In the News

Retailers Are Sucking Wind In The Fast Fashion Race

With the influence of mobile and social media pushing styles in and out of fashion at a breakneck pace, some retailers are admitting that they aren’t able to catch up.  Some members of the RetailWire BrainTrust, like Mark Ryski, CEO of HeadCount Corporation, suggested altering the buy cycle to meet the trends.
“Buying later, buying smaller and moving quickly will become a necessity for retailers to successfully compete against more nimble online and offline retailers who are able to deliver,” says Ryski. Read the article.

Brick-and-Mortar Retailers’ Secret Weapon: Conversion Rate Optimization

While declining store traffic continues to dominate the headlines and remains the most frequent reason cited for lackluster store performance, the fact is, it’s only part of the story. If it’s true that store traffic has experienced a permanent and intractable decline, then what are brick-and-mortar retailers to do?  In the aftermath of the dot-com bubble in the early 2000’s, online marketers realized that they couldn’t merely focus on generating website traffic, rather they needed to focus on conversion – that is, get more visitors to buy. The same is true in brick-and-mortar retailing. Read the article

Brick-and-Mortar Retailers’ Secret Weapon: Conversion Rate Optimization

Most major tier-one retailers today track traffic and conversion rates in all their stores, so the basic data needed to conduct conversion rate optimization (CRO) already exists. However, the variability in physical stores makes applying conversion improvement initiatives across stores consistently a challenge, and it also makes measuring results more challenging too.  Given the difficult business conditions so many brick-and-mortar retailers are facing, it’s baffling that CRO hasn’t become more of a focus if not an obsession. Read the article

Why Grocery Chains Continue To Expand In An Overstored Landscape

“There are too many stores selling groceries,” wrote Mark Ryski, founder of HeadCount Corporation in an online discussion last week on RetailWire. “At the end of the day, consumers will decide who the winners and losers will be, but until then it will be painful for grocery retailers and good for consumers. The market is finite and ultimately something has got to give — the shake out will come and it will be big.”  Read the article.

My Face is Not Your Business

“Facial recognition and biometric data is highly sensitive and personal, and Walmart is significantly over-reaching to use it for improving customer experience and reducing staff costs,” said Mark Ryski, CEO of HeadCount Corporation. “While I do believe there is great potential to use and apply biometric data (especially for security purposes), I am very concerned about how some retailers might use this data under the guise of ‘improving customer service.'” Read article

Are Retailers Squandering Store Traffic?

Online, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) has become an industry onto itself, spawning a global community of consultants and service providers, formal methodologies and over a hundred books dedicated to the topic on Amazon.com alone. There is only one book on brick-and-mortar conversion listed on Amazon. Given the difficult business conditions so many are facing, it’s baffling that CRO hasn’t become an obsession with brick and mortar retailers. In today’s environment, retailers can ill afford to squander the sales opportunities. Stemming the tide of store traffic declines may be difficult if not impossible, but it doesn’t prevent retailers from focusing on the opportunities and applying CRO strategies. Read the article.

Hot 100 Retailers: Sustained Sizzle

Being a hot retailer doesn’t come easily, yet a handful of companies have managed to stay on the Hot 100 Retailers list every year since its inception a dozen years ago. Dick’s has managed to prevail despite adverse trends over the last few years that have claimed competitors and earlier this year caused Wall Street to lose some confidence in the once high-flying retailer. The company has also pared down store openings for the next two years. “Wall Street won’t necessarily like it, but Wall Street doesn’t seem to like negative comps either, and overbuilding stores is a sure way to get them,” says Mark Ryski, CEO of HeadCount Corporation.  Read the article 

Walmart’s Facial Recognition Tech Would Overstep Boundaries

A Walmart patent application filed in 2012 describes a system that would use facial recognition technology at the checkout to help store personnel determine if customers are unhappy and, if so, make contact to address any shopping-related problems. “Facial recognition and biometric data is highly sensitive and personal and Walmart is significantly over-reaching to use it for improving customer experience and reducing staff costs,” said Mark Ryski, CEO of HeadCount Corporation. “While I do believe there is great potential to use and apply biometric data (especially for security purposes), I am very concerned about how some retailers might use this data under the guise of ‘improving customer service.'” Read the article 

Why It’s Critical to Use Retail Traffic Counters

While formal industry penetration data on retail traffic counters are hard to come by, a quick stroll through any mall will reveal that more major retailers track traffic today than those who do not. Part of the reason that retail traffic counting is becoming so ubiquitous is because the insights have so much practical value across so many functional areas. If your chain doesn’t have retail traffic counters installed at the front door today, there’s a good chance it will, probably sooner rather than later. So, what can a simple traffic counter tell you that you don’t already know? A lot. Read the article.

QVC/HSN Could Enter The Arena With Amazon And Walmart.com

The deal bringing the two networks under one corporate umbrella will create the largest television home shopping company in the world as well as the third largest e-commerce company in North America behind Amazon.com and Walmart. But despite the size of the combined company, many on the RetailWire BrainTrust noted significant challenges in a field dominated by mammoth e-commerce players. “Younger consumers are cutting ties to TV and so the base of TV shoppers is declining. This will require significant changes to the way QVC has historically done business.”” said Mark Ryski, CEO of HeadCount Corporation. Read the article