Shikha JainPartner, Simon-Kucher & Partners
Shikha Jain is a top-line growth advisor with a client portfolio that spans the B2C world including fashion/apparel, footwear, beauty, consumer goods & durables, specialty retail, consumer services, consumer internet, and luxury goods. Shikha works with CXOs to build effective go-to-market strategies and commercial excellence on all revenue growth topics.
Advisory areas span consumer segmentation, value proposition, and activation strategies; portfolio architecture; price setting and optimization; promotional effectiveness; digital journeys; channel expansion; governance; and transformation.
Over the last decade at Simon-Kucher, Shikha has developed a strong acumen in North America markets, though her experience ranges across Europe, Asia and Latin America. In addition to helping her clients grow, she also devotes her professional energy to furthering diversity and inclusion in the workplace and studying the role of sustainability to drive future business growth.
Shikha received her MBA with a concentration in Strategy and Marketing from the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business. She started her career at a global investment bank as an analyst, focusing on M&A and capital markets advisory. She holds a B.S. in Economics and Mathematics from Smith College.
To learn more, visit: www.simon-kucher.com/en/industries/consumer-and-retail
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- Posted on: 11/14/2022
Gap is now selling on Amazon. Desperation or genius move?Amazon's primary advantage is that now consumers use the platform to search and browse not just to purchase. For retailers that sell on Amazon, it allows them to access new consumer segments that they previously might not have been able to reach. Amazon as a channel has its place in a broader strategy for all brands/retailers. The questions usually are whether the brand is strong enough to survive on its own, and what is its goal with Amazon?
- Posted on: 10/05/2022
Do grocers have a price perception problem?The price perception problem is unlikely to be consistent across all banners and so the tactics grocers use need to be customized to their retail value proposition. In the more premium players like Whole Foods, messaging quality, organic goods etc. can help justify the prices or use promotions on highly visible traffic-driving items. On the other end of the spectrum, players like Trader Joe's and Aldi likely are benefiting and seeing consumers shifting their wallets to them. They can continue to message best price/best value in order to win during these times.
- Posted on: 07/19/2022
Is luxury retail’s sweet spot?Luxury/ultra-luxury goods tend to be recession-proof. The wealthy individuals (celebrities, top 1%) who purchase these products are rarely impacted by macro-economic events too much to alter their behavior. Consumers who see luxury as aspirational are the ones to postpone or decline making luxury purchases during uncertain times.
- Posted on: 07/11/2022
Are outlet centers ready to resume growth?In the current macro-environment of high inflation, consumers tend to trade down or look for value items to stretch their wallets. I think outlets will see somewhat of a spike similar to dollar stores and other value chains, but overall the discretionary goods market will continue to be depressed until we have clarity around recession-fears that are looming.
- Posted on: 07/11/2022
Should Costco raise its food court prices?It is incredibly hard and nearly impossible to raise "sticky" prices that are well-established for consumers. There can be potential backlash and a solution is to have regular price reviews and adjustments so that consumers do not have anchors that can never be moved. Many retailers are learning this the hard way given that we have been in an inflationary and supply-constrained environment for the last few years.
- Posted on: 05/11/2022
Would grocery delivery be a healthy addition to Apple’s business?The last-mile delivery landscape continues to evolve as the hot new space. Every type of player is eyeing this massive market - pure play delivery companies (JOKR, Instacart, GoPuff, Getir), restaurant delivery (Doordash, Uber Eats), disintermediation by grocery chains, mom and pop stores and now APPLE. The pros - Apple has so much data on its consumers that it can personalize and push recommendations. The cons - this is very far from their core offering and established companies have ironed out the speed bumps. If Apple can do grocery delivery profitably in the long run then it might disrupt the space. However established players are finding it difficult to grow key metrics.
- Posted on: 05/04/2022
Will ‘shrinkflation’ grow into a big problem for CPG brands?It is common in the CPG world to practice shrinkflation, especially to hit profit metrics. However CPG companies should consider whether this move sacrifices long-term growth for short-term financial gains. When consumers start to notice, they use it as an opportunity to evaluate their purchase process and look for alternatives on the shelf. Thus the bigger risk is losing consumers altogether (and then they may never come back). It is better practice to increase prices using a differentiated strategy incorporating consumer segments, product roles and so on. Best practice is to also be transparent about rising costs and communicating the value that is provided.
