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: 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.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2017

    Will Amazon Prime Wardrobe change how Americans shop for clothes?

    For years a number of consumers have been doing this with many online retailers such as Lands' End. Once Amazon realizes the cost of shipping these items back and forth and the condition of the items and that they cannot sell them again, it will end. It is just a short-term venture to win customers before they change the procedure. Some companies will try to compete but the smart ones will just wait it out. It cannot survive due to the cost vs. the profit they hope to gain.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2017

    Can humanizing self-checkouts reduce theft?

    If theft were such a concern at self checkouts, we would see fewer of them. So I am not so sure it is such a problem. They were designed to have at least one associate per four self-checkout stations. That should be step one. Cameras would be step two and a personal greeting a final step to let the customer know that staff are aware that they are using a trusted checkout procedure. Just a greeting is enough for the consumer to know that they may be watching and that they should complete the transaction correctly.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2017

    Why are so many associates being deprived of tech by their employers?

    First of all, the cost is a major factor. Once the cost justification is secured the next factor is the attention span. Will the employees be doing things on the technology (since they have access to the web) or providing service to the customers? In the years ahead the use of technology will be a must since the customer will have their own devices and just to keep up the associates will need the technology. It is the only way that in-store and online sales can be done in the store and compete with Amazon!
  • Posted on: 05/26/2017

    Does an American Eagle Outfitters bid for Abercrombie & Fitch add up?

    This may not be the best move for American Eagle Outfitters since they are also not on very firm ground. It could bring them down as well. The only way it might work is to reduce A&F's costs by closing its headquarters and doing all buying at one location for the entire company. There is just too much cost involved in an A&F acquisition and that is a great risk. I do not see this happening.
  • Posted on: 05/25/2017

    Is a self-service model Macy’s ticket to success?

    Part of the gain has to be from not having to wait for a salesperson to help you find the correct style and size. Doing it yourself gets you the item faster and before you decide to not buy it, which makes sales increase. I do think Macy's needs to put more emphasis on customer self-service for this reason. Not many customers need the service or help to buy most items in the store as long as the inventory is complete and on the salesfloor. The question is, what took them so long to figure this out?
  • Posted on: 05/24/2017

    Will recruiting military vets give Walmart and Amazon a competitive edge?

    As a veteran myself I can only assume that the teammanship, leadership and work effort we learn in the military are just some of the qualities that Walmart will enjoy as they hire more veterans. The pay differential will be a big factor in keeping men and women in the military reserve programs, as the pay is a major concern when one gets deployed overseas. As the U.S. relies on its reservists more and more this program will become significant. Leadership is the key to a successful store, warehouse or even in a headquarter office and I think Walmart sets the bar once again for retail.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2017

    Will J.C. Penney find success with its new B2B venture?

    The fact that J.C. Penney is even looking at different ways to increase business is good -- very good. However, this venture seems like it may be the wrong one. Many customers have other alternatives besides using non-commercial products that would be the only items from J.C. Penney. I think that copycat moves are just fine for anyone if they works. Whether this one will work remains to be seen.

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