Georganne Bender

Partner, KIZER & BENDER Speaking
Georganne Bender is a consumer anthropologist, retail strategist, keynote speaker, author, consultant and one-half of the KIZER & BENDER Speaking team.

Georganne and her partner, Rich Kizer, are contributors to MSNBC’s television program Your Business. They made Meetings & Conventions Magazine's list of Meeting Planners Favorite Keynote Speakers, have been named two of Retailing's Most Influential People, and have been listed among the Top 40 Omnichannel Retail Influencers and the Top 50 Retail Influencers since 2014. Their award-winning Retail Adventures blog was named the Top Retail Blog by PR Newswire Media, and is consistently listed among important retail and small business blogs. KIZER & BENDER are partners and emcees for the popular Independent Retailer Conference. They recently served as official correspondents for the National Retail Federation’s Digital Retail Conference.

Any speaker can talk about consumers, but KIZER & BENDER actually become them. In addition to yearly focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes posing as every kind of customer you can imagine; and maybe even a few that you can't. The result of their research is literally straight from the customers’ mouth: solid ground level intelligence you can use to better serve your own customers. KIZER & BENDER are married, just not to each other. 2018 marks their 28th anniversary as a speaking team.

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  • Posted on: 07/16/2018

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

    It’s no surprise that each year teachers spend their own money for class decor and supplies, and that many companies opt to give them a break. Teacher discounts are well-deserved, but they are nothing new -- is an entire website devoted to deals on just about anything you can imagine, expressly for teachers. Is Target’s new teacher discount a sales or goodwill opportunity? I say it’s a sales opportunity banking on goodwill. Target’s discount is thoughtful, however, if it is truly meant to extend goodwill the discount would last longer than a week. Loft’s “Loft Loves Teachers” program, for example, gives teachers a 15 percent discount every day, plus all sorts of additional perks. That’s goodwill.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2018

    Did Build-A-Bear destroy its brand with a successful promotion?

    You had to join their Bonus Club to get the deal so growing their customer list was part of the thought process. Maybe the marketing department should have had a conversation with its store managers before giving this one the go ahead.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2018

    Did Build-A-Bear destroy its brand with a successful promotion?

    How someone at Build-A-Bear did not see this fiasco coming is beyond me. Certainly, there had to be at least one person who said, “Guys, this is a bad idea.” In-store events is one of our specialties. One of the things we encourage retailers to do is run through a detailed checklist of things to do before choosing to run an in-store event. The Pay Your Age promotion at a beloved store like Build-A-Bear would not have made it through the filter. Aside from the damage already in the books, offering a $15 voucher in lieu of a promotion where you could choose any “furry friend” in the store for your kid’s age is adding insult to injury. Seriously, I can’t stop shaking my head.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2018

    Survey: Customer experience tech rivals personal attention from staff

    Not relying on technology is where independent retailers will win every time. Handheld checkout and free Wi-Fi aside, there is nothing better than one-on-one interaction and personal service from a store associate. Smart indies use technology as a tool to enhance service, not to replace it.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2018

    Is your culture your brand?

    Years ago, I heard the brilliant Adrianne Weiss say, “A brand is like a country with it’s own unique language, customs and rituals.” Adrianne also pointed out that branding has to be the same in the front of the house and the back of the house to work. She has branded some of the most iconic companies - her words stuck with me. Whether they want to admit it or not, a company’s culture is its brand. It’s impossible to separate the two.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2018

    Hershey figures out what drives impulse purchases in stores

    I see today’s question as concerning two different things: In-store promotions and impulse purchases. In-store promotions are shoppertainment events designed to create a fun and unique experience that encourages shoppers to buy. In this case I would go with Hershey’s Delight and Inspire. Impulse purchases are a whole different animal. Here, Indulge, Score and Incent describe the jobs of end features, merchandise outposts, speed bumps and displays at the checkouts. Women are big impulse shoppers, men not so much. She’ll shop the aisles, but you have to place fixtures loaded with impulse-worthy items in his path. Remind is exactly what we’ve seen at office stores. You’re at the checkout about to pay when you realize you forgot paper. You say, “I’ll get it next time” but the cashier is already reaching under the counter where there’s small stash of most forgotten basic items. Sale saved. Placing product where shoppers can’t miss it is happening in new ways all over the store. Checkout queues at Old Navy that display items not traditionally found on the sales floor satisfy just about every category on Hershey’s list.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2018

    Is real-time order tracking becoming table stakes for e-tailers?

