What Happened To The New Norm For Retail?

HOW DATA AND ANALYTICS DISRUPTED THE MARKET AND TRANSFORMED THE INDUSTRY. Post pandemic, the industry was anticipating the new normal which never came. While retailers were establishing scalable solutions for challenges that surfaced from supply chain ...


With data at the core of AI and profit optimization, data is on every retailer’s mind; specifically: where to get it, how to process it, who should manage it and what’s the best way to ...

Global Leaders Convene in Paris for This Year’s World Retail Congress

Andrew Jennings OBE, Global Senior Retail Advisor-Columbus Consulting Brands from across the globe met for three days this Spring to discuss the industry, consumer trends and the future of retail.  Few conferences bring together a more powerful list ...

Can Retailers be Sustainable AND Profitable?

Here is why your brand should know more about Digital IDs and how they can benefit your business. By Charlotte Haynes For years retailers have been wrestling with doing good and driving profit—often in conflict with one ...

Retail Supplier Scorecards Need to be More Than Just Glorified Snapshots of Standard Business KPIs     

On March 21, 2024, global retail leaders met at The Langham, London for a breakfast briefing hosted by Inspectorio and Columbus Consulting. The invitation-only event brought together brands including Mango, ASOS, PVH, and Hunkemöller to ...

Can a Neurodiverse Workforce Help Solve Retailer Hiring Challenges and Turnover Rates?

By Jo Ann Hudec Retail turnover is estimated to average 60%; meaning, more than half of the workforce changes every year (12/23 Culture Monkey). To add to this problem, the cost of this turnover ranges from ...

Can the fashion industry truly become sustainable?

Global brand and retail leaders gathered for the Drapers Sustainable Fashion Event to champion the vision. Representatives from prominent brands such as M&S, Boden, Primark and others joined charities and supporters on March 13, 2024 at ...

As Consumer appetite grows for hard discount grocers, traditional grocery brands are investing more in well-built, well-informed pricing systems to compete.

By Dave Hunter Price has always been one of the top priorities for retailers as highlighted in the enduring mantra of “product, price, place, promotion.” It is not sufficient to just have the best products, brands/stores ...

AI May Have Headlined, But Data Was the Real Star at NRF Big Show 2024

With over 40,000 people, 6,200 brands, 100 countries and over 1,000 exhibitors, this year’s NRF Big Show marked the return of not only the conference, but of the physical store as well. Retailers and industry ...

From Made to Stock to Made to Order-The Modern-Day Supply Chain Starts with Collaboration

By Nancy Marino, Columbus Consulting Multi-Tier Supply Chain Collaboration – New Way to Drive Value! Columbus Consulting consultant and supply chain expert, Nancy Marino, moderated a retail industry leadership discussion on how supply chain collaboration can ...

The Consulting Experts: Retail Excellence Assured

With over two decades of experience collaborating with numerous brands in wholesale, retail, CPG, and grocery, Columbus Consulting has solidified its position as a premier leader in the retail consulting realm. CEO Jon Beck elaborates ...

RFID Technology is a Key Piece in Providing Customer Satisfaction and Improving Inventory Accuracy

By Lynn Hughes, Partner, Columbus Consulting  Has this ever happened to you?  You’re surfing the web looking for the perfect top, pants, dress, jacket, whatever, for a special event that is right around the corner.  You ...

Foundation driving Transformation: Why Master Data Management is the Cornerstone of your Retail Strategic Plan

By Dave Wargo, Associate Partner, Columbus Consulting Enabling analytics and insights, AI and Machine Learning, Planning and Operations, and more.  For years, retailers have been racing to absorb and manage data from every area of their businesses. ...

Second Hand now …. Previously Loved

By Andrew Jennings OBE, Global Senior Retail Advisor CONSUMERS ARE FALLING IN LOVE WITH PREVIOUSLY LOVED GOODS Previously Loved is becoming a trend across fashion and homeware and appears to be building by the day. This trend ...


As new channels of distribution became available, retailers quickly pivoted to leverage them to maximize sales. This often resulted in an inability to create one view of the customer. Building a unified approach to commerce allows ...

