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: 06/17/2021

    Walgreens inks a deal with Uber Eats to expand same-day deliveries

    For retailers, home delivery has become The Amazing Race. Every merchant wants to be number one. Walgreens' new program is the latest example of speedy delivery.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2021

    Amazon scales its Just Walk Out tech for a full-size grocery store

    Shoppers always want to get out of the grocery store more quickly. Is this technology and others that eliminate cashiers the answer? Maybe, but at a very high cost that would be prohibitive to smaller grocers. How to speed up checkout? Open more checkout lanes and hire more cashiers. Maybe that's too simple for the tech-loving crowd who quickly grab the next shiny solution, but it works.
  • Posted on: 06/10/2021

    Will grocery basket sizes be cut down to their former size?

    It's a mixed bag (or basket). Some grocers will go back to pre-pandemic baskets, while others will keep the larger carts. Some shoppers will remain pleased with fewer trips to the store, which larger baskets make possible. Others will embrace anything and any service that brings them back to normal -- that is, pre-pandemic living.
  • Posted on: 06/02/2021

    Do consumers have a gender preference when it comes to brand names?

    This is a silly study that nobody should take seriously.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2021

    Will other retailers follow Costco and bring back food sampling?

    Grocers and food makers both want in-store sampling to come back. And shoppers would like that, too. But the phase-in will be gradual with safety guidelines as the key. This promotion will be back to normal in all stores a year from now in mid-2022.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2021

    Should retailers continue to require associates and customers to wear masks?

    The CDC's recommendations have been slightly confusing, to say the least. However until herd immunity is reached in America, I would advise grocers to continue their mask policy for in-store employees and for all shoppers. Some people won't like it, but that's the prudent policy for now.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2021

    Kroger takes flight with drone delivery test

    Ryan Walsh, the CEO of the Valqai drone delivery mailbox system, predicts these drone deliveries spreading across the country in three to five years — hundreds if not thousands of these drones in the air at the same time making critical deliveries of, say, a bags of Doritos, hot dogs and beer for the Big Game. That's either super convenient or the most inane idea ever conceived.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2021

    Will Americans open their garages and homes to Amazon and Walmart?

    The real issue is an invasion of privacy. Personally, I do not want strangers coming into my home or garage to delivery stuff. I suspect there are many others who feel the same. Put the package on the porch, and leave.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2021

    What goes into delivering a ‘wow’ shopping experience?

    For knowledgeable and appreciative shoppers, the "wow" experience in the New Normal will be for grocers to add more staffed checkout lanes, eliminate any robots that may have joined the human work force, and offer paper bags only at checkout instead of plastic sacks that hurt the environment. When the pandemic is history, the first grocery store that eliminates the mask mandate, does away with social distancing, and removes plexiglass shields at checkout will indeed provide a "wow" experience for shoppers.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2021

    Plant-based drink and meat alternatives look like they are here to stay

    I don't believe that the pandemic influenced plant-based purchases to any significant extent. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the country. Promoters of plant-based food and most knowledgeable nutritionists have been telling consumers that full-fat dairy (cheese and whole milk) and red meat will clog arteries with saturated fat and lead to heart disease. Consumers are listening and enough of them are believing it. This will continue. Savvy grocers are creating plant-based food sections in various departments of the store. Will the movement mean the end of a juicy steak and a bowl of chunky-monkey ice cream? No, but the plant-based movement will have an impact on sales for sure.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2021

    Will shelf scanning robots put an end to out-of-stocks?

    Robots may have a permanent place on a grocer's list of employees. Some of them may do a good job and ultimately may be cost effective. But two things will never change: one, robots take jobs away from people; two, shoppers -- at least the ones I know -- do not like seeing robots in the aisles. I don't think grocers care about either one.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2021

    What will 80,000 closed stores mean for America’s retailers?

    I see online grocery shopping growing with curbside pickup becoming a mainstay for supermarkets. I don't see many grocery stores closing, even though many markets are over-stored. However smart supermarket operators need to be more responsive to shoppers and their health and safety concerns -- or they will go out of business.
  • Posted on: 03/24/2021

    Will COVID vaccine promos take retail sales higher or just provide a short sugar rush?

    Supermarkets could jump into the promo-vaccination opportunity. They could give a piece of fruit or a protein bar to customers who show a card saying they are vaccinated. The focus would be on good health, and bravo for grocers who do that. But sadly, given the choice between a donut and a banana, we all know which one would be more popular.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2021

    Do Kroger’s chains have more to gain or lose from closing stores over ‘hero’ pay increases?

    The optics are just awful. Shoppers won't forget. Just provide the "hero pay" to heroic employees. It's that simple.
  • Posted on: 03/10/2021

    Will shoppers get their nails done at Hy-Vee?

    I'd say this has a 50-50 chance of succeeding. It expands the concept of one-stop shopping, and would appeal to some shoppers. But I wonder where will such expansion end? Are tanning salons next?

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