PROFILE

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.
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  • Posted on: 08/22/2017

    Will a former eBay and Home Depot exec help Macy’s get turned around?

    The hiring of Mr. Lawton demonstrates Macy’s commitment to a future that acknowledges the primacy of online retailing to any future growth trajectory.Restructuring merchandising, planning and private brands into a single merchandising unit will help with visibility as well as with ensuring better information flow and more integrated processes that include inventory replenishment and pricing. As for private label, the 40 percent goal is a sufficiently big jump from current levels. The company needs to execute on the "Only at Macy’s" private brands with a proper marketing programs targeted at the right lifestyle, from in-store environment to online presence.All-in-all, this is a very good start in setting the table for the new Macy’s executive team to initiate change and execute.
  • Posted on: 08/14/2017

    Will Aldi upset the grocery home delivery cart?

    Online grocery will be a significant part of grocery's future. Let's not equate being a hard discounter with a lack of innovative delivery options or ignoring major social and retailing trends. The key for Aldi is to test and understand the impact on their supply chain through assortment and packaging, as well as to manage expanded customer communications and new touch points.Using a third party allows Aldi to learn in a low financial risk model. It's not a question of if, but when the grocery segment as a whole will be knee deep in online grocery. The early movers will have a longer runway to understand the business impacts and address them accordingly.
  • Posted on: 08/11/2017

    Is the future of fashion gender-free?

    Gender is an important element in creating our unique identities. What I see is a desire, even a need, by each individual to assert and express one's unique identity across lifestyle, apparel, purchases, social media, group affinities and so on. In that construct, the gender-free look is one of innumerable options rather than a main social trend to jump on. It’s a niche rather than a social trend.The traditional apparel model that begins with pinks and blues as imprints of identity is increasingly viewed as restrictive rather than assertive and liberating. The future is expressive in which we celebrate the individual with the countless differences and experiences. It’s definitely not about a homogeneous and undifferentiated whole. Having a single or common look is reminiscent of an ice cream parlor with one flavor or living in a world in which Henry Ford's "you can have any color as long as it's black" is the norm. Sounds dull to me.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2017

    Will grocery stores become the new mall anchors?

    It is unlikely that the future mall model will be one anchored with grocery stores.Looking at this from a grocery lens, the real estate cost at a mall is higher than current options, directionally the square footage of grocery stores will go down and not up and the average sales per trip by a typical mall visitor will be lower than from a stand alone model. On the other hand, if my grocery format emphasizes eating in and my assortment was tuned to a mall location, then I would give it consideration.From a mall perspective, it's about integrating the space into the new lifestyles of the communities they serve. Anchor tenants made it easy, consumers' demand for the experiential retail will challenge the taken-for-granted assumptions and the imagination of mall developers -- but that is the nature of change in business.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2017

    Are retailers squandering store traffic?

    Thank you Mark for highlighting an obvious, yet overlooked opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers. Your book on the topic is a very useful resource.Every shopper walking into a store has already made a time commitment and is ready to buy. This is especially true today where a significant amount of exploration and research is done on a mobile device. Being properly staffed and inventoried should be viewed as high ROI investments to achieving conversion or CRO. Unlike online conversion, in the physical world you need people and products in an easy and pleasant shopping environment.Some of the biggest solutions to conversion rate killers are obvious. Eliminate long lines at checkout or customers having to hunt for an associate so they can make the purchase. Restock, restock and then restock again so your shelves reflect your inventory position. Give associates the tools and access to information so they can be advocates for the customer. Understand that the physical in-store experience (and CRO) cannot be delinked from your online presence. Finally, hire people that like to help people and are interested in the products you sell.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2017

    Will talking about pain points make Babies ‘R’ Us the go-to retailer for parents?

    This is a refreshing approach even if execution may be challenging. Consider that the new parent phenomena only happens once and the surprise factor drops off dramatically. The stores need to be properly staffed and those associates need to be more knowledgeable than other moms and dads (and websites) that the new parents have tapped for advice.None of these should be reasons not to pursue this strategy -- providing that personal touch can build long-term trust with the brand. Just make sure your associates, stores and inventory management are able to meet the high expectations set by the marketing campaign.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2017

    Are there too many grocery stores?

    In the aggregate, we are overstored in the U.S. and that includes grocery stores. For food in general, the situation is extreme as most center-store and impulse purchase items can be found across multiple retail segments and store formats, as well as online.Peel the onion back and you discover that gaps do exist as geographic distribution is uneven as is access to specific grocery formats. Yes, grocery chains are aware of the increasing capacity issues and are working to match the appropriate type of capacity-to-demand ratio in the local markets. New geographic entrants like Lidl perceive an opportunity for their format and assortment that fulfill inadequately met consumer demand.Based on online capturing a greater proportion of grocery sales, I expect that over the next 10 years the average store size will go down significantly and the number of stores will stabilize. More grocery stores will bring the store to the consumer/home and the melding of physical and digital will go into high gear, with novel partnerships and potentially renewed M&A activities. This will lead to more concentrated consumer purchases with fewer grocery chains and online platforms.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2017

    How disruptive is Alexa to CPG brands?

