Dave Bruno

Marketing Director, Aptos
With over 25 years of experience in retail technology, Dave supports Aptos with brand development, corporate messaging, and product marketing. His deep resume includes widely varying experiences helping bring retail technology to market at GERS, Escalate Retail, RedPrairie, JDA and Epicor.

Dave is a frequent speaker at industry events and is highly regarded for his ability to identify emerging technology trends that will impact the retail model. He has worked with many of the world’s leading retailers, and he is an accomplished marketer, having won numerous awards for his content marketing programs and campaigns.

He is a member of the advisory board for DemandGen Report, and the executive producer of the CommerceofCaring podcast series. Dave is also a regular contributor to
  • Posted on: 09/21/2018

    Why don’t retailers concentrate more on selling the Christmas spirit?

    When it comes to retailers selling the Christmas spirit, I believe most have erred on the side of "quantity" versus "quality." Today is September 21, and already many have Christmas assortments in their stores. Holiday soundtracks serenading us in the aisles can't be far behind. I think we would be better off if we focused instead on creating meaningful holiday-themed experiences inside our stores. Just as bringing kids to see Santa in Macy's became a tradition 75 years ago, I think stores today should look to create modern experiences that can also become family traditions. Think hands-on Christmas cookie classes, gift wrapping classes, Christmas sweater knitting classes, tree ornament or wreath workshops, etc. Give people a reason to come to the store by giving them the experiences they crave.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2018

    What would 3,000 AmazonGo stores do to the U.S. retail landscape?

    I just don't think Amazon's camera-driven model is scalable. The immense infrastructure and technology costs make me wonder if the model can profitably scale to 100 stores, let alone 3,000. We are working with partners who are exploring other ways to minimize friction (and cashiers, when appropriate) that require far less infrastructure than the Amazon Go stores. I think RFID, in particular, has great potential to supersede Amazon's camera-heavy model as a much more cost-efficient, repeatable and scalable path to frictionless checkout.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2018

    Tuft & Needle and Native knew their first products fell short

    Look, I get it. Product development is hard. Rarely do we get things right on the first try, and we should not build business plans that expect it to be right the first time. But neither should we go to market knowing the products are inferior, collecting money from consumers while we "perfect" the product based upon their feedback. Especially in the mattress business. People buy mattresses expecting them to help them sleep well for a decade! I have to wonder if they may have adversely affected not only the brand satisfaction but also the health and well being of the buyers of those "early release" mattresses.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2018

    Macy’s expands in-store pop-up concept with Facebook’s help

    Great point re: Rachel Shechtman, Joanna -- I hadn't thought of it, but I am sure you are correct. This move definitely sounds like her....
  • Posted on: 09/18/2018

    Macy’s expands in-store pop-up concept with Facebook’s help

    I see nothing but good news here. They are leveraging sound analytics and pilot store successes to drive further investments in technology-driven experiences and customer-driven assortments ... two of the pillars of modern retailing success. Well done, Macy's!
  • Posted on: 09/17/2018

    Are grocers shortchanging flexitarians?

    I have been a pescatarian residing in California since 1994, and I think the rest of the country can learn lessons from how California retailers assort and merchandise plant-based options. They are well signed, often prominently featured, and always easy to find. Organic selections are extremely prominent and in many grocers they are often placed near the front of the produce department. Next up for California is labeling and education about what different "classifications" mean (organic, non GMO, pesticide free, etc.). I would love to see a retailer get a leg up on the coming wave of supply chain transparency by offering data at the shelf via mobile as to what the labels and their classifications mean. If they offered truly helpful information, they would help shoppers make better decisions and prepare them to take advantage of rich blockchain data, which is not very far away at all.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2018

    What will a ‘new standard for green retail’ mean for Starbucks’ results?

    Research consistently tells us that younger generations care more about sustainability and green choices than any generations that have come before. And good for them. As recent storms and climate news indicate, at some point none of us will have a choice but to make green products and brands a priority...
  • Posted on: 09/05/2018

    Will a new beauty concept help CVS pull shoppers from Sephora and Ulta?

