PROFILE

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 EngagingCustomersDifferently.com
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  • Posted on: 11/16/2018

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Best Buy

    Given each retailer's respective brand position, I think that all these spots work. Amazon's spot does an excellent job of bringing to life that involuntary twitch of anticipation I think many of us get when we see the Amazon smile outside our door, even when we know what it contains. Combined with a catchy hook, I think it serves as a great emotional reinforcement for the ubiquitous brand. And Best Buy's spots, on the other hand, do an excellent job of building greater equity in their value proposition as a total service provider and consultant. I particularly love the almost subliminal reinforcement of the "blue shirts" brand through the excellent use of color throughout the ads. Well done to both!
  • Posted on: 11/16/2018

    Apple-inspired Glossier opens ‘adult Disneyland’ flagship store

    I really believe Glossier gets it. They understand the role their store plays as part of their overall brand promise, and have designed experiences that enrich the brand experience. One need only look to Ms. Weiss' comment to Architectural Digest to see how much they understand what shoppers are seeking from the Glossier store: "It’s not about selling things, it’s about making people feel things.”
  • Posted on: 11/13/2018

    Will right-sized stores drive bigger returns for Macy’s?

    Reducing store size to create more intimate shopping experiences worked for Kohl's but, given the other details reported here, I'm not sure this approach will work as well for Macy's. While they proclaim they are responding to customer desires for updated experiences, the payroll math doesn't seem to add up to better experiences. I am not sure how an 8 percent reduction in square footage warrants a 40 percent reduction in staff, even with the checkout and self-service changes they implemented. However, having said that, if the smaller footprints require Macy's to re-evaluate their assortment strategies to better align assortments to local markets, then perhaps there could be a silver lining for Macy's in the long run.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2018

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Kohl’s vs. Macy’s

    Hands down, I think the Kohl's ad is more effective. In my opinion, it isn't even close. Macy's ad meanders through a story that seems to go exactly where you knew it was heading all along. No surprises, no real connection (at least for me). The Kohl's ad is crisp, fun, and a very clear expression of their value proposition: lots of great gift options for my family and friends, lots of Kohl's cash for me. Macy's ad is simply pulling on the heart strings in an attempt to make an emotional connection that will ultimately convert into brand affinity. And I am not sure even that really worked, unfortunately.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2018

    What are the omnichannel challenges facing e-tailers opening stores?

    The answer is embedded in the question: the challenges are in fact being "omnichannel." As we write about here every single day, success in brick-and-mortar is much more complex than simply hanging out a shingle. For online-first retailers to succeed, they must carefully consider not only the brick-and-mortar experience, but how the physical and digital experiences work together to enhance and enrich the holistic brand experience. Online-first brands will quickly discover that creating a digital brand experience that connects with shoppers is so much easier than doing so in the physical world. Digital experiences are relatively inexpensive to execute, and marketers can be extremely adaptive as they watch how consumers respond. Physical experiences are expensive, experience data is less detailed and consistent, execution requires training and coaching live people. Change management in the stores is more expensive and slower than changing digital experiences. Other than that, opening stores is a piece of cake!
  • Posted on: 11/05/2018

    Did Amazon just crush Target and Walmart’s free holiday shipping moves?

    Great point, Sterling -- well said, and I agree 100%.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2018

    Is Toys ‘R’ Us starting its comeback in Kroger’s aisles?

    While on paper this looks like a smart idea, I hope that Kroger has analyzed their assortments strategy carefully to make the bet that toys are a category that grocery shoppers will appreciate and shop, whether Geoffrey is there or not. If they believe that grocery shoppers truly do want to shop for toys, then this feels like a good move. If they are simply banking on Geoffrey to drive traffic (and basket size) instead of carefully analyzing their assortments to identify toys as an opportunity, I am skeptical that the fuzzy giraffe will move the needle.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2018

    Did Amazon just crush Target and Walmart’s free holiday shipping moves?

