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Julie Deming

Julie has been with Goodwill for 5 1/2 years and before that has nearly 15 years of experience as a retail leader with Target and JCPenney in various management roles in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas.
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Recent Posts

Success Stories are found across Goodwill

Posted by Julie Deming on August 29, 2019

When you ask most consumers what is Goodwill, the most popular answer you will hear will speak to the retail store. As leaders in retail, we understand this and strive daily to serve as positive brand ambassadors for Goodwill, providing great experiences for the millions of customers who come into our stores annually. One thing most customers and even many employees don’t realize is that our retail stores serve as places where mission services flourish as well. There are so many employee success stories that have occurred because of the mission-centered work happening across every retail location including stores, ecommerce and supply chain operations.

For example, every store has a dedicated Goodwill Way Guide who assists employees with supportive services to help them become more successful at work and at home. Just this year alone, Guides have provided over 500 points of assistance to our retail teams enabling them to be more successful.

Across the retail network, store partnerships with organizations like Boys and Girls Club, Project SEARCH, Patheon, Harrigan and DVR help youth and adults with disadvantages and disabilities learn job skills and realize achievement through working retail jobs.

Also, Goodwill’s training programs allow employees to learn marketable skills they can leverage in their retail roles and beyond such as forklift training and leadership training through the Career Path program. From my vantage-point, it’s an exciting time to work in a retail store for many reasons:

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Is Retail Really Dead, and What is Goodwill doing?

Posted by Julie Deming on September 6, 2018

I get asked all the time by family and friends, “Is retail dead?” or “Aren’t you scared to be working in retail right now?” My answer is always the same, a resounding, “No!”

When one looks out across the retail landscape, it’s true that things are changing fast. According to Christian Davies, Executive Creative Director, Americas at FITCH, “Retail will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50.” It’s also true that this pace of change has taken its toll on many retailers. However, the news out there isn’t all dire. There are success stories and they usually share the common themes of being agile, adapting to changing customer’s expectations, and creating innovations that keep them relevant to their customer.

Futurist Doug Stephens, author of the book Reengineering Retail, shares that the growth of E-commerce and technology has shifted consumer expectations and that, “retail is on the precipice of a historic reinvention that will leave… (retail)… barely recognizable in comparison to the way we shop today.”

Our Goodwill is doing some great work to drive sales in this tough economic environment. We’ve been championing several initiatives to adapt to and engage with our changing customer base. Here are a few strategies we have deployed:

  1. We launched an E-commerce business selling books, media, jewelry, LEGOS and musical instruments online. We plan to expand into more categories in the future. Our brick and mortar stores will always be extremely important to collecting donations and supporting our mission; and will always feature thousands of great items to shop. However, specialty items and high value items will be promoted via E-commerce, giving them visibility to a wider customer base, and driving more sales to support our great mission.
  2. We’ve leveraged new technologies across our stores to understand our customer’s shopping patterns and gauge customer satisfaction called "ShopperTrak" and "Happy or Not." These tools provide insights on customer shopping behavior and satisfaction levels. We can leverage this information to enhance scheduling and merchandising tactics to provide the best experience across each individual store.
  3. We’ve adapted our merchandising and marketing strategies to provide more engaging experiences that keep Goodwill top of mind in our customer’s hearts and minds as a place they want to visit and shop. Some examples of these are: store Surprise and Delight events, pop-up shops of special merchandise collections, and special events held at stores with community partners.
  4. We are also developing new revenue streams to reach new customers. We opened our first outlet store in July which introduced our Goodwill brand to a totally new type of shopper!

There is much more work to do, this is just the beginning. While this is a challenging time to work in retail, it is also a very exciting time to work in retail. We’ve got some great talent in retail working hard on developing strategic initiatives to keep the Goodwill mission growing well into the future. Read More

Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440