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.
By Lucille DeHart
Inflation. Customer Service. Inventory Transparency. Retail Talent. Resale. Marketplace. Robotic Automation. POS. Last Mile. Digital Transformation.
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 ...
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 ...
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 ...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
By Nancy Marino
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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. ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
By Daniel BinderThe 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
By Lynn HughesLike 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.
By Brad EckhartThe 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
By Daniel BinderGEAR 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.
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
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
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.
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.
By Rich PedottThe 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.
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 ...
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
While the coronavirus has caused unprecedented disruption in the retail industry, some aspects of this pandemic are not entirely unique.
By Jared DolichAnaplan 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
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 ...
By Charlotte Kula-PrzezwanskiRetailers 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.
By Charlotte Kula-PrzezwanskiOver 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.
By Charlotte Kula-Przezwanskithink 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.
By Charlotte Kula-PrzezwanskiOmni-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.
By Charlotte Kula-PrzezwanskiThe 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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