PROFILE
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Gal Rimon

Founder & CEO, Centrical
Gal founded Centrical (previously GamEffective) in 2013, with the vision of helping companies empower their employees' performance, making them the center of business success. Prior to that he was CEO of Gilon-Synergy Business Insight, a national leader in Business Intelligence. In 2010, Gilon-Synergy was acquired for $ 20 million by Ness Technologies (NASDAQ:NSTC) and Gal went on to serve as Senior VP at Ness, and was member of its executive management. Prior to that he was VP, Customer Relations and Operations at Deloitte Consulting. He also worked at EDS and Bashan. He holds a MBA degree in Marketing and Information Technologies from the Tel Aviv University.
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  • Posted on: 02/24/2020

    What are the biggest barriers to AI adoption for retailers?

    Much of the discussion around AI centers on this technology in isolation. That AI operates on its own. It takes over tasks and replaces people. I'm not about to enter that debate. Rather, and especially as we're talking about applying it to the brick-and-mortar environment, we need to look at AI operating in a collaborative manner with HI, Human Intelligence. As amazing as it may be in crunching numbers to arrive at data-based predictions, AI cannot look beyond those numbers. Further, it doesn't have innate creativity (even after lots of machine learning). And it doesn't have empathy. Those are distinctly human qualities. When you draw on an HI+AI construct, you can arrive at decisions faster but, with the human element, they're better. Beyond that, and of considerable importance, HI+AI will allow store/department team leaders to have more time to develop their sales teams because a host of administrative tasks (which can eat up more than half a work day) can be taken over by AI. To be sure, AI is not a villain per se. But it can be a real hero for retailers when blended with HI.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2020

    Will store associates become the ultimate personalization tool at retail?

    My answer to the question, "Are retailers investing enough in their frontline staff in terms of training, technology and process to enable them to have personalized one-to-one customer relationships?," is yes and no. Many retailers, especially the larger chains, are investing heavily in apps that let associates facilitate in-store sales but woefully underspend on readily available, thoroughly-proven technology that serves to keep associates engaged, aware of their goals, how they're doing and what needs to happen to get to the next level. It's an imbalance that can be easily corrected. The result will be better motivated, focused and capable associates who help drive better customer experiences. Training today does not mean taking people off the floor for multi-hour-long sessions with mind-numbing presentations. It can be done in the flow of work using game-based learning. This tech is often found in some of the largest contact centers where retail sales are occurring. Why not in the stores?
  • Posted on: 02/18/2020

    Can Body Shop build a better workforce with an open hiring policy?

    The Body Shop's move is commendable but looks to hold more minuses than pluses from a purely commercial perspective. Gartner and others have asserted we live in the customer service era, a time defined by service being a -- if not the -- key differentiator, ahead of price, product and the rest of the classic marketing mix. Unless that newly hired person, regardless of prior circumstance, is engaged, trained, and managed to deliver an exceptional customer experience through a real-time, transparent means of motivation, microlearning and performance management it all won't matter, no matter how noble the initiative.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2020

    Is it time for retailers to move beyond fulfillment and on to experience?

    The names applied to channels can be changed, but nothing will change unless/until retailers' frontline employees -- be they in a contact center or on a sales floor -- are fully engaged, motivated, trained, and aware of what their KPIs/goals are plus have access to that all-important data in real-time. I'm not denying that bots and RPA are playing larger roles in assorted aspects of e-commerce, but rise above the basic transactional activities and retailers need to have people ready, able, and willing to provide exceptional customer experiences. Empower sales and service to have a positive employee experience, the EX, and they will drive a phenomenally successful customer experience, the CX.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2020

    Will the FTC redefine anticompetitive behavior after its big tech acquisition inquiry?

    As the U.S. presidential campaign season heats up, any query about governmental oversight may have a tinge of political motivation. That said, is the issue about policing anticompetitive behavior or doing things at retail that serve to protect against (further) inroads by the e-commerce monoliths? Be it in the physical or digital domains, retailers need to find ways to create exceptional customer experiences. And that needs to start with the creation of an exceptional employee experience. The components of which are engaging, motivating, training, and managing - in real-time - those employees. Without their focused, energetic performance, government watchdogs won't matter.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2020

    Can luxury retail attract a new generation of shoppers?

    A consideration luxury retailers need to address with regard to the in-store experience is the Millennial salesforce. While providing a shopping experience for Millennials that will encourage them to buy and come back for more is key, retailers must also recognize that demographic is the largest in today's workforce. Not only are their shopping instincts different than prior generations that strode the aisles of high-end retailers, their orientation toward work is very different. In its thorough analysis of Millennials at Work, Gallup noted this generation is the least engaged, and they want quick recognition and advancement plus they want managers who understand their values and are willing to invest time to coach them along. After all, be it low- or high-end, the employee experience drives the customer experience.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2020

    Etsy’s diversity push seeks to ‘keep commerce human’

    Peer-to-peer recognition programs have proven to be far better at improving employee engagement and performance than cash reward-alone programs. We need to keep in mind people do things for both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons. Peer-based recognition programs have proven to boost employee lifetime value (ELTV). The challenge is to have the mechanism, the technology to make the giving and getting of kudos from coworkers easy and meaningful. Beyond that, the data collected using such a platform is useful to identify the next set of leaders, those who are admired for their approach to work, and the ones who need further coaching.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2020

    Will 2020 be the year of less flash and more substance for in-store tech?

    It's widely recognized that customer service will be the key differentiator from most brands but particularly those with a retail presence. Given that, the need for technology that makes a substantive difference in improving the employee experience cannot be understated. From my vantage point, much of the tech deployed on the sales floor has been about pumping up sales velocity. If we are in the age of customer service, then more attention must be paid to technology that helps frontline personnel - the face of the company, as it were - to make the customer experience superb. Several studies show if the face customers are dealing with does not provide a pleasant buying experience, they'll take their business elsewhere.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2020

    The measured store, version 2.0

    A challenge for gaining insight into customer behaviors in a physical store is equipping frontline employees -- the people having direct interactions with those customers -- with the knowledge and skills to pose the right questions and then, capture those responses for analysis. What better way to delve into the wants/needs, attitudes and more of an in-store shopper than to have the sales associate assisting the customer ask those sorts of questions. Of course, the reply is something like "our salespeople don't have time to learn how to do that." And I say they can because they must. Consider implementing a microlearning capability that offers bite-sized learning that can be easily absorbed and applied. Add to that a real-time performance capability to see how these employees are doing in this regard and really any other KPI. Then wrap it up with gamification to encourage engagement and the appropriate motivation and reward.
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