    Sigh. It appears the Shipping Wars will continue to erode margins for the foreseeable future. Sure, this move by Amazon will restore competitive parity for this holiday season. Sure, shoppers will respond. And sure, Q4 results will reflect the gains. But what about the long term? How many millions of unprofitable orders -- or at minimum, orders where margins are compromised by shipping expenses -- will these three giants process this year in the name of short-term parity? Every single one of those millions will once again reinforce the expectations with those shoppers that shipping should be free. And while the fourth quarter will fade quickly, those margin-eating expectations will last ... and last ... and last. Sigh.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2018

    Walmart reimagines its big boxes as town centers

    While this strategy aligns with what I believe will be the very near future of retail, I do wonder if the typical Walmart customer is the ideal target for this town center concept. I have not seen evidence that the Moosejaw and Bonobos acquisitions have significantly moved the needle in changing their customer base, and without those Millennials, I am not sure this strategy will succeed. I think traditional malls that are converting to the town center model have a head start on Walmart in attracting the coveted Millennials, and I am not sure Walmart can make up that ground quickly enough to make this approach a success for them.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2018

    Did Amazon wrap up Christmas in July?

    I think online sales in July are more about creating shopping "habits" than they are about cannibalizing Q4/holiday sales. The more often people shop your brand, the more comfortable they will be returning to your brand (assuming, of course that the experience and the product met their expectations). I would encourage retailers to fight the good fight against Amazon in July so that they can take advantage of the opportunity to establish shopping behaviors and build trust with shoppers that will make them viable options for whatever budget holiday shoppers still have left come Q4.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2018

    Can an Instagram-born luggage brand have staying power?

    More evidence that good storytelling sells -- as long as the products live up to expectations. It appears that Away has hit on a magic formula of good storytelling that taps into shoppers' aspirations (always a bonus!) supported by good products priced right.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2018

    Will organic food sales soar on the latest cancer research?

    I honestly don't see that there is any new news here. Most people who choose to buy organic foods primarily do so for three reasons: 1.) the health of the planet 2.) the health of the animals 3.) their own health and the health of their families. I doubt many of us who choose organic foods will be surprised by any studies that indicate that consuming fewer antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides could reduce our risk of cancer. Perhaps, as more studies indicate similar findings, a few more people will choose to start buying organics. However, if people haven't yet decided the monetary costs of organic foods outweigh the health (and humane) costs of conventional foods, I doubt a few more studies will cause much of a change in the market for organics.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2018

    Should Old Navy and others offer better deals online than in stores?

    Shoppers don't think in channels -- period. They don't distinguish between the website and the store -- period. Channel-specific pricing is only meaningful to retailers who are overthinking margins at the (ahem) expense of experiences. Stop the madness. The price is the price.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2018

    Don’t shutter that store! Bricks impact clicks

    I am glad to see more research validating the idea that we have to stop measuring channels solely based on "black and white" sales performance. Shoppers were far, far ahead of us in thinking of the journey holistically. They don't think about channels, they think about their objectives, and how each touch point serves those objectives. As should we. We have long underestimated the value of the store's role in the journey, even if the transaction ultimately closes online. We have also long undervalued the store's role in conversions because it builds trust and confidence in after-sale support and returns. We have long undervalued the role of empowered and effective sales associates in each journey. If this research helps us make smarter, more holistic decisions about the value of each store in each journey, then I am optimistic for better, more strategic decisions in the future!
  • Posted on: 10/23/2018

    Will free two-day shipping from third-parties give Walmart an edge for the holidays?

    I agree with other comments that this feels like a strong - and perhaps necessary - play for the holidays. However, I I do worry that we may never break the relentless persistence of expectations for free shipping. The associated margin hits we incur are so challenging, and we never seem able to break the cycle. Instead, season after season, we take actions that perpetuate and reinforce shopper expectations for something that takes a huge toll on the bottom line of every retailer - even (or perhaps especially) Amazon. In a perfect world, I would wish Walmart would instead institute a paid Marketplace subscription plan that includes free shipping as a perk. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect...so on we go with more and more free shipping perks.

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