    The challenge for CPG brands is that the rate of change in consumer purchase behavior is changing much faster than the decision-making processes inside most of the established companies. The way CPG brands have historically communicated with consumers, whether via traditional advertising campaigns or in stores at their retail partners, need to shift with the changing realities. While the moment of truth for a consumer purchase remains primarily in a physical store, it is quickly changing to the digital realm. Voice, or conversational user interface, is increasingly removing purchase friction while adding new definition of convenience that is wrapped in a digitally native supply chain.The communication and engagement between CPG brand and consumer needs to take the changing consumer behavior. Realizing that limitless interaction points exist before and after the proverbial "moment of truth" for the consumer across all channels and devices and many of these touch points are out of a brand’s or a retailer’s control. So, just as Alexa and other voice UX platforms are becoming the digital equivalents of the last physical mile in logistics, CPG brands need to approach the new platforms as another influence opportunity in their broad engagement with consumers.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2017

    How disruptive is Alexa to CPG brands?

    Solid insights Ryan, as usual! The future retailing models will be impacted by the increasing reality of consumers creating their own "stores."
  • Posted on: 08/01/2017

    How disruptive is Alexa to CPG brands?

    Well stated Art! The potential "advertising" in this conversational UI is untapped and much greater than we are prepared for today.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2017

    Will Gen Z demand a new level of collaboration?

    I suspect there are more similarities in outlook with other generations when they were at the same biological age as Gen Z. What I see happening is a significant change, decades in the making, in which consumers are not accepting the received wisdom from authority figures (across society).What's different today is that technology in the form of mobile and social underpinned by the internet is giving individuals a near unlimited potential to share and speak their mind. Reality is no longer handed down to us in 30 minute "soap operas" or the nightly news. The genie is out of the bottle and never going back in. This is a massive decentralization. Having an entire nation tune into the evening news on one of three channels to be told what they should know and how to think about it is a relic.Technology is empowering individuals and changing how value is defined, while giving consumers the digital keys to creating a different future. For retailers and brands, it means that the acceleration to 1:1 marketing and engagement will happen even faster than expected. It also means that translating the listening and understanding of individual voices into micro-actions will become core to strategy execution in the coming years.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2017

    Can in-store experiences save retail?

    As a society we are going through a major trend wherein "experiences" are increasingly more valued than material possessions. When you can connect emotionally to a physical product and wrap it in a personalized experience, then you've done three things: differentiated yourself from the competition, desensitized the price lever and validated your customer's decision to make you part of her life.It's a false dichotomy that forces you to decide between data analytics OR experience. Consumers value uniqueness, exclusivity and personalization. Creating excitement in a store environment separates you from online-only competitors. On the other hand, advanced analytics are a must for retailers to engage consumers with relevant, personalized and insightful context-aware communication across devices and channels. This type of personalization is key to having your customer self-identify with your store and brands.
  • Posted on: 07/24/2017

    Do consumers want to be recognized across channels?

    The conflicting survey results tell me that the core question here is not about consumers being recognized at every touchpoint. I don’t believe that consumers are necessarily asking for that. As consumers, I see higher prioritization around having frictionless and relevant experiences in the stores, online, and with the brands. As a result, if “knowing me” as a customer can assist/enhance the experience, it makes sense.And for an experience to be relevant, it requires some continuity such as across devices and tools such as emails, and based on my preferences that are context aware and maintained. When I want to have an issue or a service solved via call center, online, or in-store, that continuity and awareness become invaluable.Bottom line, focus on the value you deliver to consumers through frictionless and relevant experiences across devices, tools, and situations. Apply insights to solve problems and elevate the conversation. With today’s shrinking consumer attention spans, data can help create or destroy bonds of trust with your customers.
  • Posted on: 07/24/2017

    Do mini makeup studios make sense for Sephora?

    Adding service-oriented stores is another effective way to help "Amazon-proof" your business model. Sephora's Makeup Studios concept carries less overhead while delivering high touch service backed by big data plus digital tools and a unique learning curve that combine to create big opportunities that are difficult to replicate by others. A key to tap into the full potential is to ensure seamless integration with the physical formats and across both physical and digital points of engagements.
  • Posted on: 07/24/2017

    Why is Amazon paying full-price for third-party inventory?

    Key words for Amazon are speed and convenience. Inventory availability translates to happier customers and elevates the trust factor for the Amazon brand. It's not an on/off button, but a continuum of options for the business. Quite simply, I view the move as just another arrow in the Amazon quiver.

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