2024 Retail Refined

Regenerative agriculture
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As the global conversation around sustainable food systems intensifies, regenerative agriculture has emerged as a transformative approach to farming that prioritizes ecosystem health, soil vitality, and nutritional quality. This episode of Retail Refined explores why regenerative agriculture is capturing the attention of consumers, policymakers, and investors alike. With nearly 90 regenerative farms funded and…

Transforming ear piercings into a tailored journey
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In today’s dynamic retail landscape, where personalization and self-expression lead consumer trends, Studs is redefining the ear piercing industry by transforming ear piercings into a tailored journey. The company blends aesthetics with comfort, introducing innovative store designs and a diverse earring assortment that underscores its mission—redefining the piercing industry. Amidst a surge in demand…

motion is magic
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As the concept of “Motion is Magic” takes center stage in Kizik’s national brand expansion, the footwear industry witnesses a seamless blend of digital and physical retail innovations. This strategic approach, is set against a backdrop of increasing consumer demand for experiential marketing, engages customers uniquely and memorably and establishes a deeper connection with…

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When businesses invest in building strategies around a sustainability impact report, it’s a win-win for the environment, the company, and the community the business serves. The architecture and design industries face renewed pressure to innovate sustainably in an era marked by rapid environmental shifts and an escalating climate crisis. As businesses and individuals become…

open-box
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As consumers increasingly seek out sustainable and value-driven shopping options, American Freight stands out with its distinctive approach to the retail market. By capitalizing on the trend towards open-box purchases and the demand for high-quality products at lower prices, this retailer is leading the charge. American Freight’s model of selling recertified returns at steep…

Loyalty in retail Mastercard
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The retail space is heating up with innovation. Consumers are increasingly seeking personalized experiences and brands are harnessing the powers of new technologies and data to fulfill these demands like never before. In today’s episode of Retail Refined, host Melissa Gonzalez has partnered with Mastercard, a global leader in the solutions at the forefront…

Brand experience with APL
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The customers of today are no longer satisfied with mere products; they crave brands that provide immersive, distinctive, and tailored brand experiences. Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL) epitomizes this shift, setting a new standard in the luxury performance market with its innovative athletic footwear. APL’s newly opened flagship boutique in Soho, with its artisan plaster walls…

digital innovation
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As technology continues to reshape the retail landscape, digital innovation, especially through artificial intelligence (AI), takes center stage. Its transformative power over store operations and customer experiences positions AI at the forefront of industry evolution, driving businesses to explore how these tools can refine efficiency, enhance  personalization, and redefine the shopping experience. How can…

reshaping the retail industry
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In the ever-evolving landscape of retail, the buzz around artificial intelligence (AI) is louder than ever. With the National Retail Federation (NRF) recently highlighting AI as a focal topic and its anticipated discussions at ShopTalk, it’s clear that AI is not just a trend but a transformative force reshaping the retail industry. This…

unified retail experience
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AI is quickly becoming a leading player in building a unified retail experience. However, that success hinges on retailers’ ability to use the technology to generate brand trust and authenticity. Without those elements, it’s just AI. On the latest episode of Retail Refined, host Melissa Gonzalez chats with Krystina Gustafson, Senior Vice President of…

wellness and retail
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In the latest episode of Retail Refined, host Melissa Gonzalez peers inside the evolving world of wellness and retail in 2024. Joined by Jennifer Walsh, founder of Walk with Walsh, this episode offers a unique perspective on how wellness trends are reshaping the retail landscape. This episode of Retail Refined features an insightful discussion…

Retail Influencer CEO Forum 2023

power of consumer insights
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In the latest episode of Retail Refined, conducted at the Retail Influencer CEO Forum 2023, host Melissa Gonzalez explores the transformative power of consumer insights with guest Elizabeth Oates, VP of Consumer Insights at Ulta Beauty. They discuss how data-driven insights can enhance performance, foster customer loyalty, and shape the beauty industry’s future. Oates…

market leadership and impact
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During the recent 2023 Retail Influencer CEO Forum, Retail Refined’s Melissa Gonzalez sat down with Neil Blumenthal, co-CEO and co-Founder of Warby Parker, to discuss the brand’s journey and its innovative approach to leadership in the eyewear industry. Blumenthal highlighted Warby Parker’s commitment to providing affordable eyewear while also making a positive impact with…

