PROFILE

Rachelle King

Retail Industry 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: 08/15/2022

    Five keys to success in an ‘unboxed retail’ and ‘omnichoice’ world

    In today's commerce-verse, omni-commerce created omni-choice. Omni-choice requires omni-presence and omni-presence is not sustainable without brand integrity. Sometimes, brands and retailers launch a website and dust their hands off, as if the website alone will drive omni-commerce. That website is just the tip-of-the-iceberg. The real work comes in driving traffic to your site, delivering on fulfillment expectations and providing an experience that invites consumers to return. It also requires meeting your consumers where they are in the commerce-verse and constantly reminding of your brand promise. Often, the most tangible growing pain in omni-commerce is fulfillment. But why so many efforts rise and fall quickly is the real strategic work required upfront is not done. The minute a brand launches a commerce site, they become one of many. This is not just a fulfillment challenge. The truth is, no one cares to buy your stuff just because it's available online. Things like brand trust, brand integrity, consumer experience and that fine line of being present/accessible without being annoying are equally important. The more omni-commerce we have, the more omni-choice consumers have. Don't rush to turn the lights on mysite.com or to claim an impossibly sustainable delivery promise. Do the strategic planning upfront.This is not just breaking through the clutter. Being omni-present with your brand integrity intact is the way to make meaningful connections with long-term value. That's hard to do in 6-seconds over a mobile phone but that's the omnicommerce reality we live in today.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2022

    Will Kohl’s self-pickup system be a difference maker?

    This is an excellent convenience for Kohl's shoppers. It will certainly bolster holiday shopping experience for Kohl's loyalists. However, if you're not a Kohl's shopper, diving in and wandering through Kohl's stores to find a pick-up bin may not be the motivational carrot to get new shoppers in the door. I suspect new shoppers will stick with curbside and may evolve to in-store pickup if curbside provides a good experience. Still, having "no-lines" is a step in the right direction for in-store pick-up overall. Retailers may want to take note.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2022

    Should marketing have more control over pricing?

    Having worked in both the CPG and Retail industry, this can be a polarizing question. For CPG, Brand Teams set the price. Sometimes, a Finance or Pricing Team will pretend they have authority here, but the bottom line is that the people responsible for the brand P&L drive pricing decisions. This is not going to change unless brand management changes. On the retail side, this is tricky. I have been a buyer. I've set retail pricing as a Merchant. I cannot imagine the Marketing Team coming in with their $.02 on pricing because they were not responsible for driving category sales nor did they have responsibility for the related budgets or financial targets of the category. That being said, I believe there may be consultative value that marketing can bring with industry/competitive insights that buyers often crave. At the end of the day in retail, the merchant or buyer has final say. Finally, in one of my Trade Marketing roles, I was responsible for "clean up" of poor retail sell-thru. It was frustrating to see my recommendations on pricing and production ignored and then be asked to create promotions to move excess inventory. Predictably. I get it. I've seen seen pricing through many different lenses. Ultimately, the people who hold the fiduciary responsibility for that brand or product or retail category are making the pricing decisions, not the ones responsible for marketing. Still, there is certainly room for retail marketing to take on a more consultative role in setting prices.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2022

    Is Walmart’s HQ reorg a good thing or cause for concern?

    Walmart is often the barometer for the retail industry. These lay-offs are both unfortunate and an indicator of what's on the horizon for retail in 2022 and early 2023. More focus will be on maximizing opportunities to drive omnichannel sales in the back half and meet year-end revenue expectations. Given the market uncertainty and shifting consumer behavior, I'd say expect more news like this to come.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2022

    Kohl’s throws back with Levi’s

    If Kohl's and Levi's can pry kids out of their skinny jeans to revive a 1990s trend, then they deserve any success they get. Perhaps these small steps will keep the momentum going for both brands short-term. However, it won't save either brand from the meaningful longer-term innovation that's needed on both sides.
  • Posted on: 07/27/2022

    Can Walmart roll back inflation?

