PROFILE

Rachelle King

Retail Industry Strategist and Thought Leader

NOTE: Comments and opinions are Rachelle’s own, not her employer’s.

Rachelle has 15 years of sales and marketing experience spanning the retail, agency and CPG industries. Her retail experience includes working on the legendary Beauty Team at CVS. On the agency side, she served as Retail Strategy Director at Geometry where she led retail strategy in the commerce and shopper marketing space for CPG, retail and finance clients including Coca Cola, Kroger and American Express. Her CPG experience includes sales planning, trade marketing and creating go-to-market strategies for industry leaders including Unilever, Pfizer and L’Oreal. In addition to traditional CPG, her experience includes consumer products licensing with sports and entertainment partners including Disney, DreamWorks, Major League Baseball and NFL.

As Director, North America Trade Marketing for The Topps Company, she established the first trade marketing department in the trading card industry and forged ground breaking partnerships with top retailers including Walmart and Target. She spent two years in Bentonville leading retail sales and marketing for a direct to retail (DTR) partnership between DreamWorks and Walmart. Her retail work spans food, drug, mass, specialty/beauty, hobby, convenience, dollar and ecommerce channels.

Rachelle holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Advertising from Purdue University and a Master’s Degree in Management Strategy (with distinction) from NYU. Originally from the Chicago area, she’s a long-time New Yorker.

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  • Posted on: 10/28/2020

    DTC brand Mack Weldon proves a good fit for consumers living through the pandemic

    When your product can unlock your brand promise, you will always have a winner. Meeting consumers where they are: making an uncomfortable situation more comfortable and being light-heartedly candid about how consumers are using your product stirs emotions and breaks the relatability barrier rather quickly. Smart strategy by Berger. The risk here is to push too hard to be relatable and then lose authenticity. Mack Weldon holds up but this is a fine line to be mindful of for brands considering this kind of approach.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2020

    Will its values-based approach turn Hive into an e-grocery powerhouse?

    By all accounts, Hive has found a relevant marketing niche. With calls to action like "shop your values" and "buy what you believe in" they are definitely speaking to a very specific consumer; I just wonder if it's enough consumers. Undoubtedly this is going to appeal to the cause-driven, environmentally-dedicated consumers like the younger Millennials and even Gen Z. However, even as these consumers champion important causes, it's rare that they fill an entire grocery cart with them. Consumers can support a cause but still buy products that are not "green." In other words, dedicating an entire trip mission to the cause is ambitious. Not to mention the extra time needed to place another online order (or run to the store) for fresh produce--a category not covered by Hive but a place environmentally-minded consumers often start when they change consumption habits. Really inspiring idea. Whether or not it will deliver on profitable scale is the question.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2020

    Where are curbside and BOPIS services falling short?

    BOPIS and curbside are the future of retail shopping. It's a convenient luxury that, while accelerated by the pandemic, will still be around long after the pandemic is gone. The challenge is, the more convenient luxuries consumers have, the higher their expectations on service. As retailers are literally figuring out this new service everyday, consumers may be impatient thanks to a progressive environment of insta-everything. Still, retailers need to plan for the long-haul, listen to customers and adapt frequently until they get it right. The best way to understand how to satisfy customers is to simply ask them what they want and ask if your services delivered on expectations. While retailers can expect pretty candid feedback, it's the actionable insights from this kind of feedback that will help remove pain points and continue to delight customers for years to come.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2020

    Can Gap prosper without mall stores?

    Tough call on Gap stores but considering the current trajectory of malls right now, this is likely the most viable option to maintain productivity and profitability across the portfolio (notwithstanding a simmering brand-identity challenge). Not surprising to see the uptick in Athleta. With half of the country still homebound due to the pandemic, athleisure wear is in prime demand. Whether or not this trend will continue and support 100+ new stores when the masses return to work (whenever that may be) is an intelligent gamble considering many companies are likely to retain some portion of today's remote work-style when this pandemic is over.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2020

    Will Lowe’s customers ‘gift’ their homes for the holidays?

    Good for Lowe's. Nothing and no one is staying in their lane during these times, so it's a perfect opportunity to expand in a relevant space for their consumers. Because the pandemic does not have an end date, it's very likely that families will be looking forward to deals during the holiday season to gift their homes with something everyone can enjoy for the foreseeable future. They will need to be competitive but the allure of free delivery with Christmas trees is like icing on the cake ... or, icing on the Christmas cookies. Good move, Lowe's.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2020

    Has Shein reinvented teen e-tailing?

    Shein has a few factors working for them: new brand brings cachet; more new items than you can keep up with means there is always something to explore; the constant discounts/codes/count downs drive a sense of urgency; and the influencer community gives them a sense of dazzle and authenticity. All good stuff in terms of getting noticed and off the ground in a short amount of time. However rapidfire products begs a QA closer look. Also a Chinese based business where products are not sold in China is a glaring red flag. They seem to have a lot of stuff, literally, from lip gloss to toilet lights. But they also lack a core business strategy that will give them longevity. In its best light, Shein feels like a shooting star: move at rapid speed, shine bright, burn out fast.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2020

    What’s holding back Black advancement to leadership roles?

