Ryan Grogman

Managing Partner, Retail Consulting Partners (RCP)

Ryan is a respected advisor in the retail technology industry. His diverse background includes several senior positions both as a retail executive as well as a consultant. Ryan has worked with a variety of retailers across home entertainment, luxury goods, apparel, specialty hardware, book publishing, tires & batteries, consumer goods, and wholesale goods. He specializes in developing technology strategies that align with corporate and customer objectives, along with technology selection and implementation projects for in-store, mobile, order management, and e-commerce solutions.

  • Posted on: 09/09/2021

    Will Just Walk Out tech work for Whole Foods?

    The inevitable future of retail is cashierless checkout - be it via Just Walk Out technology, advanced self-checkout, or "bring your own mobile POS device" checkout. After proving the viability in their Go stores, this is the logical next step for Amazon's advanced technology. As noted, the key question is the cost of the technology and infrastructure required to ensure things run smoothly. These initial stores will likely be very upside down in terms of ROI but should these prove out, then the implementation model should continue to see lower costs as more stores are rolled out. I would expect Walmart to continue to push additional functionality and marketing for its scan and go technology in the near future as well.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2021

    What does it take to make omnichannel marketing work?

    One of the biggest challenges is a combination of two of the three noted in the article: the use and access of customer data across all customer touch-points balanced against consumers' heightened awareness and skepticism that organizations can keep their data safe. Retailers have access to more data than ever about their customers thanks to a rise in digital sales which capture a multitude of data points per transaction and growth in loyalty programs which help to do the same for in-store purchases. At the same time, the near constant news cycle around data breaches and selling of personal data has many customers experiencing increasing distrust around the safekeeping and abuse of their information. Retailers must ensure they follow best practices for the protection of sensitive data and they must ensure they lay the foundation for the full support of policies such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) because they will soon become national policies domestically. Giving customers more control over how retailers use their data can help to build back some of the lost trust and allow retailers to take more advantage of the omni-data that is being collected to curate a more personalized shopping experience regardless of channel.
  • Posted on: 06/14/2021

    Is Netflix about to replicate Disney’s product merchandising success?

    Can Netflix make money developing unique and creative merchandising? Absolutely. Are they in a position to replicate Disney's merchandising success? Not by a long shot. But it's an intriguing play and their success should come from leveraging some of their advantages they hold over Disney: namely, Netflix is able to tread in more independent and out-of-the-mainstream content from a video perspective, and they may be able to also curate some merchandising opportunities that are more niche-driven that don't pander to the typical branded set of products (t-shirts and mugs).
  • Posted on: 04/21/2021

    Lululemon to pilot ‘Like New’ clothing test

    Secondhand markets can be very profitable for the right product mix and market segment. Designer handbags, apparel, jewelry, and electronics make a lot of sense. However I don't personally see a large market for secondhand fitness apparel outside of higher-end sneakers. There are plenty of lower cost options for those looking for less pricey fitness apparel and the target Lululemon demographic will be unlikely to opt for "like new" products. I do, however, applaud the approach of pushing this market with a nod towards sustainability reinvestment.
  • Posted on: 03/25/2021

    Whole Foods wants to help consumers eat mindfully

    Mindfulness and overall well-being are hot lifestyle trends right now, so it makes sense for a brand like Whole Foods to continue to push that concept with its marketing and messaging. I'm not sure it will generate a wealth of incremental revenue, but as far as I know they are the first large chain grocer to push mindfulness as a complimentary concept to eating well. So kudos to Whole Foods for seeing a market opportunity.
  • Posted on: 03/24/2021

    Will Five Below’s sales go above and beyond with a new store-in-store concept?

    Leveraging their success with value-conscious consumers by introducing higher-priced goods is a smart move if the new products are still provided at a discount to maintain their overall brand strategy. However the execution of this concept via a store-within-a-store may be better served by simply including higher priced goods throughout the rest of the store but noting it with a special "Five Beyond" price tag or shelf label indicator.
  • Posted on: 02/25/2021

    Are Americans ready to do some good old-fashioned ‘revenge shopping’?

    Discount retailers like TJX will clearly see increases once more people feel safer about shopping in-store, but I would attribute that more to "value shopping" than "revenge shopping." TJX's price points and selection will resonate with consumers who are more tightly controlling their spending as they weather the longer-term financial impacts of the past year. I think revenge shopping will likely be a factor for certain luxury goods retailers, higher end apparel retailers, and the exotic location travel industry.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2021

    Is Hobby Lobby making a mistake (a big one) ending 40 percent off coupons?