Mastering the Three Es: Staying Ahead of Emerging Trends in the Convenience Retail Industry

By Krystie Wiese Convenience retailers have always been an integral part of modern life, providing fast and accessible solutions to the needs of busy consumers. Yet, the industry is evolving at an unprecedented pace, propelled by ...

The New Era of Retail is Here Columbus Consulting’s 2023 Circle LIVE! London Unveils The Top Areas of Focus for Retailers 

The third annual Circle LIVE! Summit took place in London at The Soho Hotel on Thursday, September 28. Attendees included representatives from known brands and retailers like Harrods, Fraser Group, Tapestry, Pret A Manger, The ...

Is Your Retail Brand Still Relevant in A Customer-Centric/Unified Commerce World?

By Katrina Mossman The concept of driving sales through a process of awareness to consideration to engagement to conversion to loyalty has been long embraced by retailers and brand managers alike. With the evolution of the retail ...

Retail Transformation Starts With A Single Source Of Transactional Truth. 

By Terrance Young How Retailers Are Evolving To A Unified Commerce Model & The Four Questions Your Brand Should Be Asking Now. If you are like nearly 80% of all retailers today, you probably think your unified ...

How to Stay Intellectually Curious

By Sonia Hernandez Unless you are a prodigy, becoming an expert at something usually requires training and experience. According to research — most notably by Malcolm Gladwell — the general rule of thumb is that being an expert ...

Reverse Engineering Is the Future of Retail Planning

By Rich Pedott  For decades retailers have been managing their merchandise assortment, planning, and allocations based on prior sales numbers, emerging trends, store profiling, and overall demand. With continued access to richer data, retailers have never been ...

A Modular Approach to Unified Commerce: Why Retailers are Turning to Headless Commerce Technology Enhancements

By Waleed Abbas and Katrina Mossman With the never-ending speed of technical innovations and ever-increasing demands of today’s consumers, retailers are in a state of constant evolution. From end-to-end integrated solutions, to last mile delivery speed, ...

How Unified Is Your Unified Commerce?

Four questions your retail brand should be asking now.  By Terrance Young, Principal, Columbus Consulting International If you are like nearly 80% of all retailers today, you probably think your unified commerce strategy is not delivering the ...

Privacy Is Only One Element Complicating Modern Data Applications

 By Tuncay Tekle, PhD The conversations around data collection, management and application seem inexhaustible, especially with the emergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning permeating nearly every aspect of the industry. What once centered upon data ...

Streamlining the Supply Chain

By Tom McFadden, Eric Bunfill, Sam Fayez and Jeff Gragg The supply chain has dominated the retail and business news for the last five years. From container shortages and factory closures to geopolitical unrest, labor challenges ...

The 3 Ps for the New Retail Organization: People, Process, Platforms

By Elizabeth Elliott , Richard Pedott and Brian Greene Today’s retailers are faced with a multitude of challenges and transformative initiatives throughout their organizations. Finding the right talent, establishing the right workflow and investing in the right technology are of equal ...

Grab some tea and catch-up on our latest conversation 

On Thursday, June 15, 2023, Columbus Consulting partner, Charlotte Kula-Przezwanski and Global Senior Retail Advisor, Andrew Jennings OBE hosted a leadership roundtable with retail executives from brands like: All Saints, Michael Kors, Harrods, Halfords and ...

The Drapers Future of Fashion Recap 2023

The Drapers Future of Fashion event took place on June 8 in London where retailers gathered to discuss innovation in a new era. Leaders from Asos, Harrods, Lacoste, Ted Baker, Perry Ellis and more shared ...

World Retail Congress : Sustainability, Leadership And Digital Transformation

Barcelona, April 25-27, 2023: The World Retail Congress brought together over 700 retail and industry professionals from over 40 countries. The three-day conference hosted an array of topics spanning from global economic challenges to climate ...

Who Knew Hand-Me-Downs Could Be So Cool?

By Heather Koerner What was once relegated to the depths of the return’s box or the landfill, pre-purchased merchandise is now celebrated as the new circular fashion for responsible citizens. Who knew pre-owned goods would amount ...

