PROFILE

Brent Biddulph

General Manager, Retail & Consumer Goods, Cloudera

Brent has extensive experience working closely with a variety of leading retail and consumer goods companies providing thought leadership to help align strategic objectives with technology and analytic solutions to drive top-line growth, reduce costs, improve profits and create a differentiated competitive advantage in the marketplace.

During his career at Cloudera, Teradata and Oracle he developed solution go to market positioning, sales plays, use cases and led big data analytics consulting engagements at a number of Fortune 50 companies. Working as a trusted advisor with client executives to identify, define and capture business improvement opportunities.

Brent is known as a customer-focused advocate and innovator, leveraging his extensive domain experience in store operations, replenishment, merchandising and marketing at senior management levels in retail, distribution and consumer goods.

To learn more, visit: cloudera.com

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  • Posted on: 10/18/2019

    Why is Walmart so concerned about Aldi and Lidl?

    Walmart recognizes credible competitive threats and perhaps more importantly, has the leadership vision and ability to rally resources (people, process and data) to address market changes on multiple fronts, online and offline, including Amazon, other traditional offline competitors, channels including dollar stores, convenience, etc. The real threat (U.S. grocery market share shifts) are far more likely to be directly to independent grocery retailers (IGA, Save-A-Lot, even neighborhood stores) that simply lack the economic leverage and resources required to respond effectively to either the digital OR physical store realities of evolving consumer expectations and shopping preferences. Aldi has already proven successful here in the crowded U.S. grocery space (1,800+ locations). While a new entrant, Lidl also brings a very impressive, yet conservative and methodical approach that is highly likely to be successful here over time. Neither of these privately held companies rely on "buy-side" economics (read: CPG funds, product focused incentives) that many laggard U.S. retail grocers still do. Rather, it's all about best consumer price/value (e.g. Costco, WinCo) philosophy. Having just returned from Germany last week myself and having witnessed this on their own home turf, it's a relatively simple philosophy but very effective, consumer-focused and frankly impressive. "Hometown Proud" may only get U.S. independents so far, especially if a recession were to occur -- in that case, Aldi and Lidl will certainly benefit, grow customer numbers and market share.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2019

    Is e-grocery less convenient than shopping in stores?

    Grocery leaders are recognizing that the "big bet" in their digital transformation is circling back to brick-and-mortar. Now they are able to leverage new technologies to drive operational improvements and customer experience (e.g. real-time sensors to ensure freshness and reduce wastage, friction-less checkout, towers, lockers and curb-side pick-up to improve convenience, digital signage to enable story telling, instant promotions, reducing prices dynamically, and so on). Beyond these experience efficiency improvements, grocers are also stepping up their game leveraging deep customer insights (which most retailers envy) to tailor assortments, develop distinct private label products, and enhance overall quality and variety in prepared, and grab and go foods - focusing on what was described a decade ago as the broader "share of stomach" market (including convenience, QSRs, etc.) by leveraging local, fresh, healthy, artisanal products and ingredients that today's consumers are looking for. Grocers are uniquely positioned to own the authority/credibility here, having served many local neighborhoods in some cases for over a century.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2019

    Does Target need to address its associate morale problem?

    What if all the investments Target has made in recent years to automate DCs and the supply chain are now driving efficiencies to both optimize labor (warehouses to stores) and greatly improve in-stocks? Customer satisfaction is improved, and outdated replenishment activities are enhanced simultaneously?
  • Posted on: 10/16/2019

    Does Target need to address its associate morale problem?

    Facts matter. There are not enough facts here to draw conclusions. Lazy (or biased) reporting is no excuse.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2019

    Does Target need to address its associate morale problem?

    Um, a sample size of 23 is not only statistically insignificant considering the tens of thousands that Target employs, drawing any conclusions based on it is sadly misleading.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Why are grocers still missing the mark with small food brands?

    Simply put, old-school FMCG retail vendor collaboration is dead, as it was a one-way relationship to begin with. As customer-centric pure-plays and digital disruptors continue to exploit (take volume from) many traditional FMCG retailers' lack of sharing meaningful consumer insights and shared performance metrics (e.g. advertising, demand forecasts, in-stocks, consumer behavior) with trading partners - this will not change. However, leading FMCG retailers like Walmart, Kroger, Target and Edeka have not only recognized this gap, they are capitalizing on it - with success. Whether through incubators for local, unique products to bypass traditional slotting fees in a shared success model (a la Shark Tank), or by subsidizing small brands via online selling, even marketplace pricing support versus pure-plays like Amazon. Data- and analytics- driven FMCG leaders will continue to lead, laggards will continue to fall further behind.
  • Posted on: 09/30/2019

    Will consumers go for Kroger’s food hall concept?

