Mohamed Amer

Global Head of Strategic Communications, Consumer Industries, SAP
Living in Southern California, Mohamed joined SAP in 2003 as Solution Manager in charge of global grocery segment within the Retail Business Unit. Subsequently he led the Supply Chain product area for Retail in the Americas. For three years he led the Retail Business Unit in the Americas supporting business development, key customer implementations, and relationships as well as managing User Groups and Executive Customer Councils. Mohamed also led the building and championing of internal and external Retail communities. He is currently the Global Head of Strategic Communications for the Consumer Industries at SAP (Retail, Consumer Products, Wholesale Distribution, and Life Sciences).

Prior to SAP, Mohamed was co-founder and President of NEXstep, an Internet supply chain software startup which was acquired by Viewlocity. He also held leadership positions in the retail management consultancy, Kurt Salmon Associates with extensive Retail and CPG client engagements as well as general management roles in the office products industry at Boise Cascade and Buhrmann-Tetterode.

Mohamed held a commission with the US Navy (Lieutenant Commander – naval aviation and naval intelligence) and has earned an MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, an MA in National Security Affairs at the US Naval Postgraduate School, and an MA in Human and Organizational Systems at Fielding Graduate University.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2016

    How can retailers achieve consistent branding across touchpoints?

    The crux of the issue is not the messaging but the doing. Yes, having a consistent and relevant message across all touch points -- irrespective of location or device -- is difficult, but the brand challenge becomes an impossibility in a sea of data islands, organizational land grabs and a lack or a divergence of vision in the boardroom.Without a strategic understanding of, and a plan addressing, what it means to focus on the customer, coupled with new, radical organizational structure and a willingness to make informed transformational technology investments, the core issue will remain hidden in plain sight as "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma," (borrowing from Winston Churchill's words in 1939 on the future of Russia).
  • Posted on: 10/25/2016

    It’s the Millennials’ world

    I absolutely agree that not only Millennials but Boomers can also agree to the five marketing points mentioned by Jamie.The main difference between the two groups is that while Boomers were satisfied to be marketed to (passively receive), Millennials are more willing to take control of the message and demand to be part of the process (active engagement).So I don’t see this as a fight between the two generations over dominance, but rather one over how quickly the existing marketing paradigm will better reflect the newly realized power of the consumer -- all consumers.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2016

    Should Bass Pro retire the Cabela’s name?

    Keep it simple. The strength of the brands in the mind of consumers should be the major criteria in the decision.My advice is to not repeat the Macy's changeover model applied to the regional brands it had acquired. Benefits of M&A in retail (and generally for consumer-facing industries) should be on more efficient back-office processes, sourcing, buying and improved assortments/services.There is a lot of goodwill in place for each of the brands here: Cabela's and Bass Pro Shop. You don't want to dilute that value by eliminating a nameplate unless one has significantly more mindshare with the consumers in the markets in question. In today's story that is not the case and ignoring this point may plague the deal's financial expectations for years to come.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2016

    What follows all-day breakfast at McDonald’s?

    The challenge for the CEO and Board of McDonald’s is to deliver on being a fast food provider for the masses in a world where growth is defined by specialization and personalization. What a phenomenal opportunity that would be!Keeping in mind the meta-narratives impacting consumer behavior and continued investment in technology, I’d address 4 areas long term: Invest in workforce and training; Create new yet more simplified menu options; Pivot to healthier ingredient sets and; Humanize the stores.1. Workforce: Even if ordering goes fully automated via kiosks, smart devices, and so on, I’d want employee-customer interactions to be exemplary and enhance the customer experience 2. Menu: Add options for wide swaths of the population that have dietary/health restrictions: reduced sugars, low carb, non-dairy (coconut and almond based milks and yogurts), and gluten-free options. 3. Ingredients: Reduce exposure to GMO products wherever possible; provide clear easy to understand transparent ingredient lists; celebrate locally sourced products. 4. Stores: Humanize these a lot more. While each McDonald’s should have a common “store template” to communicate quality and consistency, there is a need to provide a localization flavor. I’d encourage a “10% variance” to reflect local/regional flavor.For McDonald’s, there’s the obvious need to ensure the franchisees are on board and excited about these changes, and this should be part of the go-forward strategy.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2016

    Will Apple turn its stores into something more than stores?

    Apple is in an enviable position to experiment on terms that others can simply not afford. A few years ago I authored a blog recognizing the uniqueness of Apple's retail stores. Today, the company continues to redefine and reinvent the notion of a retail store. It's highly remarkable for a brand to excel at designing (creative), engineering products (rational) and in connecting so well with consumers (emotional).By designing the "selling" as secondary to providing space to build communities, Apple will actually increase store sales and product adoption. By redefining the retail experience into terms that transcend the transactional the brand is creating deeper and lasting bonds with consumers.Although success is not guaranteed, the concept and strategy are brilliant in enhancing and differentiating the brand experience.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2016

    Will Aldi and Lidl replicate U.K. success in the U.S.?

