PROFILE
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Scott Norris

Sales Development Manager
An ever-learning Gen Xer in Minnesota with long experience in retail operations, logistics and purchasing, and sales & marketing management. Love to travel; my daughter's from Asia and so is my heart.
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  • Posted on: 11/30/2022

    Was the high-traffic Thanksgiving weekend a promise of things to come?

    And perhaps psychic relief that the elections are over? Certainly space on the airwaves and YouTube for retailers to actually advertise, now that the political buys are done.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2022

    Claire’s sets up shops inside of Macy’s stores

    There are already Claire's on every level of the Mall of America -- some directly atop each other. Why would another one inside the Macy's there not simply dilute overall sales? If I'm Macy's, why do I want a brand in my store that basically has the same footprint inside Walmart? Come on already -- a retailer should commit to selecting, stocking, and promoting their own goods, and stop being a real-estate play or making profit off vendor charges and consignment. Do the actual work of retail, or close up and let a new generation try.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2022

    Is being the low price leader critical to Amazon’s ongoing success?

    If you know exactly what you're looking for, Amazon is great for convenience and the shipping. We drop several hundred each month with them. Certain categories on the site, though, like clothing and furniture, are just too chaotic -- for those it's either stick with the established online brands we know and trust for sizing and quality, or else go local where we can touch and try on. Same with food - I'll buy shelf-stable name-brand items from Amazon if local supply is unreliable (ramen recently for some reason?) but won't trust them for fresh/specialty and will go to a local grocer or ethnic/farmers' market. And product discovery (don't know what you don't know) on Amazon is a non-starter - there is no story there, just a wall of boxes.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2022

    Retailers are using newfound clout to put the squeeze on suppliers

    And brands themselves - especially the small and midsize ones who do not hold significant buying power - are at the mercy of their suppliers of components and services and do not have any more flex remaining on internal costs. The paper and packaging oligopoly, the UPS/FedEx dyad, health insurance, rising interest rates, and persistent labor shortages all create hard backstops against price rollbacks. It's easy for retailers to squeeze the little suppliers, but when they go out of business the new generation of product vendors, as we've discussed at length here, will start from a D2C base and hold off going into retail until they have market strength. Retailers are seeding future failure by knee-jerk rejections to vendors' legitimate pricing needs.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2022

    Do digital coupons discriminate against those who can least afford it?

    My company stopped printing and mailing catalogs even before the pandemic to rely 100 percent on our website/email/social feed - did our direct-to-consumer sales drop? Yes, absolutely. How did that compare to the production and distribution cost of those catalogs? The cost savings offset was easily 10x the revenue decline. We probably weren't breaking even on print mailings since the early 2010s. Our only ongoing complaints come from our Amish customers -- but they are going to local libraries or neighbors to order.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2022

    H&M brings rotating experiences to its new Brooklyn boutique

    Independent stores obtain the marketing value of steady mutation by federating in neighborhoods that include food and entertainment so that no one store has to fully update every two weeks, but collectively there's always something unique and new every time a customer visits. I'm thinking Harajuku specifically because we're taking our teenage daughter for a week in Tokyo over Spring Break, but every major city has a few places that compare. It's good public policy to improve transit/access, security, and thoughtful development approvals to nurture these districts as they evolve. H&M's test is worthwhile, but for such a vast chain, corporate priorities can shift on a whim, and it takes years of dedicated, patient effort to build a neighborhood. Also, what works in Brooklyn may not work in Queens, much less San Antonio or Denver. I'd like to see diverse test stores but I am dubious the company will maintain focus over the long haul.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2022

    Will Target’s new store format be even a bigger hit with its guests?

    Target is putting rooftop solar up across the system, so perhaps in footprint-constrained sites there are opportunities to go up for storage. Engineers and construction crews will be up there regardless.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2022

    Will Target’s new store format be even a bigger hit with its guests?

    As a Minnesotan, I'm always game to visit a Target when traveling and compare it to what we have at home. The store in Maui is a great example of localizing, with outside trelliswork and interior accents using native wood and more windows at key locations. Even the classic red polos are swapped for red Hawaiian shirts with local iconography plus the company logo and bullseye. If they would have had those shirts for sale of course we would've bought them. I would love to see these ideas replicated around the fleet!
  • Posted on: 11/08/2022

    Will travel keep retail’s 2022 holiday from taking off?

    My wife's brother died because of COVID-19 and her parents died of other causes during the pandemic. So none of them will be buying presents for our daughter this year. And we can't stand the thought of an empty house at Christmas. So we're getting out of town to try to build new traditions.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2022

    Have grocery self-checkouts been designed to disappoint?

    We've been seeing fuller carts going into the self-check corral at our local Target - and long wait lines as a result. So sometimes it is actually faster to check out at a traditional station - planners need to account for folks using tools in ways that weren't intended. (Probably the same customers who pull into a drive-through lane and order for six people with complicated requests.)
  • Posted on: 11/02/2022

    What would Shein stores do to the U.S. retail apparel market?

    Well, the product has to be shipped from the factory in any case, so the energy nets out -- goes to your apartment instead of a shop. And shoppers won't be going to Harajuku solely for the purpose of visiting that store, so there's no extra energy involved there. Hate to see the quirkiness and small-business focus of the neighborhood go away, but block by block they've been commodifying it for ten years now....
  • Posted on: 11/01/2022

    Will freight operators serve as a canary in the retail coal mine?

    FedEx and UPS of course just hiked their base rates 6.9% -- higher than their usual 5% -- so it seems they believe demand will stabilize enough to justify the price increase. I'm not seeing any meaningful freight cost relief on short/intermediate hauls here in the Midwest, either, so for us Made-In-America manufacturers, all this talk accomplishes is handing our retail accounts a tool to reject necessary price increases with....
  • Posted on: 10/28/2022

    Will Apple find more room to grow inside of Target?

    There might even be more mundane reasons like supply bottlenecks for fixtures or availability of installation staff. Target is running a lot of store remodels and enhancements right now - Ulta Beauty, solar installations, charging stations, pickup logistics - and there are only so many qualified hands who can get the fit and finish right.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2022

    Are donation requests at the checkout worth the shopper anxiety they cause?

    Taco Bell does this as well, with proceeds going to scholarships. I find it thoughtful as it keeps me from having to dig for change or stash coins somewhere afterward (probably reduces their cash-handling expenses as well.) Quickly done and never presented as an obligation - the Bell has a long relationship with education so I'm comfortable. Wendy's should be doing this as well with the obvious Dave Thomas Foundation tie-in.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2022

    Was Amazon’s Prime Early Access sale a bellwether event for the retail industry?

    Walmart and Target may be getting better at blunting Amazon's promotions as well - they certainly weren't sitting idly by. Even small web merchants were jumping in; Amazon may call the tune but they aren't able to dictate how the dance goes like they used to.
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