David Leibowitz

Worldwide Director, Industry Strategy, Microsoft

David has worked in the shoes of retail, having held senior leadership positions or consulting to many well known global fashion and footwear brands. He has incubated new market (product & services) offerings across CPG and enterprise technology and education. He has also launched award winning software in use by retail/CPG, K12 / Hi-Ed and Finance industries.

Currently with Microsoft, David helps organizations globally drive the reinvention of cross-industry experiences.

You can find him writing at:

Postings are solely the opinion of the author and the author reserves the right to be wrong in many cases.

  • Posted on: 09/02/2021

    Can 14 and 15-year-olds solve the labor shortage?

    I don't understand how this is "news" or a new topic for debate. Teenagers aren't some new untapped market. I got my working permit (as required in my state) to begin part-time employment after school and on weekends at age 14 eons ago for a national theater chain.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2021

    Are robots taking over Schnucks’ stores?

    I've worked with retailers who piloted robots in-store and primarily the feedback was that the solutions are less than optimal. That's because the data is stale the moment the bot moves on to the next aisle, they can sometimes frustrate shopping customers, and the maintenance of hardware can be a chore. The ROI is challenging when it's a one-trick pony too. That's why some stores opted for bots that can serve multiple purposes, like also cleaning floors, monitoring for spills or other safety hazards, and providing screens for automated customer service like item location or self checkout. That said, most retailers are looking to utilize existing assets and investments with enhancements to existing technology. For example, existing loss prevention cameras may be used to spot voids on the shelf and confirm planogram compliance using custom vision and AI. Those sorts of solutions don't require a lot of new h/w to install or maintain and the near real time updates from an existing fleet of AP/LP cameras already scanning the store can see spills and out-of-stocks instantly. Hazards and shelf issues that a robot would miss as it turns the corner.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2021

    Will a Target-themed Monopoly game be a winner?

    As a holiday gift to their own employees? Sure. Other than that, I'm not so sure.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2021

    Will a web game drive sales for a ‘farm-to-face’ beauty brand?

    This looks like an innovative concept to drive consumer engagement. Brands that focus on integrated marketing are realizing that the consumer website is the destination. To drive awareness and traffic, brands need compelling, interactive and shareable experiences.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2021

    Will shelf scanning robots put an end to out-of-stocks?

    Robots in-store solely for the purpose of inventory detection may not provide the best ROI. Also, they'd never be able to manage inventory in real-time. If the bot is scanning aisle 2, it's not checking aisle 10, so that's hardly an advancement. And they can be intrusive to shoppers. Alternatives are cheaper, multipurpose, and offer lower maintenance. Consider that most retailers have loss prevention cameras already in the ceiling. Those could be used to detect shelf voids too (with the right resolution and cognition). And advances in battery powered electronic shelf labels can also double as stock detectors and planogram compliance. Robots do have a place in retail, however. They can be used for repetitive tasks like order packing and fulfillment in the back room. And why not use small autonomous bots to deliver groceries for pickup in the parking lot?
  • Posted on: 02/24/2021

    Can making deliveries once a week make e-commerce sustainable and more profitable?

    I'm not convinced that the Hugo Boss or Saks shopper is willing to wait a week for delivery, even if it is sans cardboard. Consider also that ShopRunner was providing two-day delivery for many more retailers and, according to them, already has millions of customers. And now that FedEx has purchased the company (in December), they have extended their ability to do exactly what Olive hopes to do. By using a vast distribution center network, they can also consolidate e-commerce orders across merchants, speed reverse logistics, and do it all at scale.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2021

    Will 7-Eleven’s beer and wine on tap be a c-store game changer?

    This is a head scratcher. Bellying up for a drink at a convenience store? Kroger has tried to do this recently and I'll say it's really awkward to be shopping for fresh meat directly adjacent to someone at a high top slurping from a growler. Like awkward for both parties.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2021

    Will IKEA’s new furniture line be a winner with video gamers?

    The opportunity seems ripe, but can they at least call it a "School From Home" rig so it's a little easier for me, and other parents, to justify pulling out the credit card?
  • Posted on: 01/20/2021

    Is My Pillow being ‘cancelled’ or is its CEO trashing the business all on his own?

    Who doesn't love a good pillow fight?
  • Posted on: 01/11/2021

    Did Amazon Pantry outlive its usefulness?

    Focus group of one here -- I tried the service and found it confusing since you had to order through another shopping cart interface. It also appeared to cannibalize the narrative of "subscribe and save" which is prevalent on most Amazon product pages.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2021

    Retailers give customers refunds and tell them to keep items

    Target has been quietly doing this since last April. I suspect many other retailers have as well, prior to this being "news." Why? To help train the algorithms and reduce fraud in the system with disingenuous purchases/returns. Once this is out in the ether as a "policy," it could be gamed.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2020

    Are retailers facing a no-win decision in mandating vaccines for workers?

    Encourage? Yes. Mandatory? Not likely. That's not how it works in the U.S. Though vaccinations may be required in healthcare settings, some states mandate that hospital workers get certain vaccinations. Outside of that, proof of vaccination (measles, etc.) for other diseases is typically only for school registrations. I'm no attorney, but I'm pretty sure that's a non-starter as a private industry requirement.
  • Posted on: 12/14/2020

    Is retail ready to distribute the COVID- 19 vaccine?

    I'm encouraged that the delivery isn't by general "retail." Vaccines will be delivered by leading pharmacies (CVS + Walgreens), which also have experience in delivering flu shots and other care. Bumps along the way in logistics and scheduling? Sure. But we will all get through this. I'm actually less concerned with the theft/crime element given the cold storage requirements and the blockchain delivery. That should make it difficult to swipe, and even more challenging to peddle on a secondary market.
  • Posted on: 12/08/2020

    Is IKEA making a dumb mistake ending its catalog?

    Digital natives no longer desire a paper book to shop. They want experiences. Interestingly, IKEA was one of the early pioneers of "shoppable media." They took television ads and converted them to interactive and "living" catalogs. They did this too with static images. One of them was a promotion to sell furnishings from popular TV culture - the living room set from Friends, or Stranger Things. I covered part of that campaign here.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2020

    Can retailers get Americans to trust in-store clinics?

    I'm not sure where UPShow stands in this space (I looked them up, and they are a digital signage company?) - but there is a considerable amount of research and market movement that shows why leading retailers are moving aggressively into health care -- including Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, and even Amazon.
    • 48 percent of retail pharmacy customers have used a pharmacy health service (up 5 percent) - JD Power;
  • There will be an estimated shortfall of 139,000 physicians by 2033 (AAMC).
This creates significant opportunity. And a "clinic" is not necessarily limited to the physical footprint. The front door to health care is also through virtual consult or through a partner ecosystem. Or ambient - through the use of IoT telemetry from medical to consumer devices. These will promote healthy lifestyles, adherence, and reduce visits for acute care. This is the aspiration of retail + health of the future. It goes way beyond the "minute clinic."

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