Verlin Youd

SVP Sales & Business Development, Theatro
Verlin is a global retail technology solution executive with 20 years of successful retail industry and software experience. He is currently SVP Global Sales for Theatro, an innovative start-up dedicated to driving efficient and effective communication across the entire workforce, especially hourly workers. Verlin has held senior executive positions at a number of innovative solution providers, including Verizon, SCOPIX, SAP, Motorola, IBM, and Systech Retail Solutions. As Managing Principal at Verizon Verlin was responsible for delivering value to the largest retail clients. At SCOPIX Verlin was SVP Sales, Marketing & Delivery and drove high ROI value using video analytics and business intelligence. A Retail, Wholesale & Transportation at SAP, Verlin was responsible for the global retail, wholesale, and transportation solutions portfolio and business. Prior to SAP, Mr. Youd was the VP/GM of Global Industry Solutions for Motorola where he led strategies and initiatives across all target industries including Retail, Wholesale, and Transportation, as well as Manufacturing, Energy and Utilities, Healthcare and Field Mobility. Verlin held the same position at Symbol Technologies prior to Motorola’s acquisition in 2007. He also spent time at IBM and Systech Retail Systems (now part of Oracle & Omnicorp), where he held a variety of executive and management roles in roles in sales, marketing, solutions, channels, product management, and development. 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 (RetailROI) where is enjoys focusing on initiatives in Haiti, his second home. All opinions expressed by Verlin are his own, and not those of his current employer.
  • 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.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2022

    More consumers are developing the subscription box habit. Retailers should too.

    To answer the second question - yes and I don't understand why more retailers aren't diving into this market now. As for the first question, the keys to operating a successful subscription box service are not so different from the right store experience - right product (fresh and interesting), right place (on-time and convenient delivery/pick-up), at the right price (value and competitive) - with the addition of being very responsive to customer feedback to adjust the offers over time, leveraging crowd/social reviews and interaction, and constantly updating the offer to keep it fresh, relevant, and interesting enough to continue. It's not an easy gig, but well worth it if done right in terms of customer loyalty and sales growth. So, why aren't retailers acquiring subscription box providers now?
  • Posted on: 07/12/2022

    Amazon says it has built a better smart shopping cart

    Interesting to see new tries at an old idea. One of my first professional assignments in 1991 was to do a full evaluation on SmartCarte (sp?) -- a strikingly similar solution. Of course, technology has come a long way and shopping habits have evolved substantially, since the early '90s. However some of the conclusions remain the same. First, customers will use it if there is a true benefit -- be it time, convenience, or some other incentive. The benefit here is yet to be proven. Second, retailers will adopt it if it creates more value, particularly if it results in cost reduction. Third, the quality and quantity of technology mean nothing if the retailer doesn't get the merchandise and customer experience right. I won't be interested in a cart that can weigh my tomatoes if I can't get good tomatoes in the first place. This juror is still out.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2022

    Should Costco raise its food court prices?

    Costco should stick to their successful long term committed pricing strategy, including maximum margin markups as well as preserving several iconic price points, like the rotisserie chicken and hot dog and drink. This naturally results in price changes on many items and food court items can certainly be included.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2022

    There might soon be no one left to hire at Amazon’s warehouses

    Agree with what Steve mentions above. At its core, the answer is economics. Amazon needs to figure out how to provide more value to its employees in order to retain and attract (note, retain first) employees who can be valuable contributors for years.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2022

    Will ‘coopetition’ enable retailers to profitably deliver online orders?

    Seems like a creative, responsible, economic and ecologically friendly approach to delivery of retail goods. It would also seem to be a way to provide an alternative to the de facto consolidator today, Amazon. Of course, it's also smart of American Eagle to suggest this approach, given their recent investments.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2022

    Should dietitians patrol Kroger’s supermarket aisles?

