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: 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.
  • Posted on: 03/07/2017

    Will the joking stop now that IKEA furniture can be assembled in minutes?

    In addition to the jokes, I really enjoy the IKEA hack sites where DIYers have fun assembling the goods in unique ways. Buzzfeed is addicted to these hacks with numerous listicles featuring these creations. I love this innovation because it can only mean more and better hacks, and more fun content and idea-starters to find on the Web and via mobile.
  • Posted on: 03/03/2017

    Will VR/AR keep consumers out of stores?

    The key to making physical shopping more fun and relevant with these technologies is with technology that does not require the shopper to do anything like wear a headset or use their mobile device. This includes holographic projected imagery, and the big bet of course is with the startup Magic Leap, which has raised $1.4 billion. While the media has recently reported the company is behind in deploying its solution for enhancing physical experiences, with that much capital my bet is they will get there in a year or two.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2017

    Has the retail industry upped its customer service game?

    One area where CRM has fallen short for customer satisfaction is in capturing individual intent on store visits while the shopper is on a path to purchase. This is now being addressed with technology. One example: Many shoppers for considered purchases spend up to two to three months of research to make their decisions, including store visits. Best Buy, for instance, notices shoppers taking pictures of items and price tags to text or email to themselves as part of the process. Best Buy does not capture any of this intent data, and thus can not help the shopper on their journey. But new technologies can give retailers a way to let shoppers set reminders and info about their store visits within the CRM, so that the retailer now has permission to market to the individual on those items and on criteria they set, such as "please let me know if the price drops" or "please let me know if a newer model is added," etc.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2017

    Will Target’s $7 billion investment pay off in market share gains?

    Dick, I agree on #4. An case in point: distilled water is always on my list, and three times in the last two months, a large shelf at Target (probably 4' by 4') labeled distilled water has been empty. Very frustrating. And naturally I couldn't find a red shirt to ask about more stock in the backroom.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2017

    Will Target’s $7 billion investment pay off in market share gains?

    In light of previous discussions here about the grocery battle between Walmart and Aldi's, all I've gleaned from this Target news is that "food continues to be a work in progress." I think that is grim news for Target. Obviously one of the strategies for grocery by Target was to get shoppers to make a trip to pick up a few grocery items or veer their carts into grocery for other trips, but there is absolutely nothing unique about the grocery experience at Target except some high-quality private label goods. And with the price war going on elsewhere Target will probably have to respond in kind, and this won't work very well.
  • Posted on: 02/28/2017

    Will Walmart’s price push pull customers away from Aldi?

    I notice many high-end automobiles in Aldi parking lots. These affluent shoppers like the quickness of shopping the smaller stores, the quality of many of the private label brands and of course the prices. I don't see this move by Walmart drawing many of those shoppers away from Aldi.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2017

    Did Walmart’s short films win Oscar night?

    With the news that Walmart is going aggressively at Aldi in grocery, I think this was a brilliant move. The Aldi shoppers include the more affluent who like the speed and ease of shopping there, the quality of many items and the sense of discovery around the limited edition items. I would venture to guess that those Aldi shoppers among this segment are who Walmart can target with omnichannel campaigns such as this one.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2017

    Is Amazon’s Alexa a threat to rival retailers?

    With Amazon already taking in nearly $2 billion in vendor advertising dollars for sponsored listings in site search, watch for innovations in this space with Echo. Sixteen years ago Seth Godin coined the term Permission Marketing, meaning, why don't we let each individual simply provide their consent to marketing on products and services they are thinking about? I can see this concept coming to life with Echo whereby a user can instruct Alexa to let them know about new and upcoming offers fitting their individual future purchase interests from Amazon advertising vendors.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2017

    Six ways to prevent your e-mails from being flagged as graymail

    A nice extra option to add to the "prepare them" option would be to suggest that they use my favorite tool: Not only does it let users unsubscribe in one session from all their unwanted retail emails, it can compile and digest those that you still want to receive to save users time.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Is Amazon the most innovative company in retailing?

    Warren Buffett seems to believe this if you read behind yesterday's headlines: "Warren Buffett just dropped Walmart and signaled the death of retail as we know it."
  • Posted on: 02/13/2017

    How price competitive does Whole Foods need to be?

    Anecdotally, I've heard from several Whole Foods shoppers that they are switching to Aldi and they are quick to point out huge price disparities. And I read that Aldi is investing heavily in new store layouts focused on organics and is aggressively adding stores. With this being just one competitor, I would say Whole Foods has a lot of problems on its hands to turn things around.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2017

    Will in-home consults give Amazon the keys to the smart home market?

    In a similar move Ron Johnson, of Target and Apple retail fame, has raised $80 million for Its experts hand-deliver tech gear to homes, offices, etc. in hours and do the set-ups and instructions. I haven't read about its success or failure, but with that much cash it has runway to try to prove and scale its model.

Contact Kim