John Karolefski

Editor-in-Chief, CPGmatters

John Karolefski is the publisher and editor-in-chief of, a twice-monthly ezine that focuses on building brands through retail. He is also the executive director of the Shopper Technology Institute (STI), the only trade organization for providers of technologies and solutions that engage shoppers and analyze their behavior. STI produces and hosts the annual LEAD Marketing Conference which focuses on Loyalty, Engagement, Analytics and Digital applications.

Karolefski, the former senior editor of Supermarket News, is the co-author of three books: “Consumer-Centric Category Management,” “All About Sampling and Demonstrations,” and “TARGET 2000: The Rising Ride of TechnoMarketing.”

  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    Should ‘best by’ dates expire?

    All of the posts had good points and suggestions. I don't know how to fix the problem or make these labels more understandable, but here's the commonsense reality: Shoppers look for a date on a package. No matter what the wording and advisory is, they will not buy the product when that date is coming up soon. In fact, they will rummage through the packages to find the latest date. How do you fix THAT?
  • Posted on: 10/16/2018

    ‘Frictionless’ is the annoying word of the year

    For too many shoppers nowadays, "frictionless" really means lazy: Have someone load groceries on the conveyor belt, bag them, wheel them out of the store and load the car. Where will it end? Accompany the shopper home, cook dinner, and clean the dishes?
  • Posted on: 10/12/2018

    Cannabis-infused drink and food makers are high on grocery opportunities

    If shoppers demand these products, and if mainstream manufacturers produce them, most supermarkets will sell them. But where should they be stocked? In a separate section like alcohol, or blended in with traditional products? If the latter, it will be a category management challenge.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2018

    Would biometric feedback shopping carts creep out Walmart’s customers?

    Welcome to the future of grocery shopping. When the iCart detects that a shopper is stressed out, the Command Center for Violating Privacy sends a humanoid robot to provide comfort and coupons.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2018

    Trader Joe’s success is a matter of values

    I vote for #6. The store is the brand. The Trader Joe's brand stands for all the other six values. Shoppers understand. It's that simple.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2018

    Are grocers shortchanging flexitarians?

    Most folks who are not into diet and nutrition are likely unfamiliar with the term "plant-based food" or are turned off by it. Grocers should stage several in-store samplings to create awareness of this tasty alternative.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2018

    Will crowdsourced service help Walmart nail the last mile of grocery deliveries?

    Testing new methods is always a good idea. And Walmart conducts a lot of tests, ranging from the reasonable to the bizarre. What ever happened to the Walmart test in California that had delivery people entering a house to put groceries in the pantry and fridge?
  • Posted on: 08/31/2018

    Walmart could have you shopping in The Matrix

    Anything is possible, so I won't say such use of VR will never happen. It will depend on how far from reality some people want to be. I just object to the phrase in the first sentence of this story: "While we’ve all gotten used to shopping from our living rooms." Who exactly is ALL? One hundred percent of the U.S. population? There will always be people who wish to emerge from their caves, er, living rooms to interact with other humans and the real world.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2018

    Publix pioneers an easier way to see the doctor

    This is an interesting program that would appeal to some shoppers. Referrals to a store's dietitian or nutritionist for follow up when appropriate would make a lot of sense. If Publix rolls out the program to more stores, other grocers with pharmacies will take notice and start similar programs if they have the resources.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2018

    Can Zippin zip past where Amazon Go is going?

    This is just another example of technology for technology's sake. If it can be done, it must be good and shoppers will rejoice. Not. Are grocery shoppers really demanding "just walk out" stores? Not really. I can see this working in convenience stores for people who walk in and out with a soft drink and bag of chips. But I cannot see this working in a supermarket with a $200 order of groceries. Do these shoppers really want to bag their own groceries as they cruise the aisles as a reward for just walking out? I don't think so. Finally, there is the cost factor. Not many grocers will invest in this technology to reduce the frustration of long checkout lines. They would be better off hiring more cashiers and opening more lanes.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2018

    Are stock-up grocery trips becoming a thing of the past?

    There are surveys and then there are other surveys. How many say shoppers do not like to go grocery shopping? So now we are to believe they prefer to go grocery shopping "several times" as needed as opposed to "once" for a big stock up. Huh?
  • Posted on: 08/16/2018

    Gallup poll says consumers prefer to shop for their own groceries

    Grocers have to invest in online shopping for that small segment of its customers that want it. Grocers don't want to lose them to a competing store with online ordering capabilities. Having said that, all of the hoopla over grocery e-commerce has -- in my humble opinion -- been way overblown. People want to interact with the physical world, and that includes personally selecting what food they purchase for themselves and their families. Sure online grocery has its place for some, and it will remain one of the services a grocer can offer. But the physical store has dominated shopping and will continue to do so for the vast majority of shoppers. Grocers need to remember that and invest their resources accordingly.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2018

    Hy-Vee opens fitness-focused grocery store concept

    I like the concept. Will other grocers adopt the same? Most won't, but some will. They would be wise to do so if they have the resources and receptive customers. I can see such a concept working in states where good health and exercise are embraced -- places like Colorado and Oregon.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2018

    Study: Online retailers losing billions in sales to out-of-stocks

    So much for all the hype about the endless aisle. The rate of out-of-stocks in stores has been about 8 percent for as long as I can remember. I wonder how long out-of-stocks online will stay at 15 percent.
  • Posted on: 07/18/2018

    Will Kroger’s new app make customers healthier than those who shop at rivals?

    Kudos for Kroger for looking out for the health of its customers. Will this app be successful? For a segment of shoppers, yes, and they will appreciate the convenience; for most shoppers, no, and they will find the app too complicated and not worth the effort. Then there is the issue of health-info overload. Grocery packages bear the SmartLabel; grocers have shelf labels with health info; and now this app. Yes, they are options to acquire information, and options are always welcome. But at some point the variety gets to be annoying to some shoppers who just want to get in and out of the store.

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