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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: 10/16/2020

    Amazon follows record-setting Prime Day with Holiday Dash Deal events

    I don't believe we will see holiday sales increase this year - they will be spread out over more time. We will see a spike in October sales (which typically is a quiet retail month). November could actually maintain as retailers are offering deals throughout the month - there will just be a significant drop on Black Friday weekend. I would predict December will be softer than previous years. Hopefully the amount of last minute shoppers will shrink due to the offers being offered for months in advance.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2020

    Is YouTube a shopping powerhouse waiting to happen?

    As the article mentions, live stream video is huge in China - and from what we have seen over the past several years, how the customer behaves in China becomes the global norm, for instance, the continued shift to mobile shopping from desktop. Whether or not YouTube will be the predominant video shopping platform is still to be determined - Qurate has the legacy advantage and other social platforms like Instagram and TikTok will be strong competitors as well.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2020

    Bed Bath & Beyond CEO’s turnaround plan may just work

    Mark Tritton continues to make smart and bold moves to turn the Bed Bath & Beyond business around. Divesting divisions of the company that aren't part of the forward strategy is the right move. I have personally used their BOPIS and it was seamless, however the store still needs to be refreshed. I'm looking forward to more changes to improve the customer experience!
  • Posted on: 10/13/2020

    eBay to guarantee the authenticity of collectible sneakers

    I agree with Neil - while this is a smart move by eBay to guarantee authenticity, StockX, GOAT and others are where the re-sell sneaker action really is happening. eBay is late here.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2020

    Will FAO Schwarz make Target a bigger player in toys?

    The toy category will be more important this year - it will likely turn into a price war - therefore FAO is a point of differentiation for Target. Will it mean that much to the customer? That remains to be seen.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2020

    What’s behind the Amazon/SpartanNash deal?

    A deal like this continues Amazon’s plan to take market share in grocery. Expect to see more of these deals in the future where Amazon partners with experts in their field where Amazon can learn and expand their current business model.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2020

    Staples to accept returns from other stores

    Anything that is customer-centric should be looked at as a positive. Offering this as a service does not hurt Staples' value proposition to its customers.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2020

    Will Dollar General win over higher-income consumers with its new store concept?

    This is a great time for DG to test and learn as much of the rest of retail is reeling. Lots of real estate options for DG to optimize at a discount if this test succeeds.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2020

    Are employees or execs holding back data-driven cultures?

    All levels of an organization should have some knowledge of data literacy. C-level executives need to lead the way by supporting data-driven decisions and initiatives - without this support, a data-driven culture isn't going to happen.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2020

    Retailers and brands shortchange cross-platform analytics tools

    A big challenge is that many people in the business unit of these organizations are not asking the correct questions that can be solved from the data that is available. Many people assume that the data is going to tell them what to do - and that is simply not the case. The data is there to help the marketing teams determine if their hypotheses and strategies are correct or incorrect, but the data isn't going to do it for them. Data has the opportunity to be a game changer for retailers and brands in the future if the leaders can optimize it.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2020

    Will Walmart’s new private clothing line have ‘staying power’?'s target customer is different than the in-store customer. They are targeting families with incomes at $100,000 plus in metro areas. Therefore this move to offer more expensive apparel lines makes sense in terms of the product offering and price. They will learn from it and take the data for future brands both in-store and online. Walmart continues to offer new and interesting ideas and concepts on a weekly basis these days.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2020

    Patagonia wants to ‘Vote the a**holes out’

    Patagonia knows their customer base as well as the best retailers in the world do. This is specifically targeted to their customers while also getting a little buzz in the media. However other brands should tread lightly with this type of overt message - it's not for everyone.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2020

    Will 2020 be the year the holiday selling season changed forever?

    Customer behavior has changed. The idea of holiday promotions shifting into October makes sense - and retailers in typical fashion will need to anniversary those numbers - therefore, the events (if successful) will continue year after year. I am very interested in the 10.10 shopping event and how it will perform. I experienced Singles Day for the first time in China - it isn't just a shopping event. It is a combination of music, celebrity and shopping. It's bringing entertainment and shopping together - with the majority of this happening on a mobile device. This is the beauty of the event - will the 10.10 event be the same?
  • Posted on: 09/18/2020

    Online to make up 21.5 percent of grocery’s sales in five years

    At this point, those grocery chains that are not providing a seamless omnichannel operation are way behind the curve and have to move extremely quickly to catch up. Customers want to have the option of both online and in-store shopping and the chains that don't provide that are missing the opportunity.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2020

    Will runners subscribe to a 100 percent recyclable shoe rental plan?

    The key here is that the customer gets a new pair each time. If the shoe fits the customer, then I think this can work. I don’t see this in other categories, unless it's a person that always wears the same dress shoe and might want to just get a new pair often? But it seems like a bit of a stretch.
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