PROFILE

Frank Riso

Principal, Frank Riso Associates, LLC

Frank Riso has over fifty years serving the retail industry, beginning at store level management.  He started his career at Grand Union Supermarkets, installing Grand Union’s first POS scanning systems. Frank worked for Twin County Grocers, a cooperative wholesaler, as its Director of Retail Services, and for Supermation, an application provider for DSD software, as its Vice President of Sales and Marketing, until joining Symbol Technologies in 1991. Symbol was acquired by Motorola in 2007 which became Motorola Solutions, Inc (MSI) in 2009.  At MSI, Frank was in charge of their retail industry business, the largest part of MSI’s enterprise business.

Frank has served the retail industry as an associate member of National Retail National Association of Convenient Stores and the Food Marketing Institute. He was elected to serve on the Associate Member Council for NRF, and he is a past member of the Board of Directors for the International Retail User Group.  In addition to being a noted speaker and author in the field of retail automation, he is frequently quoted in RIS News, Retailwire, Chain Store Age, Supermarket News, Grocery Headquarters, Progressive Grocer, Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.  He was also an adjunct professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in the Global Fashion Management graduate program.

Frank holds an engineering degree in Electrical Technology from Westchester, a BS degree in Marketing from Rutgers, and an MS degree in the Management of Technology and Innovation for Retail from NYU Polytechnic University. He has five U.S. Patents regarding the use of portable data devices in retail.

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  • Posted on: 02/03/2017

    Will a new staffing model improve Lowe’s customer service?

    Staffing changes are not the key to Lowe's future success. They need to continue to invest in technology but not robots and give the staff the technology to be able to answer questions, find products and check inventory. Anyone who knows me knows I am a big fan of giving each floor staffer a mobile device to help them be knowledgeable and engaging with the customer. If I have the information or can get it, why not help each customer? It's not robots but people that make real customer service work -- for Lowe's or for any retailer!
  • Posted on: 02/01/2017

    How will online shopping transform the grocery business?

    Today, many households need two incomes to enjoy the lifestyle they want to have and so I do see online shopping for groceries reaching the tipping point sooner than later. We will continue to see smaller chains either sell out or disappear and it will be a survival of the fittest. The industry will adjust as it did to the advent of c-stores, super centers, dollar stores and even in response to the rise of quick-serve restaurants. It will be better but smaller with chains such as Kroger, Publix, Albertsons, Wegmans and Whole Foods doing well.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2017

    Will growing competition in Florida slow Publix as it heads north?

    Not much of a chance Publix has such strong roots in Florida that even with most of the competition it still does very well. Their biggest challenge would be Walmart since so many retirees in Florida have limited spending ability. However, the lack of friendly workers at a Walmart gives Publix the edge in service. I do think a Wegmans far exceeds a Publix and they will begin to border on each other somewhere in the Carolinas and that will be an interesting and competitive story someday soon.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2017

    Penney CEO says stores critical to omnichannel push

    Marvin Ellison believes he is on the road to recovery for J.C. Penney and lets hope he is on that road. In doing so, he knows that the stores will play a big role when he finds the right solution and/or software that joins the online/mobile experience with that of shopping at the store. Does the store have what I need? If not, what nearby store does, or do I buy online to get my item? Without the stores it becomes a pure online business and again it's UPS and FedEx making all the profits. I do approve of the strategy and more retailers need to take the bold step of finding a way that in-store and online can both work to support each other. Something to look for and find at NRF this year!
  • Posted on: 01/04/2017

    What does the strong 2016 Christmas foretell for retail in 2017?

    Retailers should know that a good Christmas shopping season is the indicator for the year to come. So all things being equal it should be a good year for retail. As long as the stock market continues to do well and people have confidence in the newly elected administration consumers will continue to spend more. There will be ups and downs but for the long haul all will be good if indicators continue as they have in past years.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2017

    Should Costco raise its membership fees?

