PROFILE

John Karolefski

Editor-in-Chief, CPGmatters

John Karolefski is the publisher and editor-in-chief of CPGmatters.com, a twice-monthly ezine that focuses on building brands through retail. He is also the executive director of the Shopper Technology Institute (STI), the only trade organization for providers of technologies and solutions that engage shoppers and analyze their behavior. STI produces and hosts the annual LEAD Marketing Conference which focuses on Loyalty, Engagement, Analytics and Digital applications.

Karolefski, the former senior editor of Supermarket News, is the co-author of three books: “Consumer-Centric Category Management,” “All About Sampling and Demonstrations,” and “TARGET 2000: The Rising Ride of TechnoMarketing.”

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  • Posted on: 01/19/2017

    Will Walmart’s Scan & Go catch on this time around?

    Like self-checkout terminals, this "innovation" benefits retailers more than customers by reducing labor costs. I may be wrong (won't be the first time), but Walmart's test a few years ago didn't catch on, and I don't think this one will either.Has anyone asked customers if they want this innovation that lets them scan and bag their own groceries while shopping? Why not give them a time card and union card at the same time?The only reason for eventual success is generational. Millennials and the generation behind them like all the new digital gizmos. But I wonder if mom wants to scan and bag if she has a few "active" urchins in tow.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2017

    Will blending online/offline roles improve the Walmart customer experience?

    This makes sense for all the reasons other posters listed. If successful, it could be a model for other retail companies that have not made similar moves already.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2017

    What does giving up alcohol say about Starbucks?

    I can't blame Starbucks for trying to extend its business into alcohol, and I am not surprised that it didn't succeed. People don't go to Starbucks for beer and wine. As a "brand" extension, it was doomed to fail. The Starbucks brand is too ingrained in the minds of consumers, and beer/wine doesn't fit. On both counts, it was a bridge too far.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2017

    Will Millennials lead a resurgence in home cooking?

    Yes, Millennials will take to cooking at home. I based this on personal experience and not polls and surveys (I think we have learned how unreliable they really are). I am the father of two, and both cook. I know other Millennial men who are married and cook. I think TV cooking shows help, but meal kits are the real entry point because they often provide exotic recipes.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2016

    Burger King launches its own augmented reality game

    Games will amuse and entertain customers and surely children will like them, too. Call me old-fashioned, but I think all of these fast-food joints should focus more on the food they serve and less on games, AI and otherwise.A sidebar thought: The landmark Carnegie Deli, the iconic Jewish restaurant on Seventh Avenue and 55th Street, down the block from Carnegie Hall in New York City, is closing its doors today after nearly 80 years in business. Maybe Burger King can snap up this location. It's what the world needs: more Burger Kings and more games.Happy New Year!
  • Posted on: 12/29/2016

    Which spot gets your vote as the best international Christmas commercial of 2016?

    Being a traditionalist, I select Marks & Spencer as my favorite. The helpful Mrs. Claus was a nice touch. The others were a waste of time and video: John Lewis (what's the point?), Waitrose (strictly for the birds) and Allegro (Good Grief! What forced sentimentality!).Here are some questions: Where is a commercial about the birth of Jesus? Isn't the Nativity the REAL meaning of Christmas? Are we so wrapped up in the commercial aspects of Christmas that we forget or neglect the reason why there even is a Christmas?
  • Posted on: 12/28/2016

    Will data-driven checkout get shoppers through the line faster?

    Tests of all these high-tech checkout solutions — at Hy-Vee, Kroger, and Amazon's store — sound great, but at what cost? Will grocers invest a lot of money to outfit ALL of their stores with these solutions? I doubt it.Grocers who want to move shoppers out the door quicker could simply open more checkout lanes during busy periods. Has anyone ever compared the added labor costs of this simple low-tech solution to the cost of high-tech ones? I doubt it.
  • Posted on: 12/20/2016

    Will a higher minimum wage translate to better service levels?

    I believe that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will increase in-store service levels by the employees getting the raise. However, in-store service overall will deteriorate because there will be fewer employees. Retailers, as well as all other employers, will reduce the labor force or install robots to defray the increased pay per hour. Sadly, that is just the way it is.
  • Posted on: 12/19/2016

    Starbucks launches its own branded web cartoon

    Maybe I am slouching toward being a grumpy old man, but ... this "entertainment" is for people with too much time on their hands.
  • Posted on: 12/15/2016

    Will test show Amazon’s drone program is ready to take off?

    Of course, drone deliveries in rural areas make more sense than in, say, large metro areas. But for a moment, let's consider current pseudo-advanced innovations in the news: driver-less cars, drone deliveries of nonessential stuff, restaurants without hostesses, waiters, servers, etc. (one has debuted in Manhattan). Is this really necessary, hubris, or technology run amok?
  • Posted on: 09/28/2016

    Are private labels the key to beating Amazon?

    This is simple. Private label is the key to out-competing ANY retailer, either in physical stores or online. But the key is offering quality private label goods; that is, products that obtain and maintain the loyalty of shoppers. Run-of-the-mill house brands don't have an impact.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2016

    Schnucks bans solicitors from outside its stores

    Gimme a break! If it is the Salvation Army at Christmas or Girl Scouts selling cookies, that obviously is non-threatening and should be fine with any clear-thinking grocer. Aggressive solicitations by anyone should not be tolerated. Be selective. Any grocer advocating a wacky ban on everyone outside their stores needs to re-think the situation.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2016

    Can fresh foods revive department stores?

    Fresh or gourmet food in U.S. department stores? Sure. But if it's successful, I imagine Publix and Wegmans would start selling three-piece suits and summer dresses. Hey, maybe we would eventually see the birth of a new hybrid channel called defoodment stores.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2016

    ConAgra, Unilever mull delivering meals to the home

    Forward-thinking grocers should be launching such meal kits for sale in their stores or for home delivery. Giant Eagle's Market District is already doing so, and more should follow. The kits are a good place for a grocer's store brand ingredients. Makers of name-brand ingredients would be wise to reach out and partner with these grocers.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2016

    Is it OK for brands to have emotions?

    Private label food brands are a separate category. It is challenging for them to compete emotionally with their category's big name brands, which may trigger an emotional response in shoppers. In private label, then, it is the brand of the retailer that strikes an emotional cord, regardless of product. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Walmart do it successfully for obvious reasons. Most grocers cannot, and that is their challenge when trying to appeal to Millennials.

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