Retail Gets Real

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NRF’s virtual event, NRF 2021 Retail's Big Show—Chapter One, starts January 12. NRF's Vice President of Content and Retail Strategy, Jill Dvorak chats with the team about what we're hearing from retail leaders across the country and why this is going to be a Big Show like no one has ever seen before. Learn more at
NRF’s Susan Reda discusses which trends coming out of 2020 will gain momentum in 2021 and what the year ahead holds for retail. Learn more at
The retail industry was challenged from every direction in 2020, but retail is resilient. National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay discusses what shaped the industry this past year and looks ahead at the challenges and the opportunities for retail going forward. Learn more at
As the world of retail is transforming at a rate faster than we've ever seen, the National Retail Federation's virtual event, NRF 2021 Retail's Big Show Chapter 1, will provide the talks, tech, and talent of tomorrow to propel the retail industry forward. This year, COVID-19 taught us that the customer experience of the future requires connection, personalization, and most importantly, safety. Suitsupply Founder and CEO Fokke de Jong is speaking at NRF 2021 about reinventing the shopper journey to meet customers where and how they want to shop, and he joins this episode to offer a preview of their new in-store safe shopping and virtual pre-shopping options. Learn more at
The National Retail Federation's flagship event is going virtual this year. At NRF 2021, Retail's Big Show Chapter One, innovative brands big and small will come together — virtually — to celebrate the best in retail and move forward with focus. Mitch Joel is an expert in reimagining what's next. This January at NRF 2021, he'll be discussing the growth of e-commerce and what lies ahead for the fully digitized consumer.  Mitch is an entrepreneur, author, digital expert, and the founder of Six Pixels Group, an advisory, investing, and content company focused on brands and commerce. He's been named one of the top 100 marketers in the world and was awarded the highly prestigious Canada's Top 40 Under 40 award. He joins the Retail Gets Real podcast to share a glimpse into his Big Show session and talk about how retailers are rethinking many commonly-held beliefs about what works in commerce today. Learn more at
Tom Litchford, Head of Worldwide Retail at Amazon Web Services, joins us to talk about why the cloud is a strategic investment that helps retailers innovate, recover revenue, and cut costs while protecting themselves from future unexpected events and disruptions.   Learn more at
As the holiday season arrives, how will this year's unique circumstances impact business? To help us answer that question, we sat down with Steven Lightman, Group President, Gourmet Foods & Gift Baskets at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, INC. He shares his insight on how consumer behaviors are shifting this year and how the retailer is expanding its digital and mobile footprint to ensure consumers have the goods they need in time for the holidays. Learn more at
We are months into the COVID-19 pandemic at this point, and people everywhere are forming new habits—some healthy, some not so much. Consumers continue to look for ways to improve their diet, seeking out alternatives to meat and dairy as a way to complement a healthy and balanced lifestyle. T.K. Pillan is a health and wellness enthusiast on a mission to encourage plant-based eating whenever possible. He founded Veggie Grill, a vegan restaurant chain that makes plant-based eating delicious and accessible while contributing to a healthier and kinder future for the planet. T.K. joins Retail Gets Real to discuss consumer demand for sustainable plant-based dining options and how he's building a healthy food empire.   Learn more at
While 40% of the food produced in the United States is thrown away, one in eight Americans struggle with hunger. Kroger is hoping to close this gap with the Zero Hunger Zero Waste initiative, leveraging community engagement, customer education, and other operations. This initiative marks a commitment from Kroger to end hunger in our communities and eliminate waste across the company by 2025. Keith Dailey, Group Vice President of Corporate Affairs at The Kroger Co., joins us to discuss how Kroger is supporting individuals and families experiencing food insecurity and how it's restructuring the narrative around food waste. Learn more at
