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: 10/21/2016

    Should high-end brands avoid Amazon?

    Luxury brands need to go omnichannel but when you sell on Amazon you lose the exclusivity and control of customer experience and, more importantly, you just gave Amazon access to your customer information. That's why Apple kept the shopping experience and data in-house. For high-end exclusive brands it behooves them to build and maintain their own omnichannel experience focusing on high-touch service. Online does not mean discount, it means fulfilling the need of the customer for information and purchase.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2016

    Will Apple turn its stores into something more than stores?

    Apple store has never been just about shopping, it is about the brand experience and product support plus upsell and cross selling. Given the traffic volume to Apple store rivals amusement parks, the town square concept is a natural extension to the broad Apple ownership experience. Gives them a lot of equity to work with when the product doesn't exactly work right (such as quirks with the latest IOS upgrade).
  • Posted on: 10/18/2016

    Walmart finds it pays to pay workers better

    The next step to parity in pay is improvement in training and reducing turnovers. The profitability issue comes from a combination of online and in-store, but if Walmart lets the store deteriorate, it can't move forward. There will always be a customer segment for store purchasers that look for bargains and that goes up as the chance of downturn increases post election. It is a fine balancing act that Walmart has to walk on profits and positive store experience.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2016

    Will the “Made by Google” pop-up shops be followed by a retail chain?

    I don't see it until Google has enough merchandise and ecosystem to do an Apple-like flagship store, and only if it can figure out a store experience that would draw traffic. Apple Store set the bar for what a brand-specific specialty electronic store can do, and Google will need to find a niche to be successful in a brick and mortar permanent store. For right now, pop-up stores are the best way for Google to understand store experiences and take merchandising lessons.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2016

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

    I think Walmart needs to go to e-commerce to grow and also reach the customer base who are not Walmart store shoppers. Rather than continuing to open stores, Walmart needs to invest in keeping the same store sales up and using e-commerce to drive recurring purchase and attract new customers beyond the current base of shoppers that traditionally shop at Walmart stores.
  • Posted on: 10/06/2016

    What is the ‘maker movement’ and should retailers care?

    Having been to Maker's Faire and met the founder Dale Dougherty, I think the maker movement increases the awareness of how goods are made for those who aren't crafts builders. Certainly there are opportunities for retail suppliers to the maker movement, like Michaels or Home Depot (would love to see them put some spin given they have the tools for DIY), but I think it also increases the general awareness of sourcing/ingredients and construction of things we buy and for that trend, retailers have to take note regardless of segments.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2016

    Costco sticking to store-first approach

    Being both an Amazon Prime member and a Costco executive member, I would say Costco's strength is in the community building with local small business and large households products and services, best served with large stores where they can incorporate their services.I shop at Costco almost every weekend for produce and meat plus browse for other items. The loyalty of the regular shoppers there with the interaction with cashiers and managers is what drives Costco's success — if you haven't witnessed it you won't believe it. Amazon Prime I use for items not available at Costco or other specialty items. There is room for consumers to use both.Small business B2B is also a big strength for Costco, which causes them to be welcomed in more areas compared to other discount stores.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2016

    Toys ‘R’ Us mulls small, urban stores as part of turnaround

    Agreed, if you want to buy toys today you can go to Target or Amazon or Walmart. Disney has succeeded in creating a store experience (and so does Apple as toys for adults) that makes people want to visit even when they aren't specifically on a shopping trip. FAO Schwarz knew how to create the wonderful toy experience, Toys "R" Us was the "we have everything toys, come pick what you want" place. That doesn't work as well given Amazon's endless aisle and other retail stores picking the popular lines up. Going small is important, but more important is the assortment and presentation of the toys and game playing experience that will ultimately drive the success of small stores.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2016

    Are smartphones changing how Americans shop from home?

    I use my smartphone for shopping for smaller dollar items (<$20), and repeat items, especially on the amazon app. I think it is definitely taking impulse purchasing to a new level on the cell phone for convenience.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2016

    Coming soon – a members-only store for the ultra rich

    Don't see that working for the ultra rich ... They already access to services by all major luxury brands based on their spending patterns. The country club may work but that's a whole different business model, and brands are already reaching out to private country clubs to present their offerings.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2016

    Is consumer demand really that unpredictable?

    Exactly. Retailers have more channels for serving customers for input of data (browsing, buying) and delivering the experience (store, ship to customer, cross ship between stores) than airlines, hotels or restaurants. The data points are more complex and demand a lot more investment than many retailers are used to. Some retailers are better at doing it than others....
  • Posted on: 09/15/2016

    Why did mall landlords step in to save Aeropostale?

    Mall operators investing in retailers is more common in Asia, where malls operate stores to "seed" or fill the gaps in the property. In the US it is definitely not a common occurrence, and I think this is an exception to buy the chain and the mall operator some time to improve the chain or do a more orderly closedown.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2016

    Amazon and Fanatics play ‘anytime, anywhere, anyhow’ commerce on game day

    Traditionally the only game day delivery business around football is pizza. That model is proven in the mechanism and profitability. The trick is going to be availability, scalability and profitability.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2016

    Amazon to roll out pop-ups nationwide

    Makes sense for the upcoming holiday season where electronics are still common gifts for one's self and family. Pop-ups are an easy way to get consumers to experience devices in person and gain direct feedback as well as to showroom the brand overall and to talk about the Prime service in a face-to-face situation. Amazon is basically doing "see in person then buy online" model at a low investment to see how that compares to the "see online buy in-store" strategy pursued by the brick-and-mortar competition.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2016

    Is altruism the secret ingredient in Starbucks’ success?

    By definition every retailer is a storyteller. Whether the story is compelling to the consumer is the question. I don't think altruism is the secret ingredient. The ability to give customers what they want is the secret sauce, charity is simply good corporate citizenship. There is always a small part of branding for any business to be in charity, but Apple under Steve Jobs proved you can have a successful company with very little charity in its DNA.

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