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: 10/14/2016

    Should Kroger go after Whole Foods?

    If you look up supermarket in the dictionary you should see a picture of Kroger. They are and should always be a traditional supermarket. They are smart, competitive and a lower-price leader in just about all KMAs. They do not need to spend the time and money to go after Whole Foods. They are competing with them successfully and one bad quarter in what may be 100 good quarters is not the time to panic and go shopping for Whole Foods. It is the time to do what Kroger does best, be America's number one traditional and national supermarket!
  • Posted on: 10/10/2016

    Will doubling down on e-commerce pay dividends for Walmart?

    It is a good move for Walmart since so many shoppers prefer to shop online. Walmart needs to meet its competition, Amazon and others, when it comes to the billions of dollars in sales from the online business. The risk is that online shopping is just a fad and they do not have enough investment in their stores, but that's not at all likely. Secondly, retailers will take advantage of Walmart's new direction to compete with their stores and win back any number of store-shopping customers. I do think there will be a big payback to Walmart for making the right decisions for their online business.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2016

    Will opening hotels help West Elm sell more furniture?

    What a brilliant idea! Most people test drive a car before they buy it, so why not sleep in a bed for a full night or two before you buy it? It is a great extension for a furniture retailer, albeit bedroom furniture. I do think it is a good idea and if they sell no items they still have their hotel revenue to keep the profits coming into the company. Marriott does the same thing allowing customers to buy items online that are used in their rooms so it's not so novel but still a good idea. I can see Bed, Bath and Beyond attempting an extension of their sales by providing linens, etc., to various hotel chains so that customers can experience the quality and feel of their products. West Elm is truly a innovator and truly a segment disruptor!
  • Posted on: 09/28/2016

    Could heat mapping be an equalizer for brick & mortar?

    I have seen this type of technology before and also the ability to see mobile devices that have their Wi-Fi turned on while shopping in a store. I do believe the most recent advances in Wi-Fi access points have the feature. Many of the benefits were mentioned, but think of the department store that no longer needs to man the men's department on Monday morning unless the system detects a customer who needs assistance. Labor savings. Also redirecting staff from a slow department to a busy department to help with the large amount of traffic. Customer service improvement for sure. A supermarket that sees a big increase in traffic in their last aisle and can now man more registers to handle the pending rush at the front end.Now lets add the fact that we can know what a customer is looking at, say in a consumer electronics store, when they decide to walk away. Why not use Wi-Fi or beacons to send an alert to the shopper offering more points or a small discount if the item is purchased today? Too many shoppers visit the stores to see the items and then go online to buy them. Why not use the technology to attempt to keep them buying at the store? This can be related to online shopping but results are faster in a store because the shopper buys or does not buy. We could also send a sales staff to the person and increase the chance of a sale.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2016

    Consumers rely on reviews, but they don’t trust them

    Retailers can and should respond to each review -- good, bad or indifferent. Too many of us do not trust great reviews since we may think they are posted by the retailers. So for replies (and much like on RetailWire), retailers should allow a stream of discussion to continue the input. From that, a bit of real authenticity will result.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2016

    Why did mall landlords step in to save Aeropostale?

    Too many malls are seeing their retailers pull out since the rise of the outlet malls and the increased number of main street revitalizations being financed by towns all over America. This move is a "let's save our space" since they know the only way to draw teens is with stores like Aeropostale and Gap, etc. I do think it is a one-of-a-kind move and not every retailer should see this as a new finance tool. Besides, they are still the landlord for all the retailers in the mall, even the one they own!
  • Posted on: 09/14/2016

    Should grocers back away from prepared meals?

    I am not sure grocers can or should meet the demand for high-end and fresh prepared meals. Since many restaurants do not sell groceries why should grocery stores sell prepared meals? Grocers should do what they do best; provide good quality food at reasonable prices. Unless they want to make the investment of well-trained chefs they should only prepare a limited variety of items in their deli department. So yes, many grocers need to back away from HMR departments since the standards are too high, the cost too high and the lack of trained staff is also a risk.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2016

    Target holiday hiring points to changing HR priorities

    Today we see a slight decrease in the number of seasonal help being hired for the stores. The same number was reported last year, however there are more stores this year. So we are already seeing a slight increase in the number for online shopping. In five years it may be a complete reversal. My prediction is that sales in the stores will equal online shopping in five years!
  • Posted on: 09/12/2016

    Why are retailers struggling with Big Data?

    I do not think the issue is their technology investments. Lets face it, there is a lot of data out there and there are not many solutions that can take the data and provide the retailer with the necessary direction to take. We know a lot of information, but what we do with it is the issue. We store it, we print it out but we should have software that tells us what we should do and what we should not be doing to meet the expectations of our customers. The industry needs to spend more time knowing what the data means for it to be more relevant.
  • 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.

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