With conflicts around health and safety likely to escalate as we head into the holiday season, the NRF Foundation recently released training credentials in retail operations and customer conflict prevention to arm frontline employees with the skills they need to better manage health and safety, for both themselves and customers, and resolve customer conflicts. The Customer Conflict Prevention Training in partnership with the Crisis Prevention Institute will train customer-facing retail employees on how to identify signs of conflict, minimize risk, and effectively de-escalate if needed. Susan Driscoll is the president of the Crisis Prevention Institute, where she oversees design, instruction, and training, among many other operations at CPI. Today, she joins us on the Retail Gets Real podcast to discuss how the foundation's new training credentials will give retail workers the tools to promote safety and the confidence to operate efficiently during the pandemic. Learn more at
The pandemic's effects on the economy have led retailers to reassess and reexamine opportunities for partnerships so that they will be better equipped to thrive through the uncertainties ahead in the market. Though some might be vulnerable, merging with sectors that have flourished in the past few months could lead to new opportunities that fortify customer relationships and expand cash flow. John Potter, a partner in the US Deals Sector at PwC, discusses mergers and acquisitions, how the effects of the pandemic have shifted business strategies, and opportunities for investments in retail. Learn more at
The National Retail Federation's Top 100 Retailers list has been ranking the nation's biggest retail players by sales since 2010. Retailers like Walmart, Kroger, and Amazon have dominated the Top 100 list year over year, and they saw accelerated growth during the pandemic. In 2006, NRF began releasing the Hot 100 Retailers list, which ranks the nation's fastest-growing retail companies. Among those topping this year's list are supermarket Lidl and discount merchant Five Below. Today, we're going to take a deep dive and explore the retailers who made this year's list and what their investments can tell us about the future of retail with Rachel Dalton, the Director of e-Commerce and Omnichannel Insights at Kantar, the research firm that compiles NRF's top retailer lists.   Learn more at
Coronavirus might have halted many aspects of our lives this year, but consumers are still looking forward to celebrating Halloween... although things will look a little different this year. Research from NRF shows more than 148 million US adults plan to participate in Halloween-related activities like trick or treating and wearing costumes. To learn more about how people are planning to celebrate responsibly, we sat down with Kevin Johnson, Chairman of the Halloween & Costume Association, and Christopher Gindlesperger, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications at the National Confectioners Association. Learn more at
Shopify is a global e-commerce platform that serves over a million merchants in over 175 countries by streamlining the process of running a store online. In the wake of this year's rise in online shopping, many merchants, particularly small businesses, turned to the platform to reach their customers and earn a profit. Today, Ian Black, Head of Retail at Shopify is here to share how the platform is helping retailers of all sizes meet their needs and weather the pandemic. Learn more at
COVID-19 has accelerated retail and shaped behavior for all consumers, from gen-Z to baby boomers. In just a few short months, we've seen soaring demand for essential products like toilet paper and we've stocked up on merchandise like toys and cooking supplies that brought us comfort and entertainment while in quarantine. We opted for contactless payments, increased shopping via mobile apps, and celebrated holidays like Easter and Mother's Day from a social distance. We also saw retailers expand digital offerings to help us get the items we need right now through methods like curbside pickup and buy online, pick up in store. As retailers continue to create omnichannel experiences that transform the way we buy, how are consumers changing? And what trends are here to stay? Susan Reda, Vice President of Content Strategy, and Jill Dvorák, VP of Content and Retail Strategy at NRF, join us to examine the retailer and consumer journey since the onset of the coronavirus and what these noteworthy trends could mean for the future of retail. Learn more at
The early weeks of the pandemic led consumers to experience unprecedented supply shortages and retailers to experience delays in essential inventory that was in high demand. With the holidays just around the corner, how will the ongoing pandemic affect what has traditionally been retailer's busiest time of the year? And what are retailers doing to diversify sourcing options to reduce supply chain disruptions?   In a previous episode with experts from PwC, we discuss how retailers can leverage demand sensing to predict consumer trends that will determine sales. This week, we're going to take a step further to look at how retailers are making decisions about what kinds of items to have in stock and other areas for investment. Jon Gold, the Vice President of Supply Chain and Customs Policy at the National Retail Federation, discusses how supply chain and customs issues are impacting the industry and how retailers are responding.   Learn more at
