PROFILE

Frank Riso

Principal, Frank Riso Associates, LLC

Frank Riso has over fifty years serving the retail industry, beginning at store level management.  He started his career at Grand Union Supermarkets, installing Grand Union’s first POS scanning systems. Frank worked for Twin County Grocers, a cooperative wholesaler, as its Director of Retail Services, and for Supermation, an application provider for DSD software, as its Vice President of Sales and Marketing, until joining Symbol Technologies in 1991. Symbol was acquired by Motorola in 2007 which became Motorola Solutions, Inc (MSI) in 2009.  At MSI, Frank was in charge of their retail industry business, the largest part of MSI’s enterprise business.

Frank has served the retail industry as an associate member of National Retail National Association of Convenient Stores and the Food Marketing Institute. He was elected to serve on the Associate Member Council for NRF, and he is a past member of the Board of Directors for the International Retail User Group.  In addition to being a noted speaker and author in the field of retail automation, he is frequently quoted in RIS News, Retailwire, Chain Store Age, Supermarket News, Grocery Headquarters, Progressive Grocer, Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.  He was also an adjunct professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in the Global Fashion Management graduate program.

Frank holds an engineering degree in Electrical Technology from Westchester, a BS degree in Marketing from Rutgers, and an MS degree in the Management of Technology and Innovation for Retail from NYU Polytechnic University. He has five U.S. Patents regarding the use of portable data devices in retail.

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  • Posted on: 07/18/2019

    Amazon and rivals report record Prime Day results

    Prime Day is now part of the American shopping psyche! Who does not like a bargain in the middle of the summer months? All retailers need to get on board, since we are ready to shop but shop for bargains. The list of items sold did not include much if any apparel and that is what keeps the department stores out of the picture on Prime Day. They will need to be more aware of the items to put on sale if any at all. As long as Prime Day is only once a year it will continue to be a success.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2019

    Toys ‘R’ Us prepares its American comeback

    For the 2 or 3 generations that grew up with Toys "R" Us, yes, they will return to these stores and once again enjoy shopping in a toys only store. Their biggest challenges continue to be online retail and of course Walmart. If they can compete and keep their stores up to date with the latest inventory, their few stores have a real chance at success. A lot depends on the location of the stores too! The biggest opportunity is to go slow and not open hundreds of stores and create too much debt. So far they appear to be doing it correctly and a consignment strategy may prove to the right one.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2019

    How do consumers define cleanliness in grocery stores?

    The general appearance of the store is the first impression of the store. As mentioned, shiny floors and good lighting are key to the first impression with no clutter at the entrance. Standards have not changed very much but independents do a better job than most chain stores. I think a lot has to do with the cost of labor and trying to meet a payroll goal vs housekeeping. Most grocers fall short in their ability to see the need for clean stores. Since they see the store everyday it always looks the same to them. A once a quarter sparkle day is needed on which an outside supervisor inspects the store. This would help. Maybe having a health supervisor for many of the chains would also help keep stores cleaner.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2019

    Should retail boards include seats for store associates?

    While I think employees do have some representation on their board of directors, I do not see a direct representation having any benefit. By law, the board of directors looks after the interests of all shareholders including those who work for the company. I do not think Walmart would support such a proposal as it moves the company's ownership more toward a state-owned company and that is not what our retail or any industry is all about these days. This may be a very dangerous move and Mr. Sanders appears to be more political than helpful.
  • Posted on: 04/22/2019

    The North Face starts petition to make Earth Day a national holiday

    The real story here is the marketing event opportunity. I am sure there are many other opportunities for national holidays and Earth Day can get in line for one, however making it a shopping holiday or season might be a better idea.
  • Posted on: 04/22/2019

    Why is Petco doubling down on same-day delivery with Shipt and Instacart?

