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Stu Conroy

We've sold over 10 million products online, opened four shops and interested in the consumer experience for brands and retailers.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2016

    Is PetSmart barking up the right/wrong tree with same-day delivery?

    We've been looking at logistics requirements and still struggle to see the obsession with same-day delivery. Having said that we didn't think we needed an iPad five years ago and if we order something that is not next-day we get anxious and get cold sweats. What products need to be same-day apart from perhaps pharmaceuticals or groceries? I struggle to believe that a pet owner wouldn't have something in their cupboard that would help them get by and relieve their angst and anxiety at needing to get pet food the same day. We're going down a route where it will be difficult for any sort of patience and anticipation -- where we all need pills to calm our nerves if we run out of a product. A UK comedian pointed out a few years ago our dependence on things that we take for granted. We can get live pictures beamed from around the world to an HD screen in our hand but if we lose our internet connection for a fraction of a second we're disgusted at all things technology-based. We will reap what we sow. Next-day delivery is fine for stress levels.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2016

    Omnichannel changes how retailers make price and promo decisions

    It's amazing how many brands would not be able to implement consistent pricing due to their distribution management. An earlier article on this site pointed to Louis Vuitton not wanting to sell on marketplaces and somebody pointing out that nearly 3000 of their products were listed on the most famous one. The omnichannel path is filled with new challenges that new brands appear to handle in many ways better than more established brands who were geared up for a previous era. So a brand now must control its global distribution down to the store level. In many ways it is easier to offer deals in-store below an online price as it is not in the public eye for all to see, only the localized micro level. A brand must have full awareness of who is selling its products, where and how at the same time as promoting so that it can adhere to an "integrated approach of setting omnichannel prices and designing customer-centric promotions." After that it is unfettered to manage its promotions across the key channels to the end-consumer.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2016

    Ode to retail: Death of the traditional mall

    For me, another way to look at this is to ask, what would happen if the malls were not there? I fully understand the comments about the location of a mall, as it is with the location of any business. It is also critical that there are compelling components within it. The key for me though is why customers will need malls in the future and how they interact with their retail or leisure time. If the same products being shown are online and cheaper on marketplace sites then the behavioral habits of impulse purchasing changes to one of impulse decision making ... with delivery later. If the malls were not there this obviously could not happen. How would a brand stand out? How would it reach the local customer base? if between 33 percent and 50 percent of clothing purchases get returned online, does that say something about the lack of convenience of online shopping in certain sectors? In one sector we deal in there are 4.5 million listings on Amazon and if your product is outside the top couple of pages (or you don't have something very aptly named that hits the nail exactly on the head) then a consumer just won't ever see your product. So for many brands having the consumer get their hands on a product or gain familiarity with the brand in a store is still a crucial factor. In many instances these are cool brands or established brands that get missed unless somebody has established brand loyalty. The malls are in many ways not dying but actually slowly killing themselves if they do not adapt. They have to be, as Ralph Jacobson points out, more social experiences and bring more to the community. This must be coupled with brands doing more to promote the experience.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2016

    Should high-end brands avoid Amazon?

    if you are selling in the UK or USA I cannot see how you cannot have Amazon as part of your strategy. They are the logistic powerhouse and have made the whole online process easier than anybody else. There are many ways of working with Amazon and whilst there are lots of issues they face, as would any company growing at the rate they have, they do make it incredibly easy for the consumer. I have been very disappointed lately purchasing from big brands, on their own sites, who are shipping to the UK from different countries, providing poor customer communication and so far behind what Amazon can deliver on. The concern would be the dominance Amazon have and they have already started to squeeze with more intensity on suppliers as they look to get brands directly. The trouble is like in traditional shelf space they cannot give prominence to every brand so the brands still have to build outside of Amazon. Amazon should only be used as part of the strategy but like a few of the posters here have mentioned, if the big brands don't do it, they will already see their products on Amazon and inevitably poorly represented and damaging to their actual brand positioning.
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