid COVID-19 leave for unvaccinated

    Right or wrong, this is a thoroughly discussed business/financial decision. The key factors at Kroger I’m confident included: how do we control rising healthcare costs? How many team members are we going to lose and have to spend time/money rehiring and training in a very competitive market? How do we best protect our team members and minimize the number of employees exposed to COVID-19 positive people? We need to allow retailers to make these financial decisions and let them face the results in the court of public opinion.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2021

    Can Safeway slam the door shut on shoplifters?

    Safeway and all retailers will need to continue to adapt the physical store to protect its customers, employees, and bottom line. If the same changes were made in a rural location in the Midwest, we would not be talking about it. Unfortunately, these types of changes need to be made to deter theft and will soon become the norm in many areas. In the Home Depot example, someone will figure out how to defeat the Bluetooth security measure. However for many retailers the approach is to continue to add levels of deterrence as there is no single solution.
  • Posted on: 11/24/2021

    Jury says CVS, Walgreens and Walmart bear responsibility for opioid epidemic

    This is a tough pill for retailers to swallow. If they had not filled many of these transactions and started challenging doctors retailers probably would have been sued as well. These large retailers generally have a good relationship with law enforcement. However the retailers are also limited insofar as what they can share with law enforcement is limited by HIPAA regulations. Their only recourse in the future is to find ways to work with law enforcement more proactively.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2021

    Will paid perks pay off for Williams Sonoma?

    Paid loyalty programs can be very successful. Assuming Williams Sonoma has done the research to build an accurate financial model the program should drive further loyalty and spending with its most loyal customers. The focus of these programs is always to expand spending, services, and top-of-mind presence with a retailer's most loyal customer. As long as they have built a financial model that can support the price point the program should be successful.

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