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: 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.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2018

    Hershey figures out what drives impulse purchases in stores

    Kudos for Hershey. It is this kind of research by a CPG company that can lead to closer collaboration with retail partners.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2018

    IKEA says no to plastic

    Most of the supermarkets I visit in Europe charge shoppers a few cents for plastic bags at checkout. Not surprisingly, almost every shopper I see brings their own cloth bag. This is a policy US supermarkets might consider if they don't boldly eliminate plastic bags altogether.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2018

    New organic grocery concept is an educational experience

    Grocers want to lure shoppers to their stores, and engage them. Shoppers want to learn more about food, nutrition, etc. from local experts. Combine these two desires, and you have the Raley's concept store. Bravo!
  • Posted on: 05/18/2018

    Will store-within-a-store concepts make Hy-Vee’s more attractive destinations?

    Store-within-a-store concepts have a good chance to succeed if they present products that complement grocery assortments. They add excitement and engagement to an otherwise dull center store. These concepts do not work well if the highlighted products don't smoothly complement grocery assortments. For example, I do not think Ace Hardware units in Kroger will ultimately be a winning addition. Shopping list: milk, eggs, chain saw.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2018

    Walmart drops Scan & Go tech – again

    Older shoppers generally will not want to scan and bag while walking around the store. They rightly feel that is the job of the store associates. Why do their job? Younger shoppers, on the other hand, likely think it's cool technology, and it is. They don't mind being fooled into doing the work of store associates. Eventually, they will wake up, IMHO. Scan & Go is just another example of technology for technology's sake. If it's available, it must be good. Sure, it's always good, until shoppers say it's not.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2018

    7-Eleven Launches first augmented reality in-store experience

    Obviously the retailer wants to do three things: Lure customers, engage them in the store, and sell more product to justify this promotion. My prediction: This gimmick might do the first two, but not the third.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2018

    Walmart ditching khakis for jeans in dress code test

    Jeans today, maybe flip-flops tomorrow. Classless or classy? What impression does Walmart want to give?
  • Posted on: 04/17/2018

    Meijer works to keep up with Kroger and Walmart with ‘Shop & Scan’ tech

    I understand the desire of shoppers to get in and get out of the store more quickly. Speeding up the checkout progress is obviously one idea for grocers to investigate. More will offer shoppers the option of using a smartphone app to scan their own groceries while they shop and then bag them. However, I am not convinced that a critical mass of shoppers will want to do the work of scanning and bagging groceries while wheeling through the store. Maybe for small baskets? Well, they can use the self-checkout machine instead. But scan and bag will never work for very large carts of groceries. The novelty will wear off quickly. Here's an idea to speed up the checkout progress: Open more checkout lanes.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

    Death Wish Coffee goes from small roastery to Amazon’s ‘most wished for’ brand

    It's interesting to see emerging brands gaining traction in a crowded CPG world. Albertsons is launching a digital marketplace for emerging brands. The Food Marketing Institute is launching an initiative to create awareness of emerging brands. Big Food is in the cross-hairs nowadays.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2018

    Is Walmart building a tower of power with its expanding in-store pickup network?

    If the idea is to speed up the time it takes to pick up products from the store, it makes sense to position the towers outside the store. That is what shoppers want. They do not want to be coaxed into the store for pickup.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Former Walmart U.S. CEO raises prospect of breaking up Amazon

    A sidebar issue is Jeff Bezos. Does he have too much power to affect or change so many things in the country? When in history has this proven to be a good thing?
  • Posted on: 03/27/2018

    Whole Foods cuts local marketing staff

    It's too early to know for sure, but all the speculation is always interesting. Overall for Whole Foods, improved efficiency is a plus, the loss of local marketing is a minus.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2018

    New-gen D2C brands get more personal with consumers

    Small brands like Dirty Lemon Beverages succeeding with direct-to-consumer are always interesting. Big brands like P&G and Campbell have their toes in the water. But D2C will only become a factor in the business when big brands go BIG into D2C. That won't happen soon.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2018

    Walmart reimagines in-store shopping for mobile

    Blending digital with the physical store is the new Holy Grail of retailing, and Walmart deserves a thumbs up for its new app. Will it get shoppers out of the store faster, which is what they always want? That remains to be seen. Staring at a smartphone while in the store takes time.

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