PROFILE

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. 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: 01/23/2019

    Will a different kind of ‘innovation hub’ open the future to food growth opportunities?

    I like that SnackFutures is looking to entrepreneurs and external partners to move forward with ideas to improve a pretty traditional category. It’s important look outside your own four walls – and the capabilities of the talented people who run your day-to-day operation. Having worked in a corporate office for a large part of my career, I know how hard it can be for a company to embrace new directions, let alone turn a big ship around. But great ideas come from the least expected places, and there are a lot of people out there with amazing ideas who will never work for a big company. I am looking forward to seeing what SnackFutures does. Although Cadbury is one of the brands owned by its parent company – let's just leave Cadbury Cream Eggs alone… you can’t improve on perfection. #CadburyAddict
  • Posted on: 01/22/2019

    Can grocers sell produce without plastic bags and boxes?

    I stopped using bags for larger items in the produce department a long time ago. And now that I’m thinking about it, other than pre-packaged lettuce, our local grocer doesn’t put “best by” stickers on fruits and vegetables. Small items like blueberries and brussels sprouts are tough to corral without boxes or bags, but I like Nikki’s idea about using some kind of a tray - perhaps one you use to shop that stays at the store once your items are bagged at the checkout. This all comes down to changing the way we have shopped for groceries for decades. Consumers are finally getting used to paying for bags in some stores. Old habits die hard, it can be done but it won’t be easy.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2019

    Did Gillette’s rant against toxic masculinity go too far?

    Sometimes things just leave me shaking my head. What’s wrong with a company that sells men’s products saying “let’s have a little less bad behavior and more good”? Is it because Gillette is not known for campaigns like this, because what the ad says is true in many cases and that makes us uncomfortable, or is it because we’re all hyper sensitive these days? No matter what you say or do, some people will love you and some people won’t. I like that Gillette is reminding us all to be just a little bit better.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2019

    NRF: Top retailers share cultural keys to retaining employees

    The brilliant brander Adrienne Weiss was absolutely right when she said companies have their own culture, language and customs. We have worked with so many retailers who were not in touch with what it felt like to work at their stores. Culture is important in attracting and retaining employees. I’m happy to see the industry talking about it.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2019

    NRF: Consumers prefer self-service, but associates still have a role to play

    We’re talking about 526 people here; in a survey that found the preferred self services are kiosks for checking prices, and self service checkouts. Every shopper chooses that route over a store associate at one time or another. Reasons vary. Ask someone to tell you a customer service story and they will almost always tell you a bad one. Store associates get a bad rap, yet the retailers we work with understand that friendly and knowledgeable associates are key to their success. Smart brick and mortar retailers are increasing training to ensure that the in-store experience is a consistently good one.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2019

    Whole Foods halts 365 concept’s growth

    The 365 stores were created to counteract the perception that Whole Foods prices were too high. Amazon’s ownership of the chain has turned that perception around, and as we all know, in retail perception is reality. Why would Amazon move forward with a concept that no longer makes sense?
  • Posted on: 01/10/2019

    Why are Millennials apparently addicted to Chinese knockoffs?

    Here we go with one more thing to blame the Millennials for, but every generation has been into knockoffs at one point in time. Who doesn’t remember Baby Boomers clamoring for fake Louis Vuitton bags? It’s just easier for Millennials because every social media timeline is peppered with great looking clothing ads for products that you only find out are crap after you order them. Most Millennials that I know, Jasmine included, care about what they purchase and where and how it’s made.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2019

    Sephora adds choices and personalization to rewards program

    As a member of Ulta’s Ultamate Rewards program, all I care about is the number of points available to redeem. I’m sure there are other benefits but I can’t tell you what they are because they don’t mean anything to me. Sephora’s Beauty Insider program does have a lot to keep track of. Casual members will likely be confused - or not care - but hard core members will appreciate the choices offered. So many loyalty programs are just a mixture of the same old, same old. It sounds like Sephora has listened to its customers and is moving forward accordingly. It’s definitely a step towards real personalization.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2019

    What’s holding back in-store mobile engagement?

    Consumers may be interested in mobile technology but they aren’t falling over themselves to use it in-store. And there is definitely a disconnect in some stores between what’s promised online and what happens on the sales floor. This is a customer education issue. If retailers do not promote the value of mobile, customers are less likely to look for reasons use it.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2019

    E-commerce forces CPG brands to think differently

    Eco friendly, lighter packaging, sustainable, direct to consumer - all great things. What’s missing here is responsibility to the consumer. After the horrors of little kids eating Tide Pods last year, thinking they were candy, you’d think P&G would stop packaging poisonous chemicals in a manner that is similar to foods. I know you can’t police the world, but you certainly can be thoughtful about it.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2019

    Pier 1 seeks yet another turnaround strategy

    I'm with Art Suriano: "Find your niche and stay that course." Or maybe recapture your niche and make it better. Our local Pier 1 store recently debuted a confusing new layout that is more warehouse and less tabletop treasure hunt; it's a look that can be found in any store that sells home decor. Pier 1 lost its identity trying to be like HomeGoods. Customer service at Pier 1 is solid; put associates out there as a decorating resource. Embrace lifestyle merchandising; display products in a manner that helps shoppers easily visualize what it might look like in their own homes. No one goes to Pier 1 for a $5.99 candle, so don't take the in-store experience down to that level.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2019

    Retail industry mourns the loss of Blake Nordstrom

    My thoughts and prayers are with the Nordstrom family today.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2019

    Is Blue Apron smart to pin turnaround hopes on Weight Watchers alliance?

    A couple of things come to mind here. First, it’s a good deal for Blue Apron because WW has a far reach. That being said, Weight Watchers has always been about finding good things to eat in everyday foods. It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet. Blue Apron supplies recipe kits, so is WW branching out to become more like Nutrisystem? And secondly, I can’t get past the new moniker. To those of us who are 50+ WW will always stand for World War.
  • Posted on: 12/28/2018

    Camp brings a playground to retail

    As a parent, and now a grandparent, I have spent a lot of time in stores and play places designed for kids. Pieces of what Camp offers can be found in a variety of other not-so-cool places, but not all in one space, and not all just for the purpose of entertaining kids. Changing the theme every 12 weeks will keep it fresh, this will keep the decor fresh, too. Kids play places get tired pretty fast. We’re calling this a retail experience but is that what it really is? To me it’s a fun place to go to let your kids run off some steam, more Dave & Buster's amusement than an actual in-store experience.
  • Posted on: 12/27/2018

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: The Finals

    Three of these commercials stand out for me: Meijer because it’s heartwarming, Target because it reminds us of all the ways it loves us through gifting options, and the Dick’s Sporting Goods ad because it touches a nerve. This family has a ping pong table, but we all have something in our lives that’s a family touchstone; something that if it could talk could tell all of our family stories. Dick’s wins.

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