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: 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.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2016

    Will drop-off points boost online sales?

    I think that both the customer and online retailer will benefit greatly from these new drop-off locations. Customers that have trouble receiving deliveries may be more inclined to purchase online knowing they won’t have the added stress of possibly missing their package or having it stolen. It’s also a win for online retailers who will save on shipping costs and will hopefully see an increase in sales. This is a positive move for both customer and retailer.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2016

    Yes! McD’s McGriddles all-day, every day

    Adding additional breakfast items to the menu definitely seems to be a good idea. This move should help McDonald's win back their customers that have moved on to other chains such as Five Guys and Wendy’s. It also helps to set them apart from their competitors who don’t offer breakfast all day. McDonald's has been around for a long time and their customers are constantly changing and evolving. In the future they need to be quicker to react to these changes. The steps they are taking are all positive. Going forward, they also need to tackle and take steps to remedy the bad PR they are getting for employee wages.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2016

    Are out-of-stocks driving shoppers online?

    Being out-of-stock is definitely driving more and more consumers to shop online whether it’s a store like Target or Macy’s. Out-of-stock items are a huge waste of consumers' time and because it’s happening more often and is no longer an infrequent occurrence, it’s leaving customers frustrated and forcing them to search for better alternatives. If brick-and-mortar stores want to stay competitive, they need to keep better track of the inventory they are selling out of. If they don’t want a lot of inventory in their stores, they perhaps need to look into having more frequent deliveries.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2016

    Can retailers sell anything without sales?

    For retail stores like Macy’s, they’ve been offering non-stop sales for so long that it now seems like their sales prices are their standard price. I do think that stores offering a line like Macy’s “Every Day Value,” is useful. Consumers know they’re getting the lowest price. Category management and shopper insights should help stores manage their sales items. While everyone loves a sale, finding out which items sell the best at sales prices should help determine their future promotions.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2016

    Walmart promotes and takes heat for ‘Made in USA’ goods

    I like that Walmart is giving entrepreneurs a chance and I would like to see the chain offer more opportunities like this. It would also be great if all these products were being made in the U.S. and that manufacturing jobs were increasing as a result. Overall, Walmart needs to do a better job labeling their products and since this seems to be an ongoing issue for them, they need to put steps in place to make sure these inconsistencies don’t keep happening on their clothing labels and website.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2016

    Barnes & Noble to sell beer & wine in new concept stores

    I think it’s an excellent idea for Starbucks to offer beer and wine and it may add a level of excitement and enhance the shopper experience. Starbucks cafes have been running at status quo for years so I think this could be a good way to invigorate their cafes as long as they don’t alienate the shoppers who just want to have a simple cup of coffee and not be bothered by table service and the extra fuss. It will be interesting to see how Starbucks deals with the potential lack of seating and table service. In this case, wine and books go together well so I think this will be a good fit.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2016

    What do celebrity chefs know about food retailing?

    It would be great if supermarkets felt obliged to help their customers eat healthy but the bottom line is they exist to make money and they stock what their customers will buy. With that said, I do like the idea of food retailers and supermarkets sharing short how-to videos on their social media sites. That could be a great way to grow their product and would help the retailers' image and branding.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2016

    Once e-tail only, ThinkGeek expands brick-and-mortar presence

    ThinkGeek has created a fun and exciting retail experience for like-minded individuals. I’m not surprised it’s doing so well. I do agree that interacting with people and being able to experience a product before buying it is a major selling point. Early on ThinkGeek encouraged interaction with their customers online. One of the reasons ThinkGeek brick-and-mortar stores have been so successful is because they built an online community which has since transitioned into a successful brick-and-mortar community. Other e-tailers should follow ThinkGeek's approach to building a community.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2016

    What will happen to Macy’s after Terry Lundgren steps down as CEO?

    Macy’s new CEO Jeff Gennette will have to make sweeping changes to get Macy’s back on track. He should focus on curating better merchandise, connecting with younger shoppers and figuring out how to get Macy’s edge back. Overall, Macy’s needs to be more on top of shopper trends.I think Terry Lundgren’s legacy will remain strong. While the last few years have not been kind to Macy’s, he's had an impressive career and he managed the 2005 merger of May Department Stores and Federated Department Stores which has generated huge amounts of income.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2016

    Will luxury shoppers buy electric cars at Nordstrom?

    This is an innovative, playful way to engage customers and increase brand awareness for both Telsa and Nordstrom. If the pilot program works, this will help improve Telsa’s retail footprint and it may also help engage Nordstrom’s customers and entice them to come into the store. This unlikely pairing could end up being a good match.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2016

    Would ‘driverless’ carts enhance shopping in stores?

    While having a driverless shopping cart might be a neat novelty item, it’s hard to see how it would bring value to a retail business. Although I would be interested to see how this plays out in warehouse setting where it could potentially save a lot of time and money. A major selling point for retail stores is the human interaction and a driverless shopping cart seems to further remove the customer from that interaction.

Contact Zel