Rich Kizer

Partner, KIZER & BENDER Speaking
Rich Kizer is a professional speaker, author, consultant, and one-half partner of KIZER & BENDER Speaking.

KIZER & BENDER are contributors to MSNBC’s television program Your Business. They made Meetings & Conventions Magazine's list of Meeting Planners Favorite Keynote Speakers, have been named two of Retailing's Most Influential People, are included in the Top 40 Omnichannel Retail Influencers, and the Top 50 Retail Influencers three years running. Their award-winning Retail Adventures blog was named the Top Retail Blog by PR Newswire Media, and is included in the Top 25 Websites for Retailers, Top 50 Retail Blogs, and the 7 Best Retail Publications just to name a few. KIZER & BENDER recently served as official correspondents for the National Retail Federation’s 2017 Digital Retail Conference.

Rich and Georganne are experts on generational diversity, consumer trends, marketing and promotion, and everything retail. They are widely referred to as consumer anthropologists because they stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today's consumer. Any speaker can talk about consumers, but Georganne and Rich actually become them. In addition to yearly focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes posing as every kind of customer you can imagine; and maybe even a few that you can't. The result of their research is literally straight from the mouth of the consumer: solid ground level intelligence you can use to better serve your own customers.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2018

    Kohl’s to share space with grocery store partner(s)

    Kohl's is absolutely correct in analyzing square footage productivity, and adjusting where they can. However, the space for food in a Kohl's store? I think they better hope a lot of people accidentally bump into that area, because no one, I believe, will plan to go to Kohl's to pick up that loaf of bread and jar of pickles. Sub-leasing space, brilliant! But come up with a partner who enhances your brand image and generating foot traffic while meeting customer needs more frequently. Just my take, for what it's worth.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2018

    Will retail be woven into the fabric of the new, walkable suburb?

    All this conversation immediately brings to mind two locations: Cherry Creek North in Denver, and Naperville, IL., a suburb of Chicago. Both of these renewing downtown areas have loaded up with great small retailers as well as featuring larger marque retailers' presence. These renewed and renewing areas both feature a great mix of retail, dining and night life. That is critical.Both of these areas are well established and today very current for their their demographics which consist of the very young to the old. Both areas are strong enough to attract customers to come and park (which sometimes is an availability issue) and walk and enjoy the environment. Many will drive in because the expense of real estate in those areas is a major issue. So these areas have to make sure they are competitive and aggressive in drawing customers. In these two cases both are very good. But retailers have to be their best, because in the minds of customers, the presentations and depth of product will always be compared with the opportunities in the malls.That being said, this concept is right on the money.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2018

    Consumers want their digital promos and print circulars, too

    Time moves on. Remember the introduction of ATMs? Many people said they would NEVER use one, they wanted a real person. Flash forward to today, and in many banks, tellers are disappearing. Executives sitting at desks intercept and help the few walk-ins.The Boomers – that incredibly huge generation, changed markets, and the way we would do business. We used to say, “so go the Boomers, so goes everyone else.” I don’t think inserts (or flyers) will ever disappear. They have the ability to achieve not only immediate reactions and sales, but also have a purpose called “thin market messaging,” using the insert as a tool that impacts people later when they remember that particular business has exactly what they need.That being said, there are two dynamics we must all consider that will affect printed inserts: the Millennial impact, bigger than the Boomer impact, is certainly training everyone, and pressuring businesses, into a presence and reliance on the internet, where millions of customers reside. Inserts will always, to some degree be around. The second point, which could be huge in slowing print inserts in newspapers is the cost and inflexibility of the insert versus the flexibility of the internet. One participant in a focus group told us his thought on inserts: “’s great for bathroom reading.”Sooner than later, we will all primarily go electronic, even with our daily newspapers, much like the ATM saga.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2018

    Kroger may have an Ace (Hardware) up its sleeve

    Actually I'm kind of disappointed. In Chicago, I don't have the opportunity to shop Kroger stores. I would love to experience their "Scan, Bag and Go" program. They strike me as very customer centric in all I read and hear. And yes, convenience is critical to shoppers. And yes, I think Ace is number one on minor home improvements and repairs, and I believe that the helpful, knowledgeable Ace associate is the key to that value proposition.I think Kroger customers will see the Ace "pop-up" and have a revelation of their need for a screw and washer. Hopefully, they'll buy the right product in the absence of of Ace's "indispensable hardware person." I commend Kroger in their product and services expansion. When you stop trying things ... you're going nowhere fast in today's ever changing marketplace.
  • Posted on: 12/13/2017

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Home Depot vs. Lowe’s

    Hmmm. I had to watch each twice. My take away? In the first fifteen seconds of the Home Depot spot I thought I was watching a Canadian Tire commercial -- which are long-time favorites of mine. Then realizing it was Home Depot, I had a sense of them merely and quickly throwing gift ideas at me. The Lowe's commercial I thought was kind of silly in the first fifteen seconds (I'm sure that is just me), but at least they addressed real urgent problems this close to the holiday, and targeted the fact they had items to fix things. My score book? This one goes to Target! That's my ten cents, and yes, I know, they have never built a statue to a critic!
  • Posted on: 12/08/2017

    Get ready – there are still three shopping holidays left before Christmas

    Retailers know that emotion is the key to creating “needs” and “wants” that lead to sales, and that is good business. All the warm, emotion-generating television spots have made us feel good about a store, and feel good about shopping there. But there are other strong emotions retailers can trigger to put the buying rush into motion on special events. Two big ones: “Atychiphobia” – the fear of failure -- as in not finding the best deals, and the more familiar, “FOMO” – the fear of missing out. If retailers want to drive traffic for special days and events, then creating these emotions is spot on. That sense of urgency drives the crowds into the stores. And every retailer wants to be as successful as possible.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2017

    Will shoppers pay services to do returns for them?

