PROFILE

Ricardo Belmar

Sr Director, Worldwide Enterprise Product Marketing, InfoVista
As large enterprises in the manufacturing, retail, logistics, banking/finance and related industries embrace and accelerate digital transformations via unified communications, collaborative, mobile and cloud-based applications, the need to deliver the best user experience to all users, customers, applications, and devices is ever increasing. Ricardo helps these organizations find business value from technology investments by optimizing their enterprise network and applications to drive user experience and omni-channel customer experiences.

Ricardo is the Senior Director for Worldwide Enterprise Product Marketing at InfoVista. In this role, Ricardo develops market positioning and strategy for InfoVista’s enterprise solutions globally, leveraging his more than 20 years of IT industry experience.

Ricardo actively engages with industry influencers in retail, consumer goods, banking, payments, and restaurant industries on technology trends via Twitter and LinkedIn. He was named Social Media Mayor at the 2015 Retail Executive Summit, the 2015 ENGAGE Summit and 2016 RetailTech Conference by RIS News. He has conducted video interviews of senior executives from retail, banking, and restaurant brands as well as many industry analysts and is frequently interviewed by retail industry publications. Ricardo is also a supporter of the RetailROI charity organization.

For more information, visit: www.infovista.com
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  • Posted on: 07/20/2017

    Will facial recognition tech make for happier customers at Walmart?

    Putting yourself in the customer's shoes, what customer would expect their checkout process at Walmart to include a facial recognition scan to determine their mood? What would the process be? The associate gets a warning on their POS screen that they have an unhappy customer and then they turn to the shopper and ask them what's wrong? It doesn't seem like this would end well for Walmart.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2017

    How much Big Data do retailers really need?

    Like many other technologies this is just reflecting the immaturity in the industry in making the best use of a technology to solve a problem. Perhaps the real issue for retailers is that they cannot define what the problem is they are trying to solve with big data. Many retailers are simply solving the wrong problems and assuming big data is a cure all for everything.Data is just that -- data. By itself it will not provide the insight needed to make intelligent decisions. We're seeing retailers start to hire data scientists and other specialists to handle this for a reason -- the expertise required isn't native to their legacy organizations. If you think about which brands leverage big data better, it's always going to be younger brands who were not burdened by legacy organizational structures and silos. Use of big data will only get better for retailers going forward, but we are definitely in the early days.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2017

    Is the one-stop grocery shop coming to an end?

    Convenience is becoming king for consumers and grocery is no exception. We'll see an increase in delivery and other convenience services in the short term. New store formats that cater to specific product categories will become more popular as well as consumers are definitely showing a trend to seek out the products they want cross what ever sales channel they can get them. If that means multiple visits to the store (or stores) then so be it.Grocery retailers have an advantage over other segments in that consumers are more willing to come to the store multiple times per week to get what they want, especially for fresh produce and meats. It's the super centers and general merchandise formats that will lose in this market over time (watch out Target and Walmart). Consumers are very aware of what makes each brand special and differentiated and they are adjusting shopping habits to get the products they want.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2017

    Will Dick’s price match keep it on top of the sporting goods category?

    Price matching isn't really an offensive move -- it's a defensive one when you're in fear of eroding market share. On the e-commerce front, it's unlikely shoppers are going to pause their purchase to make a phone call (online chat anyone?) to get a price match. That's adding friction not reducing it in the checkout process. For in-store shoppers, this will be useful and I can see many shoppers taking advantage of it.The real question is whether or not this builds brand loyalty or just trains customers to expect a lower price. Price alone doesn't build loyalty. Even Amazon isn't always the lowest price in many product categories -- but that doesn't stop consumers from shopping there. Why? Because the overall experience is easier and better from the customer's point of view. Dick's would do well to work on enhancing their overall shopping experience both online and in store to compete rather than just rely on price.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2017

    Can retail pay be made more equitable?

    In a previous company I worked for, the SVP of sales one year brought in an outside speaker he billed as the "million dollar salesperson" to speak to the sales team during their annual sales kickoff. He came in and told stories about how he sold to customers and built relationships with them to turn them into repeat customers.The company sold managed network services and the sales team was used to multi-million dollar deals. The guest speaker was the top sales person at a local Neiman Marcus in the men's dept. He had just closed out a year in which he sold over a million dollars of apparel.His best story included one where he converted a sale of a single pair of $25 socks into a $10k purchase of men's suits, ties, shirts, shoes, accessories, and of course socks. (The customer was a visiting diplomat from Europe who only came to the US once per year). By the end of his presentation it was clear how valuable an employee he was to that Neiman Marcus store. He had even been the subject of an article on selling in the Washington Post that year.As you might expect, he was a well compensated store sales associate and the brand recognized his significant contribution!Ever since then I've been waiting to see when the "year of the associate" will take place in retail where we see retailers finally invest in their store staff not just with training but with proper compensation and more innovative rewards (not just an "employee of the month" photo). When we have discussion such as this one I feel that I'm still waiting for that year to take place -- maybe we're now closer to where retailers will recognize that the people with the most customer face-time and interaction not only have the most impact on sales, but should also be compensated/rewarded accordingly vs the executives that may be making decisions that kill sales or hurt the brand instead.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2017

    Is Donald Trump the reason Latinos are spending less at retail?