The Top Three Challenges with Omnichannel Retail

By Laura Barrett   There are many terms associated with doing business across multiple platforms, multi-channel, omnichannel and unified commerce to name a few. But just because a retailer opens up shop, literally as brick and ...

Is It Time for a Return of the Catalog?

By Laura Barrett  Retailers have always been at the forefront to meet consumer needs. Successful retailers know their markets intimately and have adapted to meet new customer trends. Being consumer-dependent, retail has transformed its branding over and ...

Here’s What Everyone is Talking About from ShopTalk 2023

Welcome to the new norm in retail where consumers have heightened expectations, organizations are transforming not only their systems but their organizational structures and talent requirements, and the economy is driving higher costs and higher standards. It is no wonder the industry has so much to discuss.

The Retail Industry is Pioneering the Way to Inclusive Labor.

By Jo Ann Hudec, Manager, Columbus Consulting The month of April recognizes the impact Autism has on our communities and reminds us to be more aware and inclusive in our efforts to expand opportunities for everyone, ...

The Price of Eggs Isn’t the Only Thing Grocers Are Managing These Days

2023 is proving to be a pivotal year for the food industry. In this article we explore the top 3 pain points and 5 key trends grocers are facing. According to FoodIndustry.com, the U.S. food market is worth $1.5 trillion annually, or roughly 4 percent of the domestic gross product.

Two Women. Three Questions.

Professional Advice from Retail Consulting Leaders. Personal thoughts from Anne Gallutia and Charlotte Haynes, Columbus Consulting International retail consultants. The self-help and career advice industries are ripe with multi-media options that provide women with tips, insights, facts, ...

Couch Potatoes Unite: The Future of Food Shopping Is Almost Here

By Phillip Brown   There are a few significant advances in technology that exponentially transformed how we live and work. The personal computer, the mobile phone, remote meeting platforms, the internet/ecommerce and now the metaverse, just to name ...

Columbus Consulting Asks, “What’s on Your Mind?”

By Lou Sterzenbach Until recent years, information and technology executives usually worked in silos, managing legacy and sourcing and implementing new systems. The proverbial “tech-stack” was a list of accumulated service providers and platforms that were leveraged by discipline across the organization at different points of the product and customer journeys.

Top Topics at National Retail Federations Big Show 2023

By Lucille DeHart Inflation. Customer Service. Inventory Transparency. Retail Talent. Resale. Marketplace. Robotic Automation. POS. Last Mile. Digital Transformation.

2023 Retail Strategy Outlook: People, Processes and Platforms

By Jon Beck  Over the last three years retailers and brands were faced with both opportunistic initiatives and post-pandemic obstacles. The industry unilaterally and almost instantaneously became aware of how the overall business model was changing. Consumer ...

Data is key to forward-looking retail approaches and winning with customers

By Rebecca Moy From tailored assortments that unlock sales opportunities, to sustainability options that customers will love, for Columbus Consulting Partner Charlotte Kula-Przezwanski, drawing on the right data to understand demand is key. Columbus Consulting Partner and Director ...

Q&A With Women in Retail Consultant Member Elizabeth Elliott, Managing Partner, Columbus Consulting

By Marie Albiges Elizabeth Elliott is a managing partner at Columbus Consulting, which offers a unique, consumer-centric approach with an end-to-end perspective that bridges function and organization silos from strategy to education. She’s also a Women in Retail Leadership Circle (WIRLC) consultant member! In this member spotlight, we asked Elliott a series of questions so that you can get to know her better.

Never Rely on Assumptions

By Rich Pedott and Anjali Burkins For decades talent, past sales and gut instinct drove retail assortments. Gurus who could interpret the market and build a merchandising strategy ruled fashion alongside of visionary designers. Key business inputs came down to three basic questions:

Holiday 2022: Merry? Or Not So Bright?

By Brad Eckhart  Each fall the retail industry and news networks chime in with Q4 predictions. This year, especially with looming mid-term elections, continued post-pandemic pressures and rising global energy/supply chain costs, the predictions are even more vital. Industry reports commonly predict a 3-5 percent increase in retail sales YOY, but with 8+ percent inflation rates, experts are conflicted on how the consumer will respond this holiday season and are pushing back on actual growth.