    No! I know some returns can be a problem, and some returners can be a pain. From a retailer point of view, if a return is made, I would want the chance of offering exchanges, alternatives or securing another sale, and perhaps making a disgruntled customer happy. I'd never get that chance with a Return Runner! The biggest associate training point for post Christmas: DO NOT immediately say "would you like your money back?"! Everyone tries to teach associates to be ready with ideas, alternatives, suggestions, and knowledge to save a sale, and perhaps save a customer....
  • Posted on: 12/01/2017

    Will click & collect finally compel retailers to remodel stores?

    So far our discussions with retailers on click and collect positioning in stores has at times created perplexing issues, some of which have been mentioned in this forum. Speed of delivery and ease of transactions are big with customers. Putting things in front of or close to doors has not encouraged these customers to continue venture into the store. If the line is too long, or if it is not adequately staffed, retailers report time-pressured customer aggravation.Now we are waiting to see how the curbside pickup works out for Nordstrom. We are all on the proving grounds this year. The question is, will it take massive investments? Massive commitments for sure, followed by serious investments, floor space, along with relays to encourage further interaction into the store.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2017

    Are staff shortages affecting retail sales?

    Talking with customers daily, we hear the same story: "I was anxious to buy when I went in to the store, but no one looked at or even greeted me." One of the most difficult tasks that face retail stores today is finding the right people.Our advice? Retailers: Hire people with great attitudes, forget about anything else. You can teach behaviors, but not attitude. Ask a potential hire why they want to work in the store. Listen carefully! The pressure to fill the store with staff cannot rely on hiring just anyone who has a pulse. We talk so often in this forum of the critical importance of customer "COR" (Conversion Optimization Rate) for brick and mortar stores. The most powerful way to secure the required customer interaction, and optimization, is with a staff all possessing great attitudes anxious and trained to understand the importance of their knowledgeable role with customers. We know it's not easy, and it is work, but think about it this way: better hires are more productive, thus preserving margin dollars.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2017

    Will early out-of-stocks throw off Walmart’s holiday momentum?

    I agree on the point everyone is making on customer agitation on "item outs." We have polled Thursday/Black Friday customers this week, and some were thrilled -- they got that great deal they wanted. Others sighed as they admitted they "were late" and missed. Previous Black Friday events over the years have trained customers that there is always the chance they won't be successful on those "very special" items, but that's the game, and they know it. However, being out of stock on many in-store items is a loss. Most will not hesitate to find their treasure elsewhere. I think wait lists and promises will work on the few, but many know of numerous channels to flock to in finding what they want, and that's a lesson most retailers don't want taught.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge Global Edition – Debenhams vs. House of Fraser

    Hands down for me, the Debenhams commercial -- it held me. Creative and emotional. It is one thing to have a focus to just sell products and, then, perhaps another to create an emotional rush for the viewer, which makes the viewer feel that same way about the business. The House of Fraser ad had all the qualities I expect in a good ad for the holidays; the key word "expect," which insinuates that I see those more frequently. Actually, this ad made me work, and I finally figured it out (after the second view) -- they were (sisters?) the same people growing up and still creating great memories. Call me slow, but I didn't get that at first. When I did, I liked the ad much more. But Debenhams still gets my vote.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Big Lots vs. Kohl’s

    Big Lots! The "hit" they give the viewer with the quick transition switch to the upbeat familiar Three Dog Night rendition, is a brilliant use as an emotional insert, featuring "all of us" ... greatly held my attention. Kohl's was more of what most would expect from a holiday spot.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Macy’s vs. Nordstrom

    OK, I'm a sucker for an emotional story. But woven into a spot, that story must connect me sooner and stronger to the brand message. Frankly I was kind of bored with both. If I saw them on my television more than six times on any given day.... That being said, I almost feel like the Nordstrom spot was trying to "I'd like to teach the world to sing." Remember my favorite all-time commercials? They were from Sears! The series was called "The Softer Side of Sears," and it immediately and emotionally connected the viewer to the stores' products. Yes, emotion sells, but are the feelings in these spots strong enough to swing the doors?
  • Posted on: 11/14/2017

    Target’s biggest holiday deals are reserved for the weekends

    This Target Weekend Deals program will drive traffic. I also think it will delay store visits for customers who will wait to see if they can "hit the jackpot" on those special items they plan to give. Adequate inventories of these deals is going to be mandatory ... two or three weekends of disappointed customers can create disastrous consequences. And I do think that it will rip some traffic out of the stores as they create "anticipating customers". All-in-all, I believe it stands a great chance of being quite successful as the attraction of the special items will help sell items throughout the store. I've never met a retailer who didn't like a store full of customers in a feeding frenzy.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2017

    Are data sharing concerns still holding back true personalization?

    We conducted a customer panel discussion at GlobalShop on "Technology and the Path to Purchase," and the message we walked away with was clearly stated: "We want to date technology, not marry it." Brandon is right, it does come to trust and experience with the brand. And the acceptance of sharing of personal information will continue to roll out. We always say that 10% of your business changes every year. Think of it: When credit cards first hit the scene (remember?), many people insisted on never using anything but cash. And ATMs were greeted with "I only do business with real people." Again, experience will create the growth.
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