PROFILE

Shawn Harris

Senior Director, Global Retail and Hospitality Strategy & Business Development, Turing.ai

Leader responsible for all North American go-to-market activities for Zebra’s intelligent automation solution for retail, SmartSight. SmartSight leverages the robotics, computer vision and machine learning capabilities of Zebra’s EMA50 enterprise mobile automation system to capture shelf and store status. The solution also puts data to work by issuing near real-time corrective actions to store associates’ mobile computers. SmartSight is a complete subscription-based solution.

Shawn’s passion rests in brick-and-mortar and digital retail technology experiences, operations, and supply chain management . Shawn has been involved with store systems, ecommerce, and order management technologies for over 15 years, having held management positions in, or consulted to, numerous Tier-1 retailers including, TJX Cos, Staples, and Uniqlo (Fast Retailing). Shawn also founded a luxury menswear brand, ECC Life&Style, which most was known for designing and making clothing for some of New England’s most regarded corporate executives and professional athletes across the country. Shawn keeps a keen eye on what’s potentially next, by staying closely involved in the Boston, New York, and Silicon Valley startup communities. Shawn recently served as the program lead for the Startup Leadership Program, and has participated in startup programs through Techstars, New York Fashion Tech Lab, MassChallenge, and New York Fashion Tech Lab.

For 8 years Shawn honorably served in the Army National Guard as an infantryman and armored personnel carrier (APC) driver. Shawn has a passion for culture and language. He speaks conversational Japanese, and has traveled extensively through Europe, Africa, and Asia for business. Shawn earned his MBA from Babson College, and a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the University of Massachusetts.

Read Shawn’s blog at: www.shawnharris.com

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  • Posted on: 03/30/2022

    Have people had their fill of contact-free retail?

    Certainly, data led them to think this was worth at least testing, to learn, to evolve. I like it! It establishes a process that can be further optimized with engineered standards, as you eliminate the chaos injected by the walk-in and order process. It's basically a human-driven vending machine, a ghost kitchen as a point of pickup. However without lockers I do wonder how Starbucks will handle theft without some deterring presence.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2022

    Nike heads to the wholesale exits

    Nike's continued shift to DTC is allowing them to move faster with introducing new and fresh styles into market; however without the tyranny of multi-tier wholesale supply chains to reach retail customers. Their customization capabilities have undoubtedly provided many lessons on small batch profitability and manufacturing speed, which will support their DTC shift. Very few brands, outside of luxury, could pull this off.
  • Posted on: 03/21/2022

    Google Maps tries to eliminate retail’s last mile headaches

    Robust routing solutions have been around for a long time, I'm not sure what magic Google is offering here. I still believe that what we are seeing in last-mile logistics is a fight against physics, requiring new thinking about how to solve this problem.
  • Posted on: 03/21/2022

    Macy’s lets associates express their style

    During our 2022 NRF predictions session Ricardo Belmar, James Tenser, and I called this the "engineered influencers." We thought this could be a great platform for both retailers and associates. However, as I stated before, I believe that Macy's has greater structural issues that can not be solved with one, or a collection of, one-off campaigns.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2022

    Albertsons puts its digital transformation on the fast track

  • Posted on: 03/11/2022

    Albertsons puts its digital transformation on the fast track

    Generally, grocers and all retailers should use the following criteria to build, buy or partner:
    • Build for competitive advantage and achieve best fit to the grocer's processes;
    • Buy for a theoretically faster implementation and lower internal resources, as compared to the former;
    • Partner to realize lower costs via partner's economies of scale and expertise, allowing grocers to focus on their core business.
  • Posted on: 03/08/2022

    Are banned books a sales opportunity or political risk for Barnes & Noble?

    I applaud B&N. Books should not be banned. I can't believe I even need to state that in 2022. This is not ok. It's incredible the lengths some will go to in order to maintain power.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2022

    Has Macy’s become a different and better retailer?

    Looking at Macy's financials, I still see a retailer who is continuing to show secular decline. Here are some quick stats from macrotrends:
    • Macy's 2021 annual EBITDA was $-3.498B, a 278.93% decline from 2020;
    • Macy's 2020 annual EBITDA was $1.955B, a 27.19% decline from 2019;
    • Macy's 2019 annual EBITDA was $2.685B, a 4.45% decline from 2018.
    This is a company in need of structural change.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2022

    Should Amazon be broken up?

    *Checks notes.* Billionaire activist investor is upset that his ability to maximize his potential yield is being held back, so break them up. Moving on...
  • Posted on: 02/22/2022

    Are stores the answer to last-mile delivery?

    I think that the scale of what will be required for last-mile delivery, when mature, should not be underestimated. The impact on communities and environment will be significant. It's physics. Logically, stores are obvious choices for leveraging storage capacity, given proximity to demand (service level); however at scale it will not be enough as they truly will have to become warehouses with engineered standards sans the chaos of the consumer. Even the parking lot logistics will have to change to support more delivery vehicles. I don't believe we are looking at what an optimized end-state will be for last-mile with stores sharing last-mile warehouse and consumer self-serve points-of-sale use cases.
  • Posted on: 02/17/2022

    What isn’t wrong with the supply chain?

    We live in a world that has overindulged in just-in-time to maintain tight inventories, however, at the same time refusing to share POS data with upstream partners to include beyond tier-1. We need a revolutionary move to develop ways to securely share these demand actuals with upstream partners to mitigate the bullwhip. Maybe here is where a zero-knowledge proof could shine.
  • Posted on: 02/17/2022

    How far should retailers go with the use of computer vision?

    As someone who is steeped in this area of applied computer vision for retail, I am constantly thinking about these very topics and ethical concerns. It starts with a clear problem definition. This problem definition should encompass absolute clarity on all of the actors, which should include detailed personas. Here is where diversity in your AI and business teams pays off. Having AI and business teams comprised of individuals who hold multiple perspectives enhances said teams' ability uncover potential ethical concerns, truly creating a competitive advantage for the organization. Fact is, there is a significant level of rigor that is required to collect the quantity and quality of complete data to train, validate, deploy, and monitor high efficacy CV solutions. Without upfront detailed clarity on what you are trying to solve for, and for who, your solution will fall down. Retailers have a responsibility to ensure that the requisite people, policy, and practices are in place. Due to the required previously mentioned rigor, often times it may be wise to focus on those CV solutions that require no empathy and where some false positives can be tolerated -- queue management, traffic flow, heat mapping and merchandising analytics are such solutions and can pay dividends, as they truly digitize the physical world.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2022

    Has a new, hybrid shopper emerged out of the pandemic?

    Is "hybrid shopper" a new marketing term for omnichannel? IBM did bring us the marketing term "cognitive computing" to refer to artificial intelligence. Maybe this piece should be a question on whether we should move away from the label "omnichannel," instead referring to it as "hybrid shopping." Thanks for the comedy this morning.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2022

    Are ultra-fast delivery services bad for neighborhoods?

    Most of these services are turning residential areas into industrial ones. We are witnessing the sausage making of change. I ultimately believe that in order to make these work you have to reduce the outbound through a combination of larger unit counts delivered, coupled with Afterpay-like services.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2022

    Would a Peloton acquisition make sense for Amazon or Nike?

    Nike feels likes like the obvious choice. I am a Peloton tread and bike user, and Nike is my footwear for both. This places Nike in the home for fitness in a tangible way, they have a platform to accelerate the star power of the Peloton coaches, and the data captured would inform product development and deeper customer engagement personalization. It will probably end up being a PE firm acquisition or evaporate into corporate lifecycle episodic hype; we'll see.

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