Kenneth Leung

Retail and Customer Experience Expert

Kenneth Leung was the enterprise industry director at Avaya, responsible for vertical industry strategies.

Kenneth previously was with Cisco Systems, with the last position as senior marketing strategy manager for Internet of Everything campaign. His roles at Cisco included development of private sector industries strategy and messaging at Cisco as well as retail industry marketing.

Prior to Cisco, he worked at IBM software group in WebSphere Commerce and Information Management groups with responsibility in marketing management for retail and e-commerce. Before joining IBM, Kenneth was retail industry director for Informix Software where he was responsible for market management and programs.

Kenneth Leung is currently working on his first marketing book and pursuing future opportunities. Learn more

  • Posted on: 03/21/2017

    Why is the U.S. so bad at airport retailing?

    I think one of the reasons is that for most of the airports on the top of the list, most of the travel is international, and therefore duty free. International vacations drive more shopping as well. If you are just traveling from NY to LA, the mood to shop at the airport just isn't there. Most of the airport shopping from my point of view is done in in the Duty Free area, and therefore with the bulk of US travel at airports being domestic, it doesn't make sense.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2017

    How will AmazonFresh Pickup stores affect the grocery business?

    I think the Amazon pickup model works for high density urban markets where traditional grocery stores have smaller footprints and smaller selections due to the cost per square foot, and the customers are more time crunched, and have less storage space and therefore shop more frequently. However for suburbia I don't see that model working as well since parking is available, stores are larger and more geared towards browsing shoppers versus quick fulfillment. The goal for Amazon should not to be the Top five grocer by volume, but run a profitable grocery business that allows upsell, cross-sell and pickup, or other Amazon items and services.
  • Posted on: 03/08/2017

    Will Dick’s Sporting Goods win by cutting SKUs?

    It will help differentiate them if the quality of the offerings are on par. Private label products reflect on the retailer brand, so if it is positive it drives the basket size for its fan base. For Dick's to compete online, the house brand will help, since it does a good job with in-store experiences already.
  • Posted on: 03/03/2017

    Will VR/AR keep consumers out of stores?

    There is always a segment of shoppers who prefers never to shop physically, they previously would be catalog shoppers. Today they have more options with the web and AR/VR/mobile. A newer generation of shoppers, I believe, will shop in the store when there is a compelling experience to bring them in. In one sense all the technology has increased the opportunity for retailers because the time window for shopping is anytime, anywhere, rather than the traditional "Sunday shopping." The issue is that not every retailer can adjust to this when they are focused just on store experiences.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2017

    Why are stores waiting until checkout to ID shoppers?

    I think it is a combination of technology, shopper expectations, and ability to execute on the data. Shoppers know they are monitored as part of shrink management, they can be enticed to self identify with kiosks and coupons, but the problem remains, what can the retailer do in real time with the personnel on hand with that information? I have seen the demos a thousand times about the store manager greeting the customer if it is their birthday. I am sorry, unless it is a high-end boutique where where the basket size is large, what store has the execution capacity to do that? That's the part of personalization that is so hard to do in the store, online it is easy because the cost of personalization is low, but in the store face to face, I haven't figured out where you can execute with the personnel you have.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2017

    Can Walmart grow its online business profitably?

    The challenge of competing against Amazon as a retailer is that amazon is no longer just a retailer and can leverage the broad infrastructure and services it provides. For Walmart, the key is not to "out Amazon" Amazon but to leverage its store infrastructure and assortment to compete.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Is Amazon the most innovative company in retailing?

    I'd say they are definitely the retailer willing to take most chances in trying out new projects. They do have the advantage of not just selling goods but also technology and media, so their margins are higher than traditional retailers. I would say Amazon is the most innovative retail and entertainment company right now.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2017

    Is third-party content more effective in generating online sales?

    People are trusting 3rd party content and reviews whether retailers like them or not. Spec information should always be provided as a source of truth on the attributes, but product reviews (accurate or not) is part of the landscape. The key is active participation in the reviews to ensure fairness and accuracy of the data.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2017

    Will a universal cart change online shopping?

    The difference is that Uber and Airbnb created new supply by enabling people to share their cars and houses that weren't taxis and hotels. In this case I am trying to figure out where the tipping point is. For large retailers I doubt they will jump in to integrate with this since they have the problems already discussed. Small independents I don't think need this and they can go to Etsy, eBay or Amazon to an extent to solve the problem.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2017

    Is personalization better appreciated online or in stores?

    I think personalization online is more acceptable and easier to customize to be more subtle, because the shopper can choose personalization by logging in or browse anonymously. Plus, any cringe worth bugs in the recommendation is easily discounted as "oh the machine screwed up." In person, however, personalization is more awkward because it maybe communicated by another human being and there is no desk/keyboard to hide behind. Personalization in-store needs to be delivered in a much more discreet manner to make the shopper comfortable, which is much harder to do
  • Posted on: 02/07/2017

    Will automated scheduling ease retail’s staffing problems?

    Automated scheduling helps give flexibility, but you need the right staffing level to match the traffic. It is a balance since your staff needs predictability (we learned what happens when scheduling automation for efficiency leads to scheduling that ruins the personal life or ability to have a second occupation/school) and you need coverage. It is a fine line.
  • Posted on: 02/01/2017

    Should the Monday after the Super Bowl be a national holiday?

    Nope. Nice publicity for Heinz though.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2017

    Are the days of pure play e-tail coming to an end?

    Just like pure brick and mortar stores going online, for some pure play retailers it makes sense to open stores. It all depends on the customer base. There are always some pure play retailers (I am thinking specialty items that is too difficult to stock in stores, or haven't made a big enough market impact to be carried by retailers) but most will benefit from physical stores to showroom and build mind share around special events.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2017

    What made Wendy’s Twitter zing a win?

    It is a very fine-line tactic for brands to engage with customers with sarcasm and humor. You can get great kudos sometimes like this one, or the other example I think of is the Smart Car "bird crap" discussion on social media (Google that one, complete with infographics, it was hilarious) back in 2012. If the brand is going to use that, it needs to do so in a genuine manner and pick the battles and be careful not to cross the lines. It is as much of an art as a science.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2017

    Penney CEO says stores critical to omnichannel push

    Stores are important for omnichannel — I don't see everyone using online delivery for everything, the economics and the margins don't sustain it. However, department stores that sell non-exclusive lines are going to have a tough time going forward as people gravitate to online for convenience and availability, and specialty for exclusivity.

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