John Karolefski

Editor-in-Chief, CPGmatters

John Karolefski is the publisher and editor-in-chief of, 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.”

  • 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.
  • Posted on: 07/25/2016

    7-Eleven makes history with consumer drone delivery

    I agree with the comments by Ryan Mathews, who logically pointed out the problems: cost prohibitive, cluttered skies, aerial accidents, etc. To that list I would bluntly add that the notion of drone deliveries is just stupid unless it is for medicine in remote areas. Are consumers so time pressed that they really need drones to deliver products to their homes? Maybe their lives are too damn busy. Maybe they need to sit quietly in a dark room and reconsider their priorities and lifestyle.Enough with pontificating about the supposed advantages of drone deliveries in today's ultra-sophisticated world. This is technology running amok.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2016

    Do wine and beer make for a better shopping experience?

    I agree with the posters who applaud supermarkets that offer beer and wine as part of an overall sensory experience. But there are many ways to offer these beverages.Let me speak from experience and observation rather than from a theoretical point of view. One of the stores I shop in frequently is Giant Eagle in a Cleveland suburb. I often see shoppers enjoying a glass of wine at a special wine bar staffed by a wine expert. Certain wines are being promoted, enjoyed and sold. Advice is given. This is a good thing.In another suburb, Market District (a unit of Giant Eagle) operates a full-size bar next to a cafe offering light fare. The shoppers there seem to enjoy and appreciate this experience before shopping. This is a good thing.Another Market District in another suburb has Food and Wine Fridays. For six bucks, shoppers buy a wine glass and they go around the story to six sampling stations there appetizers are available. The shopping carts have slots for the wine glasses. Every time I am there, the store is packed with shoppers sipping, shopping and enjoying the live music from 6 to 8 pm. This is a good thing.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2016

    Are in-store personalization tactics becoming less creepy?

    Besides the cool or creepy factor, there is the annoying factor. Shoppers do not want to received beeps for a half-dozen different coupons or other offers during a shopping trip. Grocers need to limit those connections to a max of three, or else risk shoppers opting out of the beacon program.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2016

    Will an online dollar store work?

    Profitability is always an issue with these kinds of ventures. With that in mind, it's really exciting to see them in the process of developing private labels sourced from China to further boost margins. That is something to brag about to customers, don't you think?

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