How Retailers Can Monetize Data TotalRetail

By Sam Fayez Few words have been used and overused more than “data.” What emerged from a series of zeros and ones has evolved into a critical pillar of every business. Data drives all aspects of a company, from research, buying behaviors, stock/inventory levels, assortment plan, replenishment, website design, store merchandising, staffing and finance to product lifecycle and customer lifetime value — and everything in between.

The New Retail Landscape
Highlights from The Columbus Circle LIVE! London Event

Columbus Consulting hosted an invitation only event on September 22 at the Soho Hotel in London featuring speakers and panel participants from leading retail brands. The exclusive event included networking sessions, panel discussions and a ...

Why Retail Inventory Management Is More Then Just About Being In Stock

The goal of inventory management is to ensure that the right product is available in the right location at the right time for the right consumer and to maximize...

A Playbook for the Modern CIO

By Tom McFadden Like everything else in retail, the role of the Chief Information Officer has transformed over the years. What was once a focus on managing information technology and systems has evolved into an active cross-functional management and leadership role that touches all aspects of the retail organization. As technology continues to advance and the overall consumer experience becomes even more reliant on digital platforms, it has become imperative that the CIO role transitions to meet the demands of today’s unified commerce.

Sourcing in a Geo-Political Market

By Nancy Marino How sourcing should be driving transformation and mitigating supply chain risk. Endless articles and news coverage about supply chain have surfaced over the last 6 months, so what is left to be said about the topic? Actually, a lot.

Key Merchandising Strategies for Economic Uncertainty

By Christine Cho  We keep hearing about the impending recession which would mean a pull back in consumer demand just in time for the holiday season. But recent industry reports are showing a “business as usual” behavior both with shoppers and with manufacturers.

The Art of Execution: What Retail Leaders Need To Know

By Elizabeth Elliott Organizations are rarely at a loss for ideas or business initiatives, however, many lack the discipline to execute long-term goals and sustain alignment across functional teams and layers within the organization to stay on track.

Why Your POS System Should Drive Omni-Channel Transformation

Historically, when retailers thought of point-of-sale systems, they looked for transactional functionality that could accommodate different methods of payment and promotional adjustments. They were a means to an end and the last point of customer

Sourcing in a Geo-Political Market: How Sourcing Should Be Driving Transformation and Mitigating Supply Chain Risk

By Nancy Marino Why Now? After two years of a pandemic, factory closings, inventory delays and economic hardships, the world suddenly became smaller. Every business, every person, every country was responding to the impact of a weakened workforce ...

Key Merchandising Strategies for Economic Uncertainty

By Rich Pedott and Barrie Scardina   Today, retailers are facing complex challenges from supply chain, logistics, and product sourcing to shortages of labor and growing costs. In addition to the economic issues, consumers continue to place demands ...

Shop Talk 2022

Let’s Talk Shop Talk.

The Big Retail Reunion is how they are referring to Shop Talk 2022. From March 27-30 over 10,000 attendees consisting of 600 sponsors, 2,500 retailers from 42 countries joined industry colleagues at Mandalay Bay in ...

Sustainable Inventory Strategies

By Charlotte Haynes    Sustainability is moving to the top of many retail CEOs’ agendas. Demands for sustainable businesses are coming from every angle: the consumer, management, government legislation, and even mother nature itself through catastrophic climate disasters. ...

Five Questions. Two Women. One Consulting Firm.

By Susan Riley and Lynn Hughes Career insights and leadership from female partners at Columbus Consulting International  Susan Riley and Lynn Hughes are retail professionals, each with over 20 years of industry experience. Prior to becoming partners ...

Food for thought: highlights from this year’s National Grocers Association Show

Highlights on this year’s National Grocers Association Show. Before attendees could digest all of the information and insights shared, buzz of this year’s NGA show was circulating. From February 27 through March 1, 2022, the largest ...

Separate Is Not Equal

By Richard Pedott In a world where ecommerce has become mainstream and retailers raced to build unified commerce business models, some brands are starting to consider returning to multichannel structures. While this may present an opportunity ...