    Walmart has put the retail industry and economists on notice, we are heading into an economic downturn and no one knows yet how mild or how severe. Promotional discounts on high inventory categories will give Q3 a boost, especially in BTS apparel. However, as consumer purchasing shifts to more discretionary hardlines and giftables in November and December, the impact of inflation and the economic downturn will begin to crystallize. I expect Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be more important than ever for both retailers and the economy in the back-half of this year.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2022

    Best Buy offers a new way to shop with its first-ever digital-first small box store

    We have to give Best Buy credit for holding down the front lines of in-store innovation and putting customer experience first. This new digital-first format reckons to the not-so-long-ago days of mobile-first. It certainly is an evolution in consumer behavior that retailers should want to lean into vs play catch up later. Kudos to Best Buy for not being afraid to lean in.
  • Posted on: 07/25/2022

    Are digital-only coupons discriminatory against the elderly and poor?

    The truth is, digital-only coupons are going to alienate some shopper base, no matter what. This is true whether they are elderly, lower income, low vision or otherwise challenged with digital technology or access to digital technology. The short answer is, there is no reason technology should exclude anyone. If a consumer shops in-store or online, they should have the same experience and the same opportunity to save. Technology does not have to be a limiting factor. Any retailer who allows it to be is taking the easy way out. One option is to put coupon kiosks in stores where consumers can check offers same as online. CVS has led the way with affording this level of in-store access. It is possible. It's unfair to accept that consumers may be left out because of age or economics; they are shoppers and buyers too. If other social groups were acknowledged to be digitally disadvantaged, would stores take more action?
  • Posted on: 06/17/2022

    Do Twitter users want to hear and tweet about product drops?

    Twitter is not a shopping platform. The sooner the good people at Twitter accept this, the sooner their users can get back to celebrating frivolous 280 character updates, beefs and drags.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2022

    Are off-pricers holding a glass that is half-full or half-empty?

    Consumer spending behaviors vary from 1H to 2H of the year, especially for parents with school aged kids. It's not surprising that off-price retailers would see some headwinds in the 1H as consumers take advantage of promotional buying, the school year winds down and away-from-home vacations start to pick-up. However, 2H 2022 should be a turning point for off-priced retailers. Inflation has a way of making consumers think twice about purchase behaviors. Back to School and holiday seasons in an inflationary environment will create tailwinds for off-priced retailers.
  • Posted on: 06/02/2022

    Are consumers stumped by percent-off promos?

    While I was a retail buyer, I changed a promotional strategy from using percent-off to dollars-off. Hands down, the dollars off strategy performed better than percent off. Consumers have enough to think about at the shelf. Asking them to do math at point-of-purchase is a good way to get them to go think about something else.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2022

    Is Best Buy’s home pickup recycling service worth the price?

    It's refreshing to see a company doing good, not just saying good things about the environment. Anyone who has ever had to dispose of a large household appliance has considered paying someone, at least once, to remove it. Now consumers can feel a sense of social responsibility vs shame when disposing of out-dated appliances. Way to make all boats rise, Best Buy.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2022

    Will $22 starting pay squelch unionization efforts at Apple?

    If only decent pay could solve all our problems. It certainly does not hurt. And, it can quickly squash thoughts that the pay is not worth the trouble (whatever that may be for an employee who does not feel heard or validated in their concerns). In the end, what we have learned from this pandemic is that employees, especially front-line workers want quality of life and equitable treatment from employers. Higher pay can only compensate so much for feeling unsafe, unwelcomed or disenfranchised at work. Yes, pay what the market and current social circumstances warrant. At the same time, do not use higher pay as an out for addressing emotional concerns that often lead to turn-over, burn-out, lack of loyalty or yes, unions.
  • Posted on: 05/06/2022

    Will consumers go for Robomart and Unilever’s ‘new spin on the ice cream truck’?

    Summertime is usually a good time to whip up nostalgia and whimsy. Combine that with smart technology and modern convenience and Unilever and Robomart might be on to something. This experiment could be fun but not likely a strong proof point for the overall viability of this concept other than leveraging seasonality for mobile marts may increase relevance. Still, will enough consumers adopt this shopping format to drive scale? Or, will this experiment just bring a little whimsy and modern convenience to a favorite summer pastime? Consumers will decide.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2022

    L.L.Bean is taking a month-long mental health break from social media

    An excellent way to lead by example, L.L.Bean. Not only will consumers remember this, but your peers will too. Well done.

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