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: 01/21/2020

    Does convenience trump price for today’s consumer?

    The specific changes are as follows: 1.) one-Click ordering, 2.) saved "omnichannel" payment tokens, 3.) saved preferences/suggested buying based on prior order history, 4.) More accurate and helpful previous ratings and, finally, 5) omni-cart technology to take your checkout cart started in one channel and finish the order process in another. All the above should be in play for most retailers, but often none are done. The key to unlocking a convenient and therefore fast process is to remove the friction with these five things above.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Will ‘five pillars’ provide the foundation Bed Bath & Beyond needs to succeed?

    I've been inside of Bed Bath & Beyond on a few omnichannel technology projects and can tell you that they have both the capability to change and some great talent. To others' points, this is a "yeah, duh" approach, but that's what Bed Bath & Beyond needs now. To get back to basics, specifically making sense of their assortment. It seems so odd to me that there are 9 different types of pans and towels when I only need one cheap option, two middle and one premium. To me it's "product" because "place" is a no-brainer. BOPIS is standard now in the industry at this tier 1 level (e.g. Target, Walmart) and speed is standard too (again, e.g. Target, Walmart, Amazon)... where will the battlefield be in two years is the question -- Being in my mid-thirties, and a recently-engaged "DINK" consultant with disposable income it seems to me that service and product in my demographic should be top priority, yet I walk into a Bed Bath & Beyond and it seems more like a TJX than a Target...
  • Posted on: 01/03/2020

    Which retailer will rule in 2020?

    While I'm a huge Target fan, the one retailer we haven't yet mentioned is ULTA. I'll say this much -- They have the number of stores and distribution points to rival Target/Walmart, with a market that is growing. They're expanding internationally, and it's likely they'll continue to focus on speed of delivery in the coming years based on their substantial supply chain. Keep an eye out for what ULTA has in store in the coming year!
  • Posted on: 12/23/2019

    Is BOPIS over its growing pains?

    There are two answers here: The retailers that are excelling at it are crushing it. KSA's average wait-times are maybe weighted, given that leading retailers have the pickup occurring within a minute to two, while I imagine others are taking much much longer. The difference is a lack of planning and unwillingness to adopt changes to stores and online policies to create a truly "fast and convenient" BOPIS experience. It's also unclear how that four-minute pickup takes into account self-serve pickup vs. counter/cash-wrap pickup vs. "Hold on I'll get it for you from the back." My point? BOPIS hasn't been standardized into what best practice really is yet, and as a result we'll continue to see large swings in pickup times and experiences. One thing for sure is that the ones that excel in "fast and convenient" will reap the rewards.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2019

    Mobile jumps out as retailers get a mixed start to the holiday season

    Operationally, the changes retailers could make would be to take someone who had been on the floor serving customers and use that staffing capacity to pick orders instead (and pack and stage in the backroom). Same staffing, but arguably better utilization of employees and inventory. Separately, I would imagine that bringing digital into the stores more by way of endless-aisle and clienteling capabilities would help them leverage technology while in the stores. DSW has recently done a roll-out of new in-store technology which I loved seeing -- this helps leverage the trend of consumers using their own mobile devices to quickly access information, and instead allows the store associate to be a conduit for them (likely increasing sales to offset slumps due to lower traffic comps).
  • Posted on: 12/02/2019

    Why is Allbirds asking Amazon to do a better job ripping it off?

    I love the approach. What reaction does Amazon have, if any, to this message? It's best for them to ignore it and move onward. I'm not sure it will change anything about Amazon continuing to copy product. Also, this is the least of the trademark issues facing retail. We're nowhere near addressing the problem of China's IP infringements. Let's talk about that.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    Should customers just be paid for their data?

    The short answer is, no. There's both implied and explicit swaps in value for their information. Since there's no charge for most social media the way they monetize is through your data. As of this year, data is more valuable a "commodity" than oil! Now if it's just general data for people you shop with, then you should opt in or opt out, but if you opt in, don't expect anything for it.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2019

    Express Launches digital-first DTC wellness brand

    The obvious advantage is low cost to enter, especially if leveraging the supply chain and back-office resources of the parent company. I was interested to hear it was Shopify that was the e-commerce platform vs. the enterprise e-commerce tool that Express uses. I for one love this idea of spinning up micro-brands under the main brand, but at the same time question whether this is a little "off-brand" for Express. I think a company like Gap Inc. has a little more latitude to create and launch a brand like this. I'd even think someone like Eddie Bauer may do something similar to this. When I think of Express, I think of fitted shirts and pants. A relaxed comfort brand (especially in the same store), for me (as a Millennial) doesn't jive with the main brand. All that is to say, I think this would have to simply be another brand in the portfolio, and trying to cross this brand in the future into an Express store likely will produce a disconnect with the consumer while taking up valuable floor space in the stores.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2019

    Will free same-day delivery boost Macy’s online sales?

