PROFILE

Georganne Bender

Consumer Anthropologist, 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: 05/24/2019

    Can Loop make packaging reusability a reality at scale?

    I checked out the packaging on Loop’s website. It’s attractive, not generic at all.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2019

    Can Loop make packaging reusability a reality at scale?

    Convenience, good looking reusable packaging, and a plan that includes brick-and-mortar retailers? I love this idea! Where do I sign up?
  • Posted on: 05/23/2019

    Are retail HQs and stores suffering a communication breakdown?

    The headline should read, “Why are retail HQs and stores STILL suffering a communication breakdown?” This isn’t new, it was happening when I was a Gap store manager in the '70s. Timely communications aren’t always passed down through the chain of command. Messages from headquarters aren’t always clear, regional/district/store managers are busy and miss things, and associates on the frontline pay for it with agitated shoppers. Technology will help if it’s used, but this has always been about training - meetings and conversations that keep everyone up to speed.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2019

    Should retail boards include seats for store associates?

    This is really two different issues, isn’t it? Placing store associates on Walmart’s board of directors might be an admirable idea, but probably not a practical one; associates and CEOs come from different places in thought and experience. The two levels absolutely need to interact. Walmart’s board - every board - has a lot to learn from front line employees, but I think this would be frustrating for both sides. Active task forces or committees, headed by board members, that include associates would be a better fit.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2019

    When the going gets tough, the tough get transparent

    I think Rothy’s did the right thing in handling this situation. Sure, it would have been better to have the product ready before moving forward with a marketing campaign, but that didn’t happen. With social media being what it is, companies have no other choice than to come clean. When a company remains silent people come to their own not-always-good conclusions, sharing and commenting all over online. That leads to the next step in crisis control. Transparency at the very beginning is critical to future success.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2019

    Should Kohl’s buy At Home?

    I agree with everything you said, Neil. At Home is a giant warehouse with tall fixtures that are loaded with cheap, imported things you might want in your home. There’s no romance and very little visual merchandising. And other than the fact that it sells things for the home, you can’t really compare At Home to HomeGoods or Pier 1 because it’s not a place to go for inspiration. And home stores should provide inspiration.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2019

    Do treasure hunt experiences provide the key to discounters’ fortunes?

    There is a big difference in the shopping experience in the stores mentioned in the article. T.J.Maxx and HomeGoods are bright, stocked with fun merchandise, are signed well and easy to shop. Ross has good commercials but, other than price, there is nothing exciting about its stores. Payless sold fashion at low prices but the in-store experience was a bore. I think the difference between brick-and-mortar discounters that succeed and those that fail is more than the treasure hunt – you can find that experience anywhere. Off-price stores that succeed do so because they aren’t run like second-rate stores; shoppers choose them because they are merchandised with care.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2019

    Study says Whole Foods is the priciest grocer of them all

    The high cost of shopping at Whole Foods comes back to that old retail adage, "There is no reality, only perception." You are what you are perceived to be by your customers and your community whether you like it or not. In the case of Whole Foods this perception IS reality - prices are higher than other grocery stores. Whole Foods customers don't seem to mind the higher prices because they are looking for a different experience than discount shoppers. But touting price cuts when Prime members are actually saving minuscule amounts over non-members will catch up to Whole Foods sooner or later. Consumers aren't stupid.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2019

    The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show exits network TV

    It’s about time that Victoria’s Secret realized its brand needs to evolve. Rethinking - removing - the fashion show from TV makes sense, especially since it has been bleeding viewers. And who really thought its target audience was female? To reinvent it, I’d start by bringing it up to speed with the times. Victoria’s Secret is a pretty store in malls that sells lingerie. Its customers are not the glamazons pushed by the brand; that body type isn’t even aspirational. Women come in all shapes and sizes and we want to shop with retailers who are inclusive, not exclusive. Television isn’t the medium; only hard core fans will watch what is essentially an hour long commercial. Stream the fashions online, connect via social medias - there are so many opportunities available. Victoria’s Secret needs to show the world it understands women don’t have to be 6’ and 100 pounds to be beautiful.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2019

    Petco opens in-store kitchen for pets

    IDK, my daughter cooked meals for her big dog for a long time to get her through a stomach issue. I’ve done it for my little guys, but I like to cook and they (really) like to eat. :) I don’t always trust recipes I find online but I would trust JustFoodForDogs recipes. The canned food they eat isn’t $6.00 a can, but it’s expensive.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2019

    What’s wrong with the (fill in the blank) category?

    Classic example of claustrophobia of abundance!
  • Posted on: 05/13/2019

    Petco opens in-store kitchen for pets

    Unless your pet is ill, and $6 to $12 daily meals is what it needs to get well, that’s a lot of money. But someone is buying the food because JustFoodForDogs has been in operation for nine years. I think it would be cool if Petco offered classes to teach pet parents how to cook those healthy meals for Fido at home. I’ve attempted this many times for our little furry guys; it would be nice to have more than a recipe from a random website.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2019

    Is anyone going to buy Sears’ rebranding?

    A new logo won’t do much unless it’s backed up by a solid merchandising plan. Sears came back in the '90s with “The Softer Side of Sears” campaign. It was effective, but unfortunately the company didn’t stick with it very long. Logos are funny things; people get attached to them because of what they represent. I remember when Gap spent 1.7 million dollars to change its logo from a blue square with its name in the center, to just the word "Gap" with a small blue box offset over the P. The Internet went crazy and soon there was a website where you could save a bundle and “crap your own logo.” Far be it from me to wish ill on any retailer or write them off too soon. Let’s wait and see what Sears does next.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2019

    Are machine learning and AI the path to enhanced personalization?

    Consumers are ready for next-level AI because they have been hearing about it forever. Currently, personalization is limited to your name at the top of an email blast, and a repeat of whatever you looked at recently online over and over and over. The retail industry has been talking about personalization forever – it’s interesting that it is still not a top corporate priority. Talk is cheap, but a lack of budget, knowledge, skills and access to data are strong reasons not to move forward.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2019

    What can we learn from the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play recall?

    There are so many things wrong about this recall. First of all, manufacturers need to design easy to use products and simplify the instructions. We already know that people do not read safety warnings and instructions that are four pages long and printed in an 8 point font. The reason it’s four pages is because the manufacturer knows there could be an issue, the document is to cover its ass. Take it down to a few sentences. It took 10 years to recall this item, in the meantime, 32 babies died. That’s criminal. Mattel dropped the ball here, big time. The company has an obligation to respond faster when it knows little lives are at stake.

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