Georganne Bender

Principal, KIZER & BENDER Speaking
Georganne Bender is a retail and 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. 2021 marks their 31st anniversary as a speaking team.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2021

    Just how casual will wardrobes become?

    I still wear dresses and heels when speaking. If the group is more casual then I switch to jeans, a blazer and heels. It’s as much of a personal choice as it is respect for the client and audience.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2021

    Just how casual will wardrobes become?

    Lisa Goller nailed it! Rich and I still work in industries where suits and ties and dresses and heels are the appropriate choice of attire. A lot depends on the industry. I will never forget the time we were in our office putting it back together after getting new furniture. We were in jeans and sweatshirts. A saleswoman walked in and asked to see someone who worked there; I introduced myself. She said, “Sorry, I thought you were the cleaning people.” I may wear pajama bottoms while working at home but never in the office. It’s too soon to write off everything other than sweats and athleisure wear, so I’ll just sit back and wait for the surveys that find that too casual attire affects job performance.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2021

    What lessons should retailers take from the Theranos fraud debacle?

    I have to admit that I am slightly obsessed with the Theranos story, it’s so over the top unbelievable it’s amazing to me that it actually happened. While Elizabeth Holmes assured Walgreens that three pharmaceutical companies had done their due diligence on the Theranos devices, Walgreens did not do its due diligence on Theranos. The retailer hired a knowledgeable consultant who frequently told Walgreens' powers that be that there were problems with the machines but they did not listen to him. If something looks too good to be true it usually is, yet people - smart people - threw money at Elizabeth Holmes without ever checking to see if she was for real. Theranos was secretive and never provided real data. Walgreens customers weren’t having blood drawn via finger prick as Theranos promised, some had vials of blood drawn the old fashioned way. How could Walgreens miss that? I’d say the vetting process in both retailers failed miserably. My heart goes out to the people who received wrong diagnoses because of Theranos’s incompetence and faulty equipment.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2021

    Should advertisers delete Facebook?

    Do I approve of all that Facebook has been accused of? Absolutely not. But I know too many indie retailers who would not have survived the pandemic without it. Let's hope Facebook gets its act together and fixes the problems that need to be fixed for itself and Instagram. Like it or not, people enjoy and depend on Facebook.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2021

    Lunds & Byerlys gives associates Thanksgiving and Black Friday off

    Thanksgiving AND Black Friday off? That’s a retail miracle! It’s wonderful and may work for this retailer, but we’ll never see big box retailers close on Black Friday. It’s too much of a time-honored shopping tradition.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2021

    Is sportswear positioned to go on a long term winning streak?

    Do I expect sportswear growth to outpace overall apparel and footwear categories in the years ahead? That’s a depressing thought. I am tired of seeing rack after rack of athleisure clothing in stores; I am over it and want more choices. And I know I am not alone. Comfortable clothing for sure, but better looking than sweats and leggings. It’s ironic that in my trips to visit stores I see that the sales floor is full of athleisure wear but the customers shopping are not wearing it. Nordstrom had so much it had to utilize work horse fixturing you typically don’t see in its stores. Maybe Bank of America ought to spend quality time observing shoppers to see what they are actually buying. And wearing.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2021

    Has Walmart put a bullseye on Cat & Jack with its new Free Assembly Kids line?

    Here’s the thing: Walmart can elevate its fashion game to equal or surpass Target but that’s not enough. Target is sexy; Walmart has low prices. In order to compete with Target on a level playing field Walmart needs to up its fashion cred.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2021

    Amazon asks, why wait for Black Friday when you can get Christmas deals today?

    Sure, some consumers will go for the “Why wait for Black Friday?” deals, but others will wait for the big day itself. Or shop both. As hard as we all try to downplay Black Friday as being passé we cannot continue to overlook the fact that consumers still love it. It is a much anticipated, discussed, and planned for American shopping tradition. Seriously, it would be a lot more productive if we all just embraced it as consumers have. If you think that there will not be big Black Friday sales and events at every major and independent retailer on the day after Thanksgiving you are living under a rock.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2021

    Is working in retail a real job?

    Is working in retail a real job? To me it is. If young people today don’t look at retail as a real job then the fault lies with retail management who treat retail workers like they are disposable, instead of grooming them to be the future of the company.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2021

    Will layaway programs go away for good (or bad)?

    Layaway is a way of life for some consumers and it is something they depend on to get the gifts and goods they need but cannot afford right now. While I understand the instant gratification options programs like Afterpay offer, I wonder if they are the be all, end all solution for every consumer. Not everyone will qualify. What happens to those loyal customers who do not? I agree with Neil; there is a bubble waiting to burst here.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2021

    Will Americans finish this year’s Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving?

    RetailMeNot’s survey of 1,083 consumers and AlixPartners survey of 1,000 consumers should not be the information we make a determination based on. Those numbers could be me asking my friends on Facebook when they plan to Christmas shop this year. I do know that there are lots of things happening at retail that will result in many out of stock situations, but I also know that there are consumers who may have recognized what’s happening on the sales floor, but who are not fully aware of what is actually happening worldwide. I think that if you are the kind of person who finishes their shopping before Thanksgiving you will do that again this year, and if you tend to procrastinate you will do that this year as well.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2021

    How bad will product shortages get this time?

    I visited several malls and strip centers this weekend to see what is happening at the retail counter. Some retailers, like Nordstrom, still had limited assortments and empty spaces on their sales floors. Other retailers were low on stock and choices were limited so you’d better buy it when you see it. Apparel selection in many cases was limited to tiny sizes because the larger ones were already gone. Michaels Crafts was low on inventory in some categories, but overstocked in others. One Michaels had a 20’ aisle of plastic computer trays, plus additional trays in other areas of the sales floor to fill space. I can’t say for sure if it will get worse before it gets better, but it sure looks like we are headed in that direction. And will be for a while.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2021

    Are gig worker complaints a retail problem?

    The craft industry understands how to treat gig workers. Teachers and designers are important to business so the retailers make sure they are taken care of and feel a part of the team. Gig workers have always been important; the pandemic has moved them to the forefront. The customers’ first experience is important as is the last. When buying groceries, for example, the delivery person is a part of the store’s brand and the customers perception. The customer equates the gig worker with the retailer, not Instacart. Gig workers are an extension of the store/brand they represent and should be treated with the care and respect they deserve.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2021

    Buybuy Baby creates digital platform to help parents raise healthy and happy babies

    Back in the dark ages when I had my kids we had to rely on other parents, TV experts, and the written word. When my grandson was born my daughter had a Babies "R" Us's parenting campaign geared to Millennials, plus mommy bloggers, influencers, and friends who researched the hell out of everything. This is what the buybuy Baby campaign brings to the table. Having all of the specialists and information and products in one place is a tremendous help to a new parent. Welcome to Parenthood looks to be an extremely well thought out program. It will definitely be of help to new parents.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2021

    Will Taco Bell lovers sign up for a taco a day?

    T. Scott Gross calls those $1+ cups of sugar water a “Happy Boss.” Pure profit!

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