Shilpa Rao

Practice Head, Merchandising, Tata Consultancy Services

Shilpa has worked with over 16 global retailers across formats, including the 8 out of the Top10 retailers in the US, in the area of process, information technology and business consulting, focusing on Merchandising.

In her current role as a Practice Head for Merchandising, she is responsible for strategy, development of offerings and solutions that address retailers’ pain points around Merchandising and analytics. She is also responsible for driving innovation in the area of big data analytics, competitive pricing and merchandise optimization.

She co-developed patent applied assortment optimization and macro space optimization algorithm for Optumera™ – A suite of merchandise optimization suite. As a product manager for this suite she was responsible for conceptualization, development and go- to market strategy. The product has helped retailers to reap benefits upto 3-5% increase in sales over comp stores through optimization. She has currently moved to a role of product strategist for this suite. The product features as a leader in the latest Gartner’s assortment vendor evaluation diamond (2010).

She has worked on enterprise transformation engagements leading to multimillion dollar benefits to the clients. This includes turnaround strategy, ERP and package evaluation for retail renewal, inventory optimization, merchandise transformation and optimization- space, assortment, price, promotion and allocation.

Shilpa holds an MBA in marketing and bachelors of engineering in Information Technology.

  • Posted on: 10/20/2016

    Can retailers inspire greater sales using Pinterest?

    I love Pinterest and often catch onto trends that make my style board, creative boards and then I'll shop online for the same. Buyable pins are useful, but I seldom buy from them. Additional features such as search for these items at a Target or Macy's or even Micheals would really help to enhance my experience.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2016

    Will Apple turn its stores into something more than stores?

    It was about time that Apple Stores had to be re-engerzied to keep the traffic flowing and nothing better than lessons on taking the best selfies for the Millennials and Gen Y. Apple stores have to transform from being product stores to more service and learning stores, and they have to constantly keep innovating to keep the fun going on in the stores!
  • Posted on: 10/19/2016

    Will Aldi and Lidl replicate U.K. success in the U.S.?

    With a little store upgrade, Aldi and Lidl could provide a compelling value proposition to the middle income group. Organic, gluten free food at value prices, and with messaging on quality, these stores are here to flourish.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2016

    Should Bed Bath & Beyond ditch its coupons?

    Customers' behaviour varies by the segment. There are customers who feel a sense of achievement and joy when they have to present a coupon they found and receive a discount, while there are others who would enjoy the convenience of the long-term program. In this economy, unless you have an offering for both customer types, it's difficult to be profitable.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2016

    Will new gen grocery stores cut waste down to zero?

    This trend of reducing waste is here to continue. Already many cities are charging for plastic bags, encouraging customers to bring their own bags. However, this is more regulatory requirement. As the technology develops for cleaner and more sustainable pacakaging, retailers are likely to adopt waste reduction pacakaging alternatives. However, it will take time before we go to zero waste.
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