In January at retail's Big Show, we spoke with the Enjoy Technology, Inc. CEO, Ron Johnson, about his journey establishing the mobile retail startup that reproduces the in-store experience in the comfort of customer's homes. When the pandemic hit, personal shopping experiences were impacted as retailers prioritized social distancing, and the health and safety of employees and consumers. Today, Ron discusses how the Enjoy experience has changed since the start of the pandemic, as well as how retailers can continue to deliver personal and memorable experiences at a time when it matters most.   Learn more at
The approaching holiday season will look very different for many retailers this year as the coronavirus upends and accelerates the retail industry. At a time when so many things are uncertain, understanding the rapidly changing needs of consumers is paramount in helping supply chain leaders better forecast demand and effectively manage inventory. That’s why retailers should be leveraging demand sensing, which uses supply chain information in real time to more accurately predict trends that will improve sales, make production more effective, and optimize inventory. Two experts from PwC, Kurt Staelens and Paul Leinwand, share how retailers are using demand sensing to reveal patterns that better predict behavior and what retailers can be doing right now to prepare for the busy holiday season ahead.   Learn more at
While looking to entertain themselves in quarantine, many consumers have taken up new hobbies. A go-to place for creative hobbies is Michaels Stores, an arts and crafts retailer specializing in all types of supplies for creative endeavors. At the onset of the pandemic, Michael's responded by launching new programs like curbside pickup and same-day delivery, as well as expanding how-to content on their website as customers were scrambling to entertain kids (and themselves). Steve Woodward, Senior Director of Digital Experience at Michaels, joins us to share how the retailer is innovating to accommodate the consumer since the onset of the coronavirus. Learn more at
As the next generation of consumers comes of age, it’s important to look at the habits of Gen Z, commonly referred to as the digital native generation. Katherine Cullen of the National Retail Federation's research team shares some recent data on what to expect from this group of young people. They are the first generation to truly grow up completely connected—not only with the internet but with smartphones and social media as well. They are ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting new technology and they are quickly becoming the experts of new tools and channels. Find out how their shopping habits—and their use of technology—affects retailers of the future.   Learn more at
Gen Z and Millennials get all of the attention, but there are some interesting trends emerging in how Boomers have adjusted their shopping habits due to the pandemic. Katie Jordan from the NRF research team shares some recent data about how that generation is shopping today. Unlike millennials and Gen Z, Boomers aren’t known for being tech-savvy. But with social distancing mandates, they have been forced to move more of their lives online. This has resulted in a large boom in the use of online shopping, curbside pick-up, contactless pay, and more.   Learn more at
It's back-to-school time, but not like we’re used to. Confusion about what school looks like this year also means uncertainty around back-to-class shopping. NRF’s Katherine Cullen talks about how implications of the pandemic are impacting family budgets, how retailers are adjusting their back-to-school shopping experience for online shopping and how kids are contributing to their own school shopping.   Learn more at
Eric Kinariwala, the founder and CEO of Capsule shares how the business is designed to improve the pharmacy experience, how it’s growing rapidly to meet the health needs of customers, and how the pandemic has impacted its business.   Learn more at
SKDKnickerbocker consultant and media strategist Bill Knapp describes how the issue of requiring face coverings became a contentious one and shares what messaging resonates best when communicating safety policies with customers.   Learn more at
Ramunda and Derrick Young run MahoganyBooks, an independent bookstore specializing in African American literature that operates online and from its Washington, D.C. location. In this episode, the Youngs share how they’ve navigated the pandemic as a small business and the recent surge in demand for books about the Black experience and racism following global protests against racial inequality. Learn more at
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Podcast Details

Created by
National Retail Federation
Podcast Status
May 12th, 2017
Latest Episode
Jan 11th, 2021
Release Period
Avg. Episode Length
24 minutes

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