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: 07/22/2016

    Will AI mobile apps replace associates on Macy’s sales floor?

    This is a very positive step for Macy's. When all sales staff are busy or not available the shopper can now get the information they need about items in a different color or size so that when they do contact a sales person, they know exactly what to ask for. It also keeps the staff honest about what is in inventory. The sales staff will appreciate it more and more as more customers buy more because they can find exactly what they want to buy.That being said, it remains to be seen what Macy's does with the app, if they keep the information current and how much soft selling they do on the app. Left alone it will be a great tool for shoppers, or it could be another pain if too many messages and promos meet the shopper instead of the help the customers want.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2016

    How can retailers gain something useful from employee surveys?

    I would rate them high when used as a management tool. It is nearly impossible to visit every store in a major chain each year and even more so to talk to each employee. A survey can tell management a lot. Not only how satisfied the workers are but also how each store and each store manager is doing. The best tip I would offer is not to do too many surveys, once every other year would be just fine.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2016

    Millennials love their grocerants

    Many Millennials believe that the QSR industry does not serve healthy food and so they do not eat there. Almost never! So the home meal replacement items in supermarkets are on a comeback and very strong. Many supermarkets do see this trend and are making plans to include more HMR items with each remodel and new stores. All stores will have some form of HMR items and, like the stores today, some will do a great job and some will not get the message right. Wegmans, Publix and many smaller gourmet chains will do it right and others will need to learn the trade but all will need to meet the demand going forward.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2016

    Does Publix have an unrealistic share of Florida’s grocery market?

    Even with closer management Safeway is no match for Publix. I do believe that a Safeway is more of a competitor than Winn-Dixie. Publix will continue to dominate in Florida with so many snowbirds and retirees enjoying the renowned customer service.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2016

    Why aren’t retailers closing more stores?

    Long-term leases at very good rates as well as using the stores for other reasons, such as a local returns so that impulse buying can occur. Some may feel that online buying may not be as growth-orientated as it seems right now. Being able to try on clothes is a big factor as well as instant need for ownership. Lastly, giving up the store to a competitor is considered a last resort. I do not see it hurting the retailer as long as good decisions are made for keeping the store open and profitable, even if only a little.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2016

    What is BK up to with its new burger/burrito mashup?

    Burger King has always had its niche with flame broiled burgers. However, we know that a great percentage of Americans are of Latino heritage. McDonald's, Carl's Jr, and Hardee's have all added menu items to compete with Taco Bell. Burger King may be late to the party, but they needed to make the addition and they did it with a minimum amount of change to their current product line. I am looking forward to trying one.
  • Posted on: 05/25/2016

    New Wegmans draws near-record crowds

    Wegmans is the one supermarket chain that seems to care more about their customers then any other. They have for years been the innovators of the industry and continue to this day. It continues to amaze me that they can expand so far away from their home base and still provide the very best. How far can they go? Only they know for sure. I think they will continue to push the envelope and therefore continue to have the success they have had so far going into the future.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2016

    Nordstrom expands rewards to non-card holders

    I see great advantages for Nordstrom. I have said before that there are too many loyalty cards to carry and to be concerned with and to understand which one does what, etc. We no longer have branded credit cards because customers wanted to use only their MasterCard or Visa card. The same will be true about loyalty cards. Secondly, I do like tiered loyalty programs. One of the better ones is at Century 21 department stores. It is a regional group of stores with a special checkout for gold members and at times that is a great way to get out of the store quicker.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2016

    Women are a majority in Best Buy’s top executive ranks

    What we need are better business leaders, both men and women who know the industry and can make the right decisions to increase profitability. What the industry appears to be lacking is the opportunity for women to join the leadership team in many retail companies. This trend appears to be on a correction course and that is a very good thing. Since Best Buy has a path to leadership for women the one good benefit is that more women with great leadership skills will prefer to work at Best Buy than in other retail companies and therefore lead better, sell more and continue to increase profits. Many of the "good old boys" clubs in the grocery segment should take a hard look at what women in leadership can do for their profits.

  • Posted on: 05/06/2016

    Is RFID finally ready for prime time at retail?

    If you are in any segment of retail, except food, the answer is yes. The benefits far outweigh the costs. The benefits are real and I have seen results in at least 12 different companies when I was an active technology provider. The two major ones I can recall are at least a 4 percent increase in annual sales and nearly 98 percent inventory accuracy on a daily if not weekly basis.

  • Posted on: 04/28/2016

    Should authorized retailers ever violate MAP policies?

    A serious meeting with the supplier to ensure it does not happen again is my advice to a retailer. No one should violate MAP policies since it can only hurt the retailers and the integrity of the industry.

  • Posted on: 04/14/2016

    Justifying IT infrastructure investments

    A very complex topic for sure, but if we understand that an IT department has a fixed cost to maintain the current infrastructure and solutions, then all other projects need to be based on a "cost center" accounting basis. The only projects IT works on are those that are both profitable and add to the bottom line. The pro of a portfolio management approach is cost savings and the con is that some really necessary projects are never done. What is needed for the stores rarely matches what is needed for lets say transportation, etc. IT needs to be a service organization meeting the needs of the company based again on cost and bottom-line gains.

  • Posted on: 04/13/2016

    Will Penney find its sweet spot in a plus-size brand?

    In my own recent unofficial survey conducted recently by just looking around, I would think their target audience is sizeable. So I would think they will do well and quite possibly reach their goals. Serious attention to the needs of plus-size women has never really succeeded but J.C. Penney's may just make it work where neither Target nor Walmart could make it work. I would recommend that they do not overdo the advertising and promotions but attempt to keep the category fresh and stylish. The only way to keep the customers coming back I think would be with a lot of class.

  • Posted on: 04/08/2016

    Kroger has a format for every taste and wallet

    Absolutely. We have always had any number of brands of supermarkets and we know them because of their format. Low price leaders, high service leaders and gourmet leaders to name a few, so why not have one company offer as many different formats as they can to meet the needs of their customers in all parts of the country? It is a smart move on the part of Kroger. A&P attempted to do this on the east coast but could not get their head in the game. Too many A&P-isms crept into all formats. As long as Kroger keeps the formats noticeably different they will continue to prosper.

  • Posted on: 04/04/2016

    The role of the store associate in digital transformation

    I have always said that polite store associates win every time, but knowledgeable store associates are even better. Having the right knowledge about products, inventory and pricing is essential for store level associates. Now with turnover so high and the ability to train correctly a difficult task, many retailers are, can or should rely on technology to arm the store associates. It is only fair that store associates have the same tools as the customer toting their smartphones and tablets into the stores. A store associate is more willing to engage the customer if they feel capable of answering questions and/or demonstrating the product capabilities and if they know how and have the right tools to do it all.

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