A weekly audio episode presenting provocative conservations with Robin Lewis that are insightful and opinionated.
5/14/2021 Is Walmart Amazon’s headache? Or the opposite? Time is our currency in a digital marketplace, and the race is on for Amazon to become dominant in the physical space or Walmart to dominate the online space. If you play by the numbers, Amazon’s total revenue is projected to hit $660 billion by 2024 and Walmart will clock in at $630 billion. Listen in as Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, TRR’s chief strategist, debate the battle of the titans as both Amazon and Walmart build out their portfolios with third-party brands and a cascade of services as they face off dominating the future of retail.
May 7, 2021 It’s almost opening night for America, a tangible signal that happy days are here again with economic growth for nonessential retail finally in sight. But if New York City is the standard-bearer for post-pandemic optimism, we might be jumping the gun. Listen in as Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, TRR’s chief strategist, go in-depth on how in-store retail is going to move forward. A few of the issues: languishing customer Covid anxiety; pent-up demand for self-reward; the return-to-work need for updated wardrobes, from the waist down; consumer expectations for in-store experiences that matter – all complicated by inventory and supply chain chaos after 14 months of various stages of lockdown. Listen and learn!
April 29, 2021 It only took 10 years to rewrite retail history. In the past decade, retailing has been in full-scale deconstruction propelled by technology, consumer behaviors and the new rules of a digital marketplace. What will the next decade reveal? Retail engineers will run the business in tandem with chief experience experts who fuse the art and science of commerce transforming the transaction into a personal relationship. Listen in to Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, TRR’s chief strategist, as they discuss how the last ten years has reset the past 200 years of retail.
April 22, 2021 How do you redefine the retail store for a post-pandemic marketplace? How about a shared services platform that raises the bar on one-stop shopping? Add to that a membership program with a host of rewards, and you’ve built a loyalty model that customers can’t resist. Listen in as Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, TRR chief strategist, explore the next generation of retail services and why they are more important than ever to serve customers who demand convenience and curation
April 15, 2021 Welcome to the Roaring Twenties. Pent-up demand for self-reward, stimulus checks, pumped-up savings and rock-bottom interest rates will feed a spending frenzy. Are pricing power and inflation lurking? Not a chance! What we really need to pay attention to is the evolving devaluation of retail as we race to the bottom with endless promotions to get rid of senseless oversupply, perpetuated for over half a century, and now dumped into an incredible proliferation of off-price and dollar stores. Listen and learn from Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, TRR chief strategist.
April 8, 2021 Is Amazon following a rational, actionable physical store strategy? Or is it practicing a hit or miss scattershot approach to expanding its physical presence to a predicted 3600 store count? Listen to Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, chief strategist for TRR, as they debate Amazon’s future. Is Amazon actually in stealth mode to engineer another significant market disruption? Listen and learn!
April 1, 2021 How many retailers understand the profitable balance between owned-inventory and vendor-owned inventory? Collaborative partnerships create an endless aisle of choice for consumers and a sustainable solution for retailers to shrink their inventories. Collaborative Partnerships are the wave of the future and the high-performance retailer today operates as an openly shared distribution platform. Listen to Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, chief strategist for TRR as they delve into why new partnership models are replacing the antiquated wholesale-to-retail model.
March 25, 2021 What is Richard Baker thinking? It goes against all omnichannel reasoning to break Saks into separate divisions – except to claw profits out of each, which will ultimately make Saks another real estate play. Just look at what happened to Lord & Taylor. Listen to Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, chief strategy officer of TRR, as they deconstruct what’s happening to Saks and how it may play out as it moves backward, away from its core customer.
March 18, 2021 Take a look at what’s happening at Kohl’s. Many activists make their move out of short-term greed and take down brands for short-term profit. Their goal? Replace current board members with activists’ picks (Note: many bored, retired executives who want to get back in the game). The new activist-controlled board drives short-term financial engineering to yield a quick bump up in stock price. Then? They cash out. What’s a CEO with a solid long-term strategic plan to do? Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, chief strategy officer of TRR, look into how activist pirates can break the C-suite spirit and break a brand.
March 11, 2021 The revolving door CEO practice is a death knell. Tenured leadership has proven to deliver the best results, especially during a time of crisis – say a global pandemic or when a brand is failing. Listen to Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, chief strategy officer of TRR, as they reveal how replacing a CEO in a turnaround may lead to more failure.
