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: 10/22/2018

    Stores rarely ID customers before they check out

    This may be another case of conflicting studies, where one study wants retailers to leave the consumer alone until checkout and one wants to interact with the consumer prior to checkout. Retailers can and should up the incentives for shoppers so that customers allow the retailer to identify them at entry. They can also use technology to identify more loyal customers -- either facial recognition or cell phone detection both of which may have negative results but do work to identify unique customers. Incentives that are forever changing would also be a way to reach more customers, because the retailer would sooner or later capture shoppers who would never agree to an incentive program!
  • Posted on: 10/15/2018

    Will anything change for Sears after Chapter 11?

    Sears may be holding on in order to give its loyal employees one more Christmas season before closing all stores. It also gives them more time to line up buyers for the stores, which are the real asset for the holding company. To see such an icon of U.S. retail be treated so badly!
  • Posted on: 10/11/2018

    Would biometric feedback shopping carts creep out Walmart’s customers?

    I did not know that so many customers at Walmart were in need of medical help while shopping at their stores. If the cart also helped with some customers who suffer from wardrobe malfunction, that would be all good! I think shoppers would not like this technology for any number of reasons including their health issues. If implemented there are a number of positives that could be very important to Walmart. Dr. Herb Sorensen has done extensive research in the use of shopping carts and the speed, path and duration a customer spends in one area over another area. His studies have been used to better shape allocation of product as well as location of product all to produce higher sales. However, cart technology that requires power has always gone away as the infrastructure to support powering the carts creates significant costs.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2018

    Giant Food expects big things from a new, mini-grocery store concept

    Most Americans go to the grocery store to buy product that is on the shelf. We are not expecting to order items for delivery or pick up later and that may be the downfall of the Giant Heirloom Market. They may survive as an upscale convenience store or a better competitor to the newer discount grocers but many ideas from Europe just seem to be a fad here. Instead of the endless aisle a better online ordering and pick up or delivery service would be better but Peapod does that already. I am surprised that they are testing the concept in Philly instead of DC where there is more need for inner city grocers.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2018

    Grab and go and yadda-yadda

    Many grocers do not even attempt to offer a good variety of prepared foods because it is such a strain to keep product both fresh and well-stocked. Those that do a good job have created a prepared foods department and they not only look after the product full-time but in many cases prepare product on site. The stores that attempt to offer prepared food as a side-line to the deli or meat or even dairy departments are doomed to failure and that has been what the author has been seeing on his tour of stores. It is truly an all-in or not-at-all decision that needs to happen!
  • Posted on: 07/26/2018

    Study: Online retailers losing billions in sales to out-of-stocks

    First of all I find it interesting that the Grocery Manufacturers Association is doing a study regarding non-food when most of their members are food manufacturers! It seems self serving to me for the grocery industry to keep customers shopping in stores. That being said, I do see out-of-stocks for online retailers as a major problem since availability is one major reason to shop online. The same solutions of inventory management apply online as they do in-store, it is more a concern for the proper control of inventory at the warehouse and/or distribution centers. We are seeing the result of pure online retailers ignoring the solutions for inventory management thinking that they can manage inventory without solutions since they do not operate stores.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2018

    Prime Day success extends beyond Amazon

    Amazon needs to be more prepared for Prime Day since it was down for a good amount of time. That may have been why some other online retailers increased their sales. Both emails and Facebook reminders worked well for Amazon. At least in my case, we ordered a Fire Stick. Retailers need to hop on the to the sales day as well by continuing to also proclaim Prime Day as their day. It worked this year so why not have a 14th selling season called Prime Season?
  • Posted on: 07/18/2018

    Will Kroger’s new app make customers healthier than those who shop at rivals?

    I do expect the app to be popular at the onset but sooner or later it will die out. It is very difficult to change one's likes and dislikes when it comes to shopping for food. I expect those who use the app to fall into one category of customer, and that may help Kroger know a few of their customers better. It is a start as far as customer facing technology is concerned but there are better apps available today for customers wanting to eat healthier. One drawback to the app is that it assumes everyone who uses the app will only shop at Kroger and that is normally not the case.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2018

    Target offers discounts as teachers prep for back-to-school

    I do not think teachers care if it is a selling or goodwill opportunity so neither do I. It is the right thing to do and many other retailers should join the effort for teachers. School districts are very limited in their ability to help teachers as it creates greater tax issues for the community. Retailers as part of the community can and should do more for the teachers. Retailers need to do more for the BTS season for both the teachers and the parents. I recently stopped at Bed Bath & Beyond and they have a discount program for college students needing to furnish their dorms, etc. Another nice touch for students and for moms and dads. Target shows leadership once more!
  • Posted on: 05/02/2018

    Will shoppers go to Walmart to buy a car?

    As long as the discounted price of the car beats the dealer's price they will succeed in this venture too! Costco has been doing it for its members for years and it has been done in Europe as well. The service can only enhance the Walmart brand for those customers looking to buy a car at a discounted price with none of the drama of the dealership. It may not increase the amount of time customers spend at Walmart but will put Walmart back on the list of places to shop for sure!
  • Posted on: 04/26/2018

    McDonald’s newest restaurant has international flavor

    McDonald's knows that in order to be successful it has to have an element of change. With this concept in mind, certain aspects of it can work in other parts of the country, in major cities with communities of a certain background, putting items on the menu from their home country would help McDonald's compete with the local restaurants. It would also work in other places but more on a rotating basis, again to be more competitive and different. Even if these items do not sell well in Chicago, McDonald's should try them in other parts of the country. It is a significant investment to change a menu item so it pays to test them first and then go elsewhere too. Some change is good but never forget your roots!
  • Posted on: 04/25/2018

    Are Americans ready for a c-store that sells only healthy foods?

    I do not see the potential for this type of store to grow into a major chain. It may grow to at most 50 stores in places like California, Oregon and Washington State. What may work is for traditional c-stores to add more healthy food items to their mix. The real need for convenience items such as candy, cigarettes, beer and soda will still dominate the role of the c-store and, with the addition of gas to the mix, a healthy-only type of store can only exist where the population is into an organic, health-related lifestyle.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2018

    Will pickup drive e-grocery’s growth?

    As long as online ordering for groceries includes fresh and frozen items, collection points will help e-grocery grow. However, the burden is on the grocer to please their customers with fresh produce that meets expectations or else they will shop for themselves or someplace else. Most shoppers will have one full-shop order online for pickup and then stop at store for fill-in or forgotten items. Impulse buys may suffer but good webpage design can help with that and vendors, for a fee, can add to the web pages too. This helps working families but for seniors, shopping at the store will continue as it is a social event as well as a shopping event.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2018

    Starbucks to close shops for racial bias training

    The way to eliminate this type of problem is both training and recruitment. It may not completely eliminate bias, but go a long way at preventing future issues. The retail industry is no different than the rest of our society at addressing implicit bias and we all need to step up and be more aware of our actions regarding it. Starbucks is taking action by closing all of their company stores. This is one way of gaining the attention of the public, showing how serious they see the issue.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2018

    Retailers face criticism for failure to protect customer data

    I do agree that retailers are facing greater vulnerability to both online and in-store breaches. The industry needs to be completely dedicated to preventing these attacks in every aspect of their systems. POS systems, mobile computers, wireless providers and all solutions using them need to identify for the retailer what they offer to prevent an intrusion. Secondly, retailers need a dedicated team that works only on the prevention of an attack -- much like database management was a specialty, we now need a new team of specialists. Retailers and solution providers need to work together to prevent attacks!

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