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: 08/19/2016

    Is Walmart on a roll?

    Low prices are truly the driving factor in the success of Walmart. In addition, the closing of poor performing stores and increasing the number of Neighborhood Markets added a great deal to their financial results. Going forward Walmart will continue to be a price leader but the more they source products made in the U.S. the more their customers will shop Walmart. Made in the USA was one of the founding pillars of the company but was lost in the great expansion years of the '90s in order to keep the prices low. Getting back to Made in the USA for as many products as they plan is a very good move.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2016

    Is Walmart passing its crime buck to local governments?

    Walmart is a very large company and bigger means more of everything, including crime. You cannot be the price leader and not expected to have less than average crime. If Walmart wants to curb crime they may need to make investments in their stores. Cameras are a major deterrent to crime and an increase in their own loss prevention department would also help. I do not think they are victims any more than any other retailer, but since they are so big they have the highest amount of crime reported. I also think more cooperation with the police, and even hiring off duty police to be at their stores in uniform, would be an effective method to deter crime.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2016

    Will other brands follow Birkenstock in cutting off Amazon?

    Once again, if the price is too good to be true one should know that the item is more than likely a counterfeit. I think companies like Birkenstock and Coach have every right to protect their brand and stop the sale of their items on these sites including Amazon, eBay and others. Even the use of technology such as RFID to identify the real item is not working as expected. IF you want the real thing the consumer needs to go to the brick-and-mortar store or buy direct from the manufacturer. Birkenstock is making the right move.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2016

    Is Target getting its grocery act together?

    To expect to become a major supplier of grocery in 18 months was too aggressive. It took Walmart several years to be accepted as a viable grocer. Too many consumers still do not look at Target for food. They are still the better fashion retailer over Walmart and that is where they will stay for a few more years until their customers realize that food items are also at the store. I see more consumers just walk on by the food sections and that needs to change. Target needs two things, a major supermarket executive to take over food and a major perishable executive to keep produce on par with leading supermarket chains. It is still difficult for most shoppers to buy a white top and a roasting chicken in the same shopping basket!
  • 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.

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