March 4, 2021 Note to self: Inventory is a liability. The traditional retail/wholesale model is antiquated and irrelevant. The retailer is now the curator. Moving beyond the concession model is leasing real estate at the going rate and let brands do what they do best: deeply understand their customers and sell to them. Listen in to Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, chief strategy officer of TRR, as they reveal how collaboration through strategic partnerships between the retailer and brands is a powerful revenue driver.
February 25, 2021 How Not to Think Like a Retailer
Doug McMillon is shaking up conventional thinking and transforming Walmart beyond retail into a trusted advisor for its millions of customers. What did he do to make this behemoth brand into a touchpoint at the personal level for its loyal customers? Listen in as Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, TRR chief strategy officer, reveal how Walmart is redefining the new rules of retail, fusing tech with personalization to bring meaningful solutions to its customers.
February 18, 2021 With the explosion of ecommerce comes the explosion of returns. Walmart, Amazon and Target ask customers to keep some of their returns for free rather than clogging their logistics systems with the hassle of low-value, no-resale merchandise costing the industry $550 billion a year. What if this policy becomes as standard as free shipping? Listen to Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, chief strategy officer for TRR, as they caution the industry not to go down this rabbit hole.
February 11, 2021 “Hey Milton Friedman, listen up! I’m just a small town economist wannabe, but what I describe is a more powerful, free-market capitalistic economy — driven and sustained by the consumer who has the power to force commerce to give them what they want.” So says Robin Lewis as he describes the mandate to balance people, profit and the planet. Robin and Shelley E. Kohan, TRR chief strategy officer, deconstruct the move from shareholder focus to stakeholder inclusion.
February 4, 2021 – Three New Rules of Retail
Complex market forces require intelligent, innovative solutions, powered by technology. Customer-centric strategies that are interconnected and change with the changing landscape deliver a competitive edge. Who’s the poster child for this model? Tractor Supply Company.
- Neurologically connecting experiences attract new customers and develop loyalists.
- Preemptive distribution is essential to guarantee localization and relevance.
- A superior supply chain delivers exactly what your customers want.
Listen in as Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, chief strategy officer of TRR, dig into three new rules of retail that will define success with today’s informed, savvy, demanding customers.
January 27, 2021 The last mile delivery race is the key to a positive customer journey, and the last point of distribution must be as close to the consumer as possible. Amazon owns the science of distribution with its proliferations in delivery jets, trucks and drones supported by high tech. Now the last mile is coming to you with the explosion of thousands upon thousands of neighborhood stores across the country and a reduction of big box urban flagship stores and malls.
With more and shorter supply chains, retail becomes more relevant to its core customers who demand more personalization and better service. Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, chief strategy officer of TRR, explore the big emerging story of huge legacy retailers demassifying and going local supported by AI and analytics. It’s back to the future with local stores that know you by name. Listen and learn.
January 21, 2021 Listen in this week as Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, chief strategy officer for TRR, tackle the “Infinite Growth” pipe dream. Long story short, it’s a failed strategy of growth for growth’s sake that will not survive in the new world. Retailers are overstored and have been over producing, leading to supply chain disequilibrium. The newest and largest consumer group, Gen Z, demands the need for retailers to evolve from their old ways and embrace a flexible, customer-centric model. Robin offers hiswisdom and advice on how retailers can survive this tumultuous new world.
January 14, 2021 If you’re not careful, dysfunctional business strategies can highjack your future. Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, chief strategy officer for TRR reveal four key barriers that can sideline retail leaders. From lack of enlightenment and a siloed and sclerotic culture to insufficient capital and the need for speed to leapfrog over outdated systems and strategies, leaders face a crippling obstacle course to sustaining a successful business model. Robin says, “The unenlightened will cry against change saying, ‘This is the way it was always done’” The death knell for the future.
January 7, 2021 Listen in as CEO Robin Lewis and Shelley E. Kohan, chief strategy officer of TRR talk about why brands shouldn’t distribute through as many channels as possible, through all retail models, and their own stores. The threat is that they become too ubiquitous – “once hot and now they’re not.” They also define “new consumerism” and what it will take for retailers to respond to new demands and pressures in the marketplace. Robin advises precision focus, strategic flexibility and technological investments. As he says, “Today, another value chain function, tomorrow, the world.” Give yourself 15 minutes to get up to warp speed on the new retail distribution reality.