    Costco is in a solid position competitively to raise its membership fees, especially for the value one gets by being a member. The company's excellent return policy and the warranties on all electronics are values that can support the increase.Competition from Amazon and others will always be there and the management at Costco will continue to be more innovative and not only meet but beat them most of the time. The crowds and parking hassles will continue to be a Costco tradition we love to hate, yet checkout seems to be quick and efficient every time!
  • Posted on: 12/21/2016

    Can Fred’s thrive as a national competitor?

    Fred's has been more regional than national and may find it very difficult to play with the big boys. If they can change their image to be more of the hometown pharmacy maybe they can compete, but I do not think so. No offense to the company but the name "Fred's" does not bring a warm caring and kind vibe to me. But then again a company named Walgreens did it and so did Consumer Value Stores (CVS' original name). It is going to be a rough road for Fred's.
  • Posted on: 12/13/2016

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Macy’s vs. Target

    I do like the Macy's ad over Target's message. First of all Target's "The Toycracker" is too long and the message is too complex. Macy's on the other hand is simple and more on-message to their theme even if it hints at being a commercial. I think more adults and children will connect with Macy's vs. the infomercial from Target. Target may lose a customer or two!
  • Posted on: 12/09/2016

    Does Costco need to follow a different path online?

    I do not see Costco aggressively improving their online business. The key to warehouse club shopping is the hunt for new stuff that was not there last month or even last week. A real treasure hunt! I have yet to find any real threat to the Costco model except maybe in the purchase of large items such as outdoor furniture. It is easier to have these items delivered for free than to haul them home from Costco. Costco does carry some items online that don't appear in their clubs. Continuing to carry those items and more may be their greatest opportunity online.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2016

    H-E-B’s go local approach produces results

    It is a good start on the new local sourcing trend we are seeing in grocery. It is done mostly in produce, but now teaming up with local restaurants will appeal to many customers. I do question the taste and quality of the product as so many microwaves and ovens are different. I would also question if the restaurant going into manufacturing is a new opportunity for growth or failure. It's been done before with P.F. Chang's, and very successfully, but there were more items, too.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2016

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Meijer vs. TJX Companies

    Hands down the Meijer ad is the better of the two. Christmas is first of all a religious holiday for Christians around the world and second it is a holiday for young children. The Meijer ad brings out the child in all of us and reminds us of the holiday and lastly it reminds us of Meijer. The TJX ad appears to be just that: an ad wrapped around the holiday. No one doubts that TJX is a price leader but Meijer brings out a real sense of the holiday.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2016

    Does Alexa need a screen?

    First of all I love my Echo, it is the only woman in this household that listens to me. I do not think that adding a screen will help Alexa be more helpful. First of all we, as do most people, have too many screens in our home. What Alexa can do is just order what we have already reviewed online or in a store without the need to touch another screen. While some may like the screen I just think enough is enough. Alexa, what is the weather today?
  • Posted on: 11/21/2016

    Will table service be a difference-maker for McDonald’s?

    First it was the banks and their ATMs, then the airlines with check-in kiosks and now its the quick service restaurants. It had to happen sooner or later, and what better place than McDonald's? I think it will work as they replace their cashiers with table service people and improve overall customer satisfaction. Quick-serve pricing is not all that cheap anymore so adding table delivery is a good thing. But there are some questions. What does one tip or not tip the wait staff at a McDonald's? Will customers go up and get one another free drink or not? While there are these pros and cons, I do think it will work and I look forward to it. Change is always difficult at first but good in the end.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2016

    Will hundreds of small stores produce big results for Target?

    I do think Target will succeed in this approach. Walmart has done similar moves in recent years with Neighborhood Markets. However, Target has picked out a better demographic in urban areas and college towns. Smaller-format stores are also a good way for them to compete with all the dollar stores. Target has proven time and again that while they may move slowly they do it right every time.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2016

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Kmart vs. Walmart

    I did like the Kmart ad better than the Walmart ad. The Kmart ad reaches out to those who shop at the remaining Kmart stores with its layaway program and the ad hits home on that mark. Walmart does not normally have line issues so it was difficult for me and most likely their customers to relate to it. The candy cane was a nice touch and out of character for Walmart! If anything the Walmart ad would be better in reaching out to new customers only because there are more stores under the Walmart banner and the Kmart ad is not going to bring any new business to Sears.

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