"Zucchini in a Cucumber Pile" w/ Sucharita Kodali


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Sucharita Kodali of Forrester Research joins us to talk about the unfortunate demise of Toys 'R Us and her new book, "Toys 'R Bust: Reasons One of the Country’s Most Revered Retailers Collapsed".

Show Notes

About Sucharita Kodali

  • Sucharita is a retail analyst at Forrester Research with a focus on online retail and technology.

  • She once worked at Toys"R"Us and is writing a book called "Toys R Bust" chronicling the rise and fall of the retail giant.

Half the pay and a third of the productivity

  • The Container Store theorizes that one great employee is worth three good ones, so they choose to pay 50-100% higher wages for their salespeople.

  • Because of seasonal hiring and low pay at Toys"R"Us, there were low quality employees that were poorly trained and unmotivated.

  • In a grocery setting, this results in errors like zucchinis in the cucumber pile.

  • Many employees at Toys"R"Us were trained singularly and were unable to fill gaps and needs as challenges arose.

Rewriting the fall of Toys"R"Us

  • Sucharita counters the notion that private equity ruined Toys"R"Us. They had been in a tailspin for years before private equity entered the equation.

  • Toys"R"Us struggled to compete against a certain Seattle behemoth.

  • After their deal with Amazon severed, Toys"R"Us moved to GSI's platform.

Writing a more perfect Toys"R"Us

  • Could they have adopted a more customer-centric experience like Bonobos or Warby Parker?

  • Could a more boutique shopping experience integrated with ecommerce fulfillment have worked?

  • Despite a large array of interesting products in the toy market, Toys"R"Us received 50% of its inventory from just 20 vendors.

Amazon Prime Day

  • It was shocking to see an outage on Amazon's site, let alone on Prime Day.

  • There were more sign-ups on Prime than on any other day prior.

  • Amazon seems to play by its own rules. Despite a bad first impression, they still had a huge day of sales and signups. This says a lot about their brand trust.

Speaking of Trust...

  • Is Amazon at risk of being affected by anti-trust laws?

  • Europe is cracking down. Will this reach the US?

  • Marketplaces are incredibly easy to sell and there is not a lot of recourse or quality control right now. Many third-party sellers make false claims or deliver counterfeit product. Legislation could affect this soon.

Magento, an Adobe Company

  • Adobe is a major force in the digital world, but they lacked ecommerce presence.

  • Adobe's acquisition of Magento expands their reach much further.

110 episodes available. A new episode about every 9 days averaging 44 mins duration .