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Meet The TRE: Timm Henderlight

Get to know RETHINK Retail’s Top Retail Experts through the “Meet the TRE” Q&A series! Dive in to learn about a member of the thought leader community and follow their work and insights across our content and their social channels.

Timm Henderlight is CEO & Founder at BLUEPRNT.

    • Name, Full Title, and/or Company

    Timm Henderlight, CEO & Founder, BLUEPRNT

    • Tell us about your background

    Timm Henderlight is a Digital Commerce & Marketing, Customer Experience (CX), Omnichannel, and Personalization leader guiding brands and retailers through diverse, complex, global Digital and Business Transformation challenges by developing customer-centric, data-driven strategies that address Experience, Technology, Data, People, and Process and attain business initiatives, drive key business outcomes (KBOs) and KPIs, and achieve higher ROIs.

    His background includes 20+ years experience across many different leading consultancies, agencies, and technology companies including Adobe, Digital River, Interpublic Group (IPG), and Infosys as a former Vice-President, Practice Leader, General Manager, management consultant and strategist. As a retail entrepreneur, his startup was named to the prestigious Inc 5000 List as the 6th Fastest Growing Company in retail in 2011.

    I currently sit on the National Retail Federation (NRF) IPC board and was named a 2024 Top Retail Expert by RETHINK Retail

    • Brief description of your current role and your space in the industry

    Currently Timm is CEO and founder of BLUEPRNT, a strategic consulting firm that specializes in Digital, Personalized CX, and Commerce transformations. Timm advises various brands and retailers and opines online about the convergence of macroeconomic indicators, like the stock market, Consumer Confidence Index (CCI), inflation, etc., and trends have on customer shopping patterns and behaviors.

    • What challenges/opportunities are currently facing retailers?

    One of the biggest challenges continues to be the change in customer’s expectations and buying patterns. While this is an evergreen issue, over the past few years it has been exacerbated by the global pandemic, supply chain and inventory issues, inflation, downward pressure on margin from price increases in raw materials and competition, especially with the recent rise of non-domestic cheap goods and companies, shrinkage, and how customers shop and discover new products. Far too many retailers launch new functionality and experiences that don’t meet the needs that customers want, make shopping and engaging easier, nor understand and meet the customer where they are in their shopping journey. So I believe there are tremendous opportunities for brands and retailers to improve their entire Customer Experience (CX) at every touchpoint and interaction.

    • What hot topics or trends have you been seeing in the retail space?
      • How do you support these hot topics?

    Obviously generative AI has been the buzzy topic recently and I believe that when employed correctly with well defined, specific use cases, generative AI has a lot of applications and opportunities to improve CX and operational efficiencies.

    However, I continue to believe that omnichannel personalization at scale is an area that could be much more impactful and drive incremental value and revenue.

    At BLUEPRNT we focus on helping our clients drive more personalized CX at every brand and retail touchpoint, whether on their online branded properties and stores, in physical retail stores, on social media networks, through paid advertising and media, or through their marketing efforts. We employ our ‘Five Pillars of Digital Transformation’ which always begins with developing the current and aspiration Experience, prior to implementing and enabling Technology. Next we work to amalgamate, structure, and enrich first, second, and third party Data that will be leveraged across every channel to create personalized CX, while also creating measurement and KPI models to ensure everything is captured. Lastly, we redesign internal Processes and make sure organizations have the right People, with the right training and knowledge, taking the proper actions and pulling the right levers at the right times. We accomplish all of this through a process I created called CX Enablement Mapping that ensures all internal client teams are aligned on the vision, outlines the customer journeys with how to execute, identifies the data sources to power the experiences and what is necessary to activate, documents the underlying technology and highlights any gaps, and creates a KPI & measurement model to track, report, & quantify the impacts and efficacy of technology investments.

    • How has the retail industry changed in the past 5 years? What do you predict will happen in the next 5 to 10 years?

    Over the next 5-10 years I do believe retail will continue to be disrupted by Generative AI. One area that I think is primed for AI is self-checkout POS. In next generation self-checkout POS, cameras will easily be able to use AI to ascertain items without a barcode and will employ conversational AI to answer questions and assist. The customer will no longer need to type in number for bananas because the POS camera will have already determined the item, so customer might only need to confirm if it’s organic or not. This will vastly improve the customer experience and speed up self-checkout.

    Next I believe we are at the beginning of an era where we’ll see more in store display screens serving personalized advertisements based upon the customer recognition and profiles. For instance, when a forty year old male walks to a store cooler, they might be served an Anheuser Busch beer ad, where a child might be served a Pepsi product ad.  

    • Which resources do you use to keep up with industry news?

    I subscribe and follow various publications and thought leaders where I read their posts, listen to podcasts, and receive their emails, news alerts, and notifications. I subscribe to a couple of the Wall Street Journal podcasts and have always been a fan of Freakonomics and other podcasts that either have interviews from industry leaders or breakdown the data, analytics, and economics behind human behavior. I also read earnings reports from market leaders across the financial services, retail, and technology industries as often times they report on how customers are spending their money, consumer trends, and provide key insights on how the market is moving.

    You’ll also catch CNBC on in the background in my office during the day to keep up on the market and listen to interviews from industry leaders about what is impacting their businesses and industries.  

    • How do you continue to grow and develop as an influencer of the retail industry?

    First, I think it’s important to keep a pulse on the industry. To be an expert influencer you have to know the subject matter inside out. Then it’s about creating a voice that resonates with your followers, peers, and target audience. I look for areas that I’m passionate and where there’s not oversaturation already of other influencers concentrating in the same area.  

    • What are the most critical changes that we must make to face the future effectively?

    Again, I think Generative AI is going to change the future of brands and retailers, so we must think about how to deploy the technology so that it is advantageous while understanding and minimizing the negative impacts it can have on customers, the brand, employees, the environment, and civilization.    

    • What has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?

    There are too many to list and thank, but what I’ve found as an entrepreneur and a business owner that forging meaningful, interpersonal relationships with individuals and constantly expanding your network is crucial. Although I sell services, at the end of the day it’s still about building relationships. No one wants to work with someone they don’t trust or like, so before you can sell a service, you’re really selling yourself. Plus, when first getting started, you often times need someone on the inside to help you out and give you your first big break, so I always try to take the time to help out others. Then if you are bootstrapping, you only really need one anchor client / project / opportunity to seed the business. 

    • What is the best resource for people who want to dive in deeper?

    I’ve found that simply following the right influencers on social media platforms, especially LinkedIn, really highlight meaningful content that you can click through and easily read.