In the News

Outlet Malls Are On A Roll, But It Can’t Last

While obituaries are regularly being written about traditional malls, outlet malls by all indications are thriving. According to a March 21 report in The Wall Street Journal, “Surprise: Outlet Malls Are Hot,” the venues are still seeing high levels of occupancy and income gains. Over the last five years, sales at outlet malls have doubled to about $50 billion, according to Green Street Advisors. “Outlets are not immune to the challenges of traditional malls, however, they do enjoy a slight advantage,” said Mark Ryski, CEO of HeadCount Corporation. Read the article

Using 3D Sensor Technology for Retail Store Traffic Analytics

For retail stores that utilize camera-based traffic and conversion programs, the key to a successful program is acquiring data that can be trusted and is accurate. HeadCount Corporation, a company that specializes in traffic counting and optimizing data, believes that without confidence in the data, managers will question the traffic counts instead of applying the insights to improve performance. Read the article

Walmart May Win The Store Pickup Battle, But Not The War With Amazon

“Pickup Discount” is a new program at Walmart that gives customers a price break for ordering select items online at and picking them up in one of the chain’s 4,700 stores. “Marc Lore and team have rightly targeted the high cost of shipping and turned it into an opportunity for their stores,” said Mark Ryski, CEO of HeadCount Corporation. “While some customers will still want home delivery, many Walmart shoppers will appreciate the additional discounts.” Read the article

Are Same-Store Sales Still A Meaningful Metric?

With brick-and-mortar retailers declaring bankruptcy at an alarming pace in 2017, some industry observers have been questioning one of retail’s most commonly used measuring sticks: same-store sales. A recent article explored whether the same-store sales metric should give way to more inclusive measurements such as “same trade area,” which accounts for all sales, regardless of purchase channel, that are made within the influence area of a given store. Read the article.

Why Traffic and Conversion Measurements are Key for Small Retailers

HeadCount’s Mark Ryski spoke to our listeners about important measuring points in a business. Perhaps surprising, comparing “same day last year” is not a fair measurement. Mark shares his years of experience dealing with traffic counts and conversion rates. Mark explains why these measurements are important to those of us from the small business world. There is a lot to be learned from the individual who wrote, When Retail Customers Count and Conversion – The last great retail metricListen to the podcast.

Make Your Traffic Count

As a store operator, there are a million things you need to know, but there’s only a few you must know. Store traffic is one of them. Your store traffic is a precious, non-renewable resource — treat it like one and sell more. In his first essay for Merchandiser, the leading expert traffic and conversion analytics starts the process of showing you how it’s done.  Read the article

Are Retailers Eating Themselves Alive? 8 Experts Chew on the Question

While retailers are still releasing their holiday season earnings reports, it’s likely that the overwhelming majority lost physical store traffic to online channels, including their own. Rising e-commerce sales are taking a big bite out of retailer brick-and-mortar revenues — a wide-ranging problem yielding a range of perspectives on two key questions.  Here are eight of the most provocative and insightful comments from retail experts, including Mark Ryski, CEO & Founder of HeadCount Corporation.  Is online’s cannibalization of in-store sales becoming a bigger problem? Are retailers with a major physical presence making the right adjustments? Read the article


To Stay Relevant, Stores Need To ID Customers As They Come Through The Door

According to Boston Retail Partners’ 18th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Survey, retailers are still struggling to find the best way to identify customers as they walk through their doors.Seventy percent of retailers indicate customer identification is their top customer engagement priority, up from 62 percent last year. But, by first identifying the customer at checkout, in-store experience is a step behind online. “Shoppers need to want to be identified when they enter a store and clearly not every shopper desires this,” said Mark Ryski, founder and CEO of HeadCount Corporation. “Ultimately, the solution will need to be a combination of formal shopper opt-in combined with a reliable identification mechanism.” Read the article

New TJX Chain Likely To Put More Hurt On Department Stores

The off-price chains that make up TJX Companies are frequently brought up as a competitive factor to explain the struggles department stores have had in recent years. With last week’s news that the company is planning to launch a new off-price chain of home good stores, department stores may face worse struggles ahead. “People love to hunt for bargains and TJX’s growth and results are a testament to this,” said Mark Ryski, CEO and founder at HeadCount Corporation. “At first blush, it’s reasonable to question the move of launching another home goods chain, but given the success TJX has had in bringing similar concepts to market successfully, I wouldn’t bet against them.” Read the article

How Lowe’s Can Use Robots To Increase Human-To-Human Face Time

In late 2016, Lowes released its first LoweBot which, according to Lowe’s Innovation Labs, will free up staff to help customers who have questions requiring specialized expertise. The LoweBot will answer simple questions, help manage inventory and help customers find products. Could the LoweBot become central to the staffing strategy? “From my perspective, robots are still many years away for most retailers,” said Mark Ryski, founder and CEO at HeadCount Corporation. “However, there is no doubt that they will play an increasingly important role in retailing in the future. While human interaction will always be important, there are roles that robots/automation could play that could improve the shopping experience including facilitating faster check-out, product locating and way-finding in larger stores.” Read the article