PROFILE

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.

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  • Posted on: 08/05/2020

    Will shortages shortchange soft goods recovery?

    Seasonal retailers will likely see the greatest impacts as they would have been the most reliant on new orders placed in the last several months for holiday 2020 merchandise, coupled with an inability to move excess spring and summer merchandise. With global supply chains disrupted since January, there will indeed be lots of retailers impacted from an inventory perspective. The lack of supply could in theory drive demand for several categories, but will likely end up resulting in a lesser number of promotions for those with limited stock.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2020

    Beauty becomes a digital beast

    For many beauty product consumers, nothing will replace the in-person experience of product testing, application and consultation. However the shift to digital was already underway prior to the pandemic and, like many services which have seen tremendous advances due to in-store declines, the market for beauty products has seen its online browsing and purchasing increase at an accelerated pace. The exponential rate of growth will likely slow once stores reopen and customers feel safe to shop again for beauty products, but as brands and online outlets continue to creatively use technology to curate a personalized digital experience, the shift towards online will certainly not abate.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2020

    Is there a path to profitable grocery delivery?

    Creating a common data repository for inventory availability, customer info, product info, and pricing is imperative for any retailer in any segment that wishes to deliver retail in real-time across multiple channels. Grocery has lagged behind traditional retail in the push for seamless omnichannel fulfillment, and it's logical that the pains suffered by their cross-segment peers are now challenges they must address as well. The use of various third-party delivery partners and the reliance on CPG suppliers and their data does add several complexities for grocery as they look to consolidate these various data silos, but these can be overcome with the right approach.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2020

    How will digital transform trade shows?

    Opening up the trade show content to online viewers who may have been unable to afford the time or budget in the past to attend in person will significantly broaden the potential audience. I'm impressed with the innovative ways in which the larger trade shows are trying to support networking via their digital approaches, but it's simply too difficult to digitally replicate the informal, one-on-one feel of networking that takes place in person at these events. I feel like discovery and educational content will be the primary beneficiaries in the short-term, and hopefully, exhibitors will show equal innovation in providing a virtual feel to their solutions and services, which would typically dominate the trade show floors.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2020

    Is retail’s contactless future here now?

    I absolutely agree that contactless solutions are becoming a significant part of the retail experience. Like many other consumer services, the pandemic has greatly accelerated their demand and adoption. Self-service retail had already seen growth in recent years and the perceived and real benefits will cement its position moving forward. The growing demand has driven a multitude of technology solution options as well, thereby lowering the costs for retailers to procure. However, like all new technologies, the biggest challenge lies in developing the right set of business and support processes so that it delivers a positive customer experience rather than simply introducing new technology for the sake of technology.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2020

    Will Boomers and Gen X keep shopping online post-pandemic?

    Even though some of the gains achieved with online shopping will retreat some once stores are fully reopened and it is believed to be safe to venture out again to physical stores, the accelerated shift towards online shopping for older consumers is here to stay. The pandemic accelerated the shift out of health and necessity, but the convenience will be what impacts the permanent behavior change. Therefore, it's imperative that retailers continue their efforts to ensure an efficient and positive customer experience for their omnichannel shoppers.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2020

    Dunkin’ retreats from gas stations

    Dunkin' has been focused heavily on their rebranding and introduction of a new customer experience for the past several years. The smaller store formats and limited menus at these locations don't provide the ability to have that revamped experience in a fashion consistent with their standalone stores. I think this move is a wise one insofar as it creates a consistent guest experience for their customers as they continue their push towards being known as a more modern and technology-savvy coffee and food retailer. With the gas station locations currently representing only 0.5 percent of revenue, it should not significantly impact their ability to ride out the pandemic; although they have indicated the majority of these locations are still open currently.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Macy’s plans for the Christmas rush

    It's simply too early to predict holiday shopping in 2020. Everything from vaccine status to unemployment figures to local shelter-in-place restrictions will all have impact on consumers' willingness and ability to turn out and purchase goods. The only things that appear to be sure bets are: the digital channel will continue it's significant growth as a percentage of overall purchase behavior; services such as curbside pickup will continue to attract consumers; and retailers will continue to use stores as micro-fulfillment locations to address the consumer need for same-day or next-day delivery.
  • Posted on: 07/01/2020

    How can grocers hold onto their new most valuable customers?

