Steve Rowen

Managing Partner, RSR Research

Steve Rowen is a Managing Partner at Retail Systems Research, an industry market intelligence firm that helps retailers make more strategic decisions about the role of information technology in their enterprise. He focuses on areas of emerging impact on retail and is widely regarded as one of the most informed and objective voices in the industry today.

Steve began his career in retail, entering the tech space as a project manager at a software development company in New York City during the dot com era. After a number of years working as a retail specific journalist, he made the transition to retail industry analyst in 2006. He co-founded RSR in 2007.

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  • Posted on: 02/23/2022

    Walmart puts its fashion storytelling skills to the test

    Will there be any - any - mention of sustainability in any of this storytelling? We all keep saying "it's long overdue," and we all keep waiting for someone to take the lead here and by, all accounts, Walmart has done quite a bit in the "ecoworld" whenever it can save them money (trucking, supply chain, etc). But the question is, if sustainability is important to them (and it's rumored that there are people high within the ranks for whom it is), and storytelling is something the brand aspires to do more of, will this be a chance to tell even the slightest fraction of that bit as a story? Why not combine the two? It would be epic.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2022

    Has Macy’s become a different and better retailer?

    I am genuinely happy to hear this news. As a lifelong city dweller (and uncle to six) I don't think I realized what an important role malls still play in giving bored teenagers - especially in the city - something to do after school and on weekends. This one became real clear - real fast - in the earliest days of the pandemic. So kids need malls (who knew?) And malls need Macy's. So here we go, Macy's. Now if the brand was just able to get the kids to spend money there...
  • Posted on: 02/23/2022

    Yeti is leaving Lowe’s to focus on DTC and key wholesale accounts

    This also signals that the brand never made sense to sell into Lowe's to begin with. Does a coffee cup, cooler or lunchbox make sense on a genuine construction site (or at the house during a Saturday morning project)? Absolutely. But the nature of Yeti's marketing is geared more toward the luxury thinking side of the brain than it than it is toward the practical. The person might be one and the same, but they aren't thinking "let's pick up a $60 water bottle" when they're about to be covered in drywall dust in the attic. And few actual construction workers are about to try and explain the receipt for a $400 cooler to their boss. The "overegineered" marketing they've been so loyal to (their word, not mine), works great at an REI. Clearly not at Lowe's. Yeti's is a luxury product, whether they originally set out to be or not.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2022

    Should Amazon be broken up?

    This is a really interesting way of looking at this issue. Respectfully, as it relates to the "intertwined" notion - would you see peeling Amazon's Web Services from its retail operations as having a major effect, apart from creating two very successful businesses from where there is currently just one? From where I sit, they appear to be two very different companies (and products, and models, etc.) -- and could carry on quite nicely as separate entities.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2022

    Should dogs be allowed in stores?

    No. And "stress relief ostriches" should also be left at the door. :)

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