Shikha Jain

Senior Director, Simon-Kucher & Partners

Shikha is a Senior Director in the Boston office.

Since joining Simon-Kucher in 2012, Shikha has specialized on all topics related topline growth. Her portfolio of clients spans the B2C world within consumer goods, durables, cosmetics, fashion/apparel, grocery, consumer services, consumer internet and luxury goods. Shikha works with C-level executives to find solutions for effective go-to-market strategies across price strategy and optimization, portfolio architecture, promotional effectiveness, consumer segmentation and value proposition and revenue management organization creation. While her work has been primarily in the US, she has experience across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Shikha graduated from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with a concentration in strategy and marketing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Mathematics from Smith College. Prior to her MBA, Shikha was an Analyst for a global investment bank focusing on M&A and capital markets advisory.

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  • Posted on: 12/02/2019

    Why is Allbirds asking Amazon to do a better job ripping it off?

    What I take away from Allbirds' reaction to Amazon is that the company truly cares about sustainability. That is their mission first and foremost - they choose to do it through footwear. By encouraging Amazon to do the same, it reinforces that they will not compromise on their cause. Kudos to Allbirds for taking the high road. As the saying goes, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
  • Posted on: 11/27/2019

    Big things are happening as Small Business Saturday turns 10

    So great to support small businesses and the community. Independent retailers typically have two advantages. 1) Products that are unique or not easily available in big box formats. Typically these are specialty, handcrafted or customized. And 2) Whole large retailers will likely win on “best price,” small businesses will win by creating a more personalized and curated shopping experience. Sales reps typically go above and beyond especially for gifting occasions. Reps help uncertain shoppers by asking questions about the person for whom they are buying, the budget they have and so on to increase purchase conversions. A small piece of advice for independent retailers is to leverage consumer psychology for promotions. Even though the mix is shifting towards small businesses vs. a decade ago, everyone is still competing for the same wallet during the holidays. Using principles of scarcity and urgency when merchandising promotions with messages like “while supplies last,” “offer expiring soon” can be powerful emotional purchase triggers.
  • Posted on: 11/25/2019

    Why is Sephora paying associates to leave shoppers alone?

    Another great example about putting the consumer first. Creating personalized and customized shopping through self-selection is how to increase engagement and shoppers that are satisfied with the experience.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Are Americans ready for a DTC shopping holiday?

    DTC companies usually have a few things in common (caveat: often, not always). They may be trying to disrupt the convention in their spaces (think ThirdLove for underwear fitting and shopping), they recognize that protecting value is important and do not over-promote and finally, they likely target a different consumer type, specifically Gen Z and Millennials, that shop differently often using social media as an omnichannel. That said, traditional brick-and-mortar have often used promotions and when used effectively, can be powerful tools to drive traffic, increase spend in terms of dollars and average basket size through cross-selling. Black Friday is a huge sales day for many retailers so it's no surprise that DTC companies are leveraging best practices from the psychology of sales.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2019

    Study: Consumers don’t enjoy doing their holiday shopping online

    Based on the study, it appears that the displeasure from the experience has nothing to do with the front end but rather on the back end in fulfillment. Some of these issues are self-inflicted as retailers have begun competing on faster shipping times. What this study is showing is that those promises are being under-delivered on. The retailers that will win at the end of this Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be the ones that quickly solve these issues.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2019

    What happens now that Nike has called off its deal with Amazon?

    It is definitely a power play between two giants. The biggest risk a retailer has when selling via Amazon is price contamination and loss of control over the brand story. The biggest benefit is access to more consumers that are slightly more price-conscious. It is a difficult trade-off for any brand to make. However, with Nike being the first, there is a chance that other brands that want to either expand their own DTC e-commerce business or take back some control will now feel more empowered to do so.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2019

    Survey says consumers want online orders shipped fast and free

    The baseline keeps shifting. On the one hand, retailers are constantly trying to outdo one another to deliver quality service and shopping experiences and then, on the other hand, consumers get used to it and demand for it to become the "new normal." Retailers can sometimes get stuck in a never-ending cycle of trying to top one another.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2019

    Will a curated online marketplace make Brooklinen a home goods star?