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The retail landscape is not just shifting—it’s making monumental changes at an astonishing rate, thanks to advances in technology like artificial intelligence, better known as AI. Companies like Meta are at the forefront of this change, driving innovation through AI, mobile optimization, and an ever-evolving array of social platforms. For retail brands, adapting to this…

2023 Retail Refined

commerce hub
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The transformation from a traditional brick-and-mortar store to an integrated commerce hub is crucial in the fast-evolving retail landscape. GNC’s omni-channel evolution epitomizes this shift, blending in-person and digital experiences to meet the contemporary consumer’s demands. But what does this mean for the future of retail? “Retail Refined,” hosted by Melissa Gonzalez, welcomes Nate…

machine learning and AI
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With powerful tools like machine learning and AI, could retail logistics headaches be a thing of the past? With the rise of e-commerce, especially during the pandemic, the logistics and delivery sector has seen a significant uptick in activity. As consumers increasingly rely on online shopping, the need for efficient and sustainable delivery solutions…

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The future of retail is not just a question of digital versus physical; it’s about creating a seamless, multi-dimensional experience that speaks to consumer emotions as much as it does to their needs. Melissa Gonzalez, Host of Retail Refined, and Principal, MG2 and Founder of The Lionesque Group, underscores the enduring power of brick-and-mortar…

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Personalization and DIY are now a mainstay in today’s world, but striking disruption comes in the form of Dormify, the ultimate solution to bland and uninspiring dorm rooms. What started as a mother-daughter quest to find chic dorm room décor turned into a business dedicated to helping college students and first-apartment dwellers design a…

retail experiences
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In the latest episode of Retail Refined, host Melissa Gonzalez converses with Dawn Clark, Co-Founder of Osean Studios, a design strategist, and retail design expert. The spotlight of the conversation is the impact of wellness in retail experiences, delving into Clark’s professional journey that spans eminent brands like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike, Amazon,…

customer experience
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Consumer behavior continues to change in the wake of the pandemic. One trend found by 6 River Systems is that consumers demand “omnichannel” retail experiences that are consistent across channels. It can be very difficult for retailers to bridge the gap between brick-and-motor and online delivery of their products. How can retailers create seamless experiences…

power of brand
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Toys “R” Us is an unforgettable part of many Americans’ childhoods, bringing back nostalgic memories of aisles upon aisles stacked high with all the toys a little mind could imagine. That’s why it was saddening for many who grew up with the chain to hear they filed for bankruptcy in September of 2018. It’s quite…

retail
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As retail evolves, so do many of the business models and strategies that are crucial to its success. Direct-to-consumer, or D2C, is the model that ensures that retailers sell and distribute their products directly to consumers. This allows them to avoid any other parties in the process. As a result, many brands are also shifting…

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Social commerce and content creation
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Social commerce may be a newish idea for U.S. retail brands, but it is a trendy marketing tool in China. How popular? Sales in China from social commerce platform purchases reached $363 billion in 2021. Compare that with the U.S., where social commerce sales were $36.6 billion in the same year. The trend is growing,…

Stylitics
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How exactly are companies like Stylitics entering the fashion field and helping to expand fashion customization and personalization in today’s world? Fashion is part of who we are—it is a silent form of self-identity for an individual that portrays beliefs, preferences, religion, occupation, social class, and so much more. And fashion is ever evolving; trends…

The Lead Innovation Summit

AI and retailers
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The intersection of AI and retailers comes into focus In the latest episode of Retail Refined. Host Melissa Gonzalez sits down with Purva Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO of Lily AI. Their conversation centers on how Lily AI bridges the gap between ‘merchant speak’ and ‘consumer speak’ regarding AI and retailers. Gupta explains how Lily…

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Every retailer strategizes in prioritizing customers needs differently, but it remains a focal point. As digital retail often overshadows brick-and-mortar stores, Saatva, the luxury mattress, bedding, and furniture brand, proves that the tangible retail experience still holds significant value. The key lies in harmonizing online and physical retail platforms, optimizing customer experience, and tailoring…