    Attracting dedicated Sephora and Ulta customers will be a tough task for CVS, but perhaps the key to success here will be how one defines "younger" shoppers. I could see a scenario where young girls that are just beginning to experiment with cosmetics (often under their parents' careful supervision) could be an interesting long-term opportunity for CVS. I could then see the ubiquity and convenience of CVS presenting opportunities for parents and their daughters to shop the cosmetics counter while doing other CVS errands. Then I suppose there is a reasonable chance that some of the young girls would continue to stay with the GlamSquad brand as they age. The trick will be sticking with the concept long enough to see if this market actually develops.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2018

    Publix pioneers an easier way to see the doctor

    Making healthcare more accessible is always a good thing and, assuming the liability concerns can be overcome (not guaranteed, mind you), adding these services to Publix feels like nothing but goodness for both consumers and Publix. This is another excellent example of retailers finding new ways to make the store a relevant and important part of consumers' lifestyles.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2018

    ‘Jittery’ prices will come back to hurt Amazon

    I completely agree, Paula. While all my "evidence" is anecdotal, I do believe these pricing strategies are hurting Amazon. I recently realized that Amazon's erratic price swings have in fact altered my shopping behavior -- and all in ways that do not favor Amazon. I now find myself delaying non-urgent Amazon purchases in hopes that the prices might drop. I definitely price compare now (something I didn't always feel compelled to do before, and I even try to game the system by reviewing an item of interest, placing it in my cart, leaving it in my cart for several hours or more and even deleting it from my cart to see if the price will drop as an incentive for me to convert! And believe me when I tell you I get really frustrated when my efforts and tactics fail me and I see the item offered for a lower price not long after I finally hit the buy button, which is definitely not a good sign for my long-term affinity for Amazon. And my hunch is that we are not alone in these feelings of unease.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2018

    Sears faces Craftsman competition of its own making

    The sale of Craftsman, while perhaps a necessary evil, was a huge loss for Sears. In my opinion Craftsman's reputation was the single most valuable asset in the otherwise dwindling Sears portfolio. Selling the rights to that asset was just begging for somebody to hammer them with better brand marketing. This was an inevitable outcome of the sale, I am afraid, and likely another nail in the coffin for Sears ...
  • Posted on: 08/21/2018

    Do CPGs need their own voice for Alexa?

    I have mixed feelings about voice branding on the Alexa platform. On the one hand, it appeals to the brand marketer in me as another channel to reinforce your brand's personality and to give you a chance to differentiate from others on the platform. It also allows brands to leverage long-term investments in brand as they try to pay catch-up with Amazon on the platform. However, while few brands are doing so, what seems like a good idea today could potentially become a cacophony of distractions in the near future. In either case, the most important investments brands can make are to 1.) Take voice seriously and 2.) make it as easy as possible to remember how to engage via voice. The single biggest problem with voice -- especially on Alexa -- is the requirement for rigid adherence to syntax protocols. Make your skills helpful -- give users hints and options and give them ways to execute their tasks without having to memorize such specific phrases. Then we can revisit the conversation about brand voices ...
  • Posted on: 08/17/2018

    Ross Stores is on an off-price roll

    I would suggest that, at 1,651 stores, Ross is already a force in off-price retail, and their growth will only make them more formidable. While they certainly must keep a constant eye on the burgeoning discount market, I think there is definite opportunity for both Ross and TJX to carve share from full assortment retailers as well. I think to do so, they will have to invest more into experiences and integrated journeys than they do now, so that will require culture change, but if they embrace the change, there is loads of room to begin poaching share.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2018

    Gallup poll says consumers prefer to shop for their own groceries

    Wow, I am surprised at how many people here in the comments think that online grocery shopping -- particularly for produce -- is a non-starter. I would say, rather, have patience. Grocers must earn the trust of shoppers -- particularly older shoppers -- before we will see larger adoption of online grocery shopping. But I do believe that the industry will eventually earn shoppers' trust and, when combined with Gen Z growing up, that trust will drive respectable online revenues. I also think shoppers will eventually figure out -- and then tell us -- what it will take to get them to buy more online. Once they figure out what they want, the industry will respond. I do have to say, though, that I doubt they will ask for things like 3-D imagery of their fruit!
  • Posted on: 08/15/2018

    Why is translating analog customer service to digital so complicated?

    Without question, the way digital interactions can leverage rich data to deliver highly-informed and personalized interactions has raised the bar for store interactions. Those expectations are warranted (and realistic) and the truth is, they are only going to increase over time. I believe the industry is gearing up to meet these expectations head on, as associate empowerment is a constant theme in my discussions with retailers in our client base. As such, I am very optimistic that serious progress will be made toward more enriching, more engaging and more empowered store experiences in the very near future.

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