Zel Bianco

President, founder and CEO Interactive Edge

Zel Bianco and Interactive Edge have been helping companies, specifically in the Consumer Goods industry, run more efficiently since 1994. Zel’s focus is always on the needs of the client. He strives to be a real business partner to every customer — no matter what the size of the contract or the scope of the implementation. He wants to help companies eliminate the cumbersome and time consuming tasks associated with data management and organization in order to free up users time so that they can do what they were hired to do: generate insights to grow their business. Zel enjoys helping clients bridge the gap between category management and shopper insights. He collaborates with clients in the development of a process that streamlines the flow of qualitative data into customer facing presentations and reports.

As the president, founder and CEO of Interactive Edge, Zel is responsible for setting the company’s strategic vision and developing business alliances. He is also an industry thought leader who has enjoyed presenting at many industry conferences such as the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the International Committee of Food Retail Chains (CIES), SAP’s SAPPHIRE and SAP’s TechEd Demo Jam. He has been honored to speak at both DePaul University and Michigan State University, and has donated the Interactive Edge XP3 software for use by students at both of their business schools. Interactive Edge and its customers have won numerous industry awards in areas including Customer Management, Visionary Innovation, and Demand Data Analytics.

Prior to founding Interactive Edge, Zel held senior account management positions in the advertising industry, at Young & Rubicam and other large New York agencies. He worked with many consumer package goods clients and was a part of the account management team that introduced the IBM personal computer.

More information about Zel and his solution for presenting demand data analytics can be found at the Interactive Edge website.

  • Posted on: 09/20/2016

    Unilever makes ‘purpose-driven’ deal for Seventh Generation

    As stated, acquiring Ben & Jerry's did not hurt the brand and only helped it continue to grow. There is no reason to think that the same would not be true for Seventh Generation. This is a smart move for Unilever and may not preclude them from folding in The Honest Company as well. There are many examples where a huge CPG like Unilever has acquired multiple companies and brands in the same category. This is not far from the idea of Walmart buying Jet. These are brands that are important to the all-important Millennial shopper and increasingly will be the most important segment to companies like Unilever as they push for growth anywhere they can find it.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2016

    Why did Walmart buy

    I agree with all the reasons stated, however I think that Jet should retain its name to continue to be attractive to urban Millennials. Sounds silly, but I think Jet will be more valuable to Walmart if Walmart allows Jet to do so.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2016

    Are robo-carts coming to a Walmart near you?

    If self-driving shopping carts can provide additional info on shopper insights and help keep inventory in stock, then this might be useful. Otherwise, the potential maintenance and upkeep on these carts seems extremely costly. Lowe’s is currently working on creating a customer service robot that speaks numerous languages and helps customers locate items. This seems like worthwhile technology to invest in. Touch screens that allow customers to locate products in the store, or pull up a store layout on their phone, also seem like worthwhile investments.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2016

    Abercrombie is abandoning teenagers

    I think this is going to be an uphill battle for them to appeal to young adults since their brand is so heavily based on teen buyers. However, their current model isn’t working so they need to do something. Getting the word out about their new apparel and strategy will be one of their biggest issues. If they are pursuing young adults over teens, their apparel needs to better reflect the lives of young people who have now entered the workforce.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2016

    J.Crew to sell inside Nordstrom

    This sounds like a good partnership for both companies but I see this as a better deal for J. Crew. Nordstrom will probably see an increase in traffic as a result of this but J. Crew will gain more retail space and they now have another opportunity to win their customers back if this is executed properly. Both companies have had sluggish returns so anything that can be done to restructure the old department store model and increase foot traffic should be considered.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2016

    Target holds first storewide sale

    A one-day sale may help increase traffic for the day and reengage some customers, but if customers have the same experiences that have plagued Target (such as of out-of-stock items and empty shelves) their customers will leave frustrated and continue to shop elsewhere. Target has been working on implementing new changes like redesigned shelving to hold more products and upgrading their supply network and technology. If they’ve fixed these problems, a one-day sale could be a good way to introduce them and show customers the changes they’ve made.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2016

    Will a blog help Publix make social connections with customers?

    A Publix blog is definitely a great way to further connect with their clients in addition to their other social media platforms. The biggest asset of having a blog is that it can provide more information, useful tips and they won’t be limited to 140 characters or short posts. A blog can also allow for more creativity and enhanced branding. It’s also a great way for Publix to further connect with their shoppers and provides another way to gather additional feedback from their customers in the comments section.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2016

    Is brick & mortar ready to leverage in-store shopper data?

    Brick-and-mortar stores definitely need to take advantage of any and all shopper data they can get. Increased data will alter category management and enhance it. With e-commerce going strong, they need to leverage any data they can and should be investing in better technology so they can better compete.
  • Posted on: 08/11/2016

    Will happy hour deals bring Chipotle’s customers back?

    Happy hour deals and their new rewards programs may help Chipotle get some of their customers back, and it also gives them the opportunity to reach new customers. As far as their branding goes, this is another step in the right direction. However, I think it’s going to take time and a clean health record to bring back the majority of their customers.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2016

    Russell Athletic champions high school underdogs

    This branding seems to make sense for Russell Athletic. Focusing on the underdog can be inspiring and stay with a person. Since they are targeting the high school market, this could resonate well with their potential customers. I don’t see this being as successful as Nike but I can see it having an impact.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2016

    Is Grocery Outlet on its way to becoming the TJX of grocers?

    I think Grocery Outlet’s expansion will do well and there is potential for a lot of growth as long as they can find the right locations. People are struggling to pay bills so buying name-brand foods at a steep discount will be appealing to many. Like off-priced clothing, there also seems to be a robust market for people seeking to save money on food. The downside that could hurt the retailer's growth is their ever-changing and unpredictable merchandise but as long as they can keep their customers engaged and provide enough products of value, I think they will do very well.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2016

    Can Primark conquer America without selling online?

    They have a successful model in place and there seems to be an excitement built into shopping at their stores. I think they will do well competing against other stores because they follow current fashion trends and offer low prices. Over time I believe they will have to turn to e-commerce to keep growing and expanding but, for the time being, I think they are wise to keep their focus on brick-and-mortar stores and what they do best.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2016

    How can retailers gain something useful from employee surveys?

    I agree with the comments above. Doing employee surveys for the sake of doing them with no follow through is a waste of time and dismissive to the employees' concerns. Employers need to remember that employee feedback is an important tool and can help grow their business and keep their employees happy and engaged. Once the surveys are completed, an action plan needs to be put into place regarding which issues the business is going to address which then needs to be communicated to the employees.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2016

    What does it take to compete in an off-price retail world?

    Off-price clothing stores and online shopping are definitely making department stores less relevant. If department stores want to entice their customers to shop, they need to be more competitive and go back to focusing on the consumer by providing excellent customer service and keeping retail in stock. I will be curious to see the long-term effects of discount stores like Macy’s Backstage. I think this is an excellent opportunity. One that should have probably been implemented years ago.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2016

    Publix buys its way into the Richmond market

    I think Publix will do well in the Richmond market. They just need to keep doing what has worked for them before. Publix has become successful because they put their customers first, they train their employee’s well and they have excellent private labels. In addition, they use technology to enhance their customers' shopping experience. For instance, they use staffing software which helps their customers move through the checkout line quicker. If they keep following the successful model they created, further expansions should go well.

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