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: 11/30/2016

    What convinces retailers to innovate?

    Steering a ship in stormy weather takes significantly different set of skills and decision-making than during calm seas.Retailers are like mariners, they need to excel at running the steady state (highly predictable) as well as being adept at dealing with abrupt changes and gut-wrenching storms in real-time (survival). With the onset of the digital economy and its disruptive character in the form of fundamentally changing consumer behavior and technological innovations, retailers are facing unprecedented challenges — and opportunities — to running the business. Playing catch-up is not a viable strategic option and taking comfort that peers are in the "same boat" saves no one from the dangers ahead.So, rather than framing the options in front of the c-suite as a technology issue: “leading edge” versus “bleeding edge,” the focus needs to be on effecting a complete revamp of the fundamental assumptions used to inform the company strategy, its organizational structure, and the relationships among the parts of the business. This requires establishing a fresh mindset that seeks out and embraces change, always brings in outside perspectives, sets high expectations, and applies appropriately different metrics to innovative versus legacy elements of the business.The ratio of calm to stormy retail seas is getting smaller every day, the path to thriving in this new reality is dependent on establishing such a fresh mindset.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2016

    What does a record Cyber Monday foretell for the remaining holiday season?

    I think using the "Cyber Week" definition is far more meaningful as it includes the Black Friday sales and affirms the convergence of physical and online retailing as a single shopping experience. The record numbers this year are a good omen for the rest of the holiday season (in-store and online).The increasing popularity of online need not be a zero-sum game. I view the rise of online retailing as a legitimate opportunity for increased spending as long as the brand's value proposition and customer engagement model recognize the changing retail reality.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2016

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: vs.

    The Amazon ad is spot-on for a company that is global in reach. In addition to stating that gifts can be thoughtful and functional, it affirms our common humanity while honoring differences. It also offers technology -- and specifically Amazon's -- as a great equalizer that is easy to use (even the Priest and Imam can order on their smartphones). The spot reminds us of why we give and our need to nurture relationships. This one wins it for me.Despite the holiday music and imagery, the Jet spot is all about spending less during the holidays. There's no emotional connection; it's transactional to the core. The message is probably on target for a Jet customer, but it doesn't necessarily say anything new or surprising.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2016

    Has Best Buy solved the Amazon riddle?

    Products alone are not how you differentiate in this retail segment. It's more about well-informed and trained sales associates combined with an array of value-adding services that help consumers make sense, and use, of the innovative devices out there.It's about setting up a pleasant experience before, during and long after the sale. With the advent of connected homes and cars and the rise of mobile devices as windows to much of our world, retail's classic winning formula pivots from product to experience (inclusive of those products).Best Buy's success is likely to continue as long as the company focuses on the needs of their customers as they continue to desire simplicity and convenience while dealing with a more complex and incredibly connected world.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2016

    Patagonia to donate all Black Friday profits to green groups

    The move by Patagonia reinforces its strong brand image and is in sync with its mission statement to "build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis."As much as I personally admire the company, I don't see this sort of program catching on across retailing. The philosophy and worldviews of companies like Patagonia and REI are not widespread in the industry and are born out of their unique respect for the environment.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2016

    How important is convenience to motivating online holiday shoppers?

    Consumers want to save money all the time but expect to save even more so during the holidays. They have come to expect convenience as table stakes.Only truly differentiated convenience can garner a premium. That type of convenience turns on personalized value perception and a completely revamped buying/payment/delivery processes.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2016

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: J.C. Penney vs. Kohl’s

    I don't know who each of these retailers consider to be their core customers anymore, but the Kohl's commercial certainly hit the spot in the context of gift buying during the holidays.The J.C. Penney commercial was less about the holidays (although there were several cues) and more about bridging generations and emotional connections. It effectively used memories to tell a story with a twist -- rather than dwelling on the past, it takes one to new places and unexpected possibilities. It's a clever storytelling technique and is well executed with subtle Christmas references.From a surprise factor, the Kohl's product play makes sense and does not stretch one's perception of that store's assortment. However, to associate a virtual reality headset with J.C. Penney is a big surprise and invites one to visit the store (or website) to re-discover the brand.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2016

    Will Alexa-exclusive deals bring holiday cheer to Amazon?

    Amazon understands that future growth requires eliminating any friction that keeps a customer from "clicking" the Buy button. Amazon's one-click ordering was exactly that -- Alexa takes that convenience a step further.The challenge facing Amazon is to create awareness so that they can accelerate adoption, achieve scale and lock-out competitors by setting new service standards. Expect a year from now that Alexa-type ordering will be far more popular and Amazon will be leading that trend.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2016

    Here’s one way retailers can measure cross-channel influence

    Experienced retail hands that have been wildly successful in stores will always think stores first and all else feeds that beast.New-age retail hands believe online is all the rage and the only path to growth. The store is nothing but a fixed cost and dead weight of pre-historic proportions.Metrics follow your world view and assumptions. The truth is that retail is about people -- whether as shoppers or as employees. Yes, data is growing exponentially and is changing how retailers make business decisions but, at the heart of it, shopping is based on interactions and all interactions (even machine-based) are designed by people, executed by people and involve people.Bottom line, take a big picture view of the business -- stop trying to allocate revenue based on where an order is taken or delivered. Stores and websites are not mutually exclusive, supply chains transcend front-end processes and thoughtfully-designed interaction settings coupled with well-trained people will differentiate the experience. Focus on delighting your customers and understand what that entails.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2016

    Will table service be a difference-maker for McDonald’s?

    Though interest will start out as customer interest born from novelty, touch screen ordering and table service will bring in more eat-in patrons at McDonald's with added control and customization options.As long as store personnel can execute well across multiple ordering/delivery options and food quality meets expectations, then the dining experience will get a boost. McDonald's should be ready for patrons "crossing" ordering and delivery options.The keys to success are not only having a friction-less and pleasant UI, but having the trained personnel to handle the unexpected.
  • Posted on: 10/28/2016

    Retailers’ top four omnichannel investments in 2017

    Sit-and-wait is not a viable strategy in a dynamically changing industry. Customer expectations and competition will put pressure on retailers to up their game and technology investments in 2017. I would figure out a way to address all four of the above areas of orders -- inventory, content and analytics -- as they are all relevant and vital to success in a world defined by the digital consumer.Having to pick just one area, I'd put enterprise wide inventory visibility at the top. Having the right inventory, knowing where it is and how it's performing will positively impact the shopping experience and create more satisfied customers and empowered associates with top- and bottom-line results. Additionally, being forced to view inventory across the enterprise can kickstart efforts to break down organizational silos and accelerate the digital journey.
  • 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.

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