Staying Curious podcast episode 018: Unveiling opportunities to transform retail strategies

Designers are often the heart and soul of retail companies, giving the brand its unique identity. However, good designs do not always equate to good business strategies or profitability, which is where retail industry consultants come into play. Join Staying Curious as we talk to Liza Amlani, a retail industry expert with more than 20 years’ experience as a buyer, consultant and industry strategist at companies such as Ralph Lauren, Walmart and Nike where she will provide some perspective on the role of a consultant, and current industry trends.

Help for the industry

Liza Amlani, Principal and Founder, Retail Strategy Group

To learn more about the power of optimizing retail workflows, follow Liza and Retail Strategy Group today:
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Liza is the current Principal at Retail Strategy Group where she leverages her experience in the retail industry to help solve problems and help others in the retail space. Realizing that designled brands can often be incredibly stressed and overwhelmed, Liza developed a consulting group that aims to identify opportunities that improve profitability and organizational effectiveness.

Solutions can range across all sizes, from changes in processes and efficiency, to simply finding more effective ways to incorporate the voice of the consumer in the process. Helping companies innovate their processes and optimize their workflows helps translate design into profitability.

A primary issue companies are struggling with is inventory management. There is frequently excess product, or overproduction of products not resonating with the consumer base or eroded gross margins and waste. Without help, this repetitive cycle can wear on a company, and threaten their own sustainability or longevity.


Focusing on prevention instead of contingency plans

A key strategy for the survival of many retail brands is to stop applying band-aids to problems, and work on preventing problems instead. Time and time again, Liza sees the cycle of markdowns, restructuring or re-alignment in response to poor margins and profitability. But less frequently does she see innovation to prevent those problems in the first place.

One approach that can be used to prevent problems is to incorporate predictive analytics into the development process. Using analytics in the planning process can help with inventory management, provide meaningful insights and positively influence the design process. This technology doesn’t just impact the bottom line, but it can also influence the design aspect too. When used effectively, predictive analytics and AI can provide meaningful datapoints that can now inform designers on what is resonating best with consumers, help them better incorporate the consumer voice into the process. This ultimately leads to a more informed design brief that can help brands develop the right product, at the right time, and in the right place.