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Brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce platforms are rapidly blending, adopting a digital-first strategy is crucial for retail giants. Straddling the evolving terrains of customer preferences and technological advancements, companies are faced with a monumental task of transforming their operations end-to-end, effectively marrying their wholesale brands with a direct-to-consumer operational model.  Amid this challenge and opportunity, businesses…

RICE 2023

global retail brands
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Global retail brands have a reputation for going big. But how do the best brands find a way to make a powerful consumer impact globally while maintaining that local feel so crucial to long-stranding relevancy? As technology advances and consumer behavior shifts, brands face the challenge of creating unique, immersive experiences that resonate with…

sensory design
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Sensory design is an emerging marker of today’s retail experience. The digital age continues to transform the retail industry, and the advent of Sensory Enabling Technologies (SETs) is revolutionizing how consumers interact with brands online, creating immersive, multisensory customer experiences that were once only possible in physical stores. According to a study by McKinsey,…

RICE 2023
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RICE 2023 (the Retail Innovation Conference & Expo) brought out all the latest trends and innovations for retailers to experience. Halfway through 2023, the retail industry is clearly emerging from a pandemic. The sector faced everything the pandemic could throw at it, supply chain issues, inflation, economic uncertainty, and geopolitical factors. However, consumers are…

ShopTalk Europe 2023

COS
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Shoptalk Europe 2023 brought the technologies and channels driving the future of retail into a clear perspective. This year’s annual event from May 9-11 in Barcelona allowed Retail Refined’s Melissa Gonzalez to sit down with key stakeholders making a difference in the market. COS (Collection of Style) is a European fashion brand doing innovative things…

future at IKEA
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As AI advances with technologies such as GPT-4, companies are beginning to come to terms with the fact that “soft skill” education is crucial in creating a future industry for the retail world. GPT-4 functions as a natural language processing tool driven by tech that can use its language model for hard skills such as…

IKEA digital transformation
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In the swiftly evolving retail industry, the conversation around digital transformation and retail technologies is more urgent than ever. Amid this tech-driven revolution, IKEA is pioneering a remarkable journey. The stakes are high, as IKEA aims to shift from being primarily a physical retailer to incorporating a substantial omni-channel presence. As of 2016 only…

retail industry
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The retail industry is a dynamic landscape that demands constant adaptation to shifting consumer habits, market fluctuations, and technological advancements. With retail spending projected to reach a staggering $31.3 trillion by 2025, it is crucial for brand management companies to stay ahead of the curve. One such company making waves in the industry is Authentic…

innovations in luxury retail
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As the landscape of luxury retail is rapidly evolving, a fresh perspective and innovations in luxury retail comes to the forefront from Lauren Barrie, the Group Head of Luxury Retail at Frasers Group. In a world still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, this topic is more timely than ever as we explore how…

inspiration and ease
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In this episode of Retail Refined, host Melissa Gonzalez, sits down with Richard Lems, the Director of Format and Design at Rituals Cosmetics, to discuss the concept of balancing inspiration and ease in retail. They delve into the unique experience offered by the House of Rituals in Amsterdam, exploring its vision and the ways it…

ShopTalk

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resell strategy
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In this episode of Retail Refined: Shop Talk Europe 2023, host Melissa Gonzalez discussed the power of resell strategy with Emily Gittins, CEO and Co-Founder of Archive, a platform that empowers the resale revolution. Gittins discussed how Archive assists brands in launching their resale programs, allowing them to tap into the growing trend of…

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NRF 2023

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Video Analytics
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In this episode of Retail Refined, host Melissa Gonzalez, Principal at MG2/ Founder of The Lionesque Group sits down with Tracy Benaman, Deep North VP of Retail Sales, at NRF’s Big Show to discuss how AI video analytics is revolutionizing the retail industry. Tracy shares how retailers are using AI video analytics to gain valuable…