- Posted on: 04/21/2022
Is resale a better fit for lululemon than other apparel brands?Integrating a resale program not only shows that Lululemon is committed to sustainability, but also that they are building quality products that last a lifetime, or in this case multiple lifetimes. Confidence in both of these aspects is key and stands out to the consumer, especially Millennials and Gen Zers, who look for these values in the brands that they choose to support. Moreover, when it comes to apparel, consumers rely on durability as a proxy for sustainability primarily because it is something that feels tangible to them. Sustainable choices are quickly becoming the expectation rather than the exception in the demands of the consumer and retailers that do not follow suit are likely to continue to lose volume.
- Posted on: 04/21/2022
Will retailers be ready when the third-party cookies crumble?While retailers may not be ready for it, cookies are quickly becoming a thing of the past. This could actually be a good thing. As companies will have to rely more on first party data and contextual-based advertising, they will have a better opportunity for personalization and marketing efficiency, which will stand out to the consumer. First party data will allow retailers to collect valuable information about their customers which they can use to create individually curated experiences, resulting in higher customer loyalty.
- Posted on: 04/21/2022
Are price freezes and pledges worthwhile in inflationary climates?Communication around pricing should be tied to the overall value proposition of the retailer. In this case both Aldi and Old Navy are considered the low price/best value for money options and appeal to the cost-conscious. As the concern around inflation continues to worry consumers, they will continue to trade down into retailers that will stretch their dollars. We will continue to witness the same phenomenon across the entire retail landscape. A good example is dollar stores as they are already seeing an uptick in traffic.
- Posted on: 04/12/2022
Target launches new program for used apparelBig retailers like Target and Urban Outfitters are hopping on the resale train, making this rising trend one of their top initiatives in order to keep up with the ever-changing consumer behavior and desire for both sustainability and affordability, specifically with Gen Zers. This new generation of shoppers has normalized resale as part of their daily consumption, given that it mirrors their values and is widely seen as "trendy." The question is, will the addition of this new marketplace drive the consumer to make more purchases from the retailer itself?
- Posted on: 04/06/2022
What are the hurdles to becoming data-driven?Having worked with countless retailers and consumer brands, the biggest challenge that they tend to have is arriving at a single source of truth. The primary reason that they tend to become less data-driven is because data fidelity and reconciliation is time-consuming and can lead to frustration especially for speedy decision-making. The cultural change required is convincing decision-makers that the investment needed in systems, tools, people, and process is worth the effort in the long-run.
- Posted on: 04/05/2022
Meijer to host its first ever summit for sustainable suppliersIt's also about relevancy. Sustainability is the leading concern on almost every consumer's mind and especially with Gen Z and Millennials. If Meijer and similar grocery stores want to be appealing to the next generation of consumers, they will need to adapt their business practices to fit with this mega-trend. Consumers are also wary of greenwashing, so this is a great way to proactively show vs. tell that they are investing in and pivoting towards sustainability.
- Posted on: 12/20/2021
What happens when D2C brands diversify product lines?Expansion into adjacencies is only natural. A pure online brand needs physical stores especially if their products require touch/feel/try. In parallel, once they've established themselves in their core categories, it's important to have something "new" in order to keep bringing back their loyal customers, especially in categories that are durable vs. consumable to build customer lifetime value. Without innovation or newness, brand heat will dissipate.
- Posted on: 12/09/2021
Will consumers ever get over the price hurdle for sustainable goods?It's about the consumer demand in conjunction with company objectives. As younger consumers make up more and more of the workforce and build wealth, they will shift their demand to green-friendly alternatives. In fact, the willingness to pay for sustainable goods is decreasing and will continue to do so until it becomes table stakes. This is the equivalent of digital transformation that has been happening over the last few decades. No company operates on pen and paper anymore. Similarly, a few years from now, companies that are not sustainable may no longer exist. Reader beware: I am the lead author on the Simon-Kucher sustainability study.