    Each of these companies is on a different timeline in developing the U.S. market. For new entrant Lidl, it should do well in the U.S. without the need to attract high-income consumers. Similarly, Aldi’s continued success does not require that they go after high-income consumers as this would stray from the brand’s core foundation and perceived value equation. The middle-income household holds the biggest prize for both food retailers with disruptions starting at the low-end of the market.Aldi and Lidl have excelled in smaller format stores and with minimal dependence on national brands in their home markets. Both are very good operators and work to make the supply chain and execution to the store highly efficient. The key success factor will continue to be how well they maintain their limited range as they create relevant localized assortments that communicate ease and simplicity on one side and value and quality on the other.For anyone that has equated deep discounters with unhealthy food choices, they will be surprised by how successful the two companies will be in bringing “natural” and “organic” choices to lower- and middle-income consumers.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2016

    Target to test vertical farms in stores

    It's too easy to poke holes in new ideas and it's the quickest path to stifling any new ideas. Target's vertical farming test will provide the company and its collaboration partners with more real-world data points on ways to transform the path from farm to fork.Don't view this in isolation, but imagine what else is possible (to Paula's point) and how this creates even greater awareness about what we put in our bodies and the whole transparency issue around packaging.Of course there's a marketing angle, but it's not — and should not be — the driving force. Let's see how well Target creates an easy to communicate and understand strategy around its approach to food and what leadership role it is prepared to take on as a brand.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2016

    Amazon expands lead as product search default

    In business cycle terms, Amazon certainly has an enviable moat strategy providing the company a short term unbeatable advantage in product search (one to five years). Going out further, nothing stays on top forever even if we can't see those details today.Sources of disruption to Amazon's apparent unrivaled primacy? On the competitive side: investments in new technology, deep organizational changes and a new breed of visionary leadership to guide the necessary transformation. The diffusion of artificial intelligence and the shift to real-time computing coupled with the redesign of organizations to not only flatten but eliminate silos and empower employees will provide the foundation to challenge Amazon -- as all eyes turn to 1:1 personalized engagement with consumers at the lowest possible cost.Two caveats on Amazon’s leadership timeline: how long Jeff Bezos can remain hyper-active at the helm of the company and the point at which Amazon’s wild success spills into hubris.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2016

    Will greeters make Penney a more inviting place to shop?

    Nothing wrong with the idea of greeters. At stores as diverse as Petco and CVS, as you enter the store the cashier welcomes you to the store. It puts a human face to the brand and banner -- but its a first step that must continue with how store associates engage and converse with shoppers.How J.C. Penney executes on the concept and frames it to their associates will determine internal adoption and how shoppers will respond. It's worth a try but must be part of a larger cohesive strategy to make their stores a more desirable destination.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2016

    Will Amazon give new meaning to convenience stores?

    Amazon has been redefining retail (and business) since selling its first book in 1995. How we come to define and experience convenience stores in the digital era will also change with innovators such as Amazon (and others yet to come).By blending massive data stores, predictive algorithms, instant consumer access and connectivity, we are on the cusp of a new "Omniretail" reality that will take the future convenience store in an unprecedented multi-functional direction.Those not anchored in the past will view the future as full of potential rather than being limited by existing models.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2016

    Is it time for retailers to stop the Thanksgiving madness?

    Business cases are poor in capturing the intangibles even when they seek proxies. Of course, you lose store sales when you're closed, but you can still take orders online. And it's never a zero-sum game; you're not going to lose customers -- your brand can actually benefit.The biggest upside for closing on Thanksgiving is the message you send to your employees and the community in honoring the meaning of this holiday. It's a great way to build goodwill all around.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2016

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

    Never say never, but the prospect of permanent Google storefronts is not likely. That does not mean that Google does not have interest in selling their growing products aimed at consumers. With the nascent fight for the connected home, Google desires to be a leader in this space and will make sure its products are top of mind and get more than their fair share of wallet.To do so, they don't necessarily need permanent stores. Pop-up shops are short-lived, flexible, cost-efficient, and create both national and local awareness,With experience increasingly defining retailing, Google will prioritize efforts on how their products perform and integrate to deliver on the user experience in an IoT world. They are much less likely to focus on "owning" the physical sell points.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2016

    AmazonFresh lowers annual subscription via a $15 monthly rate

    The original $299 annual fee was as much Amazon's attempt to assess the level of interest in perishables as it was a discovery of the value their customers place on convenience in this segment. The high entry point also served to limit the immediate adoption so Amazon could take a small step approach to working out the kinks. That was then, this is now.Changing to a monthly add-on fee for Prime members effectively removes the original hurdle and signals the company's doubling down to unleash and scale AmazonFresh. Prime members that choose the easier-to-chew monthly fee will want to make their $14.99 work hard for them and will shift more of their fresh food purchases to the new service.As long as AmazonFresh executes on the promise and provides order accuracy, freshness, on-time delivers, etc., it will do well with this group. Faltering here, however, may backfire and taint the brand beyond the Fresh footprint.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2016

    Should retail prices in-store be the same as online?

    The article leads you to the answer: yes.Consumers are not interested, nor do they care about, the internal cost structure of running the business. They care about themselves in terms of getting the best value for their money and being able to "trust" where they shop.Both sides of the relationship are learning what it means to be in a highly-transparent omnichannel environment. Discrepancies across touchpoints in pricing, service, deliveries, packaging and so on get magnified and consumer response is immediate.Focus on making your customers' lives simpler, be consistent and perform across your brand's touchpoints and you shall be rewarded. Your cost elements should be structured and optimized to deliver on consumers' expectations and not vice versa.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2016

    Target wraps up its first tech accelerator program

    Target has long been a champion of community building. This accelerator competition serves that purpose well and much more. The Twin Cities (and Minneapolis in particular) are proud of the company's name and long history dating back to Dayton-Hudson.With this competition, Target elevates the tech cred of the Twin Cities, attracts future tech talent to the company and generates serious brain power on retail challenges. They also up their engagement with the Millennial generation and create an environment that can help promote a new company mindset.Change happens in small steps and from many directions. Target is undergoing internal organizational changes and appears to be fully aware of the challenges ahead on what it'll take to compete with the likes of Amazon and the formidable Walmart/ combination. Engendering even stronger local roots to tap the right talents can only enhance the company's future.

Contact Mohamed