Retail Influencer CEO Forum - Featuring The Z Suite

Brands
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Generation Z, better known as Gen Z, is the generation that is increasingly drawing more attention from brands and companies. With this in mind, brands are ensuring they are not only meeting the spending needs of Gen Z, but also addressing the social issues and concerns that they care about. As a demographic, their…

return
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Building brand loyalty is about putting the customer first, in every aspect. Tuned into this idea of proactive communication, Amit Sharma founded Narvar, a pioneering platform that helps brands engage with consumers beyond their purchase. In this episode of Retail Refined, host Melissa Gonzalez spoke with CEO and Founder Amit Sharma about engaging customers…

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Generation Z likes their fashion to be sustainable. A Forbes Study found that 62% of Generation Z prefer to purchase from sustainable brands. And this generation is backing that pledge with their wallets—they are willing to pay more for ethically produced goods. Utilizing the powerful influencing tools of social media, Generation Z makes known…

Coach in the Metaverse & Web3
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Retail brands recognized the need for dominance in the eCommerce space, but omnichannel today means there is a new world to embrace, the Metaverse. Brands that fail to embrace the Metaverse could miss out on millions of consumers who spend hundreds of hours a month on virtual platforms.  One retailer who understands the value…

Gen Z
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When the C-Suite needs to know the hot retail fashion trends, they check into the Z Suite. At the recent Retail Influencer CEO Forum featuring the Z Suite on September 12, 2022, C-suite retail and brand leaders came together to discuss this critical demographic with an exclusive network of diverse Gen Z voices. But…

2022

Daniel’s Jewelers
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The jewelry industry stands unique compared to other retailers for a lot of reasons, and most of that being with how personal a jewelry purchase can be. Despite flourishing over the years, that growth saw a quick decline in 2020 due to the pandemic. But later the industry saw a rapid increase in sales just…

Bubble Skincare
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As any good entrepreneur knows, starting a new business should address a consumer gap. For Bubble Skincare CEO and Founder, Shai Eisenman, she identified the need of affordable skincare that was accessible, made with clean ingredients, and centered around its target consumers – Generation Z teens. With such a refreshing approach to business, host…

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Currently, the customer journey for shoe shopping is quite involved and tedious. Consumers shop for shoes, read reviews and shoe sizing graphs, maybe even go in store to try shoes on, and often buy multiple pairs in various sizes. Sometimes they even buy the same product in different sizes — only to ultimately return…

Behind WorkJam's Mission to Improve Retention and Training in Retail
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Steve Kramer, CEO at WorkJam, is a twenty-year veteran in e-commerce. His specialty is finding the gaps in how organizations manage their frontlines. He founded WorkJam in 2014 as a digital frontline workplace to solve retail industry issues. “Our platform essentially helps retailers and companies and other industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, and distribution,…

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Successful retail requires flexibility. Recently, omnichannel was groundbreaking, but Retail Dive now reports it as a consumer baseline expectation. Let’s say a consumer is shopping on their mobile device. They transfer to their laptop to complete the transaction only to find an empty cart. These disconnections create enough friction for shoppers to jump and abandon…

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The popularity of BNPL (buy now, pay later) has grown tremendously over the past decade. The attraction of breaking purchasing payments up over weeks without interest or late fees is undeniable. In fact, “BNPL spending in the US is up 230% since 2020, per a September report by Accenture… [and] it’s estimated to total ~$226 billion this year,…

Retail
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Retail in 2022 and surviving as a brick-and-mortar store means keeping up with the consumers and consistently improving the customer’s experience. Keeping up with the consumers means being able to know what is convenient for them and what drives a consumer to make a purchase. In this episode of Retail Redefined, hosted by Melissa Gonzalez…

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With over 12K retail locations closing in 2020, leaving 159M square feet of retail space unoccupied, many might be thinking that the future of brick and mortar retail locations is permanently on the decline. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, retailers opened more stores than they closed in 2021, “with a nearly…

How American Eagle Outfitters Went by Acquisitions to Fill Logistics Gaps
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At a time when the supply and demand chain is experiencing growth in the retail sector, companies are focusing now more than ever on their efforts to keep up with the increasing pressures. Retail Refined host Melissa Gonzalez sat down to talk about the matter, and with her, Shekar Natarajan, Chief Global Supply Chain Officer…

