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. To learn more, visit:
  • Posted on: 11/16/2018

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Best Buy

    What I love about this is that we are diametrically opposed to which commercial is the best. I guess that’s what makes for a great partnership, right?
  • Posted on: 11/16/2018

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Best Buy

    This one is tough because the commercials are so different, and they are all very good. I love Best Buy’s simple, “Let’s talk about what possible.” Those commercials will definitely make me take a second look at Best Buy this Christmas. But Amazon’s “Can You Feel It?” got me. I felt it. Goosebumps. And I went back a couple of times to see the faces of the people in the commercial because some of their expressions were priceless. This one is the winner in my book; it screams holiday and family and friends.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2018

    What’s missing from everyday fashion rental subscription services?

    Subscription services like Rent the Runway offer items that I probably would not buy on my own -- I don’t need expensive designer dresses every day. And I agree with Nikki about the element of surprise that comes with a Stitch Fix box that doesn’t happen when I choose items on my own. Women come in all shapes and sizes, but much of the apparel out there still caters to those who wear smaller sizes -- this is where subscription service retailers really need to get their act together if they want to connect with female consumers. If I wear a size 10 in one garment and a 12 in another I am not going to be comfortable subscribing to any service. And I just don’t see the point of an Ann Taylor or New York & Company subscription service. Both of these retailers fill my inbox each day with deep discount offers. To me it makes more sense to just buy the things I want rather than go through the hassle of choosing and returning the things I rent.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2018

    Will right-sized stores drive bigger returns for Macy’s?

    Small is the new black; Small is the new big. Shoppers love the convenience and savings at big stores like Macy’s, but they crave the indie retail experience. Macy’s has done some out-of-character things lately, including changing areas that cheapen the shopping experience, like trying on $200 shoes you pull from a self-service pile, and the single cashwrap per floor that is both inconvenient and a pain in the shorts when the store is busy. Macy’s isn’t a discount store, these things shouldn’t happen there. Walling off areas of the store may be a start but it’s not enough. Narrower assortments that are regionally curated and backed up with strong customer service are just as important. The Market @ Macy's, STORY, and other pop-up partnerships will help as well. Going small should be a positive move for consumers, not an inconvenience.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2018

    Why do Millennials love private label groceries so much?

    The article answers its own question when it says Millennials think of private label as just another brand, not a cheap substitute for the real thing. When I was growing up you had to have the name brand – it didn’t matter what it was, it had to be the authentic item. Commercials on TV and ads in newspapers preached“accept no substitutes”. At the grocery store, the packaging for generics and private label items were never as appealing as the big brands. I can specifically remember my mother shying away from private label items. It’s different today; private label goods have the same appeal as name brands. Some have even better packaging. I’m not sure that this is limited to just Millennial shoppers. If you like a particular store there’s a good chance you will like the stores’ private label items, too. I think these days we all care more about what’s in the package – fresh, organic, vegan, pure, natural – than we do about it coming from a big name manufacturer.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2018

    Retailers need to focus on customer lifetime value for long-term success

    Understanding the lifetime value of a customer is something indie retailers do very well; chains and brands, not so much. I have strong connections with store associates but with the actual retailers? Forgettaboutit. Those associates frequently contact me to recommend product, but if they leave to work at another retailer that sells the same product, my business goes right with them. My loyalty is to that associate because the retailer has no idea who I am or how frequently I buy. With all the data available today you would think that retailers would use it to engage customers but they don’t. At least none of the retailers that I shop with do, and I frequent lots of big names that tout how great their service is. The service may be good, but aside from masses of email blasts, the connection with shoppers is not. Sadly, in most cases the relationship ends with the purchase. Over and over and over again.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2018

    Will Walmart’s bring your own device policy work for it and its associates?

    BYOD will certainly save Walmart money by not having to buy additional devices for associate use, and I like the idea of giving store associates a break on their cell phone bills. I hope it's generous. Giving every associate instant access to answer whatever question the customer might have will be a boost to customer service. I do see a downside to giving associates permission to use their phones on the sales floor because it will likely result in using those phones to do more than help shoppers. Personal cell phone usage on the sales floor is already an issue in some stores, this leaves the door wide open.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2018

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Kohl’s vs. Macy’s

    Macy’s commercial adds to its legacy of holiday cheer. This one is especially intriguing; Mom in space, missed by her family, and a little girl’s gift that brings them together even though they are miles apart. Kohl’s commercial doesn’t go for the holiday heartstrings, it just sells stuff. Takeaway the jingle bells and garland and it’s generic enough for any time of the year. Macy’s wins because it’s a story, not an overt ad. It draws us in with warmth and the hope that anything is possible.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2018

    Why aren’t women buying Amazon’s private label clothing?

