Kim Garretson

Advisor, MyAlerts
Kim Garretson is an advisor to MyAlerts. His focus is on advising retailers about consumer-controlled marketing. With rising rates of ad blocking, email unsubscribes, plus consumer concerns over their data used in retargeting, Garretson advises retailers that big data predictive analytics is still "guessing" and that they should begin to simply ask their shoppers for permission to market to them on criteria they set.

Garretson previously co-founded Ovative/Group, a boutique digital retail consultancy in Minneapolis. Prior, he was a strategy and innovation executive at Best Buy where he served as the company's liaison to the venture capital industry and other centers of innovation research. He also was a research fellow at the Missouri School of Journalism's marketing arm, where he first began to research giving the control of marketing to consumers.

Garretson is also the co-founder of two digital agencies. One is now owned by global holding company Interpublic Group and the second is now Arc Worldwide, Leo Burnett's digital and direct marketing arm. He began his career as the consumer technology columnist for Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2017

    What can TripAdvisor bring to retail?

    This is a great idea for one emerging technology, automated text summarization, especially when there will be staff to help travelers search the reviews. With this summarization technology, hundreds of the thousands of reviews can be "read" instantly to automatically generate a list based on the search requests. For instance, a traveler could search for free museums open until 8 p.m. within five miles of their hotel that are wheelchair accessible and have an average 4-star rating, and instantly the technology will generate this very personalized, individualized list.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2017

    Will artificial intelligence replace CEOs?

    One fast-emerging model for retail marketers is the use of AI (powered by IBM Watson) for planning marketing campaigns. A company called Equals3 has launched an AI marketing planning platform with IBM Watson that can reduce the time and labor to plan marketing campaigns from months with a large staff at the retailer and its agencies to a day or two with one staffer.
  • Posted on: 04/25/2017

    Can tailored digital video messaging transform grocery end-caps?

    With the data on beacons pushing messages to individual phones demonstrating lower-than-forecast performance for increasing sales, this is an intriguing alternative. Instead of pestering the shopper with their own screens dinging from beacon-triggered messaging, this system lets the individual shopper glance at the screen for more engaging content based on the size of the screen and decide to take action like either veering into that aisle or ignoring the messaging.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2017

    Will IKEA find success in standalone restaurants?

    The pop-up concept plays perfectly into IKEA's growth strategy. Instead of just focusing on what you can buy at their giant stores, or online (without free shipping of course), having food there is brilliant. Who wouldn't want to consider an IKEA kitchen once a meatball cart came around? It's very much in line with the food truck phenomenon, but with this one also giving you idea-starters for your home.
  • Posted on: 04/14/2017

    Are retailers missing the social marketing boat if they’re not on YouTube?

    YouTube has a lot of work to do to overcome its recent issues if major retailers will step up to the plate this year. Consider some recent headlines: "YouTube Advertiser Exodus Highlights Perils of Online Ads" and "YouTube is facing a full-scale advertising boycott over hate speech." Plus the following, from the site ReCode: "What advertisers really want from YouTube is what they already get on the open web: tracking how many times an ad has been shown to a particular anonymized user; where it’s happening; and how people are interacting with the ad."
  • Posted on: 04/12/2017

    Will virtual reality transform in-store merchandising?

    The real advantages of VR technology will emerge once other technologies are dialed into the mix. For instance, in the Kellogg example above, Kellogg has also been using a motion sensing technology in tests to monitor what the shopper actually does in aisle. It hangs motion sensors like those in Microsoft Kinect games above the shelf. The sensor then can heat map and gather other data about which items are lifted from the shelf by the shopper and are either put back or put in the cart. With in-store tests like this, the data can then help drive the VR scenarios for further refinement of the optimum shopping experience.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2017

    What will retailers gain from HHGregg’s loss?

    My question is one that is hanging over the entire retail industry: What happens to this abandoned retail space, since the country is "over-retailed"? Can others, not retailers, benefit from some of this retail? Community colleges, pop-up seasonal stores, health facilities, etc.?
  • Posted on: 04/03/2017

    Should retailers take a public stance on social issues?

    Yes, retailers should take a stand. Witness this headline and story from last week: Apple, Wal-Mart stay with climate pledge, despite Trump.
  • Posted on: 03/31/2017

    Why is Amazon trying to convince CPG giants to go consumer direct?

    One probable reason is that the CPG brands have large advertising and marketing budgets and Amazon is a very effective media option for that spending when the ads are matched to consumer search on the website. With the CPGs finding it increasingly difficult to get results from advertising because of media fragmentation and the rise of private label brands by grocers, Amazon offers an attractive channel for the brands.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2017

    What does the decision to close Quidsi say about the battle between Amazon and

    Of course Quidsi founder Marc Lore, now at Walmart's, is probably enemy number one of Jeff Bezos. So I am looking forward to snarky comments by both parties on this shutdown and the unknown but still shaky future for Jet's efforts to match Amazon. Whatever happens, Lore has already made huge piles of cash from both Bezos and Walmart.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2017

    Does Amazon need bricks to make its online grocery business click?

    The unknown to me is location. Of course, Seattle has some of the worst traffic problems in the country. Does that mean that their locations may be another barrier to scale because customers who should like the convenience find inconvenience in getting there, say on a commute after work? Just as real estate is critical to all of retail, it will take some time I believe for Amazon to find the right locations that are truly convenient to the segment of customers it is targeting.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2017

    Do retailers need middle men to match them up with tech startups?

    One of the dangers of these programs is the stage of the startups. Since unfunded startups that have not launched fail, in my view, about 90 percent of the time, these programs improve those odds only marginally. But there are programs such at the Sprosty Network RetailXelerator that take second-stage startups and accelerate them to larger retail partners and networks. These companies are funded and launched. If they have physical products they usually are selling online, and if they are software they usually are working with small e-tailers.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2017

    Should retailers ditch five-star ratings?

    I believe technology will not only save the five-star system, but improve it. With machine learning and auto-content creation, the technology exists to scan a large volume of reviews in milliseconds and then auto-generate very focused, digested articles with no human writers involved. These articles can, for instance, list the top 10 reasons why reviewers gave a product five stars and the top 10 reasons why reviewers cited problems with the product.
  • Posted on: 03/10/2017

    Has proven that online sales are going to the dogs?

    Personally I am sure Amazon is doing fantastic business in this category, but I believe one factor why is doing so well is the user experience at Amazon. There, this category seems to be one of the richer sources of vendor advertising spend. On almost every site search at Amazon for pet goods, everything above the fold on results pages is sponsored, leaving many shoppers wondering what to choose. What's more, the bright best seller banners are attached to many of the other items. I'm not sure if this is vendor-sponsored as well, but it contributes to the confusion in making choices. is much more straightforward in presenting items from website searches.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2017

    Can RadioShack come back from bankruptcy — again?

    With mobile sales declining and RadioShack long ago losing the battle for consumer electronics, I believe another reason to shop there has been battered by competition. That category would be batteries, especially unique and hard-to-find batteries. With Batteries Plus Bulbs growing so fast in recent years and with it newer, fresher-approach real estate locations for its franchisees, I think RadioShack has lost this stop-in customer segment as well.

Contact Kim