    Food halls are not only a natural extension recognizing rapidly changing consumer demographics, the business model has already been proven in urban and suburban markets across the U.S. and abroad. Grocery leaders such as Kroger certainly recognize that looking beyond traditional competitors and even pure-play digital player threats - by setting their long-term strategic goals to be the most credible providers of fresh/farm-to-fork across the broader spectrum of "share of stomach" -- this is something they could credibly own. The real question here is, which grocer can also incorporate the right limited local assortment and fresh grab and go snacks, meals and delivery options into the adjacent store AND scale this out rapidly beyond a single, or even a handful of locations? Beyond testing a single location, first mover (at scale) advantage also applies. In that case, Kroger certainly has an opportunity here that many traditional grocers simply don't.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2019

    Amazon wants to take the lead on regulating facial recognition tech

    Classic Amazon, thinking they can create yet another moat (barrier) where the competition (e.g. Alibaba) is already far ahead of what they are doing. Ridiculous -- arrogance that not even a politician (regulator) would fall for.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2019

    Will free same-day delivery boost Macy’s online sales?

    Macy’s is simply leveling their odds as consumers today expect retailers to remove friction like delivery fees. Minimum purchase thresholds will become a thing of the past, as traditional retailers need to either revamp loyalty programs to account for free shipping or optimize shipping costs further. Either way, it is now a key element in the overall pricing strategy that needs to be accounted for.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2019

    Amazon seeks more third-party price control

    Perhaps this move highlights the challenges for any retail brand seeking to extend their long-tail assortments via digital marketplaces. Then again, I couldn't imagine any traditional retailer not making that (control of pricing) a requirement up front. For me, this demonstrates that Amazon.com is continuing to learn, willing to adapt and capable of evolving their business model somewhat seamlessly along the way.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2019

    Why is Whole Foods CEO dissing plant-based meat alternatives?

    Based upon my own experience (er, my own household) consumers seeking plant-based alternatives are not a single homogeneous group. Rather, several segments -- collectively driving the explosive growth we are seeing. To simplify, based upon my own experiences, there are "Purists" (aka vegans like Mackey, and my own daughter) believe highly processed, and in many cases GMO laden meat alternatives break the sacred code of natural and organic products -- willing to sacrifice taste based on principal. Then there are "Active Seekers" (like my wife and myself) that will not sacrifice flavor and taste, looking for tasty plant-based meat alternatives, subscribing to the scientific evidence of meat production's impact on the environment, and understanding the cruelty to animals associated with the entire slaughterhouse process. This is the group that is driving growth IMHO, a much broader audience, less fickle about processing or even GMOs. Finally, there are the "Curious." Much like the "Active Seekers," but most likely just testing the waters, and not likely to be a sustainable consumer group at least in the short-term. Bottom Line: CPG Disrupters, Retailers and Consumers will all benefit from the continued focus and inevitable success of plant-based meat alternatives, focused on reducing carbon emissions, animal cruelty, and creation of tasty meatless products "for the masses," and I'd have to believe that even John Mackey could get behind that.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2019

    Does North Face’s new concept point the chain in the right direction?

    My assumption with this Soho store is that like so many other retailers, this represents creativity and concept "testing" at the highest level, but does not suggest this is a cookie cutter approach for all other locations. For large urban/destination cities, elements of this storytelling are fantastic for being incorporated and perpetuating the brand image. In suburban locations, adapting elements (not static museums) for windows or departmental season themes tied to merchandising and marketing activities makes a lot of sense. Either way, the use of the word "museum" implies "static" or "forever," which I do not believe represents what The North Face is testing at a single store in Soho. In regard to a potential chain-wide rollout of the same to all stores (urban and suburban), The North Face is likely to tailor and adapt as circumstances demand, driven by local customer insights and analytics that will also evolve over time.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2019

    Is private equity ownership killing retail?

    A lack of vision leveraging data and analytics is thinning the herd in retail - at an accelerated rate. The demise of retail brands in recent years rests at the feet of the C-suite that made poor investment decisions and/or waited too long to take corrective actions to evolve more rapidly to meet changing consumer expectations, aka "digital transformation." When the PE firms had to be called in, it was an inevitable outcome - extract remaining value from an already dying brand.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2019

    Alexa – Are Americans ready to shop by voice?

    The ability for smart speakers to better interact with screens may likely be the acceleration that allows it to move beyond simply an entertainment device to an actual shopping enabler. It allows customers to overcome any uncertainties by being actually able to "see" products and pricing before giving the "order" command. Especially for basics and commodity goods that could be prompted by AI infused "auto-replenishment" nudges.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2019

    Is Nordstrom staring at a ‘no-growth’ retail future?

    Something that analysts tend to "lose in the numbers" because, frankly, it is difficult to measure - cultural obsession on quality and customers, and reciprocal customer brand loyalty. Maybe it's something in the water there in Seattle, as some of the most beloved retail brands (Costco, Starbucks, Amazon, Nordstrom) seem to have an innate ability to not only carve out and own a retail niche, but to have the pulse on changing consumer preferences, successfully evolving along the way. I agree with the challenges outlined by the UBS analyst, but the analysis does not take into consideration activities underway to continue to adapt (e.g. Nordy Club revamp) and continuing to invest (test and learn) by leveraging data, emerging technology and AI to enhance brand image and improve the customer experiences both online and in-store beyond many traditional retail competitor capabilities.

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