    Women do not buy clothing the same way we buy electronics or household goods. Hardlines are easy to buy on Amazon, but apparel is another story. Too many women have been burned buying clothing via ads on social medias. We’re cautious. We like to know where the garments are made, the quality of the fabric, how the sizing runs, etc. We know what we’ll get with a name brand, but Amazon private label apparel is still a crap shoot.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2018

    Is there a failure to communicate between retail HQs and stores?

    I haven’t been a chain store manager in a long time but I can say with confidence that the lack of communications between headquarters and the stores isn’t anything new. We see it all the time, store associates who can’t answer customer questions or deliver incorrect information. Sharing data that may or may not be useful at store management level aside, corporate offices have a hard enough time keeping store managers up on sales, promotions, new company direction, and policies. It’s always a good idea for headquarters personal to spend quality time on the sales floor but it doesn’t happen often enough.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2018

    Will Goodyear roll over rivals with new Millennial-friendly showroom concept?

    I'm with you on the photo of the store interior, there has to be more to it. Either that or Goodyear is banking on customers not staying very long - maybe that's the point. Every customer will want a comfortable place to wait while their car is serviced.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2018

    Will Goodyear roll over rivals with new Millennial-friendly showroom concept?

    What’s not to love about a cool showroom, easy ordering, valets that pick up and drop off your car, mobile installation at your home, and real-time status updates? More than Millennials will embrace this concept. I have spent time in tire showrooms and it isn’t a whole lot of fun. Sign me up.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2018

    Kohl’s CEO rejects department store tag

    It’s interesting to read that its CEO doesn’t think of Kohl’s as department a store because I never have either. To me, Macy’s and Bloomingdale's are department stores, Kohl’s has lots of departments but it’s an entirely different retail animal. As retail analysts, we all like to talk about Kohl’s strong merchandise assortment, how its layout makes the store is easy to shop, and its legendary sales and promotions, but to the consumer it’s Kohl’s Cash that makes the store a stand out. People rave about what they saved shopping at Kohl’s, there are “How to Save Even More at Kohl’s” and “Kohl’s Hacks” articles all over the internet. This ability to save has created fiercely loyal customers who will always choose Kohl’s first.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2018

    Stores find that kids can be scarier than a bull in a china shop

    Being a retailer before I had children made me hyper aware of how they needed to behave in stores. Unfortunately, there are plenty of parents out there who think it’s perfectly acceptable to let their children treat stores like the local playground. It’s not easy to shop with kids. It’s one thing if the child is contained in a shopping cart, and another when they are not. A mother’s stress increases when she finds herself faced with associates who openly wince when they see children touching merchandise or when she is faced with awful signs like “Letting your kids touch our merchandise will result in bad karma” or “Unruly children will be given an espresso and a free puppy.” We agree, Bob, that retailers should greet all shoppers with an open heart, but this isn’t always the case. We have too many horror stories to list from consumers in our focus groups about how their even well-behaved children were treated in stores. It’s better for the retailer to have a plan. And to train associates that if you want the parents in your store you’d better openly welcome their children as well. Love me, love my kids! Instead of dreading children in your store, look for ways to make them comfortable. One of our favorite retailers offers “magic carpets kits” that include toys that are too big to swallow, coloring books, and crayons. When an associate is working with a family, he or she grabs a kit and places it on the floor next to the product the customer is perusing. The kits are portable so the kids move from place to place as mom and dad shop. Instead of making it difficult for parents, make it easy: changing tables available to both mom and dad, a bench to rest when shopping becomes too much, uncluttered aisles wide enough to accommodate strollers, and store associates who are genuinely happy to see you.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2018

    Black Friday is too late

    Despite which survey is quoted this week, Black Friday is still the official kick off to the holiday shopping season and it is important to consumers. It’s always a favorite topic in our focus groups when discussing holiday shopping because everyone has a Black Friday story and a shopping plan of attack. Holiday shopping is an equally hated and beloved sport. Retailers need to be smart about the promotions they run during the holidays because shoppers are savvy. Consumers know which stores will run a “ONE BIG DAY!” sale, followed the next week by another “ONE BIG DAY!” sale. There is so much sale marketing swirling around the holidays that many shoppers just tune it out.

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