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: 07/19/2018

    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!
  • 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.

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