    For as much as 2020 has shown that consumers can adapt to different modes of shopping, general consumer behavior does not lend itself to change when there is no perceived benefit or requirement. By using heavy couponing in the past, and to some success, Hobby Lobby effectively gained a lot of customers and established the use of those coupons as part of their shopping expectations. Now, by trying to shift away from them, and doing it abruptly, the promise of everyday low pricing will not be enough to immediately convince fickle customer that they'll save as much money. As David Naumann highlighted, these types of transitions are best handled over a period of time. In addition to his idea about limiting the coupon usage, Hobby Lobby could use this transition as an opportunity to introduce a loyalty program whose top tier members could still use the coupons, and then gradually shift them towards other benefits.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2020

    Which 2020 returns options will stick?

    Contactless returns make a lot of sense given the current state of the pandemic and with many shoppers still avoiding entering retail locations when possible. Retailers that have already invested in people, processes and technology to support curbside pickup should be able to leverage those solutions for curbside returns as well, and I think curbside retail in general will continue as a trend post-pandemic. Retailers with only the deepest of pockets will be able to support free home pickup for returns processing but, if Target or others join Walmart, it may become a way to fend off lost sales.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2020

    Best Buy shrinks sales floors for a more fulfilling experience

    The shift in Best Buy store layouts six or seven years ago to account for the rise in showrooming made sense at the time, and the planned shift to account for the rise in omni-orders makes a lot of sense at this time as well. It's another example of Best Buy being reactive and proactive to shifts in the consumer journey. Even if shopper behavior heads back to pre-pandemic tendencies, Best Buy seems well positioned to have the flexibility to optimize for whatever the trends are happening at the time. More than likely, the need for more store fulfillment and pickups will remain for the foreseeable future.
  • Posted on: 12/01/2020

    Does COVID-19 provide retailers with new opportunities to bond with customers?

    The phrase "We're all in this together" has been over-used during 2020, but it certainly applies when assessing the bond between retailers and consumers. Shoppers can identify with the challenges these organizations are facing in putting their frontline employees into potentially hazardous environments and they appreciate the extra lengths retailers have gone to in order to implement curbside pickup or expedited product delivery. Retailers are doing their part to help make our shopping experience safer, and that's going to resonate with consumers. The ones who are succeeding will see increased loyalty carry over post-pandemic.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2020

    Amazon aims to keep holiday deliveries ‘spoiler free’

    Even outside of avoiding package spoilers, delivery flexibility has seen an increased demand from consumers over the past several years. As online and digital retail grows closer and closer to real-time fulfillment, modern customers want the ability to not only track that order in real-time but to have control around how, where and when it gets delivered. Given the added aspect of having the majority of the household at home, delivery flexibility takes on a new dimension as certain shoppers don't necessarily want gift recipients bringing in and/or opening packages as they are dropped off at front doors. Outside of Amazon, many direct-to-consumer brand retailers are also seeing increases in demand for spoiler-free packaging, so that it may not be directly explicit where the order is coming from upon initial inspection.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2020

    Will GameStop play better online?

    There are certainly a lot of parallels to be drawn to Blockbuster Video back between 2000 and 2008. GameStop had enjoyed tremendous success with its physical stores given that online bandwidth had not yet allowed most console gamers to switch to pure online play. However as internet speeds continue to increase into homes, games are increasingly switching to downloadable formats. Because GameStop itself is not a game content producer, they need to find creative ways to demonstrate their value to their customers and suppliers. I agree with their shareholder who is pushing for a much stronger and dedicated push into online. The stores as they exist today will be a relic within a few years (or less); however, continued experimenting with different gaming niches and concepts may be able to net value out of a greatly reduced number of locations.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2020

    Stop & Shop goes back to the future with nostalgic brands

    Nostalgia and throwback marketing has been popular for quite some time in the entertainment industry via countless TV show and movie reboots and retro-gaming. And everyone is aware of how cyclical apparel can be in resurfacing and repopularizing old trends. I think bringing back popular brands and items in the FMCG space makes a lot of sense to drive attention as well. I'm not sure they'll move the needle too much in terms of total incremental revenue, but launching a "new" product that already has brand resonance ingrained with many consumers is a great way to grow sales.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2020

    Sorry, Virginia, there will be no Santa at Macy’s

    Well said George. Whereas I was only advocating for options where all recommended safety protocols (social distancing, masks, a cleansed environment, etc.) could be put in place, the sheer fact that Santa's presence will drive additional crowds in an already crowded location could be inviting unnecessary danger to the situation.

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