A Ketner Q&A with Susan Reda, Editor at STORES Media
What technology trend do you see most impacting the industry?
Machine learning. As I understand it, machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence; the machine learns through applying algorithms to data and the more data, the more the machine grows in knowledge. Retailers who use machine learning can better understand what people are looking for. Ultimately it will lead to more accurate speech recognition, computers that can understand images – even helping to build self-driving cars (though that scares the heck out of me). Anything that helps retailers to better manage the piles of data they’ve amassed and improve decision-making will have a positive impact on retail so I’m keeping an eye on this.
How do you most like to stay up to date on trends?
I read everything I can get my hands on– often to my own detriment in terms of time management. Still, I think it’s important to set aside some time each day to read “favorites” and allow yourself the time to follow links and follow your mind’s eye. There have been so many instances where doing so led me down a path I would not otherwise have explored – and typically it’s to my benefit.
How do you recommend PR professionals reaching out to share news?
While I’m the first to lament my ever-overflowing Inbox, it remains the best way to reach me. That said, if I haven’t responded and the email demands a timely response; I prefer a follow up call rather than resending an email two or three times.
What’s the best piece of personal or professional advice you’ve been given?
Bring your “A” game as often as possible, but when your plate is overflowing learn to prioritize what’s an “A” what’s a “B” and even “B-“ will have to suffice.
How did you get involved in the industry?
I studied Journalism at St. John’s University in NYC and my first job was with a small trade publication called Hosiery & Underwear Magazine. You haven’t lived until you’ve come up with ten stories about hosiery for each issue! Slowly I branched into coverage of other women’s apparel categories and after one-too-many “x is the new black” phrases I made the jump to covering the business of retail. I’ve been very fortunate to cover this industry for decades.
What do you think is the biggest change occurring in the retail industry?
In a word, disruption. There has never been a time where so much was changing at once. Retailers and vendors alike are on an endless trek to keep up and, if they’re lucky, to set the pace.
What do you do for fun?
I’m all about family time. Now that my children are adults and have moved out, I seize any and every opportunity to meet up with them for a visit or a dinner. And when they come home, I spoil them rotten. My other guilty pleasure is watching hockey. I’m a huge New York Rangers fan.
About Susan Reda
Susan Reda is Editor of STORES Media, the official publishing division of the National Retail Federation. She is responsible for developing all content for the magazine and additional STORES properties. With a passion for all things related to retail, Reda researches and writes multiple stories per issue, exploring the big-picture ideas, issues and innovations bubbling up in the industry. With years of experience researching and reporting on retail, Reda has written about topics ranging from digital trends and CIO priorities to organized retail crime and big data. Before joining NRF, Reda was an associate editor at Apparel Merchandising magazine, where she covered the women’s apparel beat, including juniors, swimwear and intimate apparel. She began her career as a writer for Hosiery & Underwear magazine. A Long Island native and resident, Reda holds a B.S. in journalism from St. John’s University.