    What a great idea! Many are trying to work on healthier living, dealing with diabetes, trying to increase quality of life in retirement, etc. However, this would require a strategic investment, in an industry that lives on very low margins and is accustomed to investing the minimal required. Perhaps there could be an interesting arrangement with a third party provider, with some kind of cost/profit sharing to enable the partnership.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2022

    Nike steps up its game with a new tech innovation center

    This can be a strategic advantage, IF it actually translates into solutions that get moved into the business driving value. All too often innovation initiatives turn into labs for science projects that never materialize into scalable solutions that drive business value. In order to succeed, Nike will need to measure and manage a pipeline into the business, and ensure innovation leaders understand and deliver on those expectations.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2022

    Will Fresh Market’s ‘club hub’ frequent purchase program drive loyalty?

    The Fresh Market likes to be seen as different, and they're doing it again with their new loyalty program. As a regular Fresh Market shopper, it seems to complex and specific to really get me interested. I get that they don't want a generic "discount or points" program like so many other grocers, but they'll need to find the right combination of value and ease of use to motivate shoppers to participate.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2021

    Frontline workers say management isn’t listening to them

    Bob, you are right on. Retailers like Walgreens, Macy's, Total Wine & More, Tractor Supply, Bass Pro, and many more understand the challenge and the impact of taking action by implementing real solutions that provide immediate value.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2021

    Frontline workers say management isn’t listening to them

    Yes, there is a huge gulf of communication between store teams and headquarters. This has become even more apparent and more urgent as democratization of communication becomes ubiquitous across our entire society, thanks to social media and modern technologies. If a store team member is not connected to their peers and management, real time and all the time, they are going to feel they are disconnected and that not only do their thoughts and opinions not matter, but also that they don't matter to that organization. In this situation, there is no way anyone can really listen to the frontline. At the same time, if a leadership team -- including HQ -- is not connected to their frontline store team members they have no chance of having the agility and adaptability needed to survive in today's fast-paced retail market. In this situation, there is no way that leadership can show they are listening and responding. As Bob Amster mentioned, some retailers understand the issue and are driving real solutions to not only address the issue, but reap business benefits as a result. Next time you in a Walgreens, Total Wine & More, Container Store, Tractor Supply, or Bass Pro/Cabelas, check out how they are connecting every team member all of the time to drive customer experience, associate engagement, and significant productivity gains -- of great importance when everyone is short-staffed. Bottom line, if retailers don't figure out how to listen and respond to their frontline, that frontline going to turn over even more than they already are!
  • Posted on: 07/08/2021

    Could Dollar General become a go-to healthcare resource in rural America?

    Simple answer, yes. Why? Location, location, location. Dollar General has 16,000+ stores scattered throughout the rural US. Many of their customers and stores are far from a Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart, let alone a Target, Urgent Care, or Emergency Room. Drive most two-lane highways in the US and you're bound to come upon a Dollar General. Other benefits? Serving a very under served population that needs better medical advice and care and would see an increase in quality of life and decrease in overall cost impact to society. Challenges? Many! The right merchandise is one thing, but having the right "services" will require additional expertise and/or automation that would help deliver those services consistently in a highly distributed environment. Maybe an opportunity to run a dedicated video-based medical service leveraging the in-store network. New idea? Broadband internet guest access for those in-store or in the parking lot, a la Tractor Supply.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    And/or they need to find a way to be more efficient in other parts of the business, maybe in how they staff and support the store team across the board.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    Profitability of omnichannel can be achieved. One of the great benefits of the pandemic was the realization that delivery of omnichannel was possible, even if much of it was by brute force (throwing labor hours at it) with some getting it better than others but all realizing it's possible. A key to profitability is actual implementations that can be used as reference in driving the optimization required to get to profitability. Retailers as different as Walgreens, Tractor Supply, The Container Store, Wawa, Total Wine & More, and several others are using new store associate technologies to drive that optimization and profitability today!
  • Posted on: 03/29/2021

    Will drop shipping become a major catalyst of online growth?

    First, why hasn’t this been the case for years already? In a world where customer experience, including product availability, has been the focus for a long time, this should be old hat by now. Second, it’s been done very successfully in the B2B world for years, so there are many lessons learned and experience available to accelerate implementations. Finally, partnership will become even more critical in order to set correct expectations for customers and deliver consistently.

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