JEANEL ALVARADO CONSUMER ANALYST & RETAIL STRATEGIST

Passionate about consumer-driven retail strategies.

Hi, my names Jeanel. I am a consumer analyst and retail strategist living in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have worked on over 30 consulting projects, 7 years in the retail industry, 7 years of combined education, and countless certifications including Google Analytics, Adwords, Hubspot and more. Read more about me below and my journey that led me to such a dynamic career in retail strategy and consulting.

But where did my Journey begin

My journey into the retail industry began when I was admitted into the Human Ecology program at the University of Alberta, majoring in Clothing and Textiles and minoring in Fashion Merchandising. While in the program I took extensive courses in fashion design, textile science, economics and sociology. I stayed in this 4 year program for only 1 year, basically I couldn't see myself taking another 3 years in "filler" courses consisting of religion, political science, sciences, etc. I decided to shift my focus on the business side of fashion and retail (a major gap missing from my program). For here I took a Fashion Marketing and Buyer diploma to focus on the merchandise and planning strategy side of fashion.

During my Fashion Marketing and Buyer diploma, I took courses in accounting, retail math, finance, planning and assortment strategy, sourcing and supply-chain. Once I completed this diploma, I knew I needed to take higher level business courses focusing on organization and business strategies. I then enrolled at MacEwan University, where I completed an accelerated diploma and my third year of the Bachelor of Commerce program in Management. During my time at MacEwan, I knew I needed more experience in putting the business strategies I've learnt to work. I enrolled in classes that involved real-world consulting projects and in my time at MacEwan I completed 8 consulting projects for various clients in the retail industry - and then received after work from retailers as a freelance consultant. From here I took an internship as a commercial and marketing coordinator, leaving my two year retail job as a Beauty Advisor. My position allowed me to see the other side of marketing and working with advertising companies on a broader level.

After my internship, I realized how much I did;t want to work in an industry other than retail. I wanted to work for a company that focused on retail operations and marketing strategies at the consumer level. I knew from then that i would never work for a company disconnection from consumers. I need consumer-focused work. I began focusing back to consulting, and enacting strategies on a consumer level. I focused my studies around analyzing strategies that drive consumer spending, buying behaviour, brand perceptions, influencers and more. The next year, I transferred to the University of Alberta to complete the remained of my Bachelor of Commerce degree, for two reasons. Reason one, the program offered retailing courses and a retail-focused consulting group. Reason two, the University of Alberta's marketing program is ranked NO.1 in Canada for its research on consumer behaviour and strategies from both a consumer psychological and sociological level.

Prior to transferring back to the University of Alberta, I secured a job as a senior consultant for the School of Retailing Consulting Group (SOR|CG). Which actually, didn't exist while I had attended back in 2011. Once admitted in the Fall, I began working on consulting projects within the retail and real estate shopping centres, for both revitalization and feasibility studies. In the Summer, I was promoted to Managing Director and successfully managed 8 consulting projects with various teams ranging from 4-5 members. This Fall, I continued as the Managing Director for SOR|CG, and the role of Student President of the School of Retailing. My role as Managing Director shifted from managing junior and senior consultants but in addition managing and training new Managing Directors on consulting projects. My time at the Alberta School of Business, School of Retailing has been nothing but a dream, where I have been able to put consumer-driven approaches to work everyday to derive consumer insights for retail strategies. I thrive in a client based environment with ensuring project deliverables to our clients exceed their expectations and develop long-term client relationships.

My perspective on retail strategies

At the very root of all retail strategies should be the consumer's mind, often marketing and communication campaigns forget the very essence of consumer psychology, sociology, social and economic factors, global competition and more. That is because the retail industry is inherently different from any other industry. Retailers are more concerned with getting promotions and campaigns out, then they are identifying who their actually trying to target, and what they actually want now. Unlike other industries, looking at past data and trends must be taken with a grain of salt - let's face it, its too late. The retail industry moves so fast, to find out a trend after the year is over, your only looking at missed opportunities. It's predictive analytics and utilizing real-time consumer data that is your competitive advantage. Your consumer target market must be identified, segmented and profiled, otherwise your promotions and campaigns will never reach your target, your only shooting in the dark. I've learnt from my many studies to focus on holistic approaches to strategies and not to look at things without context, benchmarks, economics, market trends and more. Only someone who has worked in the retail industry would understand how to truly derive insightful information. Let's face it, your the manager but your staff knows more about your consumers than you do. But you know who knows more than them? - Your data.

Focus on controllable data

There is a lot of data available online but nothing more powerful than the data you collect on consumers everyday. In theory, data taken out of context does not provide any insights, just consumer trends, often based on economic factors - retailers cannot control. So what can retailers control? Retailers can simply control everything within their marketing mix, communications and retail strategies to affect consumer purchasing behaviour. This is my area of expertise, I focus on utilizing consumer-data to drive effective retail strategies and spot fashion trends early on. I focus on understand the target market, where they come from, why they buy, how they make buying decisions, what they want, and more. From this I'm able to develop merchandising strategies, product assortment, buying strategies, brand recommendations, expansion opportunities, market penetration, feasibility and more.

Projects completed independently

Ecommerce, Social Media & Analytics (conducted online survey) for eFashion Canada, Google Analytics & other Metrics for eFashion Canada, Advertising & Promotion (conducted grass-root marketing campaign and survey) for Remedy Cafe, Employee Satisfaction & Engagement (conducted in-person surveys) for Delta Hotels, Brand Awareness (conducted online and in-store surveys) for Earth's General Food Store, Social Media & Google Analytics for Strathcona County,

Projects completed at SOR|CG

Revitalization Strategy, Marlborough Shopping Centre for 20 Vic Management, Primary Research in St. Albert for Economic Development, Corner Stone Project (Consisted of five separate reports on strip malls) for City of Edmonton, Alumni One-Card Marketing Project for Alumni Relations, Sponsorship package, Five-year financial and marketing plan for Change Adventure Camp, Historical Corridor Applied Research for SOR|AR

Fun facts

I've had the opportunity to tour various retail headquarters including Apple Infinity Loop, Google Canada, Apple Inc, Nasty Gal, BCBGMaxazria, Environics and more.

Friends call me the marketing guru, idea generator and retail industry know-it-all.

I've received honours all my consulting projects to date, and I have never missed a deadline, and always provide after-work.

I won an Entrepreneurship Award for a business plan I had wrote in my first year of University.

In 2015, I began specializes in consumer analytics, metrics and data-driven insights with a keen interest in consumer behaviour.

My mission

Through consulting, I strive to provide consumer insights and retail strategies to brands to better market their poducts and services to their target market. I believe that successful retailers are data-driven and if they are not, then they are not successful. In order to thrive and be sustainable, consumer data matters, you may without knowing me looking sight of what your target market wants and find out when its too late.

RETAILBOSS.

Launched in Summer 2016, RETAILBOSS. focuses on empowering retailers, brands and start-ups with consumer insights, trends, data and more. We do this my being a leader in consumer insights and retail strategies, through education, workshops, case studies and client projects. RETAILBOSS. focus on educating retailers on how to use consumer analytics and trends to make effective retail strategies. The newly established consulting firm has already worked with clients in Toronto, New York and within Alberta.

Contact me for more information on how I can help your business, utilize consumer data to drive retail strategies.

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Jeanel Alvarado
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