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.

  • 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!
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Can gamification solve fashion’s mix and match challenges?

    When the current and next generation of shoppers shop they use their phones. They use their phones for just about everything, so gamification is the extension of their phones and in their comfort zone. Combine that with crowdsourcing and you have the ideal way for style trends which leads to higher sales. Any and all data when used in this manner is good for both the retailer and the customers but it can only be as accurate as the input by the shoppers themselves. Trendage may be the first but not the last of the solutions to meet the style needs of today's consumer. Meal preparation, entertainment and vacation planning via gamification must be around the corner.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    KB Toys plans a Christmas comeback

    KB Toys will need to have a digital strategy in order to be anywhere near successful in a come back. I am not sure they can do that in the limited time before the Christmas season. Their strategy of launching pop-ups during the holiday season may not work either. Walmart and Target now own the toy market and without Toys "R" Us they can only get stronger. KB did not make it against Toys "R" Us so why would they think they can compete with the likes of a Walmart or a Target? KB Toys needs to consider major ads on children's programs and need to get online fast in order to do any real successful business in this category. KB Toys and Toys "R" Us belong in the history books!
  • Posted on: 03/28/2018

    Retailers can reduce turnover by treating employees like consumers

    I have spoken to so many retailers over the years about technology in the retail work place. So I absolutely agree that employers can reduce turnover with technology. Simple questions like, how much is this? Do you have any more of these? Can you tell me where the jelly is? All of these can be answered but, more importantly, they can be answered by everyone with a mobile device. This can reduce the frustration a sales associate feels when they cannot help the customer. Enabling with technology helps store managers and their employees stay as connected as the customer is. If an item is out-of-stock, having a mobile device helps the associate place the order online so that no sale is ever lost. I can go on and on with this topic. Empowering the employee with technology is a step in the right direction.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2018

    Will a new designer collaboration be a smash hit for Target?

    Hunter will continue Target's success record with yet another designer. Given Walmart's recent announcement for new brands, Target is having its impact on fashion sales at its biggest rival. Target does it right by only having one-at-a-time designer events so as not to confuse their customers with too many choices and so the customer knows that the time to react and buy is now. The early access for REDcard holders is a perk that cannot be taken away -- after all, Target owes these shoppers for some past indiscretions. When it comes to fashion over Walmart, Target still is the leader.
  • Posted on: 03/02/2018

    Aldi to open grocery stores next to Kohl’s

    This should be a win-win for both retailers since it will increase traffic to both stores and they both have low price leadership in their respective segments. Since they will be separate stores, this is an ideal arrangement since buying a new dress and a bag of leaking chicken parts always appeared to be done best on two different shopping trips. This is a good move for both and maybe a better deal for Aldi. I would like to see some of the Aldi locations be Trader Joe's instead of under the Aldi banner.
  • Posted on: 02/28/2018

    Starbucks is everywhere – or soon will be

    I do think retail rents are due for a drop in the near future. We have seen how a reduction in corporate tax rates has sparked growth for many retailers -- so too when rents are lower. More retailers will expand but, more importantly, new retailers may get into the market with unique types of stores to lure consumers out of the home. Online shopping will continue to grow so we need more attractive, innovative and creative retail stores.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2018

    Kohl’s is on a roll coming off the holidays

    Kohl's continues to provide a better quality product and what appears to be better pricing while others have not found the right combination. They have a great loyal base of shoppers with a great savings program with both coupons and Kohl's money to spend. What's not to like? On top of it all, they also provide very good customer service and that may be the real key to their outstanding performance this year!
  • Posted on: 12/04/2017

    Barnes & Noble wants to get smaller, more bookish

    In retail it is best to do what you know best. Selling just books is the right move for Barnes & Noble's future and doing it in smaller stores is the right format. Reading books has not changed but how we read them has and Barnes & Noble needs to adapt too. I think keeping a coffee shop and reading areas should continue, all else should go!
  • Posted on: 11/10/2017

    Are these the best or worst of times for consumer brands?

    I would say that these are both. it is the best of times because of the opportunity to reach the consumer directly and there needs to be changes in brands' thinking to take advantage of it. And it is the worst of times because the consumer is still king and can now go anywhere to find anything at any time. I think the major challenge for most brands, not only luxury brands, is counterfeiting and the buying of a product one thinks is the real thing. Too many consumers want a deal and that makes the $430 billion dollar counterfeiting industry a viable solution and brands need to find a better way to protect their products while still selling direct to the consumer. As always the consumer will help the brands experience the best or the worst of times.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2017

    Are retailers caught in a content trap?

    The old adage that if you build it (a store) they will come is pretty much the way of retail or the way it has always been in the industry. We are a very conservative industry and, especially when you operate 500, 1,000 or 5,000 stores, it is very difficult to manage the two-way dialogue with millions of customers. Some of the initiatives mentioned in the item regarding Home Depot and Best Buy existed before the digital age but improving these services has increased with digital and we can expect to see more and more as old world technologies are upgraded with more new school technologies.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2017

    Should Papa John’s drop its NFL sponsorship?

    There are just too many reasons for the lack of sales for Papa John's. There are more pizza delivery stores than banks or gas stations in many towns that have great pizza. The boycotting of the NFL is truly having its effect on their advertisers and will continue I think until the owners take a stronger view. While I agree with their issues completely I do not agree with their methods. As a veteran of the Vietnam War who risked coming home under the flag I will always stand up for the anthem. For Papa John's there are but two courses of action, ride it out or move on to another sport. If they want to send a message to their customers they should move on to the NBA or NHL as examples.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Can Kroger make a name for itself in fashion?

    Kroger, much like all retailers, is looking to increase basket size and adding these products may help them. As long as they add the right items and the customer sees them as impulse buys they should do well. I do not see them adding full aisles of fashion to their traditional grocery stores. It would be confusing to those shoppers who consider fashion and food two different shopping trips. Again, as an impulse item for a few items would be the appropriate approach. Increased transaction size is the measurement of success.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2017

    Will same-day pay help hourly workers and their employers?

    This is a good idea as long as it does not include all their pay. I worry about those who would work one day and quit just to get a few bucks in their pocket. It will be a game-changer for hiring new employees and especially temp employees during the Christmas season. It will definitely impact recruitment but I do not see it doing much for retention.

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