    Grocers have been lagging behind the rest of the retail community with regards to the journey towards unified commerce. However the pandemic has accelerated that quest and it will be imperative for grocers to take to heart the same priorities that general retail has been focused on the past few years: creating a personalized experience; establishing a real-time, unified view of product data; leveraging a single view of their customers across all channels; and providing customers the ability to buy anywhere/receive product anywhere.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2020

    Does Microsoft need stores?

    Anyone who has walked through a mall and noted foot traffic in Apple stores and then a Microsoft store knows the stores were not a success for Microsoft. I applaud them for at least recognizing when to cut their losses and back out of brick-and-mortar. Microsoft is an innovative and successful company and they will continue to be profitable by focusing on their core strengths.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2020

    Getting your associates ready to reopen stores

    In addition to the great list outlined by Kevin, I think the two most important items to add would be: be prepared for changes and demonstrate flexibility. The old saying "the only constant in life is change" rings true as retail stores open. Even in the past month, we have seen stores open with one approach, modify it soon thereafter, and even close doors again in the wake of spiking numbers. Being aware of the fact that change WILL happen as retailers find the right approach will help both management and associates respond to this change WHEN it happens. Flexibility will also be paramount in not only dealing with store or chain-wide change, but flexibility in dealing with associates as well. Store employees may have one attitude and level of comfort when stores reopen and then there may be incidents in their personal life or with co-workers that may impact their views on health and safety. Maintaining open dialogue and being flexible to these shifts in comfort will go a long way to maintaining the trust that Kevin outlined as critical.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2020

    Will PPE vending kiosks attract travelers?

    The convenience of a self-service kiosk plus the social distancing-compliant practice of contactless commerce plus timely and necessary products equals a big win for customers. I see these vending machines being very popular. Hand sanitizer has always been a big seller at airport convenience stores, even pre-pandemic, and the ability to purchase in-stock PPE goods as travelers begin returning to air travel should equate to high sales.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2020

    Will grocers maintain COVID share gains as restaurants reopen?

    The three critical focus areas for grocers moving forward should be: 1.) continued focus and attention on health and safety measures for their stores, 2.) continued expansion and process cleanup around non-traditional delivery methods such as online ordering and curbside pickup, and 3.) further investment into technology solutions in areas such as advanced category management, supply chain visibility, and consumer-facing mobile features. The pandemic has driven tremendous growth for grocers and, even as cities continue with their re-openings, consumers will be cautious heading back to restaurants and grocers aren't going to be giving back those gains all at once. It will be up to them to see if they can continue to create an environment that maintains customers' attention.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2020

    Do retailers need a chief health officer?

    Even though many retailers may not elect to add a C-level position, the duties and responsibilities associated with a health officer clearly need to reside within retail organizations going forward, and it will be imperative that it be from a senior executive with authority and accountability. Human Resources have always been about compliance, and there will be a lot of coordination required in the future related to various regulations and the communication to staff. And beyond compliance, being proactive and ensuring the safety and well-being of associates is just good practice and a no-brainer.
  • Posted on: 06/10/2020

    Will Americans keep looking for new e-tail sites as stores reopen?

    The same concepts that large omni-brands have been trying to push are equally pursued by smaller, DTC brands: personalized experience, targeted messaging, and assortments that resonate with that specific consumer. So if an e-tailer is able to do these things successfully, it will help reduce the churn from their newfound customers back to their traditional shopping destinations. New websites being shopped will likely see a similar trend to other services which have spiked during the pandemic such as food delivery and curbside pickup. They likely won't retain their current levels, but they certainly won't regress towards the norm. Consumers are creatures of habit, but once they attempt a new service with positive results, they are likely to continue utilizing.

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