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: 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.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2017

    Will 2017 be the year retailers start making their stores relevant again?

    I think 2017 is where retailers have to reboot their store design or keep having to reduce store footprint. Adding tech into the store will not solve the problem until retailers figure out for their target audience to use the store and redesign the people flow, merchandising, and assortment properly. Whether it is dedicated area for web pickup or just having the right things at the right time, it is possible to crack the code.The issue is retailers have to reset the traditional metrics that drive store design, like amount of merchandise per square foot, how the checkout works, and how the staff is positioned with the shoppers to make it work.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2017

    What will the sale of Craftsman mean for Sears and Stanley Black & Decker?

    Good for Stanley Black & Decker to acquire a well known brand which still has some equity left despite the Sears issues. As long as the quality of the tools is maintained or improved, Craftsman will be a good addition to the portfolio. Definitely have to negotiate carefully to make sure it doesn't take on the liability part of the operations, though.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2017

    Are convenience stores in for a big year in 2017?

    C-stores have come a long way in terms of product selection and pricing. They are designed for impulse purchase so less susceptible to e-commerce competition, especially in the ready-to-eat and mobility related items. I think as consumers go more towards "instant satisfaction" the future of the C-store is bright.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2017

    Should Costco raise its membership fees?

    Costco's clientele of warehouse style, large quantity buying wouldn't be effected by the modest increase in membership fee. While Costco is less e-commerce centric than Amazon, its core group of buyers (including myself with Executive membership) derives enough value of its assortment in store and products online to make the membership worthwhile. Not everyone can or should mimic Amazon. Many companies that tried to "outdo Amazon at its own game" ended up in the wastelands.
  • Posted on: 12/26/2016

    Are retailers over-promising last-minute BOPIS?

    At the end of the day it is about making promises and keeping them. If you are going to promote something and can't deliver, you are damaging your brand. In-store execution and having the personnel and space to handle the pick up in store expectations is going to be the key, as well as accurate view of product availability in the store. Fail at any of these steps, and you are just increasing dissatisfaction.
  • Posted on: 12/19/2016

    Did retailers doom their holidays with deep discounts?

    For a lot of retailers trying to make the numbers for stockholders and analysts, discount is the short term fix to maintain a positive spin to cover issues. Everyone is doing it from store to online and retailers attempting to get out of the game have been punished unless they are in a niche segment like luxury or brand exclusive products. I am wondering if what happens in the end is that retailers that have exclusive products/brand experiences survive, and those who are just distributors of widely available brands will just fade away by the pressures of discounting.

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