    The success for any online marketplace is determined by critical mass. You have to have enough buyers and sellers to make the platform sustainable for the long-term. Once you have critical mass, then you can diversify. Think of Uber. They started out working with one use case and then as they got more people on their platform, branched out to other adjacent use cases that are still focused on transportation from A to B. It started still with B2C (food delivery through Uber Eats) and migrated to B2B (logistics through Uber Freight). For Brooklinen, the benefit to consumers is a one-stop shop experience while for manufacturers or sellers, it is likely an additional channel to sell their products and general brand awareness. The next step in Brooklinen's journey is to investigate how they monetize both sides. Should they take a cut or commission (like ride-sharing apps such as Uber) from the seller? Should they have more of a subscription offering for sellers (like Etsy)? Should the consumer also have to pay something besides just the price for the item bought?
  • Posted on: 10/10/2019

    Personalized promos add up to a ‘win-win’ for retailers and consumers

    Successful personalized promotions are contingent on the quality of data that is available. If a r/e-tailer is able to define the shopper segments - their price sensitivity, how much they use promotions to trigger a purchase and what types of products/promotional events they gravitate towards - then personalization can be very effective. However as the study corroborates, a common pitfall is when r/e-tailers become exuberant about the immediate financial uptick they get from promotions. This is not sustainable long-term as promotions become a lever to meet financial targets and consumers get hooked on using promotions to trigger a purchase. R/e-tailers then have swung too wildly the other way and look for avenues to reduce their promotional dependence.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    What if stores innovated like restaurants?

    While restaurants definitely do innovate, the challenges that retailers face are different which could explain the speed of innovation. Retailers have to:
    1. Work with hundreds of thousands of SKUs vs. a hundred (at the top end) for restaurants.
    2. Deal with branded manufacturers vs. purely suppliers. As a result, retailers rely on the manufacturers to do the consumer innovation on their end. Retailers do have their own private labels (e.g. 365 at Whole Foods) that they can use to innovate on but driving a visible difference can be difficult. Retailers also do not have full control on trade terms which are jointly set by both parties.
    3. Identify channel conflict that can exist between brick-and-mortar vs. in-store vs. other formats where the same product is sold. Restaurants, on the other hand, own the full chain and the format (food court vs. standalone) which usually affects price and sometimes selection. Also, the occasions are different. Restaurants cater to immediate consumption vs. retailers also catering to those who want to stock up.
    There are definitely lessons to learn about using store layouts to encourage conversion of purchase, speedy checkout, delivery etc. The assortment itself is a challenge.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2019

    Zulily thinks it can beat Amazon and Walmart on price

    While many retailers like to think acquiring consumers using price is a winning strategy, more often that not, a price war gets triggered. It is hard to imagine that Zulily has a supplier and logistics cost advantage over Amazon and Walmart. A few moves on key products by them can easily erode a lot of Zulily's margins quickly and then it becomes a race to the bottom. Many companies that are now almost extinct have tried price match guarantees (RadioShack comes to mind).
  • Posted on: 10/01/2019

    Do retail metrics need to be reinvented?

    I think the P&L metrics should not really change. As the store format is evolving and retailers are using a combination of brick-and-mortar, online, and pop-ups, metrics move away from the store (like same-store sales) and more towards the consumer (like average price per unit, total transaction size) etc.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2019

    Can Forever 21 come back from bankruptcy?

    For brands to survive for decades, they have to constantly innovate to meet the trends that their target consumer segments want. Forever 21 really peaked in the three decades between 1990 and 2010 when teens wanted massive closets with lots and lots of pieces to build their ensembles. However now, Millennials and Gen Z are trending towards minimalism and thinking about the broader impact that fashion should have when it comes to sustainability.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2019

    Will free same-day delivery boost Macy’s online sales?

    The biggest questions that will determine whether the free same-day delivery is a success are:
    1. Will customers buy enough in every transaction to offset the cost (somewhere between $0.01 and $8 which was the fee)? Very often the real costs are not factored into retailer decisions which can hurt profit dollars down the line.
      1. Will the number and frequency of "trips" represented by tickets/transactions be incremental? Otherwise, there is potential to cannibalize in-store impulses. Shoppers can absolutely be impulsive online but they are usually better at postponing the decision by "saving for later" than they are in-store.
  • Posted on: 09/03/2019

    Will H&M’s ambassador program turn employees into social influencers?

    As there are so many fast fashion options to choose from, employees at a particular brand already have the affinity with the brand's style. With H&M's employee influencer program, there is no conflict between the individual and H&M as both work for the same company. The program likely has additional side benefits - creating aspirations for employees who want to be a part of the program and increasing retention rates.

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