PROFILE

Verlin Youd

SVP Americas, Ariadne
Verlin is a global retail technology solution executive with 25 years of successful retail industry and technology solution experience. He is currently SVP Americas for Ariadne, a successful European based start-up now focused on growth in the Americas. Ariadne delivers real-time, high-accuracy, privacy-protecting customer and crowd analytics generated in physical locations. Verlin has held senior executive positions at a number of innovative solution providers, including Theatro, Verizon, SCOPIX, SAP, Motorola, Systech Retail Solutions, and IBM. He has held leadership roles in Sales, Business Development, Customer Success, Partners/Channels, Marketing, Product Management, Product Development & Support. Verlin holds a BS in Finance from Brigham Young University, and an MBA from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He resides with his family in North Carolina where he is active in local community groups, activities and charitable organizations, including the Retail Orphan Initiative (https://www.retailroi.org/) where is enjoys focusing on initiatives in Haiti, his second home. All opinions expressed by Verlin are his own, and not those of a current or prior employer.
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  • Posted on: 11/22/2022

    The direct-to-consumer kitchenware brand Our Place gets physical

    The pandemic changed the world, including perceptions around the idea of preparing food at home as well as increasing the focus on experiences rather than things. The New York Times cooking section seems to be more ubiquitous than ever before -- referenced more than once at our annual community pie night at our home last night. Our Place has a chance to capitalize on three trends. First, they can learn from online retailers who've leveraged brick-and-mortar, like Warby Parker, Allbirds, Marine Layer and many others. Second, they can catch the continued wave of those wanting to prepare more meals at home. Third, they can cater (pun intended here as well) to the trend of having experiences, in this case learning to cook with others. With the right approach, Our Place, will be able to earn the right to continue to provide value to the ever new consumer.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2022

    Will John Lewis or Publix win the RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge?

    I love that both ads focus on human connections rather than more in-your-face commercial aspects of the holiday season. The John Lewis ad pulls just ahead of the Publix ad for the theme of reaching above and beyond direct family, helping out others in need at what can be a very challenging time of year. I will agree with Kathleen that the Publix ad was more connected to their specific brand and offering.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2022

    Lowe’s sells its Canadian ops to focus on the U.S.

    It's the right move, but a huge hit in terms of dollars. Lowe's bought RONA for $2.4B in 2016 under a different CEO and largely different management team and is now selling it for $0.4B. With the Home Depot success, and market domination in most of Canada, someone should be able to figure out how to position a real competitor.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2022

    Is transactional data the key to understanding retail customer behavior?

    Yes, as well as the quantitative data that examines and highlights all of the behavior prior to transaction!
  • Posted on: 11/10/2022

    Is transactional data the key to understanding retail customer behavior?

    Absolutely! Traffic and conversion are a good start to understanding all of the behavior that goes on prior to checkout. New solutions are finally providing a useful window into that behavior.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2022

    Is transactional data the key to understanding retail customer behavior?

    Totally agree. Knowing how customers are behaving prior to checkout is a goldmine. Figuring out how to efficiently get that data has been a great challenge ... and some new solutions seem to be helping.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2022

    Is transactional data the key to understanding retail customer behavior?

    Apologies for length ... two comments: 1. Good retailers have been doing this for years! 25+ years ago my team at IBM was delivering software that used the POS transaction log to deliver insights on customer loyalty and performance as well as handle delivering what were then complex offers that had been delivered to different cohorts, if desired. 2. This is only measuring one specific behavior -- purchase. Purchase is very important of course, it's the final and confirming action of a customer in a store. However, as we've learned from e-commerce, there is so much more to understand, manage, and modify than just the purchase. (Example Store Corollaries: where do customers go in the store, what adjacent products increase/decrease sales for a product, how do adjacent promotions impact sales of a product, how does physical placement change purchasing behavior, how long does a customer consider a product before picking it or moving on, do customers return to locations previously visited, how do customers actually flow through the physical space, what is the relationship between customers and store team members, how do in department/aisle displays impact behavior and purchase, and I could go on and on!) If the purchase is 20% of the behavior, retailers are missing 80% of the behavior in-store ... that is where gold is to be found for impactful insights. Correlating that gold to the purchasing data is where retailers will find the diamonds! (WARNING - SHAMELESS PROMOTION - this is exactly what www.ariadnemaps.com is already delivering to retailers, along with malls, airports, cities.) Keep mining that t-log for incremental value, find the other 80% of the gold by exploring the behavior before checkout. New technology is making it doable and cost effective.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2022

