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: 07/21/2017

    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.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2017

    Will giving associates mobile devices enhance the shopping experience?

    It is a definite yes for specialty retail stores. The ability for associates to have all the information about products, inventory, pricing and to complete the sale with MPOS is going to be a must in order to compete with online retail and all the information online to the consumer. In today's market, mobile devices play an important role in all applications for inventory management, customer service and management applications, however the greatest focus needs to be on customer service. Mobile gives the store associates the ability to engage the customer and not run away from them. They would have any and all the information needed to respond to the customer. And if the product is not in the store or in a nearby store, they can still make the sale online. It is the right thing to do for in-store associates within the specialty retail space.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2017

    Will Amazon’s Echo Look be a clothes selling machine?

    It cannot hurt to offer more ways to sell to the consumer. Echo will do that, however a full length mirror does a lot too! If anyone has a concern with the camera at times, it does have a plug that can be a real way to turn it completely off. Privacy is not a real concern if you own an Echo, it is a neat device for music and a host of other apps. Clothing retailers will need to update their apps to work with Echo as well as their online site as well. All in all this is a good upgrade for Echo but I'm not sure I need to upgrade mine just for fashion -- for security it could be a plus.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2017

    Will 7-Eleven’s plan to deal with worker shortages in Japan migrate to America?

    I still think that RFID for C-stores and for grocery stores is not a technology that can fully operate where there are so many metal and liquid items in their stores. However, the use of technology will continue to advance. So I do not see that level of technology going into American stores for at least a decade or more. There was a fully automated checkout grocery store that opened in Phoenix several years ago and it failed. Americans are more social and need a choice between manned and automated checkouts. I think we will see 75 percent self checkouts and 25 percent manned checkouts going into the next decade. I still think automation is great but it cannot completely eliminate store staff.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2017

    What customer service lessons can be learned from United Airlines?

    I do believe that to some degree the in-store service of many retailers is a contributing factor to online buying. However, I think retail does a fairly good job of education and training on customer service as I believe it to be the primary pillar of retailing. I cannot think of a retailer that closed its doors because of poor customer service and it is because of the training that most retailers have in place.

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