Why Financial Planning and Analysis Should by Part of Your Company’s Strategic Initiatives

By Tom Phelps Does this sound familiar?  Analytics: “We show average dollars per customer has declined year over year.” Marketing: “We show average dollars per customer has increased year over year.” Analytics: “What numbers are you looking at?” Marketing: “We ...

Today’s Workforce Is Not Just Diverse, It Is Entirely Unique

By Kate Gorman  As fast as our marketplace is evolving, our human infrastructures are commanding change to keep up. Organizational charts by department, linear work streams, strict job descriptions and localized search are becoming as outdated ...

It is 2022, Is the Supply Chain Fixed Yet?

By Wolfgang Hoffman Retailers and consumers alike have made supply chain a household conversation. With favorite brands missing from the shelves and out of stock messages showering the websites, all of us went into a pre-holiday ...


Building an Inclusive Professional Community

By Michele Harris We know that change comes with time and that true change is more evolution than revolution. As we move towards a more equitable society, it is important that we take moments to remind ...

The 2022 L.I.S.T for Success in the New Year

By Daniel Binder
The key to retail success in 2022 and beyond requires continued investment that commits a fully integrated OMNI Channel experience.  The shift to OMNI Channel has been swift as the industry has evolved from a traditional brick and mortar environment, to E-Commerce then to Multi Channel

Unified Commerce = Managing the Customer Experience

By Lynn Hughes
Like many retail phrases and terms, unified commerce has been lumped in with multi-channel and omnichannel simply as a means of selling across platforms and locations. While this may be true, it is certainly not the full vision of what it means to be unified.

Columbus Consulting is Proud to Brag about its new partnership with the Black Retail Action Group

By Brad Eckhart
The Black Retail Action Group (BRAG), established in 1970, is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization that prepares and educates professionals, entrepreneurs and students for executive leadership in retail, fashion and related industries.

The Future of the Retail Workforce is Different Than You Think

Retailers have been in a unique position for years having to deal with staffing stores domestically and internationally, building and retaining talent at corporate offices, scaling teams seasonally in warehouses/fulfillment and distribution centers, and managing remote/virtual

How Retailers Can Modernize Fulfillment

By Richard von Hirschberg
Let’s face it, the supply chain as we once knew it has been forever changed. Just in the last few weeks, we’ve read about furniture deliveries and new iPhone sales being delayed due to Covid-19 outbreaks in China and Vietnam.

Supply Chain Issues On Your Mind? Ours Too. Here Are the Three Things Retailers Need to Do Now

By Wolfgang Hoffman
Most consumers never considered how goods arrived at stores, but retailers certainly have been toiling over how to establish and streamline inventory delivery and fulfillment systems for decades.

Digital, Sustainable, Collaborative Highlight Top Themes From This Year’s Retail Week Live In London

By Charlotte Kula-Przezwanski
#Retail Week Live just wrapped up in the UK where retailers from around the world gathered in a much anticipated post Covid event.

Top 5 Just In Time Holiday Readiness Tips

By Daniel Binder
GEAR UP FOR CONVENIENCE AND SEAMLESS TRANSACTIONS: While major technology developments are not feasible to address between now and Black Friday, aligning all of your service channels with consistency of messaging and offerings is something you should address now.

Compressing the Supply Chain to Connect with Your Consumer

By Wolfgang Hoffman
I need to be honest. I was one of those skeptics about online shopping back in the mid-90s and well into the 2000s when Amazon was revolutionizing the shopping experience. I was comfortable and complacent with the brick-and-mortar shopping experience both as a consumer and as a supply chain professional

Marketplaces Make Money

By Brad Eckhart
With growing consumer dependence on sites like Amazon, Uber and Airbnb, we are squarely in a platform economy. This means that a significant amount of buying and selling today takes place via an online platform or technology framework. Savvy retailers are shifting to digital-first transactions – and benefit from engagement and sales

covid complicated fulfillment

New Omnichannel Opportunity from Covid-Complicated Fulfillment

By Kavindra Malik 
Omnichannel fulfillment has always been a challenge for retailers and its complexity is only growing. Covid-19 changed our world and retailers have faced renewed difficulty maintaining an attractive assortment and stock availability, balancing online orders with weaker demand in some store locations.