IBM Study Shows a Growing Portion of Consumers Embrace Hybrid Shopping
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It’s the age-old question advertisers ask themselves: How do I ensure the brand is placed at the right place and right time to successfully engage our target audience throughout the customer journey? Discussing this loaded topic with Retail Refined Host, Melissa Gonzalez, is Karl Haller, partner of the consumer center of competency at IBM. One…

grant
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The Head of Global Expansion at HugePOD discusses custom apparel with Retail Refined host Melissa Gonzalez. HugePOD is a global leader in print-on-demand apparel design and manufacturing. Formally launched in 2021, HugePOD includes a worldwide network of diverse manufacturers and has developed a flexible fashion supply chain for world-class retailers, including Steve Madden, Forever New, Landmark,…

Having Funding Isn't Enough, Entrepreneurs of Color Need an Ecosystem of Resources
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Making a difference for black-owned businesses is Kendra Bracken-Ferguson. Bracken-Ferguson’s establishment of BrainTrust, an innovative social, digital, and influencer marketing agency focused on growing brands from organic communities since 2016, recently launched BrainTrust Founders Studio. This membership-based community platform creates inclusive economic opportunities for Black Beauty and Wellness Founders, increases business performance, and builds…

NRF 2022

Studies Show Consumers Spend More Time Shopping in Digital Realities Versus a Digital Page
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The convenience of online shopping means those crowded malls are no longer. No more waiting in a long line to purchase an item, no more pushing through crowds. But also, no longer being able to see the item in a room, on display. No more walking into a store and seeing the products incorporated…

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The days of retail clothiers needing to stock multiple garment sizes could be drawing to a close. NOBAL Technologies developed a product poised to revolutionize the customer retail experience with its interactive iMirror solution. Daniel Maher, VP of Technology at NOBAL, joined Retail Refined’s Melissa Gonzalez at NRF to talk about the positive impact iMirror…

How Fast Fashion Can Fix Its Sustainability Reputation Through the Supply Chain
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While at the world’s largest retail conference and expo, Retail Refined Host Melissa Gonzalez spoke with Chris Georgen, Founder and Chief Architect of Topl, a company that sits at the intersection of sustainability, deep-technology, and innovation. Topl, whose mission is to build trust between consumers and products, is set largely within an industry which…

Bringing One-click Checkouts to Merchants of All Sizes
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Ian Leslie, Senior Director of Retail Advocacy at Bolt, joined Retail Refined for a live chat at NRF 2020. Bolt is a San Francisco-based one-click checkout solution powering checkout across e-commerce merchants across the internet. “We’re trying to bring one-click checkout to all merchants whether they’re big or small,” Leslie said. “Give them a best-in-class…

How Will A Decrease in Foot Traffic Impact the In-Store Environment?
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What is the social and economic impact of declining foot traffic at malls around the country? To get insight into this question the Host of Retail Refined, Melissa Gonzalez, sat down with Karen Bomber, the Vice President of Global Marketing for Honeywell, at NRF 2022 to discuss the direct correlation between foot traffic and the…

Pop-Up Retailers Will Finally Have Analytics to Chart Success
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This episode of Retail Refined explored the emerging spatial intelligence technology that provides pop-up stores the opportunity to utilize real-time analytics to enhance the buying and selling experience. George Shaw, founder of Pathr.ai, and Melissa Gonzalez of The Lionesque Group discussed the technology that is set to transform retail environments throughout the world. “We’ve…

2021

How Will Sustainability Go Together with the "On-Demand" Economy?
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Ohi’s mission is to enable every brand to offer instant post purchase experience. Ben Jones, Founder of Ohi, chatted with Melissa Gonzales about Ohi’s origin and values. Jones founded Ohi when he had an injury that left him bedridden, and he realized he couldn’t order any of the products he needed and get them…

How CPGs Are Using Retail Sales Data to Set Their Brand Apart in 2022
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With the assumption supply chain issues will continue to impact retail for the foreseeable future, how can retailers best optimize their assortments heading into 2022? This question was on Retail Refined’s Melissa Gonzalez’ mind when she spoke with Andrew Criezis, Head of Product for SMB Globally, at NielsenIQ. At NielsonIQ’s SMB segment, Criezis and his…

