John Hennessy

Sr. Director Sales & Marketing, Alert Innovation

John has been helping retailers and brands see the business value of adopting innovative technologies for over 25 years.  John’s work evangelizing a better future through technology began with big data, business intelligence software and analytics at IRI.  Then several startups and a few global firms: personalized offers from loyalty card data using AI at Concept Shopping; Internet of Things (IoT) wireless perishable shipment monitoring systems at Locus Traxx; mobile loyalty, payment and offers at Silicon Valley based Mobeam; retail Virtual Reality and VR shopper research at Kantar Consulting; and now using robotics to automate ecommerce order picking, storage and dispensing at Alert Innovation.

For more information, visit:

  • Posted on: 03/04/2021

    Are CTOs finally getting the respect they deserve?

    Being on the selling side of retail and brand technology for a very long time, the most effective technology leaders I've worked with don't focus on technology. The best focus on how their technology customers will experience the technology. Their technology customer could be a delivery driver, shopper, store manager, supplier, partner, headquarters employee, or a blend of all. Each technology customer interacts with technology in different ways due to the their work environment, role, experience and skill set. Discussions I've had with strong technical leaders focus on how to simplify or automate routine tasks, how to deliver training to remote employees, how to offer self-directed refresher videos, how to support new employee onboarding, or how to replace system elements quickly and efficiently for continuous operation. When they are comfortable that you understand the audience they serve and can help them serve that audience, the conversation moves to validate the investment. Feature set and service enhancements are part of the conversation about serving their technology customers. Yes, you better be able to deliver, but more importantly, you must be able to align with and serve the unique requirements of their technology customers. Customer-focused conversations about technology adoption used to be unique or an afterthought. It was buy tech on features and ROI and push it out. I don't miss those days. The evolution of those in technology leadership roles from evaluating technology features to serving customer segments through the right approach has a lot to do with elevating the importance of CTOs.
  • Posted on: 02/17/2021

    Has text messaging become retail’s go-to communication tool?

    Email is the new snail mail. People check their texts far more regularly and react to texts more quickly than email. This is especially true of the busy families retailers want to reach. But using text comes with caveats as noted in the article. It begins with understanding the formal rules and includes understanding the informal rules. Customers using text to click and collect do not assume you will bombard them with text messages. Text is a bit more personal than email. It is about immediacy and getting things done. Follow both formal and informal rules of texting and you will gain direct access to valuable customers.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2021

    Digital gains are changing how Best Buy puts its associates to work

    Best Buy is doing its best to adapt and follow its customers using existing resources. Retraining employees to focus on digital orders makes sense when those orders are up 100%. Re-using underutilized store square footage as fulfillment centers to help them cover their costs and not incur additional costs also makes sense. These are necessary adaptions to address a doubling of ecommerce orders over a short period of time. While the article doesn't state, the change certainly includes reduced store visits. Stores still have a role but reconfiguring real estate and employees to address ecommerce orders is essential for retailers with large brick and mortar footprints to remain competitive and profitable. With time, ecommerce order automation is the next step to ecommerce order profitability.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2021

    Poshmark’s secondhand sales platform goes to the dogs

    Terrific move by Poshmark. Massive market. Passionate shoppers. Reaches across all socio-economic strata. This should be a huge success.

Contact John

  • Apply to be a BrainTrust Panelist

  • Please briefly describe your qualifications — specifically, your expertise and experience in the retail industry.
  • By submitting this form, I give you permission to forward my contact information to designated members of the RetailWire staff.

    See RetailWire's privacy policy for more information about what data we collect and how it is used.