PROFILE

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.

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  • Posted on: 10/19/2017

    E-commerce chief expects Walmart to ‘crush it’ over next two years

    Walmart will take advantage of their second mover status and continue to fight the good fight with Amazon. They can sometimes be more methodical about their plans and, yes, sometimes slower, but don't count them out -- ever. Let's remember that Walmart went into rural areas all over the country first and continue to dominate that landscape in brick-and-mortar. Their e-commerce efforts will continue to support this strategy. This is critical because to do omnichannel well you need both, and Walmart does them well.Unless Walmart decides to not deliver to remote areas, this plan will be a successful one. It is debatable as to who will be the ultimate winner between Walmart and Amazon, but hopefully it will be the consumer and we all will win.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2017

    Amazon gives teens their own Prime logins

    Come on Amazon, do you really need to conquer the entire world? What about having the kid actually communicate with their parents and do something really silly like asking for permission to buy the item(s) they so desperately need? Bad idea. Really glad my kids are not teenagers any more.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2017

    Meijer cuts IT staff as it moves to the cloud

    It does make sense, however it is important to retain at least some of the IT folks who understand the legacy systems so that the transition is smooth. It is good to hear that that many of the Meijer IT folks have been hired by the cloud firm. It does make sense to have the retailer turn their attention to other, more critical areas, but if the transition to the outside services are chaotic, then valuable time and resources are wasted.I agree with Tom Dougherty, let the experts in cloud or application development do what they do best. Whenever we get pushback that something like what we offer is being handled by IT, the result almost always comes up short, and they end up coming back to us after a year or two of poor results and a lot of time and money spent. Let me be clear, IT plays an incredibly important role, some of which cannot be outsourced, but there are areas that can and should be. Cloud and application development are two areas that should always be explored.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2017

    Walmart deal shows it’s serious about same-day delivery

    People in urban markets like NYC will always want convenience so the demand will be there. What would concern me is the logistics as NYC has never been more congested than it is now. More Ubers, more tourists, more Citi Bikes, more messengers going the wrong way, more construction, more closed streets and no way to get around these obstacles. Parcel will need to figure out a way that gets groceries and other items from point A to point B and there will not be a special lane set up for this. I predict their biggest problem will be keeping drivers on the job as they will get burned out in a New York minute.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2017

    Will customers let Walmart deliver in-fridge?

    Maybe I've been watching too much Netflix, but no would be my answer. I do not want someone walking into my home no matter how convenient it might be. I've got a better idea, why not start building homes with refrigerated units that are opened from the outside where groceries that need to stay cold can be placed? These would be similar to the boxes that some hotels use for room service. Secure and no way to get into the house. Done.
  • Posted on: 09/26/2017

    Will centralized buying make Whole Foods a more formidable competitor?

    I agree with Kurt that it is a difficult balance but something seems very wrong here. Centralized buying does not seem to fit the theme of local sources including farmers, brewers, etc. Stopping the practice of brand reps in-store that allow these smaller players to promote their products also flies in the face of what Whole Foods is supposed to be. I guess it is too early to tell, but I don't like some of the decisions being made and am starting to feel that the Whole Foods we knew and loved (except for some of the prices) will eventually be gone.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2017

    Walmart’s Christmas plans do not include seasonal hires

    Christmas shopping is always stressful no matter where you shop. I am thankful to my wife who does 90 percent of it and still works full time. My biggest complaint is that seasonal workers tend to be very poorly trained or not trained at all. Whenever you ask a question, the answer seems to be "I don't know, I just started working here" or "this is my first day." I know this is a big generalization, but am confident most of you will agree. If Walmart associates want and appreciate the extra hours, then I think it's a great move as they will have better, more helpful answers when you need help. The shopper will be the winner as it should be.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2017

    Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy, enters ‘new era’

