Stephen Rector

Founder, President, Bakertown Consulting

Stephen Rector is an international retail executive and consultant, with extensive experience leading merchandise strategy, sourcing, pricing, and curation across a variety of channels, including ecommerce, mobile, physical stores, and digital marketplaces like Alibaba’s TMall & Taobao platforms, Tencent’s WeChat platform , as well as Amazon’s Marketplace.

His work across a broad set of categories has yielded accelerated growth for digital and physical retail business models in both North America and Asia.

Stephen has been a guest on Bloomberg TV’s Daybreak Asia & Daybreak Australia discussing ecommerce & digital trends from both a Chinese and American perspective. He has also been interviewed by Yahoo Finance & Reuters.

Currently, Stephen is working with a brand management company based in New York City developing their direct to consumer business & overall ecommerce business strategy.

Previously, Stephen helped establish Macy’s merchandise strategy and supply chain in China, creating a multimillion dollar international expansion business for the iconic American retailer and department store chain.

Prior to Macy’s China, Stephen led women’s merchandising for fast fashion retailer Rue21 and served in leadership positions at Macy’s Inc. in New York City.

His expertise and international business network spans across North America and Asia, helping companies build efficient global supply chains for fast fashion, navigate international customs for import & export, establish fashion & trend centers of excellence, recruit and develop talent, and deploy merchandise planning and forecasting tools.

  • Posted on: 07/13/2020

    Will Boomers and Gen X keep shopping online post-pandemic?

    What was supposed to happen over the course of several years just happened in a matter of weeks - including the growth of e-commerce. People that previously were not online shoppers are now enjoying the convenience and ease of online shopping - so while there could be some shift back to in-store shopping, many people will not look back to the way it was.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2020

    How blemished are beauty retailers by COVID-19?

    Beauty brands need to adjust their assortments - a shift from lip to eye for instance due to mask wearing. For retailers, a shift to skin care vs. color treatment. Also, those brands and retailers that utilize technology to imitate the in-store experience online will be winners. Overall, the beauty category has a very good chance of weathering the storm better than other categories like apparel and accessories.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2020

    Will Walmart’s best shoppers ditch Amazon Prime for Walmart+?

    This is a step in the right direction, but I'm not sure if it's attractive enough for Amazon Prime members to switch. What if they threw in a Sam's Club membership as well? Would that be more enticing?
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Macy’s plans for the Christmas rush

    Customers will not be coming in the same numbers -- but this decline has already been happening with Black Friday turning into a week or two week sale for many retailers. The winners will be the ones that can turn the "fun" of shopping on Black Friday into a digital experience. The 11/11 event in China is a great example where the shopper is having fun and spending money. Retailers just doing the same thing as last year will not succeed.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2020

    Amazon’s traffic is way up, but others are doing even better during the pandemic

    The metric that isn't spoken about here is conversion rate. I would like to see that metric across platforms to truly understand the numbers. Site traffic and unique visitors are vanity metrics that make people feel good. Regardless, Amazon is a behemoth in e-commerce, but the experience is extremely transactional and the shopping experience is challenging if you don't know what you are looking for. In order to take share, the other platforms need to create an experience that makes it easy to find new product while still letting the customer buy batteries with one swipe. It's a balance of replenishment and finding newness that is missing from the Amazon experience.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2020

    Will Nike’s digital drive build stronger ‘one-to-one’ relationships with consumers?

    Brands have to become a part of people's lives to survive going forward. This is putting the customer first in all decision making which is a no-brainer. Others should follow Nike's lead.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2020

    Lululemon moves into in-home fitness with $500M deal for Mirror

    Yes, 100 percent - Lululemon is first and others will follow. It's a great way to have your merchandise constantly in front of your customer. Will Nike acquire Peloton next? What will Equinox/SoulCycle do to try to compete? This part of the industry is moving at lightning speed now.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2020

    Will a smaller Macy’s be a better Macy’s?

    Macy's as a brand is still worth something - the Macy's Thanksgiving parade is one of the most watched shows each year. Management has to turn the paradigm around - thinking of themselves as an entertainment company that sells merchandise in a fun environment both online and in-store versus a company that is always advertising that everything is on sale. They have to differentiate themselves and it's not with private label merchandise - it's the shopping experience that must be improved.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2020

    Will expanded fresh and frozen food selection drive Target’s pickup business?

    Adding fresh food will help grow Target's online grocery business, but they are far behind what Walmart is doing in terms of assortment. If they are pushing this as an initiative, being in-stock on those fresh key items is critical.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2020

    Will American Eagle’s new ‘consciously-made, slow fashion’ concept take off?

    An interesting concept - putting it in East Hampton doesn't really lend itself to a major national rollout anytime soon. However I could see them take learnings from the store and then potentially scale them for their other nameplates.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2020

    Would Amazon and Google benefit from publishing fake consumer reviews?

    Reviews are a critical part of the buying process for many consumers - therefore, fake reviews should be deleted or called out so the customer can make the most informed decision.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2020

    Dick’s goes off-price with two new clearance concepts

    As long as there is not a cannibalization of sales from their main store fleet, I think this makes sense as a way to eliminate old inventory. Dick's needs to be careful of the "sugar high" that comes from the high sell-throughs of the off-price world as a pendulum swing too far over to this strategy will cause reduced margins.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2020

    Should retailers boycott Facebook?

    The majority of Facebook's revenue comes from advertising - therefore, it's going to be the status quo on the platform until those revenues drop significantly. For those brands that can shift marketing dollars from social to other medias with similar ROIs, I would do it now and move on. I don't see this getting any better soon.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2020

    Is Apple being too cautious?

    Each retailer is going to have to make this decision on their own - as there is little direction otherwise. To Neil's point, Apple has plenty of cash as well as being a global brand with a digital presence. Therefore, closing stores in 11 states isn't going to bankrupt them whereas a small business owner has a more trying decision to make at the moment.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2020

    Will PPE vending kiosks attract travelers?

    This makes total sense - I never understood why the vending machine idea didn't take off in a bigger way with things like umbrellas, packable jackets, etc., that people could buy if they forgot them while traveling rather than having to go to a store to purchase them. Vending machines as a "contactless" way of shopping is a big opportunity - not just in PPE but in general.

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