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.

  • 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.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2016

    Will Donald Trump’s presidency be good for retailers?

    I think it is way too early to tell but I do think he will be good for retailers in many ways. Reducing taxes could result in more money to grow and hire more staff. Also if he follows the law completely on immigration we could see more employment for retailers. If he keeps to his promises we are going to see many changes and some will be good for retail and some may not be. As I said, it is too early to tell so let us wait and see.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2016

    Gillette suffers nicks from Harry’s/Target’s partnership

    Companies like Harry's and the Dollar Shave Club will continue to grab share because they are an innovative change and as we just found out on Tuesday, this country likes change now. Gillette and Schick kept increasing prices with every new bit of technology (more blades) they introduced until men started to seek the new low-cost shave alternative. Lower cost and an equal or better shave met the need of change and disruption to the established shaving community. All this change appears to be for the good. The Dollar Shave Club is a bit different in its approach to sales and we may never see them in a retail store.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2016

    Will Macy’s parade spot connect with new consumers?

    Never. The parade is as much a tradition as are Thanksgiving and football. The amount of advertising and benefits Macy's receives far outweigh the costs. If anything Macy's should use the parade more for their benefit and to get the company back on the right track. Since Macy's is now more of a national chain the parade gives them more exposure to the rest of the country, not just in New York City. It is and always will (or should) be a Thanksgiving tradition. If you have never been there you have missed one of life's greatest events!
  • Posted on: 10/14/2016

    Should Kroger go after Whole Foods?

    If you look up supermarket in the dictionary you should see a picture of Kroger. They are and should always be a traditional supermarket. They are smart, competitive and a lower-price leader in just about all KMAs. They do not need to spend the time and money to go after Whole Foods. They are competing with them successfully and one bad quarter in what may be 100 good quarters is not the time to panic and go shopping for Whole Foods. It is the time to do what Kroger does best, be America's number one traditional and national supermarket!
  • Posted on: 10/10/2016

    Will doubling down on e-commerce pay dividends for Walmart?

    It is a good move for Walmart since so many shoppers prefer to shop online. Walmart needs to meet its competition, Amazon and others, when it comes to the billions of dollars in sales from the online business. The risk is that online shopping is just a fad and they do not have enough investment in their stores, but that's not at all likely. Secondly, retailers will take advantage of Walmart's new direction to compete with their stores and win back any number of store-shopping customers. I do think there will be a big payback to Walmart for making the right decisions for their online business.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2016

    Will opening hotels help West Elm sell more furniture?

    What a brilliant idea! Most people test drive a car before they buy it, so why not sleep in a bed for a full night or two before you buy it? It is a great extension for a furniture retailer, albeit bedroom furniture. I do think it is a good idea and if they sell no items they still have their hotel revenue to keep the profits coming into the company. Marriott does the same thing allowing customers to buy items online that are used in their rooms so it's not so novel but still a good idea. I can see Bed, Bath and Beyond attempting an extension of their sales by providing linens, etc., to various hotel chains so that customers can experience the quality and feel of their products. West Elm is truly a innovator and truly a segment disruptor!
  • Posted on: 09/28/2016

    Could heat mapping be an equalizer for brick & mortar?

    I have seen this type of technology before and also the ability to see mobile devices that have their Wi-Fi turned on while shopping in a store. I do believe the most recent advances in Wi-Fi access points have the feature. Many of the benefits were mentioned, but think of the department store that no longer needs to man the men's department on Monday morning unless the system detects a customer who needs assistance. Labor savings. Also redirecting staff from a slow department to a busy department to help with the large amount of traffic. Customer service improvement for sure. A supermarket that sees a big increase in traffic in their last aisle and can now man more registers to handle the pending rush at the front end.Now lets add the fact that we can know what a customer is looking at, say in a consumer electronics store, when they decide to walk away. Why not use Wi-Fi or beacons to send an alert to the shopper offering more points or a small discount if the item is purchased today? Too many shoppers visit the stores to see the items and then go online to buy them. Why not use the technology to attempt to keep them buying at the store? This can be related to online shopping but results are faster in a store because the shopper buys or does not buy. We could also send a sales staff to the person and increase the chance of a sale.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2016

    Consumers rely on reviews, but they don’t trust them

    Retailers can and should respond to each review -- good, bad or indifferent. Too many of us do not trust great reviews since we may think they are posted by the retailers. So for replies (and much like on RetailWire), retailers should allow a stream of discussion to continue the input. From that, a bit of real authenticity will result.

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