    Shipping is all over the place. Amazon delivered at my house at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night, while other reputable companies take as long as 10 days on a shipment that was promised to be received in three. I had a strange thing happen with a package last week. It was supposed to come to my home but showed up at my office two weeks later. My home address on the package was correct, but for some unknown reason FedEx opted to change the place of delivery. It took some research on their part to find my work address, and no one from the company or FedEx ever called to ask. There are a lot of fast-shipping promises flying around out there, that’s what’s causing zero tolerance from consumers who are being trained to expect almost instant gratification.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2018

    Are shoppers ready to pay to park at the mall?

    I saw this online over the weekend and crazy posts and headlines were causing people to lose their minds. Calm down. It’s opt in. Free parking at most Las Vegas Strip casinos ended in 2016, prices went up in 2017. I’m sensing a trend here, and not a good one. I agree with Al McClain that malls should offer free valet parking, and make it as easy as possible. I hate having to have a ticket validated because I always forget. There are times when I valet park at the mall and I am sure that there will be times when I would use this app. But I think that malls have to be careful to break the you-have-to-pay-to-park-here perception pretty quickly before that perception becomes reality.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2018

    Abercrombie & Fitch goes to college with a new store concept

    If you want to learn more about your customers, you have to go where those customers hang out. Placing a new store concept that targets the 18-to-25-year-old crowd near college campuses is a smart move. Abercrombie & Fitch has a way to go -- there are still a lot of Millennials out there who remember the Abercrombie & Fitch of old as an expensive, loud, perfumed club that didn’t welcome all of them with open arms. Perceptions are sticky; it’s going to take a lot more than a new prototype to move on. Whatever Abercrombie & Fitch uncovers about its new target customer in the Learning Lab concept stores will go a long way in strengthening connections with those customers. And that makes perfect sense to me.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2018

    Target looks to build rep as ‘America’s easiest place to shop’

    You hit this one right on the head, Larry. Precise coordination with the stores is critical.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2018

    Amazon to start new Christmas tradition with its own toy catalog

    When you think about it, the Sears catalog was the Amazon of its time. And now Amazon holds the title of retail behemoth. People still love catalogs, especially kids, who pour over the pages, hoping those cool toys will land under their tree on Christmas morning. Amazon is smart to start a new toy tradition - and make a lot of noise about it. The Whole Foods personal connection with shoppers is huge. Get that book into their little hands early so mom and dad can have Alexa take care of the holiday shopping hassle for them. All that’s missing is the magic of discovery on the sales floor. Yep, I still like to brave the holiday crowds. #lostbreedofshopper
  • Posted on: 07/05/2018

    Target looks to build rep as ‘America’s easiest place to shop’

    Well, this will kill the Target Syndrome: when you make a quick trip to Target to purchase one thing, but leave with a cart full of items you hadn’t intended to buy. Drive-up and same-day delivery seem to be this year’s go-to add-on service. If this extension of Target Run makes your life easier, why not?
  • Posted on: 07/03/2018

    Study claims positive plus-size clothing messages may have a downside

    Love this comment!
  • Posted on: 07/03/2018

    Study claims positive plus-size clothing messages may have a downside

    I'd say she's closer to a 12. Where's the study on big and tall men? There are never judge-y studies about men.
  • Posted on: 07/03/2018

    Study claims positive plus-size clothing messages may have a downside

    How many thumbs up can I give Paula's comment? Because it would number in the thousands. I may have to revert to Lamaze breathing to get through this study.

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