    I led a panel on this exact topic (albeit not only Macy's) last week. The hurdles discussed were:
    1. Awareness from the customer that the offering exists;
    2. Eligibility of SKUs to provide through service, i.e. ability to pick them by set times to make available for pickup. Some SKUs fare better than others, and the common mistake mentioned was "over activating" SKUs at first.
    3. Consistency in delivery - As with UberEats, DoorDash and other services that deliver food, finding the marriage between the pickup occurring on time and getting it to the consumer, un-damaged and within a reasonable timeframe is a big bogey.
    My take is this - When we say same-day, we really mean "as fast as possible." Proximity to customer, accuracy of inventory (in stores) and a standardized experience for "the last 10 feet" are what separate good same-day programs from great same day-programs. The industry still has a lot to learn about this, and kudos to Macy's (again) for being out-front on having this capability. I expect others will follow in Macy's and Target's steps in coming two or three years ...
  • Posted on: 09/17/2019

    Have U.S. malls lost their sense of community?

    Good question Dick. My take is, people generally got less interested in malls. The merchandise mix waned and they realized they could get online what previously took a mall trip. This gave rise to trying to reinvent ways to get them back in and, to your point, the theater/health clubs don't get inside traffic, they get traffic to where they are physically located in the mall. For Phipps in Atlanta, the movie theater is in middle but I also don't think it drives that much more traffic (during the night?) to the high-end stores. My point is, the mall needs to have a new purpose.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2019

    Have U.S. malls lost their sense of community?

    Malls definitely can revive the sense of community, but not without some serious changes. I for one think major book-end department stores should begin to vacate and (to the other question) I think experiential retail is *not* over-hyped -- it's just on a maturity curve and hasn't fully caught on with most retailers. Experience is the only leg up in physical retail, so I'm actually left wondering why it hasn't caught on quicker. For example, there should be a Peleton studio in every mall. Sell men's business casual clothing? You should have personal stylists that track and understand your customer preferences and sizes (looking at you J.Crew and Banana Republic). Coffee snob? Barista lessons. Aspiring photographer? Photo lessons and post-editing lessons (why isn't there an Adobe store, yet?). I'm longing to go back to my youth in the '90s where the mall was the place to be, but I think given the macroeconomic issues most retailers are afraid to invest and take a risk.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2019

    Will bringing the outdoors inside stores work for J.C. Penney?

    Viable sales opportunity? Sure, anything new or assortment-extended is. The question is why. In an overall market where foot traffic is declining for most, I just wonder whether this is the thing that helps pull people into the stores. To others' points in their comments, this sounds more like plugging a missing assortment for outdoors, rather than a competitive leg-up. Here's a crazy idea - get local Boy Scouts (and Girl Scouts if they want) to come to J.C. Penney on a Sunday to learn the basics around outdoor survival skills. Box off part of the parking lot and make an event of it. Offer them discounts on select items while there. The parents buy something for themselves, and something for the kids. Give them a return coupon for a future visit in the coming three months (for a low percentage off). Back to the point - J.C. Penney needs to get folks remembering why they were so great before, and a new group of people in the door who haven't shopped there before. Offering this to someone like me, who can just as easily go to Eddie Bauer online, REI or any of a number of other similar stores doesn't move the needle. It has to also be a cost play, and that's usually at the expense of quality... Catch-22.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Will Walmart’s customers accept its rejection of the firearms ‘status quo’?

    I don't think the retailers are compelled to do anything. I think it's genuine in intent, but to others' points, it's not as if they are saying "we're going to give up 5 percent+ of our revenue." This *is* the right move to make, but it's one you make whether you're Walmart or not, because it's the right thing to do. Anything else is a publicity stunt. To the other questions, the consumer will see the genuine nature of the move and reward it in kind. Super simple...
  • Posted on: 08/30/2019

    Target leans on vendors in trade war

    Should Target absorb the entire hit for the tariff increase? No. Like others have noted, it's a game of leverage. The concern I have with this is the ripple effect it will have on U.S. and global economies. Target is, in essence, spreading the pain and the bullwhip will come back to bite us if other major retailers do the same. What's worse, the consumer's cost going up 5 percent or a series of medium/small business going belly-up because they were passed the cost by all the retailers they sell to and couldn't see through to the other end of the tunnel?
  • Posted on: 08/12/2019

    Nike to marry predictive analytics and RFID to optimize inventory performance

    A definitive "YES" is the answer. This is a current edge that will absolutely become a competitive necessity, however RFID still continues to lag as fully adopted technology in part due to cost. I've been seeing a lot of players in this space. Onera is another company making waves, where the optimal inventory and inventory protection levels are calculated in real-time to ensure proper distribution of inventory to its greatest need. I see more of the use cases in taking "stale" store inventory and shipping it via ship-from-store, but that's a byproduct of planning. The real gold is going further upstream to distribute the inventory quicker to the best place, up-front, before it goes stale!

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