The New Profile of the Store Associate
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The role of the store associate continues to evolve. This new profile is entrepreneurial and adaptive, selling to anybody anywhere. Brands with associates that build bonds versus being transactional only can see shopper value increase. Discussing this buzzy topic, Retail Refined host Melissa Gonzalez welcomed two experts, Bob Phibbs, Founder of the Retail Doctor, and…

Data is Shifting the CPG-Retailer Relationship
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CPGs and retailers have always had strong ties. With consumer behavior shifts, more competition, and new technology tools, that relationship is evolving. In the center of the CPG-retailer relationship are AI and machine learning. Taking on this topic, Retail Refined host Melissa Gonzalez spoke with Ryan Powell, VP Retail Strategy and Consulting, at Insite…

One Company Wants to Fix How eCommerce is Built
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Designed for retail leaders and lovers alike, Retail Refined explores the in-store technology of the future, challenges the industry’s preconceived notions, and brings together retail’s biggest names to understand the brand strategies that will define the next decade in retail.   Transactions are the objective of any business. In those moments, whether online or in-store, the brand…

Will Live Streaming Be Key to Retail?
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Live streaming adoption is accelerating for a host of reasons and has many applications. Retailers can take advantage of this channel to connect with consumers and sell directly to them. Talking about this emerging trend, Retail Refined host Melissa Gonzalez spoke with Kenneth Tan, Co-founder and CEO of BeLive Technology. The company offers live streaming solutions…

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Leveraging retail trends and data are keys to staying on the minds of consumers. This week on Retail Refined, host Melissa Gonzalez talks with Keyla Lazardi, Revlon’s Chief Scientific Officer about how the cosmetics giant utilizes both trends and data when it comes to innovation. The two also discuss the future of the beauty industry and what trends Lazardi is most…

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What’s the future of grocery? In an industry that’s evolved dramatically since 2020, there are lots of trends to discuss. Retail Refined host Melissa Gonzalez spoke with multiple stakeholders to get their take. First, Gonzalez chatted with George Shaw, CEO of Pathr.ai, a spatial intelligence platform. “We apply data to questions our customers have, which…

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Ecommerce adoption has never been higher, but that doesn’t mean shoppers want standard shopping experiences. They’re expecting more and for brands to delight them. Many of these companies are investing in experiential ecommerce. Retailed Refined host Melissa Gonzalez spoke with Neha Singh, the Founder and CEO of Obsess, about this topic. Singh, a returning guest, started…

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Ecommerce adoption has never been higher, but that doesn’t mean retailers can rest on their laurels when it comes to creating engaging experiences for shoppers. Engagement is an area where consumer expectations have evolved over the last 18 months. The host of MarketScale’s Retailed Refined, Melissa Gonzalez, spoke with Neha Singh, the Founder and CEO…

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Designed for retail leaders and lovers alike, Retail Refined explores the in-store technology of the future, challenges the industry’s preconceived notions, and brings together retail’s biggest names to understand the brand strategies that will define the next decade in retail. Over the past year, ecommerce and online shopping, as well as BOPIS, saw a significant bump. Now,…

expectations
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Designed for retail leaders and lovers alike, Retail Refined explores the in-store technology of the future, challenges the industry’s preconceived notions, and brings together retail’s biggest names to understand the brand strategies that will define the next decade in retail. With customer expectations higher than ever before, will brick-and-mortar stores lean more heavily into personalizing the guest…

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Seeming to spare no one in its path of devastation, the coronavirus not only brought about health concerns for populations around the world, it’s wreaked havoc on the traditional brick and mortar landscape, with many filing bankruptcy and more than 8,000 retail locations going dark for good. In an industry where trends are constantly shifting…

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Shopping in the modern world looks much different now than it did at the beginning of the year. In fact, numbers were up before the pandemic. Looking to the end of 2020, dramatic downturns are holding steady for brick and mortar. Discussing these data points today with Daniel Litwin is John Kelly, CEO of Zenreach. Zenreach’s data suggests that…