PROFILE

Ken Lonyai

Consultant, Strategist, Tech Innovator, UX Evangelist

Ken is a 15 year veteran of interactive project development including some of the industry’s most unique experiential systems. His skills span the on-line world and nearly every realm of human/computer interface used by brands and retailers – mobile, interactive kiosks, experiential displays, and more. Known as the man with the miniature R&D lab in his head, when he’s not working on a client project, Ken can be found designing, tinkering, and developing some cool new experiential device in SPIA Labs.

He is a consumer engagement expert using cutting-edge, unique, and enticing brand experiences that encourage “like”, “share”, and “buy now” behaviors, as well as a creator of true consumer excitement by baking-in fun, social, and gamification actions that generate results. Focused on producing “amazing user experiences” for brands and retailers, he helps companies transform into destinations that consumers seek out and want to interact with.

Ken is a subject matter expert in user experience, most things interactive, experiential marketing, mobile app strategy/development, and digital UX/UI.

Additionally, he is a co-founder of NUI Central™, an organization to promote using natural human traits (voice, gesture, eye movement, etc.) to bi-directionally interact with smart devices.

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Perspectives (blog)

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  • Posted on: 10/20/2017

    Drone-to-hand delivery could become a thing

    Technology for technology's sake. Definitely cool to be somewhere with your buds and have a drone bring you some trendy energy drink and practical for a parent in the park out of diapers to get an emergency fix, but there's very little bottom line revenue here, particularly when the novelty wears off.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2017

    Walmart to open web mall with Lord & Taylor as an anchor

    On the surface, this sounds like a "why not?" kind of experiment with no downside, but web mall concepts are twenty years old and this like those before it, is unlikely to produce substantial revenue -- especially for Lord & Taylor.The idea that Walmart and Amazon are direct competitors is flawed. They overlap in middle demographics, but their core customers are different. Although many Walmart core customers may have Prime, they likely have less than optimal yearly Amazon purchase totals. They are also not the kinds of people to shop much at Lord & Taylor. So really, grasping at straws with these "let's force an alliance" schemes is not a good strategy.For its sake, I hope that Lord & Taylor is focused on its own initiatives and not being distracted by this "partnership." For one thing, their e-commerce/inventory system is still flawed after many years and fixing it is one example of energy better spent to secure their future.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2017

    E-commerce chief expects Walmart to ‘crush it’ over next two years

    With perks like free/same-day shipping reducing margins, scale is obviously crucial to any large brand -- maybe mom-and-pops too.Walmart is recovering from two decades of complacency around digital commerce so now its need to scale quickly is undoubtedly more costly than if it scaled its m/e-commerce presence organically over the last two decades. Buying up brands and keeping them independent is not exactly scaling up. It is expanding overall digital revenues, but merely adding on somewhat disparate pieces. To truly scale, Walmart needs to increase basket size of existing customers, get more existing customers utilizing all channels, and add new customers.That said, net profit is net profit. Where it comes from (Walmart or acquisitions) and the business phraseology to describe it really doesn't matter much as long as profits keep growing sustainably.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2017

    Online and Amazon to grow more dominant over the next decade

    "The biggest beneficiary of the shift from stores to online will be Amazon.com" Excuse me: do I look surprised?"The frustration for many retailers is that even building a complex and expensive omnichannel enterprise has just kept them in the game instead of leading to renewed profitability.” Omnichannel is a given and (listen-up retailers) just a mechanism to enable what you must do to be profitable: meet (exceed really) customers' wants/needs. The how and why is irrelevant to shoppers who want what they want or will go wherever the least friction to get it exists.Grocery growth? The same was said about e-commerce in the late-'90s. This time around though, when the tipping point comes, the growth will be significantly faster.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2017

    Amazon is making a power move on Nike and other sportswear brands

    Something is very strange that on the heels of the widely announced Nike-Amazon relationship, Amazon (as it's reported) has its foot in the back door of some of Nike's vendors. For Nike, that's not a good place for them to be. Paraphrasing Tom Petty, somewhere, somehow, somebody is going to kick Nike around some. That somebody turns out to be Amazon.It seems as though Nike is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't deal with Amazon, so if I were them, I'd be looking at new initiatives for more lucrative relationships other places. However, Nike's brand cachet is still very strong (Millennials notwithstanding) and it will likely take Amazon a long time to have real street cred with athletic brands it dreams up unless major athlete spokespeople are in the offing.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2017

    Is Kroger in denial about the magnitude of its challenges?

    I disagree with all the bashing from a different perspective: Two or three times a month we buy (mostly) grocery items from Vitacost -- a Kroger brand. They almost always execute very well and with discounts are markedly less expensive than Amazon -- a place we rarely buy grocery from. We don't expect two-day delivery yet sometimes it happens. And incidentally, we've unintentionally showroomed Whole Foods for many of the packaged-goods staples that now come from Vitacost, due to the substantial price difference and doorstep convenience.So in short, Kroger has the possibility to remain competitive if they take lessons from Vitacost (among other sources) and stay focused on their game and the needs/desires of their customers.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2017

    Office Depot to transform into IT service giant after $1B deal

    Given that its prime competitors are Amazon and Staples and that Best Buy is strong on the tech support side, there is an opportunity here to carve out a profitable niche. But this acquisition is only a good deal if the execution is spot on, else, it will be another failed attempt by Office Depot to morph itself.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2017

    Are retailers confusing customer service with the customer experience?

