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Richard Amari

Founder of Columbus Consulting
2001 - Present - Founder Columbus Consulting 1989 - 2001 - Group CIO L Brands 1980 - 1989 - VP / Asst General Manager Mid-Mountain Foods 1977 - 1980 - Staff Consultant Arthur Andersen (now Accenture)
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Is Amazon the most innovative company in retailing?

    Amazon may not be the innovation leader but given their size and pervasiveness, they are the ones we hear the most about, and for good reason. In fact, they are innovative. Their Amazon Prime is unmatched and an incredible value to consumers. Their delivery performance sets the standard for all others. But there are other lessor known retailers doing very innovative things. This is especially true around customer engagement, where it is a challenge for Amazon given their size and lack of physical presence (stores). You can make an argument that traditional retailers have to be more innovative in areas where Amazon is challenged to compete, in order to provide a value proposition against Amazon. So whether Amazon is leading innovation or causing innovation from others as a defensive mechanism, you have to recognize their innovation leadership.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2017

    Why in-store merchandising has to change

    Taking this from a really different view, I think there will be experimentation with more "showroom" type of stores versus broad and deep assortments (and the subsequent markdowns they produce). Inventory is expensive and customers now are accepting ordering online and waiting 2 days. Will we see the depth of inventory at the store level shrink such that all colors and sizes are represented, but not in the full combination? Try on your size, pick out your color and create an order to have it at your doorstep the next day (or 2). The inventory productivity would skyrocket while nearly creating a 'never out' situation for consumer. But will the customer who took the time to drive to the store be content with not returning home with their choice? If sales suffer, inventory efficiency won't save your way out of the problem. But I have to believe there will be tests of this format in apparel, especially in non-core sizes.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2017

    What factors weigh on tech purchase decisions?

    Like the survey reveals, the age old factors are still relevant; cost, features, vendor performance, etc. But I have been hearing more retailers consider the vendor vision or strategy more prominently in the decision making. Technologies and capabilities are moving fast; retailers understand that many solutions are yet to be completed, but they still need to make progress. Accepting a solution that has good but incomplete functionality can be acceptable if the vendor vision and development roadmap is clear and paints an acceptable picture (timeline and functionality).
  • Posted on: 01/04/2017

    What does the strong 2016 Christmas foretell for retail in 2017?

    "Retail is detail" and as such, "the devil is in the details" on this result. As others have commented, being channel right and evolving your retail offering by channel (including blending the channels) was the key to success, as not everyone was successful. The retailers that continue to evolve to the consumer demands certainly seem to be the best positioned to take advantage of a more optimistic retail environment in 2017. While that is stating the obvious, what's not so obvious is how fast you have to change to keep up. Fasten your seat belts.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2016

    Are retailers carrying enough inventory for Christmas?

    At our clients, money seems tighter this year and being efficient with inventory is a key objective. Combine that with a predicted higher degree of eComm sales and omni programs, such as Buy Online Pickup in Stores, and it would reason that less inventory is likely to seen at store level.
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