Order Fulfillment

Fulfillment – Retail’s New Loyalty Factor

By Rich Pedott
Covid has forced many retailers to make dramatic shifts toward digital transformation of their business models. Many have successfully pivoted to offer services including BOPIS, curbside pick-up, and same-day home delivery across their digital, customer facing touchpoints.

OmniChannel KPI

Measuring the New Normal: Retail’s KPI Challenge

By Rich Pedott
The media has been busy proclaiming the coming death of both the store and experiential retailing in a voice that has grown progressively louder over the course of the last decade. The scourge of Covid-19 is now being touted as the cataclysmic event that will signal the coming of a dramatic shift in the channel mix of retail.

Free Tools to Help Manage Low / Missing Sales

Columbus Consulting invested time, skills and talent into our relationship with retailers / brands to help the industry move forward through this difficult period. We have developed two tools that provide support for dealing with ...

Retail Transformation

Creating A Culture Of Continuous Transformation

Testing, learning and pivoting haven’t necessarily been retailers’ strong points. Right before COVID-19 hit, many businesses were still struggling with legacy infrastructures and disjointed processes. These legacy qualities inhibited them from responding ...

Consumer Mindset


Consumers are placing far more emphasis on value than they did before the crisis, suggesting that it is having a big impact on people’s buying habits.

Information Technology

How IT Leads in the COVID-19 Era

As CIO’s tackle the immediate short term and tactical needs of the organization, they must also look to the future and prepare to support their organization and service the consumer in the post COVID-19 Era.

Retail Transformation

Retailers Need to be Transformation Journey Leaders, Now More than Ever

We know that retail is going to transform into a different world than the one we knew before COVID-19. As retailers, we’ve all had conversations on how the industry’s landscape is constantly changing.

Covid-19 Crisis Management

COVID-19 Crisis Management: Sharing My Retail Lessons Learned

While the coronavirus has caused unprecedented disruption in the retail industry, some aspects of this pandemic are not entirely unique.

Anaplan Retail Planning

Retail Planning: The Business Case for Anaplan

By Jared Dolich
Anaplan is an ideal platform to enable virtually all retail, wholesale, and ecommerce planning activities. The value provided by Anaplan combines the flexibility of spreadsheets and the connected business drivers in today’s most common point solutions. But the best part is that when fully deployed to the organization

Labor Management

Preparing for Data Driven Labor Management

One of the major impacts of the continual march of “Omni” retailing is to re-define the role of the store and the staff who service it. Experiential shopping doesn’t happen by accident, and exceptional customer service ...


Planning and Managing the Critical Aspects of a Full Merchandising Season

By Charlotte Kula-Przezwanski
Retailers could learn a lot from the Italian micro-economist Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto, who in 1906 came up with the principle that is sometimes known as the 80/20 rule.

Draper Roundtable

Drapers Roundtable Breakfast

By Charlotte Kula-Przezwanski
Over more than just coffee and croissants in a nice upmarket London hotel, merchandise and planning experts debated if NOW was the time to move off spreadsheets and onto more formal planning solutions.

On Time Execution

Executing On Time

By Charlotte Kula-Przezwanski
think we all know that great apparel brands maintain competitive advantage by consistently executing on time. Executing late, or under constant pressure, is not a mark of creativity. It’s just bad management.

OmniChannel Retailing


By Charlotte Kula-Przezwanski
Omni-channel, cross-channel, or all-channel retailing--whatever you may call it, retailers of all sizes are struggling to get it right. The goal is to satisfy customers who want a consistent shopping experience in the store, through e-commerce, and through catalogues and call centres.

Agile Retailing


By Charlotte Kula-Przezwanski
The current pace of social, economic, technical, and environmental change appears likely to continue or accelerate nearly everywhere in the world. If adaptation is key to survival, retailers must strive to be ever more agile. But adaptation in response to change is defensive and reactive.

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