Retail is a broad industry, and it can often be difficult to categorize exactly who qualifies as an influencer in such a broad sector. That said, the individuals on this list have established strong reputations for sharing insight, Retweeting news stories, and maintaining an overall presence which brings value to followers, regardless of which sector of retail they fall under.
John Legere is the CEO of U.S. cellular company T-Mobile, meaning that selling products effectively serves as his job title. His Twitter profile is a mix of documenting his own networking with celebrities and industry movers, giving advice to others who hope to one day reach a similar position of power in the industry, and Retweeted stories that pertain to retail and other related sectors. Even if you aren't a T-Mobile customer, joining the legion of Legere's 5.43 million followers is a worthwhile move.
Bonno van der Putten
As the Managing Director of asset management group Monarch Capital, Bonno van der Putten has the responsibility of managing others' money squarely on his shoulders, which means he would be wise to stay hip to industry trends. Clearly, van der Putten is in tune with the most significant movements in retail, tech, and beyond. One need look no further than his timeline and 2.17 million followers to understand how valuable his keen eye for all things business is.
An entrepreneur and blogger for both TechCrunch and Mashable, John Rampton knows how to deliver value to his Twitter audience. With Retweets that speak directly to businesses and individuals looking to up their sales and conversion rates to original insights based on his own “successes and failures”, Rampton has accumulated his following – which is 1.54 million deep – due to his consistent flow of valuable posts.
As one of the most widely recognizable names on this list, the man primarily responsible for General Electric's 4,000% increase in value during his tenure as CEO has lots to offer those who hit ‘Follow'. Welch has amassed a personal fortune estimated to broach $720 million, and has accumulated nearly 1.5 million Twitter followers to boot. One question: Do you honestly think that free advice from Jack Welch should be turned down?
Another member of this prestigious list who would be wealthy and famous regardless of their Twitter following, Marcus Lemonis is perhaps best known to the commoner as the host of his CNBC show, The Profit. It's admittedly a great show in which Lemonis lends business owners his expertise in training them how to make, well, a healthy profit, perhaps unsurprisingly. But what you can't get from watching his show is the organic, spontaneous nuggets that Lemonis offers his followers – all 1.2 millon of them – with regularity.
In case you're wondering, this is in fact the Michael Dell, of Dell Computer fame. A brilliant electronic mind who built quite a successful brand, Dell was quite the revolutionary when it came to how companies design and market their personal computers. With a personal net worth of $24.3 billion, Michael Dell doesn't need to be on Twitter, gracing his 1.19 million followers with opinions on the retail industry as it primarily pertains to tech, but he is. And you'd be smart to take advantage of the mind of a man who has been there and done that when it comes to creating a massively successful company.
Steve Keating is chief marketer and strategist for LeadToday, a company whose mission is ‘helping the next generation of leaders develop themselves'. That mission, to pass on expertise and advice to the next generation of young people hoping to make their market in retail and/or grow their own businesses is reflected by Keating's personal Twitter. With over a million followers, Keating primarily posts and Retweets advice and articles aimed at providing tangible guidelines for success.
While Bryan Eisenberg may not have the most followers out of everyone on this list, his roles as both a keynote speaker and author qualify him as an ideal candidate to connect with a large Twitter audience. Nearly 58,000 followers is nothing to sneeze at, and they get immense value for their brands, whether personal or related to a business, by following Eisenberg.
The Twitter dynamo who goes by the name Lady Mone – real name Michelle Mone – does a bit of virtually everything there is to do. As an entrpreneur/speaker/designer/mentor/autobiographer, and the list goes on, Mone has been featured on the front cover of several publications. And we don't mean modeling or beauty publications – though she would qualify – we mean serious business, tech, branding, and personal success-related outlets. With 921,000 followers, Mone regularly provides updates on various industries while also providing invaluable branding and retail insight.
You probably recognize Daymond John as one of the original sharks on the hit realty-investing television show Shark Tank. But John got on Shark Tank for good reason; he is a self-made man with a keen sense for creating and marketing brands. As the founder and CEO of super-successful urban clothing brand FUBU, John has used that success to branch out and learn more as a businessman. If you follow him on Twitter, as 639,000 people already do, you could find yourself learning from John himself, too.
Though Paphitis gives little away in his Twitter bio, listing only ‘Shopkeeper' as his defining role, a bit of research reveals that he is far more. Paphitis is described as a retail magnate operating out of Britain, which is precisely the type of person a retail-minded Twitter-ite would want to follow. While he sold his stake in a massively popular lingerie brand in 2006, he remains critically involved in several companies across an array of retail sectors.