Disruption, Acceleration + Reconstruction with William Lauder
October 15, 2020 In a lively and dynamic conversation, Robin Lewis taps into the insights and experience of William Lauder, Executive Chairman, Estée Lauder. They dig into emerging trends and the accelerated changes in consumer behavior as a result of the pandemic; the fate of America’s retail industry and its struggling malls; the economy and how we can support local businesses; leadership and ensuring a positive workplace culture: and new brand and retail models that will stick after our economy recovers and the global health crisis has been resolved. Provocative, predictive and prescient: Listen in on two industry icons.
October 8, 2020 Provocative and insightful, Robin Lewis talks candidly about the power of technology in leading the way to innovative breakthroughs in the retail industry. Stacey Shulman, Chief innovation Officer and VP of the Internet of Things Group at Intel joins Robin in a freewheeling talk about how digitally-powered experiences can give retailers a competitive edge in an unforgiving marketplace led by demanding consumers. Stacey shares how thinking differently transforms experiential and convenience creativity into meaningful and memorable shopping experiences that are redefining retail in the 21st century. Listen to this fascinating conversation that fuses emerging tech with high touch to forge the future of retail and improve consumers’ lives.
October 6, 2020 Robin Lewis and his expert guests give a candid, real-time assessment of the state of retail in Q3 2020. The industry faces the trifecta of a volatile economy, potential second wave of coronavirus and ongoing civil unrest. How do retail leaders keep their balance and plan for a sustainable near-term future with the holidays looming on the horizon? Outspoken and opinionated, Chris Walton, Co-CEO and Editor-in-Chief Omni Talk and Jan Kniffen, CEO of J Rogers Kniffen World Wide join Robin in a wide-ranging conversation about the 2020 winners and losers; the ever-growing shadow of Amazon (with Walmart nipping at its heels); and what retail has to do to survive with disruptive supply chains and DTC; a playbook for the end of the year and predictions for 2021. Listen in and learn in a lively, no-holds-barred discussion of retail’s current challenges as it walks on a precarious balance beam.
August 27, 2020 Robin Lewis joins Paul Charron, the former CEO of the iconic brand, Liz Claiborne to discuss what new normal retailing may look like in a post-pandemic world, what changes to consumer behavior will stick post-pandemic, and the economic impact of Covid-19 on the retail landscape.
August 12, 2020 A perfect storm is three violent weather fronts, all colliding at the same time: Covid-19, an economic shutdown and the national movement for social justice, equity and inclusivity. Robin Lewis, in conversation with Mark Cohen and Don Unser, discusses how leadership can focus on these disruptive forces and create new business models. Listen to how the major changes in consumer behavior will stick post-pandemic. The candid conversation explores just how senior and c-level executives are leading their people and their businesses through this perfect storm. Robin Lewis also reveals some of the findings from a recent survey conducted by The Robin Report regarding how businesses are being affected by the current economic and social crisis.
November 21, 2019 Get the scoop on “The Aging of eCommerce.” And vital issues such as the health of the consumer marketplace from three of NPD’s leaders: Don Unser, President of NPD’s retail practice; Matt Powell, VP/Senior Advisor over the sports segment; and David Portalatin, VP/industry advisor over the food category. Gain insights into what’s on consumers’ minds; winners, losers and laggards across retail; emerging trends, what follows the maturing of digital commerce; what the landscape looks like in a new normal, and finally a 2019 Holiday outlook.
November 14, 2019 Headache-sized issues in “The Chaotic New World of Retailing” features Robin Lewis; Don Unser, President of NPD’s retail practice; and CEO of Vince, Brendan Hoffman. Listen in as they discuss personalization, sustainability, distribution strategies, the future and how NPD tracks it all.
November 6, 2019 Listen in to have a learning experience from our “educators,” Don Unser, President of NPD’s retail practice, Zia Wigder, Global Chief Content Officer, Shoptalk and Steve Sadove, former CEO of Saks Inc. Learn about the fragmenting consumer “tribes,” and how NPD’s mountains of data tracks it all. Hear about new business models and the four major barriers to change, why digital-native brands are opening stores and the impact of virally connecting brands through social media and influencer marketing.