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: 12/06/2019

    Are its Nordstrom pop-ups a sign that Glossier is ready to work with department stores?

    This move makes sense for both Glossier and Nordstrom. Nordstrom has already done a great job of partnering with other DNVBs, so it's a natural choice. As more of these brands go into brick and mortar, what I am interested in seeing is how some of these brands can co-exist in the same space to help offset overhead costs - for example, could several DNVB beauty brands partner together to open up their own B&M's to compete with the Sephoras and Ultas of the world?
  • Posted on: 12/02/2019

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

    Smart move on Allbirds' part - for the "anti-Amazon" crowd, it gives those people a reason to support Allbirds. As for Amazon, it's doubtful the move will do much, but I hope they do start to consider more sustainable products within their assortment.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2019

    Mobile jumps out as retailers get a mixed start to the holiday season

    "Mobile First" needs to be the mantra of all retailers and the focus needs to be on the user experience. Too many retailers are still looking at their desktop computer screens when making decisions about how their site should look and operate. This causes a terrible experience in many instances and lowers conversion rates. This is one time when looking at your phone in a meeting is actually the correct thing to do!
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Is Target killing department stores and specialty clothing chains?

    Target has done an outstanding job with their most recent reboot of their private label brands in apparel. Where else do you see +10 percent increases year over year in apparel? They offer fashion at a price to the female customer, great basics in mens and the kids product is some of the best in the market. This just shows that when merchants are focused on merchandise that is right for their customer, strong sales will follow.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Are Americans ready for a DTC shopping holiday?

    The average consumer does not know what DTC means -- at this point, it's an industry term only. Therefore, I don't know how much this is going to resonate with the customer. The other concern I have is that the whole "getting rid of the middleman" was to offer the customer the best price up front. By offering a discount on DTC Friday, will this hurt the brand's credibility? And also their margins?
  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    Is the environment Amazon’s Achilles heel or opportunity?

    Yes, Amazon would benefit and being such a huge part of the industry, others would follow. The question is rather, will they do it and at what cost to their bottom line? I think at this point the answer is no, until the customers revolt - which I don't see happening in the near future.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2019

    Is ‘OK Boomer’ a merchandising opportunity?

    Any retailer that targets Gen Z, like Hot Topic, Urban Outfitters, etc. should buy domestic blank tees and start screening immediately. At the pace that all things move currently, in a world of nonstop media, there will soon be a new hot phrase that everyone will be talking about!
  • Posted on: 11/13/2019

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

    This is a smart move for Nike - they control the narrative on their own site as well as the data on their customers. Because of Nike's brand equity, they can afford to do this - other brands don't have that luxury and still need other retailers to drive revenue and grow.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2019

    Retail apocalypse? How about a disruptor meltdown?

    There will absolutely be a shakeout within the DTC brands - there are too many trying to sell the same thing - there are at least nine brands trying to sell DTC mattresses, seven sock brands and several selling $300 Italian-made shoes - how many customers are really out there that a.) need these items and b.) are going to be returning to buy again? I don't think there are enough for all of them to survive and with that comes the end of the huge amount of funding supporting them currently.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2019

    What’s in store for retail in 2020?

    Open relationships will continue to emerge - some will be successful while others will make people go "Huh, who thought that one up?" But brands must continue to try to find ways to get more eyes on their product - and if that means unique or different partnerships, so be it.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2019

    Express Launches digital-first DTC wellness brand

    UpWest is doing everything that the successful DTC brands have done - creating a lifestyle, having a charity component and not blaring out "SALE" on the site. Whether or not it will be successful will depend on how much marketing dollars they spend to get through all of the noise online and if the customer reacts to the UpWest story in a positive manner.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2019

    Retailers are ‘satisfied’ with their online customer journey optimization efforts

    The fact that 88 percent of marketers are satisfied with their customer online journey is alarming, because in my opinion there are only a handful of companies that provide an amazing customer experience online. From clicking in and out of checkouts to complete purchase, to not clearly calling out shipping charges or promo codes, there is still a lot of work to do. Retailers must be 100 percent laser focused on the customer journey and how to make that experience as seamless as possible!
  • Posted on: 11/04/2019

    Will Old Navy succeed with a one-price regardless of size concept?

    Absolutely it's the right move for Old Navy and I suggest they roll it out as quickly as possible. While this could put pressure on margins based on upfront production costs, the hope would be that the increase in sales and less markdowns taken will offset that as repeat loyal customers increase over time.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2019

    Nordstrom nails its NYC flagship opening

    Overall, the new Nordstrom is a strong addition to the NYC retail landscape. The mix of high and low in terms of price point and product offering was smart - it gives an entry point to young customers to become loyal Nordstrom customers. There were plenty of places for customers to stop, socialize and have cocktails - which created a more social-club feel than a typical department store. Whether that can be replicated in markets where people drive to stores is another story, but in NYC it was an added plus.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2019

    Best Buy is ready for Christmas with free next-day deliveries for almost everyone

    Offering next-day delivery certainly isn't going to hurt Best Buy's business. Offering another option for their customers continues to show that Best Buy is determined to challenge and pressure their competition. And by offering it to all customers, it gives them yet another chance to offer their loyalty program to new people. Smart move by Best Buy.

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