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: 12/13/2017

    The next logical step for category management

    I think Chris Petersen said it best, "category management has become increasingly complex based on omnichannel consumer (actually shopper) expectations." And Phil's point about using data beyond POS, like psychographic data, cannot be overstated.I would go further and add data such as shopper 360 data or the like -- survey data as to why customers shop where they shop, how often and WHY, is also important in order to be able to understand the cycles of buying certain categories on subscription, pick up in-store and so on.The challenge will be, how does the retailer solve for the shopper who perhaps wants what they want when and where they want it? How can the physical retailer possibly be all things to all shoppers all the time? It's a tough one to crack but it must be the goal if retail as we know it is to survive.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2017

    Would CVS + Aetna = lower healthcare costs?

    As some would conclude, $77 billion has to be made back before they make money so I'm guessing prices may not go down for a quite some time. Having said that, having a heathcare organization integrated in almost every way with another "healthcare" organization like CVS could and should result in benefits to consumers/patients because it will eliminate the third party "disconnect" one feels when you leave the doctor's office and hope that the staff was able to get the prescription called in to the pharmacy.When I lived in the suburbs there was a large and very established neighborhood pharmacy located near both the group medical practice and the local hospital. When you went to the pharmacy, the staff actually knew most of the doctors in the practice and would be able to facilitate any problems that had to be resolved. Now that I live in the city and CVS is indeed my pharmacy, it is my hope that this merger will actually start to work more in sync as it is not working too well currently. Whether CVS and Aetna will use our data to work against us remains to be seen, but if that is the case it will be very difficult to get their $77 billion back.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2017

    Encouraging signs for department stores as holiday season kicks off

    As we all know, New York City is not indicative of the rest of the country but I walked into Macy's and could not wait to get out due to the crowds. I was in a mall in the Washington, D.C. area and it was also very crowded and was anchored by not one but two Macy's stores. There was an article in The New York Times last weekend that stated Macy's real estate was worth way more than Macy's, especially stores in urban areas where they own very desirable properties. You could have fooled me with the crowds. Lord & Taylor on the other hand was a pleasure to shop because it was not crowded at all. So my guess is that if Macy's can get though the credit card issues, and continue to close some stores as there are just too many, they may be able to make it.As Neil indicates, it may be too little too late for department stores.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Walmart

    They are both very well done, but I would say the Amazon commercial is more effective at showcasing the entire process of selecting an item on your phone and having it go through the chain of delivery to the end-receiver. What is unique about this spot is that the packages become human while not diminishing the actual human touch both in the sender and the receiver of the gift. Very clever. Does it connect to new shoppers? Yes I think so.The Walmart commercial also did a good job of making sure it was cast appropriately and very inclusive of all while making sure that their key selling point -- free delivery and no membership fee -- is communicated clearly.The Amazon vs. Walmart battle will be interesting to watch this month.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2017

    How would the end of net neutrality impact retail?

    Stupid, unfair and counterproductive. We cannot let this happen. Walmart, Amazon and any other major player must be on the side of an even playing field or retail and many other industries will suffer the consequences and it will not be pretty.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2017

    Customer data is grocery’s new battleground

    Mining customer data has become critical for all shopping so why not in groceries? Eating is something we do every day. The real question will be, how do the majority of retailers compete with what Tesco, Kroger and Walmart have spent on this? Even Kroger, as stated in the Wall Street Journal article, is feeling the bite from what they spent on hiring data scientists, engineers and app developers. They are expensive and can speak firsthand to that fact.Regional grocers will need to truly focus on their customers more than ever before but I think it will be impossible to do that without being able to effectively and accurately analyze and take action on their data quickly.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2017

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

    Actually they both do a good job of connecting with their key target as well as offering an interesting way for new shoppers to jump in. I think the Kohl's commercial is more creative and different and so it makes it stand out among the typical holiday commercials. Retailers need to mix it up more and I think that Kohl's accomplishes this. Take a look at L.L. Bean's new spot "Outsiders" - and you'll see what I am talking about.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2017

    Do retailers need a new approach to store brand marketing?

    I agree with the PLMA that store brands must be promoted more. Many of these brands are good quality and often manufactured in the same plants as national brands and sold at a lower price point. Costco and Target are just two examples of high quality and great price. So Target's private label is a private label but Target is national, so what was the difference again?
  • Posted on: 11/20/2017

    How open are consumers to AI-driven shopping?

    I don't know whether this will still be true in time, especially if AI is used in a more gradual way at first. I think that is the key here. Yes perhaps younger, more tech-savvy consumers will adopt it earlier. Many already have. To get consumers other than early-adopters, slow and gentle is the way to go.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2017

    Who will be left standing after the next retail shakeout?

    The integration of these will create more and for the better. Department stores will have a tough go. Perhaps they will totally go away and come back in some other form. This holiday shopping season will give us some indication but my gut tells me it will not be enough to alter the trend.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2017

    Amazon Go still plans to transform convenience in retail stores

    I shop on Amazon for the convenience. If they have in fact solved their technical issues, this would be a big win for consumers in a hurry to pick up their Amazon Meal Kit and rush home to watch the latest shows on Amazon Prime. The long-term impact of having one company dominating in so many areas is a lot less clear.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2017

    Tech lets gift receivers decide what they get for Christmas

    If giving someone a gift is about making them happy, this is the way to go. Better than a gift card, this shows that the person made an effort and still recognizes that the selection may not be spot-on. Although it will never take the place of finding the perfect gift for a loved one, anything that reduces the stress of the holiday season is a good thing, for both retailers and shoppers.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2017

    Big Data is done, put a fork in it

    I have been known to say "stop worrying about Big Data and use the data you have." The reason I made that statement was that so many companies have sat in endless meetings discussing the fact that they don't have enough data to make decisions and yet they are not effectively using the data they do have.It shocks me that major CPG companies are still only using a portion of the data they have access to. Some are happy that they use syndicated and panel data while others are combining up to eight to 10 different data sources. Still others are paying dearly for data and only using a fraction of the measures contained in the data. Do retailers and marketers understand the limitations of their data? I think many times they don't understand that while combining data sources will lead to a higher level of insights and recommendations, they may not have the human resources or skill set to get the job done.The limitation may actually be in people who understand how to use data as opposed to the data itself. Small Data and sometimes the combination of different Small Data sources can lead to big decisions.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2017

    As Amazon looms, CVS rolls out next-day Rx deliveries nationwide

    CVS is a trusted name in most of the country and this is a natural extension of the service you get when going to the pharmacy in-store. Is it needed when the store is literally a block or two away? Yes, it's one less thing you need to do. They already remind you when it's time to re-order medications, and now they deliver them to you.As a defense against Amazon, who knows? I am glad to see that CVS is jumping in with both feet as I think it would be very bad for our industry if Amazon takes over everything. CVS can build on this and I look forward to seeing how this works out.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2017

    Gillette’s odd promo delivers some very weird results

    Big Data is very rarely perfect. The benefits/results usually justify the imperfections.

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