Zach Zalowitz

Director, Retail Consulting, Envista

Zach Zalowitz is the Omnichannel Solutions Lead for SCApath, a retail supply chain consulting firm specializing in strategy and systems implementation. He has worked with over 40 leading suppliers over the last two decades on key digital transformation projects in a number of roles. Zach is widely considered a triple threat in the consulting space, having an extensive background across leading Distributed Order Management Solutions (IBM, Manhattan Associates, Aptos), a full understanding of store and call-center operational execution, and thirdly in change-management aspects of the transformation.

Prior to his role at SCApath, Zach co-led the Design Lead team within Manhattan Associates Order Lifecycle Management Professional services, where he was one of the first OMS U.S. consultants. He has spoken on the topic of Order Management at numerous events, most recently at NRF, and has been quoted in a handful of leading digital publications.

Zach has a Bachelors Degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, focusing on Supply Chain Management and a collateral in Marketing. When not focused on Omnichannel and OMS, Zach is an avid music producer and hiker, recently having ascended Kilimanjaro.

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  • Posted on: 08/03/2020

    How is Tractor Supply acing the pandemic?

    The common attribute is a proactive investment in technology and people to handle cross-channel commerce. REI is another great example, and so is Ulta. These companies realize where the puck is going to be and they skate to the puck. The ones that haven't fared well were mired in internal politics, took an incredibly long time to deploy their technology and under-invested in the right human capital.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2020

    Why does it take a crisis for retailers to get innovative?

    The barriers exist both culturally and within the systems necessary to execute on the omnichannel strategy. It's been my experience that the change-management component has a huge influence as to whether to start, or whether retailers have started only to stop (or worse, fail). The technology barriers have, over the last five years specifically, become a moot point. If you need systems and system-process to execute, then there are a number of technologies and partners available to execute. You simply need a leader in the organization, a goal to hit, and to have it adequately staffed. This obviously means an investment is necessary but the question should be, what's the payback period and where in the business is the payback going to occur?
  • Posted on: 07/15/2020

    Are subscriptions a winning strategy to get through the pandemic?

    Retailers should most definitely consider launching this functionality. We have a number of my current customers achieving this in their OMS and others that need advanced analytics go to a standalone application. Differentiating comes down to ability to skip or hold subscriptions, and also the ability to apply AI/ML into fine-tuning what the next subscription box shows (vs. giving the same KIT over and over again, for example). We'll only continue to see the subscription business grow, the question is can this be done with a leading OMS or do some retailers need to pay the premium for advanced standalone solutions.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2020

    Has COVID-19 exacerbated online return challenges?

    Similar to other things, this pandemic is highlighting existing issues exacerbated by increases in commerce volume. For too long the issue of returns and returns management has been under-served. The real solution lies in resolving returns before they happen, and retailers should look to ensuring better fit up front in the buying process and expand the use of crowd-sourced reviews in their online buying process to head off returns happening in the first place. Likewise, induction of returned goods back into supply chain has been long misunderstood as a cost-center vs. a competitive advantage, meaning retailers look at it as a cost of doing business and not an opportunity to rebalance (sellable) inventory in their network while "saving the sale" to the customer. Solving the retail returns problem is easiest when you stop the need for returns before they happen, and this is often where retailers are under-invested.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2020

    Lululemon moves into in-home fitness with $500M deal for Mirror

    This is exciting, and I think they're getting this company for a steal! I love that a largely apparel-based company is getting into the whole "ecosystem" sell. You're going to see a lot more of these to come!
  • Posted on: 06/15/2020

    Should Children’s Place’s future be digital?

    I see this move to close stores and lean more into e-commerce as critical to success in the future. It sounds like they have a substantial fulfillment network which is highly automated in the DC, which is great if it's the case! From a store perspective, taking up fewer square feet for the inventory in the stores (if not doing SFS) and creating more experiences, paired with a fast/automated fulfillment network may be the best approach for them. One thing they can do is take a long and hard look at which stores should be vs. shouldn't be fulfilling. There's still benefit to ship-from and ship-to-store flows, but often companies like Children's Place over-activate stores, just because they think it's the right thing to do. This reassessment may open up more speed and maintain cost for when it's not always best to fulfill from a DC that is perhaps not as close.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Is the future of retailing going dark?

    No need to over-answer this one -- an emphatic "yes."
  • Posted on: 06/02/2020

    Do retailers need to go beyond ‘reopening playbooks’?

    These measures are only good to the extent that people are notified of them and see and perceive them as being done. As an example, for a grocery store that has been open all along, it's critical someone near the grocery carts is seen at all times, reassuring that the carts are indeed clean and ready to use. Similarly, I think people are going to look to the traditional retailer to tell them what measures they're taking and, importantly, to see those measures being reinforced verbally and optically to give reassurances that they're in a safe and "clean" environment. One thing for sure, nothing is going to be normal for a long time, and I imagine these playbooks become game plans for what the new normal becomes.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2020

    Are Target’s skyrocketing online sales retail’s new normal?

    This will absolutely become the new normal. Target is now reaping the benefits of having a superior digital customer flow that is well-executed. Target is the prime example of where the industry as a whole is going. Digital will increase, and stores will now be front and center as the means of distribution!
  • Posted on: 04/21/2020

    How should stores reopen?

    I'm reading this as "We (Starbucks) will lead from an overall standpoint, in coordination at national level, and with our 'green light' that we are prepared from a supplies/policy/execution standpoint -- we will then ultimately put this decision in the hands of field-managers that have the best sense of what's necessary for their staff's safety and their community." A long sentence to skirt around the fact that this is really a top-down decision.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2020

    How should stores reopen?

    I too was a little confused why we were even asking this question (not a shot at RW, rather if this is actually a question retailers are asking).
  • Posted on: 04/21/2020

    How should stores reopen?

    You're absolutely correct Carol. Well said!
  • Posted on: 04/20/2020

    Should fashion retailers mothball spring?

    While understanding there's no "right answer" across the board here, what I would assume is that highly-seasonal products need to be sold online rather than in stores, as best as they can be. A bird in the hand now, even at reduced margin, would free up some cash while moving inventory in the process. My thought here is simply that we don't know how long this will last. We could very well be in a second peak in September/October of this year having the same conversation about fall inventory. Cash is king right now, and some cash now is better than potentially less later.
  • Posted on: 04/14/2020

    Has COVID-19 turned fashion into an endangered retail species?

    I don't mean to sound negative about this, but I see this as a thinning of the herd that is necessary. If you make a great product, regardless of the seasonality, and the brand is well run and well positioned financially, then you ride this out. Too often the retailers I've been in that don't have that brand loyalty and are "dime a dozen" get squeezed out naturally. For example - I've worn Ralph Lauren my whole life. They largely are a wholesaler to Macy's and the like. They are a *brand* and not a retailer themselves, so I obviously don't see them going anywhere. Same with Lulu and others. The challenge, which they had before, was relevance. COVID-19 doesn't change that.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2020

    Retailers act to protect seniors from coronavirus shopping chaos and contamination

    Makes total sense. It's more important than ever that we turn towards each other, and not against each other. There should also be restrictions on order quantities, both physical and digital, for specific items that are in high demand!

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