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: 01/09/2018

    Kohl’s is on a roll coming off the holidays

    Kohl's continues to provide a better quality product and what appears to be better pricing while others have not found the right combination. They have a great loyal base of shoppers with a great savings program with both coupons and Kohl's money to spend. What's not to like? On top of it all, they also provide very good customer service and that may be the real key to their outstanding performance this year!
  • Posted on: 12/04/2017

    Barnes & Noble wants to get smaller, more bookish

    In retail it is best to do what you know best. Selling just books is the right move for Barnes & Noble's future and doing it in smaller stores is the right format. Reading books has not changed but how we read them has and Barnes & Noble needs to adapt too. I think keeping a coffee shop and reading areas should continue, all else should go!
  • Posted on: 11/10/2017

    Are these the best or worst of times for consumer brands?

    I would say that these are both. it is the best of times because of the opportunity to reach the consumer directly and there needs to be changes in brands' thinking to take advantage of it. And it is the worst of times because the consumer is still king and can now go anywhere to find anything at any time.I think the major challenge for most brands, not only luxury brands, is counterfeiting and the buying of a product one thinks is the real thing. Too many consumers want a deal and that makes the $430 billion dollar counterfeiting industry a viable solution and brands need to find a better way to protect their products while still selling direct to the consumer. As always the consumer will help the brands experience the best or the worst of times.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2017

    Are retailers caught in a content trap?

    The old adage that if you build it (a store) they will come is pretty much the way of retail or the way it has always been in the industry. We are a very conservative industry and, especially when you operate 500, 1,000 or 5,000 stores, it is very difficult to manage the two-way dialogue with millions of customers. Some of the initiatives mentioned in the item regarding Home Depot and Best Buy existed before the digital age but improving these services has increased with digital and we can expect to see more and more as old world technologies are upgraded with more new school technologies.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2017

    Should Papa John’s drop its NFL sponsorship?

    There are just too many reasons for the lack of sales for Papa John's. There are more pizza delivery stores than banks or gas stations in many towns that have great pizza. The boycotting of the NFL is truly having its effect on their advertisers and will continue I think until the owners take a stronger view. While I agree with their issues completely I do not agree with their methods. As a veteran of the Vietnam War who risked coming home under the flag I will always stand up for the anthem. For Papa John's there are but two courses of action, ride it out or move on to another sport. If they want to send a message to their customers they should move on to the NBA or NHL as examples.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Can Kroger make a name for itself in fashion?

    Kroger, much like all retailers, is looking to increase basket size and adding these products may help them. As long as they add the right items and the customer sees them as impulse buys they should do well. I do not see them adding full aisles of fashion to their traditional grocery stores. It would be confusing to those shoppers who consider fashion and food two different shopping trips. Again, as an impulse item for a few items would be the appropriate approach. Increased transaction size is the measurement of success.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2017

    Will same-day pay help hourly workers and their employers?

    This is a good idea as long as it does not include all their pay. I worry about those who would work one day and quit just to get a few bucks in their pocket. It will be a game-changer for hiring new employees and especially temp employees during the Christmas season. It will definitely impact recruitment but I do not see it doing much for retention.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2017

    Walmart’s Christmas plans do not include seasonal hires

    I started my career, like most in this industry, as a part-timer who always wanted more hours, so I agree with this approach. More hours for the existing part-timers is a very positive step for Walmart. I do not see much of a downside to this except maybe that the staff could get overworked and provide less customer service or even not show up for work. We are talking Walmart so maybe good customer service is off the table anyway!
  • Posted on: 09/14/2017

    Millennials, not Boomers, say associates are key to shopping experiences

    It is good news to be talking about Millennials and anything to do with in-store shopping. It tells us that online shopping for many items, while good, is not meeting all their expectations and store associates can help with color, style and size concerns at the store. It also helps with more impulse shopping for that added sale not seen online. This data makes me more skeptical regarding the use of robots but more positive about "Rate Your Salesperson" apps being used by Millennials for better and more accurate feedback for the retailer and store staff.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2017

    Nordstrom tries a no-merchandise store

    While this is an interesting idea for Nordstrom, it will be sales that determine its success or failure. I do think the concept would be successful in a few cities, mostly those that have "Housewives of [name your city]" TV shows as a start! However it will not appeal to those who have immediate need for an item. If it lasts a year or more I would be surprised.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2017

    Will lower everyday prices boost Target’s traffic and sales?

    I do not think it will help all that much. Target should not attempt to compete on price. They cannot beat Walmart on price. They can beat Walmart on the experience and even quality in many items and they should concentrate on the areas where Walmart is weakest.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2017

    Did Amazon just send Sears a life line with their Kenmore deal?

    Sears was at one time the leader in catalog sales across the U.S. I see this as the beginning of the return to yesteryear! Sears' only route to improvement must be online, and who better to help than Amazon? We will see more of Sears go online and also with Amazon. Kenmore and Craftsman will keep Sears going and with additional product lines even get profitable. It may not reach the levels of the past but with a decrease in costs by closing stores Sears will endure. Kenmore will do very well with the help of Amazon's free delivery service, too!
  • Posted on: 07/19/2017

    Can retail pay be made more equitable?

    What is unique about retail's compensation is that it is one industry with so many different segments. It is also an industry made up of both part-time and full-time workers. You could never pay cashiers for the number of items they scan per hour nor a clerk for how many sweaters they refold. Full-time employees are paid more since we believe they do more and are more loyal to the company while part-timers either work for a year or two (if you're lucky) and then move on. Commissions are the right compensation for salespeople in many apparel segments and need to continue to keep the salespersons from taking clients elsewhere.The one area in which compensation competition could be effective would be in a total store sales contests among stores in the same district or company-wide, with the goal of increasing sales by a percentage of last year's sales. The store doing the best would get compensation in the form of a bonus or increased discounts, etc. This would not be a regular thing but could be implemented often enough to keep employees interested in working harder.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2017

    How important is biometric verification for mobile payments?

    Biometrics should be very important as the loss of a phone/payment device would be a major loss if someone had or detected your password, etc. There may be other ways to open a phone with just a six digit pass-code, too! I do think fingerprints would be the easiest to use. Fingerprint payment verification has been used in stores before but failed as everyone used the same touchpad. Using your own phone for finger print recognition would work just fine and gain the most traction.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2017

    How can retailers make employee recognition resonate?

    Retailers come up short when they institute an Employee of the Month program. They seem to think that every month they must reward someone and that leads to someone who is not very good getting the reward. Some months can be skipped. I think smaller milestones should be rewarded similarly to larger ones in order to motivate associates to work toward the larger milestones.

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