PROFILE

Ross Ely

President and CEO, ProLogic Retail Services

Ross Ely is president and CEO of ProLogic Retail Services, the largest third-party provider of loyalty marketing services to independent grocers. Ely has served in this position since 2012. Previously he was president and CEO of ProLogic Redemption Solutions, a coupon clearinghouse that provided grocery retailers with coupon receivables management services and was sold in 2014. Ely is a frequent speaker at grocery industry events and contributor to industry discussions, forums and blogs.

Ely also has leadership experience at Apple and Micron Computers, where he held roles in marketing, sales and executive management. He holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Duke University and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ely resides in Eagle, Idaho with his wife, dogs and occasionally his grown children.

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  • Posted on: 06/02/2017

    Can Walmart workers deliver better last mile results on their way home from work?

    Walmart will need to be very careful to structure this service as being clearly advantageous for their employees. It must be perceived as fully voluntary, with no negative repercussions for employees that decline to participate.If Walmart makes the program lucrative enough for employees, it could in fact be a win all around. Walmart would reduce its delivery costs while employees would earn extra income and shoppers would get their packages more quickly.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2017

    Will personalized pricing only lead to more discounting?

    Many retailers today offer personalized pricing in "stealth mode," in which discounts are delivered to specific shoppers directly without other shoppers knowing about them. With this approach, personalized pricing is hidden and there is less risk of alienating shoppers who don't receive the discounts.Personalized pricing is a great way for retailers to reward their top shoppers, and its use will increase over time with more sophisticated mobile, social and digital means of communicating with shoppers.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2017

    Will independent grocers turn it around in 2017?

    The best strategy for independent grocers is to pivot toward the shopper. Understanding the purchase patterns and preferences of shoppers, particularly top shoppers, is essential to meeting their needs and maintaining their loyalty.Independents need to out-hustle their larger competitors and one way to get there is to provide a superior experience based on an analysis of shopper data.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2017

    What makes consumers so loyal to Publix, Wegmans, Trader Joe’s and H-E-B?

    Succeeding in grocery is a function of doing a multitude of things well. Grocers like Wegmans and Publix that perennially top these surveys have reputations for simultaneously being great in product quality, value, merchandising, customer service and cleanliness.I would enhance the list by adding leading independent grocers including Foodtown, Lowes Foods, Woods Supermarkets and Remke Markets.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2017

    Should more brands offer rewards linked to store purchases?

    Vendors need to make it easy for shoppers to participate in their loyalty programs. Asking shoppers to input lengthy codes or scan receipts is just too much work for the consumer.Rather, vendors should integrate with retailer loyalty programs. Although this linkage requires technical integration, the end result is ease of use for the shopper and maximum data capture for the vendors.The retailer's loyalty system should be primary in the shopper's mind, with both the retailer and multiple vendors automatically receiving the data.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2017

    Will going bicoastal make Supervalu a stronger wholesaler?

    The addition of Unified Grocers will increase Supervalu's scale and purchasing power. Furthermore, it gives Supervalu a larger base of stores for its professional services business, which has emerged as a significant value-add and differentiator vs. other wholesalers.The entire grocery industry is challenged and facing consolidation today, so it makes sense for Supervalu to double-down on its core competency in wholesaling.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2017

    Would Whole Foods do better under new ownership?

    For a troubled company like Whole Foods, a transition to private ownership may help it to conceive and execute a new strategy. Without the pressure of Wall Street's growth expectations, Whole Foods may be able to refine its value proposition and define a new model for its success.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2017

    Should the same-store sales metric be retired?

    Same-store sales is an important metric that indicates a retailer's growth trends and enables comparisons with other retailers. In most industries, online sales and omnichannel factors are not yet material enough to impact the power of this metric.Retailers should be closely measuring the progress of their online and omnichannel initiatives, but these programs will not affect the importance of the same-store sales metric for the foreseeable future.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2017

    Why haven’t customer surveys gone mobile?

    Shopper surveys are out of control right now as retailers hound their customers with endless surveys about "their experience." Shoppers do not owe retailers feedback as part of their transaction.Retailers must first establish a relationship with their shoppers, and only then include surveys respectfully as a part of their communications. The current overuse of surveys as a part of every transaction is causing shoppers to automatically avoid them.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2017

    Are consumers interested in Kroger’s stories?

    The conversation should be about consumers and what they can do with Kroger's products and services. It's unclear that shoppers will be interested in stories about Kroger itself. The company's values and initiatives should be reflected in its products and services to shoppers rather than a blog that self-celebrates its own culture.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2017

    Does Amazon need bricks to make its online grocery business click?

    This approach will likely be successful with true Amazon fans, but will not attract the broader population. Most every grocery operator today is offering BOPIS options, and these grocers have built strong reputations for high-quality meat, produce and other items. Amazon will need to offer compelling reasons to lure shoppers from their favorite grocery stores; a standard BOPIS model will not be enough.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2017

    How will AmazonFresh Pickup stores affect the grocery business?

    AmazonFresh Pickup should be successful in urban markets, and Amazon has an opportunity to become a top-five player in high-density population areas. However, the BOPIS model is still unproven in rural and suburban markets, and it's not clear that success in urban areas alone can vault Amazon into a top-five position in the industry.Other grocery retailers are continuing to test BOPIS and home delivery to find models that work for their shoppers. These moves by Amazon are no surprise and will not significantly affect retailers' strategies around adding BOPIS options for their shoppers.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2017

    Are retailers ‘blind’ to digital marketing’s flaws?

    Retailers should be using data analytics to inform their digital marketing strategies. With the insights gained from deep analysis of their shopper data, retailers can better understand their target shoppers and develop digital marketing programs with positive ROI.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2017

    Why are stores waiting until checkout to ID shoppers?

    The issue with in-store shopper identification has more to do with technology than shopper apprehension. Shoppers are already accustomed to self-identifying at checkout and they know their purchase habits are being tracked.Shoppers will be willing to allow retailers to identify them in the store if they feel they are getting fair value from the retailer in return, such as special promotions and personalized offers.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2017

    What tech tools do independent grocers need to compete with e-tailers?

    Independent grocers have a wealth of shopper data available from their POS system. The first step to better understanding this data is to use a loyalty system that identifies the purchases by shopper. This process enables the grocer to identify specific segments of shoppers (including top shoppers) and target them with offers personalized to their past spending patterns.A second approach is to offer an e-commerce solution so that shoppers can purchase products online as well as in-store. There are a number of high-quality e-commerce platforms available targeted to independent grocers, any of which can help retain shoppers and keep them away from the temptations of Amazon.

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