    It's an uphill battle for Toys "R" Us. They never seemed to keep up with all the changes in retail and with the bankruptcy filing it will be even more challenging. Going to stores sometimes is unpleasant enough, going to one of their stores is downright depressing. Glad my kids are grown. Hopefully when they start having kids I can just use my Amazon Prime to avoid the toy shopping experience.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2017

    Nordstrom tries a no-merchandise store

    I predict it will become a series on Netflix -- "Real Shoppers of Nordstrom: LA Edition." But seriously, I do think it may work as it sounds like a social thing that is fun and will save time. The challenge will be knowing the customer well enough to have the right inventory available to try on in the first place. Right item, right place, right time, etc. It seems like the same logistical problems will make or break this concept.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2017

    Are Whole Foods’ price cuts game-changing for food retailing?

    I agree with many of the comments posted so far. The price drop on so few items is not significant and starts to bring them closer to what the prices should be. It is, however, a very welcome development in markets like NYC where Whole Foods is one of the few decent grocery stores in town. In markets like North Carolina, which Anne Howe mentioned, where customers can choose between Harris Teeter, Publix and others, it's just not a big deal. What is a big deal is the reality of other grocers who do need to show a profit to their shareholders in the short term to to keep up with Bezos.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2017

    Will more promos fix Dick’s Sporting Goods pricing challenge?

    Maybe I'm missing something but I was recently in Dick's and bought a few golf clubs and shoes and I was extremely happy with their prices. I had to have a club re-gripped and again was very happy with the service and the price. Maybe the prices are better in the golf section? In my experience at least, the store was clean and organized and the associates on the floor were pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable. I hope they get over this hump.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2017

    What bad habits do retail solution providers need to break?

    Some solution providers have the attitude that they must have a big ticket deal in order for them to care and provide excellent service and support. Some retailers have been so tied to those solutions, even if they are not producing value due to the huge investment they originally made, that it is difficult for them to admit their mistakes. They continue to throw good money after bad. Short-term projects that are clearly defined and ones in which both the solution provider and retailer agree to the scope and time lines are the ones that tend to be successful. I feel that when you do the right thing for your customer, they will be there for the short-, medium- and long-term. In fact, if you put their success first, they will allow you to pivot when the need is there and even wait for a solution to be developed because they trust you.I have had to battle to get in the door with prospects because of the bad experiences they have had with some solution providers. It makes my job much more challenging. On the other side of the coin, I've had customers who have been with us for over 15 years because it's not about us, it's about them.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2017

    What to do when shop local turns into look local and buy online?

    Shoppers have to realize that once the mom-and-pops are gone, they are gone. For those of you that vacation in the Hamptons, take a look at all the chain stores that have over the years replaced all of the more interesting and local flavor that unique local stores bring to our lives. Now East Hampton looks like Soho with the exact same retailers that we can shop in the city. What's the point? These mom-and-pop stores deserve to be supported and not just to be browsed. We all enjoy good food at so many of the great restaurants that have opened in the area and we are generally happy to pay the crazy prices as we realize they have to make their money in approximately three months. Shouldn't we do the same thing for stores?
  • Posted on: 08/08/2017

    Why is big food turning to pop-up stores to tell brand stories?

    This is a must in the age of "Alexa, order me some yogurt and some more cereal." The role of pop-up stores is for the brand to tell its story so that when ordering from Alexa or when walking down the aisle, the brand pops out on the shelf where there is very little differentiation.A pop-up store allows the brand to shine and promote its best qualities without the competition breathing down its neck. In a world where the shopping will increasingly be done virtually, it is absolutely critical that the brand have a place to be seen, evaluated, tested and gather necessary feedback.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2017

    Are there too many grocery stores?

    Yes, the analyst from Barclays is right -- stop growing or we will all go out of business. Unfortunately that is not the American way as we are all judged on growth from year to year and in some cases quarter to quarter. Given these realities, the industry will need to deal with the massive amount of square footage that will be collecting dust. The industry, or more likely the real estate holders, will need to become very creative in turning these spaces into community colleges, community centers, senior living centers etc., just like malls across America are starting to do.

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