    Same-day delivery is as close to brick-and-mortar shopping as you can get and that is the target here. When we go to a store we bring home our purchases for instant gratification. Retailers are seeing more consumers wanting the same result from online shopping. In the pet food/supply industry there is so much competition online that Petco needed to make this move. It is a big step in survival for Petco and will be for all retailers who want to compete with the online retailers so yes, same-day delivery will be increasingly expected by consumers for many but not all retailers going forward.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2019

    Wayfair takes a bigger step into brick and mortar retailing

    I see Wayfair's full service furniture store as the first of not so many stores. Wayfair will need to select its locations very carefully in order to maximize its sales and keep it's brand consistent. Online is the real opportunity for Wayfair. The major challenge in opening up stores would be the lack of inventory and selection compared to the website. This may disappoint shoppers. Sales staff at stores will need to be able to go online for greater selection for the in-store shopper. The stores will bring greater name recognition for Wayfair but online will continue to be the chain's sweet spot.
  • Posted on: 03/25/2019

    Aldi tests smaller, urban concept store

    Since more and more people, especially Millennials, are moving back to city locations, the Aldi Local would work in the U.S. In places like New York City they would take on D'Agostinos and Gristedes as well as the many bodegas. As in most major cities here the c-store and local inner city food stores would not be able to keep up with Aldi Local formats and would be their biggest competitive threat. It would be a good move for them and a terrible thing for most of the current stores that would not be able to adapt.
  • Posted on: 02/28/2019

    Brands see voice ordering as more opportunity than threat

    I also think it is an opportunity for brands. It is easier to order by voice instead of making a list to order later or forgetting completely what we intended to order. Doing it by voice gets it done and if brand loyalty is there we ask for the item by brand so that should be a help to brands over the Amazon items. It does not matter which device we have or use since I think the consumer needs to be in control of what they are ordering, one mistake on a brand will be a lesson learned. Ordering in another language is also a benefit to using voice over not being able to read English.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2019

    Walmart says ‘goodbye’ to greeters and ‘hello’ to controversy

    I do not think so. The greeter is as much a part of Walmart as the happy face. The position is one that disabled and elderly people can do well but finding another position is normally not an option. I think more shoppers will speak up and this will be another oops on the part of Walmart. Keep the greeters and keep the folks that do the other roles as well.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2019

    E-commerce forces CPG brands to think differently

    The changes being made by P&G and soon additional CPG brands are just more steps in this new grocery sector, home delivery. The need to reduce cost, improve productivity of the work force, and increase sales are all part of any retail business so why not the home delivery sector? Brands such as P&G, General Mills, and Heinz are all looking at the transition to lower cost packaging. That will be the real challenge to the industry if they decide to enter the direct-to-consumer sector and take on retailers as competitors. Let us hope now that they and others continue to be in partnership with all aspects of the retail food industry.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2019

    Whole Foods to expand nationwide to drive Prime Now growth

    Whole Foods/Amazon needs to be very aggressive in order to be competitive in the shop-from-home sector of the grocery industry. More Millennials depend on the various combinations for grocery shopping and even going to the store itself. This will continue to grow as a segment of the industry and much like the physical stores the shop-at-home vendors and/or services will become very competitive. I think even the meal preparation services will be a part of the shop-at-home sector in the near future.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2018

    Should Amazon buy Target?

    I do not think Amazon's prime target is Target. Sorry, I could not help myself from saying that. It may be of value but with a main focus on shopping at home and staying at home, the Target asset would be more for picking up in-store. This is not yet the model at Amazon and that is what keeps them competitive. The cost of the stores in overhead would also be a concern I think for Amazon. If the price is too good to be true what can the board do? They can say it's a bad deal but the stockholders would be the ones to really make the call. Target can do better on their own.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2018

    Will Active Ride Shop customers be stoked over lifetime commissions?

    I think it is a good idea and one that is very new to the industry. It not only promotes the brand but provides rewards for everyone making a purchase and still offers a competitive advantage. I do think they should be more commonplace in retail however management of the entire system could be a burden given so many different brand names under one company such as Gap and Limited. Online retail should be a no-brainer but physical stores could have issues. I cannot imagine this program working at supermarkets or gas stations but it could be nice to have it at these types of retailers. Restaurants would be an excellent place too!
  • Posted on: 12/03/2018

    Can Gap cut its way to profitability?

    Gap is making the right move in closing a large number of stores. It is a difficult decision but should be made in order to save the brand. It will have a number of challenges in doing so, mostly dealing with lower sales figures, stock market issues and most of all a need to strengthen the brand by online sales. if done right Gap can gain back some of its sales with greater profits online, but it has to put a better plan in place and even partner with others such as Amazon.

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