    BRAVO! The authors really got this right. I'm always stating that customer service is mostly reactive while customer experience is proactive and preemptive. Practically all retailers have a service desk, but it's not visited as a standard part of the customer journey. It's visited when something is wrong or an issue needs clarification. In fact, if the shopper journey worked extremely well for most consumers, their experience would be delightful and strengthen their brand relationship, while the folks at customer service would have to hang with the Maytag Man due to loneliness issues.When retailers understand that customer service is no more than a fix to problems/issues that are lacking in customer experience, they have the key to unlocking better customer experiences and those experiences are the only real driver of profits as described here.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2017

    Can e-tailers use ‘digital body language’ to convert shoppers?

    Understanding digital body language is a tool for personalization and few brands today are capable of quality personalization.This is an intelligent analytical approach, but an impractical one until brands/retailers understand what personalization really means. Most often, they see personalization as deciding what ad/offer to display when it really has to do with serving up content or experiences that resonate with user needs/desires on a one-to-one level. When they get that, they will be better positioned to effectively use insights from digital body language.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2017

    Can AR trigger TRU’s turnaround?

    AR and in-store media will definitely increase dwell time in-store, but it's not a turn-around strategy.When the kids go shopping with parents AR experiences will add to the fun and it will set-up the "let's go to Toys 'R' Us" nag in the future, but it will be hard to sustain because:
    1. The company will have to make continuous investments in AR/entertainment, or like anything else, the experiences will get old, especially when there are so many more fun games on mobile that can be played anywhere.
    2. Parents that want to get in and out aren't going to hang around to watch their kids play.
    3. There's no attraction for adults that are buying toys as gifts, in-store or online, so this adds nothing to keep them away from competitors.
    The experiment though provides good insight into the challenges of AR shopping experiences for other retailers considering similar measures.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2017

    Has Amazon really saved Whole Foods from its ‘Whole Paycheck’ trap?

    Yeah, quality perception from a regular Whole Foods customer: quality is declining at Whole Foods + Amazon. Hopefully, at least today's Prime delivery will be on-time.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2017

    Has Amazon really saved Whole Foods from its ‘Whole Paycheck’ trap?

    This hype really needs to end. Now! The Amazon spin machine has motivated the media to parrot reports of price reductions. For the official merger, 14 price reductions out of what -- about 10,000 SKUs (don't know Whole Foods won't confirm) which effectively amounts to huge benefits for the PR team and truly nothing for shoppers.We shop Whole Foods at least twice every week, so I can confirm that Gordon Haskett is correct. Not only have there been no broad price reductions, produce quality has absolutely diminished. Whole Foods was already moving to centralized buying which affected produce freshness/quality, but for some reason, it's now worse. Transition? Disenchanted vendors/buyers? Who knows. Why doesn't matter, only shopper experience matters.The Amazon cachet will only go so far. Bezos, Mackey, and the PR team can spin anything they want to, but unless they put substance behind their words, they are going to disenfranchise the potential converts that were willing to give the store a chance.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2017

    Walmart deal shows it’s serious about same-day delivery

    Parcel is a nice addition to Walmart, but to deliver in NYC and rural Iowa are two very different prospects. The cost of 24/7 two-hour interval deliveries in remote regions is not sustainable, so in its efforts to play catch-up to Amazon and develop its own service strategy, Walmart is going to have to determine what services are viable where and under what conditions, for the long-haul.It's likely that customers in regions that don't get all the perks will feel antagonism towards Walmart (or others) that effectively discriminate against them, based on geography.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2017

    Could retail workers benefit from implanted microchips?

    Definitely the stuff of Ebocloud ...There will always be fringe interest in anything, but widespread adoption of implanted chips will meet extreme resistance. The article touches upon the Big Brother concern, which is top-of-mind whenever "implanted chips" are discussed.Although there are some security/convenience benefits and although recent data breaches are the poster child for more security, there is no true advantage for retailers to be considering these measures. Retail has about a thousand things to get right before this could ever make sense and at $10-12/hour pay, retail associates are very unlikely to see the benefit of having their bodies invaded for their employer.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2017

    Jet.com is stepping out of Walmart’s shadow

    It's worth trying to distance Jet but there doesn't seem to be enough substance with these tactics. Launching Uniquely J with just 60 items is paltry if they're seriously trying to develop the brand and distinguish Jet.Data I saw recently, indicated that Jet has spent $100 million in TV advertising yet something like only 2-3 percent of Americans know the brand and most customers are one-time shoppers -- probably taking the new customer incentive and not finding enough regular value to return.My advice: focus on getting the core offering right and drastically improving retention and awareness, else roll technology/know-how gained in the Jet acquisition into walmart.com and write off the loss.And ... It goes to show that putting out a bunch of hype and getting a lot of press about "innovations" isn't enough to make a business viable.

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