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Nearly 500 robots will be deployed across the Giant Foods and Stop & Shop chains. “The biggest barrier to seeing robots on the selling floor in the short-term will be the cost to deploy and maintain this equipment,” says Mark Ryski, Author, CEO & Founder of HeadCount Corporation. “This is only the start. Over time, I expect these robots will be used for many other tasks including product location and even basic customer service.” Read the article

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“Notwithstanding the additional value flagships provide, the underlying financial realities of these retailers also needs to be weighed — flagships, by definition, are high value assets and if the flagship store is significantly unprofitable, the motivation to sell these sites and close the stores will be strong,” says Mark Ryski, Author, CEO & Founder of HeadCount Corporation. “Ultimately, I believe that closing a flagship — and especially the stores noted in the article — should be a very last resort. The fact that these retailers have made the decision to do so is very telling of what shape their businesses are actually in.” Read the article

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“Sears’ situation is very different,” says Mark Ryski, Author, CEO & Founder of HeadCount Corporation. “As one of the most progressive grocery retailers, Kroger is looking to the future and seeing that digital will be critical to success. It’s not surprising that, in the short-term, this may appear to be myopically focused on digital to the detriment of physical stores, but I doubt that leadership at Kroger is confused about the importance physical stores play in their future.” Read the article

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The furniture retailer is opening 30 small-store concepts in urban areas and refocusing e-commerce and delivery efforts. Will that lure millennials? “Even the most successful retailers need to disrupt themselves occasionally, and Ikea is a good example,” says Mark Ryski, Author, CEO & Founder of HeadCount Corporation.  “The move to smaller, city-center stores and focusing on online makes good sense. Ikea’s product offering is very compatible with the urban dweller, so smaller stores where these shoppers live makes good sense.” Read the article

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On August 27, Walmart’s Premium Outdoor Store microsite launched with nearly 50 well-known outdoor brands. “Will it hurt some of the outdoor specialty stores?,” says Mark Ryski, founder and CEO, HeadCount Corp. “Probably, but how is this different than any other category? Ultimately every retailer needs to find their place in the market, and competing against Walmart and Amazon is just part of the market.”  Read the article

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“The meal kit business is becoming very crowded and I wonder about the long-term sustainability for many of the players in the space,” wrote Mark Ryski, CEO of The HeadCount Corporation. “While Chick-fil-A brings a slightly new twist to the meal kit market, I don’t see this changing the category dynamics.”  Read the article

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Walmart has added commercial content to hundreds of titles that are now offered on VUDU for free streaming. But Walmart has a lot of work to do to catch up with Amazon and Netflix, according to Mark Ryski, CEO of HeadCount Corporation.” Read the article

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Cycle Gear, a motorcycle parts and apparel retailer, is using data to drive business strategy, boost revenue and increase sales. The ability to boost conversion rate has also allowed Cycle Gear to optimize staffing, including additional hires to help more customers, which has boosted the customer experience.  Read the article

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Today many brick-and-mortar retailers track store traffic and measure conversion, but the question is what they actually do to optimize their in-store conversion rates. The answer for many is not much. Learn more about the critical difference between Tracking Conversion versus Optimizing Conversion. Read the article

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Cycle Gear, a specialty retailer of motorcycle parts and apparel with 140 stores in 38 states, is on a roll, hitting its goals, growing and opening new locations. The company is demonstrating how to increase comp sales quarter after quarter — all while keeping wage budgets in line.  Read the article

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