PROFILE

Peter Messana

CEO, Searchspring

Peter is the CEO of Searchspring. He has over 16 years of experience in the retail and technology space, most recently as COO of GroupBy. Previously, he co-founded Austin Kayak and was CEO and President of Summit Sports, leading both the digital and brick and mortar sides of the business. Peter has also held leadership roles at Dell and Home Depot and is regarded as one of the leading retail technology minds in the digital commerce space.

For more information, visit: www.searchspring.com

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  • Posted on: 07/06/2020

    Will Wegmans need a post-pandemic makeover?

    Grocery stores are in trouble, most saw online sales go from 4 percent to 15 percent. While that sounds awesome, most of them were not profitable with online sales. They were all still trying to figure out the best way to make it profitable when thrusted into handling the COVID-19 pandemic. It isn't an assortment issue as much as a product discovery issue. You lose impulse buys and it is harder to drive higher margin items online if you aren't well versed in online merchandising and don't have the proper tools to curate search and browse pages properly with the added bonus of recommendations to drive impulse buys as much as possible.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2020

    Is remote working bad for corporate culture?

    I feel so strong about collaboration and an office I bucked the trend a couple weeks ago and pushed out this blog. I would say that my employees don't all share the same view as me and I am cognizant that we will not return to exactly as it looked in the past, but abandoning offices and face to face interaction is a dangerous thing when you want and need collaboration and group thinking.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2020

    The new normal will look a lot like the old normal

    I believe most will snap back. I have personally learned why pizza and Chinese food drove the take-out market prior, most foods just don't deliver well. I hadn't given delivery much of a try before, but I won't use it moving forward. In terms of grocery, I agree with Forrester's research and while it will be a bigger percentage it isn't going to be majority, the stores definitely don't want it, the average per cart is way down when ordering what you need online versus walking through a store. Wandering fills the basket, especially if you bring your kids.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2020

    What’s J.C. Penney’s next move?

    Bankruptcy is just a step to oblivion, I don't see J.C. Penney coming back. The problem with the old behemoth is that it is saddled with so much technical debt that it can't evolve. You can shrink the store base and keep the profitable ones but that is a survival strategy, not a growth strategy.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2017

    Can brands hit a hole-in-one with urban golf apparel?

    Honestly, to me this is more about making relevant attire that people want rather than expanding golf to another audience. It isn't like those that bought yoga pants are suddenly doing yoga; they like the comfort of them and Lululemon got them there. If Adidas makes relevant clothing that golfers wear, well, people may buy it but people didn't buy yoga pants because they liked yoga, most never did yoga before (or after).
  • Posted on: 12/04/2017

    Does Everlane need to open stores?

    Touch and feel is key to building the brand. Online-only is fine but the validation a physical store gives is amazing. For apparel it lowers return rates and you can really understand what the consumers like, much more so than online where you are looking at something on a computer or phone. VR/AR will help address some of this but the ability to touch and feel is important and, when done right, stores are amazing for brands that are truly unique.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2017

    Barnes & Noble wants to get smaller, more bookish

    Absolutely, smaller stores that focus on the core will always be a positive. Too many times businesses try "new" things to drive sales per square foot. The problem is that they are driving non-core sales which, while great, will never lead to a raving fan. Just because Barnes & Noble had a toy near the checkout doesn't mean I will come in for toys. They only need to retain the same look and feel, which reminds me of a library. The key to retail success in the online world is relevancy. This will make Barnes & Noble more relevant; add some forms of personalization through technology and they would be even better off.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2017

    Amazon launches exclusive with Calvin Klein

    I think these decisions by suppliers are bad long-term decision for the short-term pop they will get. It is like getting in bed with the devil -- they are giving up on all other channels by pushing Amazon as the number one channel and this would kill off any DTC channel they may have as well. If they went with only a small subset of products to grow brand that would seem to be more effective and a good use case. I suppose if you don't believe your brand is strong enough that people will seek it then this is a fine idea but I would rather build a brand that people seek than a brand of convenience.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2017

    Will breakfast at Tiffany’s attract Millennials in search of ‘Instagrammable’ experiences?

    This is a gimmick. Eating breakfast isn't going to suddenly put money in your pocket, Millennials still can't afford it and a muffin or fancy croissant is great, but the brand will attract their loyal followers, which are people with money.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2017

    Will data breach concerns tank Forever 21’s holiday?

    I think most consumers are pretty immune now to breaches. Target paved the way and Equifax drove the nail home. How the company deals with it is what makes or breaks it. No one remembers Home Depot getting breached nearly to the extent that they do Target. Two totally different PR strategies that led to different outcomes. I personally don't even care about the breaches, as a consumer they don't affect me, the credit card companies credit you back for unauthorized transactions and the merchant is on the hook. My only gripe is having to update auto-pays that used that card number.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2017

    Walmart’s online prices drive customers to its supercenters

    I doubt this strategy to offer lower price for pickup will work. The real winners will be those truly omnichannel; the experience should be the same no matter which avenue I take and with things like personalization and predictive modeling, omnichannel wins if you get the customer loyalty to start with. Price is not a loyalty factor, it's a convenience to the purchase. Bifurcating online and pickup pricing just means you are training someone never to enter the store but yet buy online, rather than augmenting the online with the store -- two totally different scenarios.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Amazon undercuts rivals by adding discounts to marketplace seller prices

    This is a not a positive for retailers and will likely get many prohibited from selling products due to Manufacturer Advertised Pricing (MAP) Policies. In most cases the vendor will tell the retailer that if they cannot control the final price then they cannot sell through that channel.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2017

    Large brands and retailers expand the subscription economy

    I don't see this working for brands like it does for subscription services and I don't think Netflix or Spotify is anything like Trunk Club or Stitch Fix. The chance for long-term success is variety. Do you really want a monthly box of 5 Under Armour products? I mean some people probably have a use, but at some point you have enough of the same brand, I think that is why Stitch Fix has been so popular and about to go public. You have to be able to provide something unique each month or something very consumable (e.g. Dollar Shave Club). I think brands running to this model is a bit weird and I see others trying with product sets that after a year the consumer has everything they could possibly ever need.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2017

    Was Amazon scamming or searching for its HQ2 location?

    Like their "drone" PR move ... I mean the drone idea has merit but they gained a ton of free PR with how they did it. I think they are brilliant with it, the media is not as brilliant.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2017

    Would store associates benefit from acting lessons?

    I agree on that, fake is transparent no matter how hard you try to fake it as real. Also depends on what you are trying to gain. Confidence is one thing, acting like you care is another. Expand on talent all day, every day.

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