    I agree with many of the comments here -- the assumptions are a bit dubious, and the idea of lumping all Hispanics into one demographic for this purpose is challenging at best. Shopping habits within the Hispanic community vary greatly, and certainly vary by region around the country.More data would be useful here, but let's focus on what Cornell is not only saying, but implying. His words would lead you to expect more challenging sales numbers as the year progresses and he's certainly attempting to lay blame on White House policy and rhetoric. One would expect he's speaking based on reading into the sales figures he has in front of him, so it will be interesting to see where this goes for Target as well as other discount retailers. It might be most interesting to see what's happening with dollar stores in similar regions as well as fast fashion and off-price apparel brands to see if they experience a similar effect.Even so, all of that discussion is based on generalities which are still too broad to draw definitive conclusions.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2017

    Will an AR try-on app cut down on online clothing returns?

    While apps and technology like Metail may help reduce returns in some cases, there is a difference between how apparel look vs. how it feels when you try it on. Tech like Metail can help with how it looks, but I don't see it solving the how it feels problem and reducing returns from that problem. Many consumers have already trained themselves to overbuy apparel in multiple sizes knowing full well they will return excess merchandise. As we all know, it's much harder to "untrain" consumers than it is to train them to a certain behavior.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2017

    Can retailers hope to compete this holiday season with standard digital marketing?

    The key is relevance — both to your customers and to your corporate brand identity. Taking the REI #OptOutside campaign as an example, this works because it speaks to the core nature of their customers — being outdoors. It also is clearly connected to REI's corporate culture of promoting an outdoor lifestyle and sense of adventure that doesn't always follow the trends of everyday life. Not every brand can do this as effectively as REI, but that's the point. That's why it stands out to all of us. Other brands need to be equally creative but ensure they're being core to their culture and brand identity in the process. Otherwise the campaign loses relevance to potential customers and then is simply ignored.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2017

    Will Walmart win back-to-school with click and collect services?

    Walmart is making some good moves in blending the online and physical retail worlds in ways specifically targeting back to school shoppers. I see BTS as one area physical retail can maintain an advantage over pure etailing by leveraging good click and collect services that don't force a customer to have to search for the pickup area. As long as customers get quick service at pickup, they may decide to linger in-store and buy something else.Making it easy for shoppers to find school supply lists via online or mobile, setting up a quick shopping cart in a few clicks with the complete set of supplies, then allowing for pickup in-store makes the entire process smooth and easy. That's how you reduce shopping friction! This should send a message to other retailers (Target, are you listening?) to come up with similar services.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2017

    Will Prime Day give Amazon an insurmountable advantage online?

    I've said it before, but, name any other retailer who can create a members-only event of such epic proportions as Prime Day and cause every media outlet there is (both inside the industry and out -- how many of us have watched CNN and CNBC covering Prime Day today?) to talk about it. Once again, Amazon speaks, we listen. Not only do we listen, but we analyze it like crazy! That's quite an accomplishment for ANY business, let alone any retailer. We all know Walmart, Target, or nah other couldn't do this and get the same level of attention. Yes, Amazon will break records this Prime Day and yes they will come out of it stronger. But not just a stronger retailer, a stronger business. Perhaps Jeff Bezos was the only retailer listening to Richard Branson at NRF when he told retailers to stop thinking like retailers!
  • Posted on: 07/11/2017

    Will Prime Day give Amazon an insurmountable advantage online?

    Phil, I think you nailed this one. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if we include AWS profits or sales in the discussion or not. Amazon is a retailer that refuses to think and act like a retailer. They realize their business isn't retail, it's about satisfying the customer -- no matter what the customer wants, cloud services, books, media, electronics, groceries, etc. When measured as a straight business, not a retailer, Amazon's numbers reflect that success.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2017

    Will consumers ever feel better about sharing their data?

    Excellent point Doug! I think part of this problem is self-inflicted -- the way the industry uses the term "recommendations" in ways that imply true prediction. If Amazon could be 100% successful at predicting what the next book you'll want to buy is based on your history, they wouldn't need to show you a recommendation -- it would be a predictive purchase and they could just ship it to you. Not sure that's what consumers want either -- they just want higher quality help making a purchasing choice.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2017

    Will consumers ever feel better about sharing their data?

    This is about comfort level for consumers. Consumers want relevancy from retailers that frankly can't be provided without the use of personal information. However, consumers want to feel comfortable that their data is sufficiently protected. The problem for retailers lies in defining that appropriate level of security and the associated spend required. For some, it may not be attainable and may not justify the ROI for personalization.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2017

    Should Walmart restrict carriers from working with Amazon?

    Walmart likes to exert influence. This should surprise no one that they would try to use their influence on their transportation providers. It's a slippery slope and hopefully it truly is a false report or Walmart will ultimately suffer the consequences for this.On the other hand, with respect to AWS -- the real question is, why do ANY retailers support using AWS directly or indirectly through their technology suppliers? Why feed the beast its most profitable business?
  • Posted on: 07/10/2017

    Will Backstage shops draw customers to Macy’s mall stores?

    This is simply trading one type of customer for another, but the new customer now expects everyday low prices and will only shop the Backstage stores. The idea of testing an off-price concept is a bit dubious. Of course it will bring in short term sales -- it's new, it's got the Macy's brand, it will attract shoppers out of curiosity at first. If they buy something they may come back -- but they won't be going to a mainline Macy's any more. Even Nordstrom is feeling this effect with their Rack stores.The key for Macy's is to avoid overlapping merchandise in the two concepts. Their Last Act concept is the place for putting mainline Macy's products on clearance, not Backstage. That said, what Macy's is accomplishing is converting their existing (low performing by their own admission) mainline stores into Backstage stores. I would not be surprised to see these mall-based Macy's become 100 percent Backstage in the future as a result.

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