Walker is the Vice President of Development for Subway, and we are firm believers that whenever you can catch a glimpse inside the head of somebody who has achieved high standing in an industry, you do it. Whether or not you are a fan of their sandwiches, understanding the perspective of somebody who has 51,000 followers and, more importantly, has risen to such a position of prominence in one of America's best known brands is invaluable.
Ian Sexton's Twitter timeline is all about retail, which is good news considering the nature of this list. As one of the directors of sales for the NCR Corporation, Sexton's job revolves around having a strong knowledge of all-things retail. And, a quick glimpse at his profile shows that he puts in the time to stay up on topics, and to share the most interesting and impactful news stories and advice with his 340,000 followers.
As a ‘customer experience strategist' who has spent time working on a number of successful campaigns, Dennis Wakabayashi is one of the most retail-focused members of this list. He knows a ton about improving the customer experience, and in turn improving a brand and retail operation, and he is not about to hoard this insight for himself. He is a consistent, insightful sharer of information, and his 228,000 followers benefit greatly from his intellectual generosity.
This marketing executive knows how to provide great value for those who follow him. Often, even the brightest and most knowledge-filled minds on Twitter can get off track or a bit too off-topic with their posts. Contardo is the opposite, as he is clearly aware that his audience comes to his timeline for advice on retail, branding, and business. For those 179,000 followers, Contardo consistently delivers the goods.
The Senior Vice President of Apple Retail has been put in charge of moving units for the most popular brand in technology. They don't put any Joe Schmoe in that position, and Ahrendts has earned her stripes in the retail industry on her way to the Senior Vice President position. Which means, naturally, she has unduplicated experience from which she often gleans insight and shares that insight with her followers. All 145, 000 of them…
Deborah Weinswig is one of the few on this list who labels themselves as a specialist in retail tech. In fact, Weinswig fancies herself a guru, and that sort of specificity can mean only one thing: she knows what the heck she is talking about. As the founder and CEO of Coresight Research, she gets into the data-driven nitty gritty of what makes a good retail campaign and brand. Her quantitative approach makes her one of the most unique personalities on this list.
Anas Ebrahem doesn't have the name recognition of Jack Welch or Michael Dell, which makes it all the more impressive that he has compiled over 78,000 followers. Typically, those who have lots of followers without a huge name are doing Twitter right, and Ebrahem's role as a Branding and Marketing communicator is accurate. And, he's darn good at communicating the latest trends in the retail sector, which means you should join his already impressive pool of followers.
As a Professor of Marketing at New York University, Galloway has one of those earned titles that says ‘you can trust me'. In fact, you can. You can trust him to give great advice on marketing, retail, and branding, and you can trust that that advice is coming from a place of experience and education. So, trust me when I say that you should follow Professor Galloway on Twitter.
As a retail analyst and keynote speaker with over 60,000 followers, we'd be remiss to leave Andrew Busby off of this list. It's not just the numbers and professional titles for which he deserves recognition, however. Busby mixes great Retweeted stories, original thoughts and commentary, and occasional humor together in forming one interesting, informative Twitter follow.
Doug, Retail Prophet
When somebody is labeled the Retail Prophet, it's pretty likely that they are going to be worth a follow to those who are interested in learning more about sales, branding, marketing, and related topics. What more could you ask for, a Retail God? We'll take what we can get in the form of the Retail Prophet, aka Doug, joining the over-26,000 followers in becoming witness to his retail prophecies.
From the Retail Prophet to the Retail Doc, Bob Phibbs. This guy makes a living speaking professionally about a wide spectrum of topics pertaining to retail, and part of being a marketer is staying up to date posting on Twitter. Phibbs knows his, and he rewards his Twitter followers with consistently interesting topics that enhance their retail knowledge.
In my experience, editors of publications specializing in a given field have some of the most wide-ranging, in-depth advice on the respective topic. As Executive Editor of Retail Week, George MacDonald is not an exception to this general rule. His job is to stay up on the latest in retail, and he does just that, providing his audience with stories and updates that keep them coming back for more.
There's no two ways about it: this retail strategist's Twitter work ethic warrants more than the approximate 11,000 followers he has currently accumulated. Do this man and the world a favor and follow him, you'll be more knowledgable about all-things retail as a result of that decision.
Yes, the man does have two first names, and he blogs about retail topics as if he were actually two people running a single Twitter account. John Ryan is a ‘retail specialist' and journalist who applies his journalistic instincts and skills toward the retail industry. If that doesn't pique your interest as somebody looking to gain as much insight into the machinations of the retail industry as possible, I'm not sure what else to say…