    Will Target’s new store format be even a bigger hit with its guests?

    Change and adaptation are universal truths for survival. It shows intelligence to chose to adapt and change rather than be forced in a far more traumatic way, in contrast to several retailers going through forced transformations today. The change to aesthetics, although interesting, would not seem as important to the actual business process and physical workflow impact. I'll be interested to see if the actual shopping space is increased, or if the increased footage is to provide the backroom space necessary to continue to evolve an efficient, effective, and popular BOPIS/BOPIC experience with minimal impact to the in-store shopping experience.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2022

    Walmart takes a stake in a rancher-owned beef company

    Gene, totally agreed. I expect the Walmart acquisition to be successful. However, very few others can do what Walmart can do.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2022

    Walmart takes a stake in a rancher-owned beef company

    Good points Bob. An interesting twist is, will that supply chain change whether we want to mess with it or not? Retailers are learning lessons from other industries like eyeglasses, where just a few players dominate the entire vertical chain, from raw materials to the insurance that covers the purchase of glasses.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2022

    Walmart takes a stake in a rancher-owned beef company

    First, we have to accept that Walmart is not just a large grocery retailer. They are a segment and frankly an economy unto themselves. Second, when Walmart decides to do something they usually figure out how to do it right, at least since learning some valuable expansion lessons in the '90s. That said, vertical integration is a very natural path, particularly with a category that is in as much flux as beef. Walmart has a chance to stabilize their own supply chain, adapt to changing consumer preferences, and continue to grow their business. Makes me wish our family hadn't divested the Bar-Y ranch a few years back.
  • Posted on: 09/02/2022

    Will Americans get started earlier or later this year on their Christmas shopping?

    Yes, U.S. consumers will continue their evolution of shopping habits, flattening the curve that now has an extended lower peak from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. Overstocks at some and recessionary worries at all will motivate retailers to drive promotions and marketing earlier than ever. Low unemployment and decreasing gas prices will fuel the trend. (Sorry, all puns intended.)
  • Posted on: 09/01/2022

    Will Sam’s Club customers be okay with paying a higher membership fee?

    I don't think a 10% increase is going to have a material impact on number of members. Of course Costco and BJs will be watching. Wouldn't surprise me to see Sam's follow suit, but I'd predict Costco stays where they are for now.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2022

    Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s new turnaround plan work any better than the previous one?

    First, the changes are a beginning and only a beginning, just enough to secure the financing necessary to stay in business while they figure out the "real" strategy to be sustainable as a retailer. What are the challenges? Now those are basic. 1) Relevant value to customers -- right product, price, experience to warrant a visit to the store and buying something. 2) Staffing that supports #1, particularly the planned store experience. 3) Management talent and investor patience to get the job done right. My concern is that they just let go some really good management talent. There is some good talent left, but without the investment and support needed they may be looking elsewhere. I wish them well, perhaps learning from Best Buy and figuring out how to stay relevant in physical retail.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2022

    Can a grocery store teach its customers to love to cook?

    Will this grocer succeed? In the short term, yes. They will have strong initial interest from a culture that is looking for the next cool thing, wanting to try out new experiences, and in a geographic location and culture where this kind of "new" thing will be popular. However in the long run they will fall victim to customers needing to take the extra time to go to another store to complete their regular shopping and the difficulty of keeping the experience new, interesting and relevant enough to justify the time investment by their customers.

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