    This runs deep. It's not just one thing, it's a collection of things: economic advantages--or disadvantages--that inform access to good colleges and universities; those alumni associations and professional networks then perpetuate internal elevation (not very mindful that so many have not yet gotten in). It's bias in resume reviews--judgment begins with the name on top of the resume (does the name "sound black"?). It's letting talent acquisition off the hook when they say "there just aren't any qualified black candidates" because they too are checking their networks and using benchmarks of candidates that come from different backgrounds and education. It's sustained and unchecked bias in hiring decisions. It's not unconscious. People are generally more comfortable with people who look like them and those that have cultural/economic similarities. It's all of these things. Prospective black employees walk in the door with all of these challenges as head-winds. Very few people understand this. Least of all the well-intended but grossly unaware CEOs trying to make bold statements toward diversity that end up as shallow, one-off symbolic hires in HR or DEI Leads--because this is hard. Until we make a sincere effort to understand and accept that people are different and that different does not mean unequal, all such efforts are going to fall short of any meaningful goals. Personal bias is deeply ingrained. The entire organizational culture must change before this bias starts to lift. It can't be done in one day of bias training; Starbucks has demonstrated this shortfall. It has to be sincere and it has to start at the top. If the CEO is still struggling with his/her own bias while trying to bring about change, then more will end up like Wells Fargo: admitting this is much harder than it sounds. It's possible that starting with an employee base that has the heart to understand, defend and embrace the empowerment that diversity brings to a company may actually be more productive than a financial incentive.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2020

    Bed Bath & Beyond CEO’s turnaround plan may just work

    These early signs indicate that BBBY is on the right path to reinvention. Particularly, streamlining their business holdings to increase focus on four core categories is just smart business. No doubt that extra revenue can help soften the blow of declining in-store sales. While BBBY definitely stepped up their online game amidst store closings earlier this year, I'd still like to see a more user-friendly website experience from this retailer. Beyond that, I expect they can bring a savvy intelligence and unique point-of-difference to the Home, Baby, Beauty and Wellness Categories. Looking forward to see how Tritton and Team make continued impact over the next 12 months. Then we will have a solid indication of sustainable success. I will be rooting for them in the meantime.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2020

    Staples to accept returns from other stores

    This is certainly one way to boost foot traffic into a need-based retail store. Consumers rarely run to Staples the minute they have the need for stationary or office supplies but this added convenience may just stimulate impulse purchase or secondary trip missions. Not bad for the Staples Brand, especially during a time when convenience is such a luxury. Processing in-store returns can be a drain on resources, space and quite frankly, employee energy. Given so many other basic priorities right now (like keeping shelves stocked), this opportunity could easily slip to the bottom of priorities outside of a retailers owns products. However, with concerted effort like we've seen at Kroger, Staples (and other retailers who see the upside) might be able to make returns a lucrative asset vs. liability.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2020

    Will Dollar General win over higher-income consumers with its new store concept?

    Truth is, more affluent shoppers have already found Dollar General and have been treating their treasure-hunt stores like a diamond in the rough for some time now. Popshelf means these affluent customers are just getting a nicer place to shop with a few more select items at very affordable prices. Sounds like a win-win for everyone.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2020

    NYC startup promises 15-minute grocery delivery

    I've been a New Yorker for a very, very long time. I wish this start up good luck. There is a lot to be said about the city that never sleeps but timeliness is an ambitious promise and a rare attribute found in this city. There is also something to be said about navigating from a local store-front and being in the neighborhood trenches vs traveling to/from a large fulfillment center, but a 15-minute promise is wishful thinking. I don't think the Instacarts and Fresh Directs of the world should be worried. The people of Brooklyn, however, may find this entertaining. For about 15 minutes.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2020

    Will a new round of panic buying empty grocery store shelves?

    It only takes one empty shelf for consumers to start panic buying. It doesn't even have to be a shelf of product they normally buy. Just seeing a grocery store with empty aisles sends a message of fear and panic. So grocery retailers are right to stock up and plan early. For better or worse, they will play a key role in curbing pandemic panic buying based on their ability (with vendor partners) to keep the shelves stocked; even if it means limiting purchase on some items. We don't have a crystal ball that can predict what is going to happen over the next six months but we do know what happened in March. We hear the expert warnings about wave 2. The frontline has to be prepared; starting with your local grocery store.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2020

    Will Levi’s Secondhand store give the brand a sustainable advantage?

    What a smart way to reposition a legacy brand to appeal to younger consumers. Environmental sustainability is fashionable, especially among GenZ and younger Millennials. This is a strategic yet profitable way to make Levi's relevant to younger generations that might not have otherwise considered this brand. Levi's clothes are known to last for a long time; what better way to put that insight to good use? Taking the reins on your own re-commerce platform--something rarely seen by established brands. Smart. Responsible. Relevant. Profitable. Denim has come a long way and apparently, it's here to stay. Vintage style. Nicely done.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2020

    Can one site make men love, not hate, shopping online?

    It's true 7 days-a-week that men and women have different shopping styles. But this is a stretch. It's either wildly older-age targeted or somewhat out of tune with younger male shoppers. Also, a browsing site for men who hate shopping that doesn't actually have a shopping capability? Do men really hate shopping that much? More so, do men really need advice on how to sign a card that reads, "May your day be as wonderful as you are"? I really hope not. There is definite logic behind this site, but I wonder if it delves far enough. Certainly, there is some merit in doing all of the curation. But, do some men really hate shopping or, do they just hate shopping the way women do (and, thus, the many stores that cater primarily to women)? In this new age of social awareness, are we being inclusive or exclusive of gender boundaries? If you have a website targeted to people who "hate shopping" that redirects you to multiple websites to make a single purchase, is this helpful? Probably more questions than answers here.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2020

    Will others follow Mall of America and provide free space for struggling moms and pops?

    This isn't just goodwill, it's just good sense. The sight of an empty mall is tough, both visually and emotionally, especially on local communities. What a smart but undoubtedly strategic decision to share this space. The people of Minneapolis/St Paul need this, especially going into the holiday season. Sure, MoA will get press about this, but let's hope what sustains is the gesture of goodwill and community support. But this is bigger than just community feels. From a business and industry standpoint, seems like Simon Property Group has just been tagged and they're it right now.

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