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: 01/21/2022

    Will airbags calm fears about driverless vehicles?

    First, there is the safety issue because accidents are bound to happen. Second, there is the loss of job to humans, notwithstanding the current temporary lack of drivers. Just because the technology is available doesn't mean it should be deployed. Driverless vehicles are trouble waiting to happen. And when enough trouble happens, they will fade away. Thank goodness.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2022

    What is America eating in 2022?

    Fever for the Flavor makes sense because folks can't travel much, so tasting foreign flavors would appeal to them. That's the knee-jerk thinking, however. My hunch is for Yearning for Yesteryear, which did not score highly in the poll. People, I believe, yearn for the days before Covid and the other issues dividing the country. I wouldn't be surprised if traditional brands of packaged good enjoyed a boost in sales.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2022

    Has BOPIS lost its pandemic boost?

    There are surveys and then there are other surveys. I just don't believe the results of this one. I may answer a survey saying that I "prefer" home delivery over BOPIS, but then I go to the store for curbside pickup after venturing inside to pick my fruits, veggies and meat. My sense from observation and talking to people is that BOPIS is not declining. Retailers would be wise to keep that in mind and consider all survey results with a cocked eye.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2022

    Hy-Vee creates its own armed security squad to deter crime

    Bravo, Hy-Vee. Armed security guards in supermarkets will be a welcome sight for shoppers. There's too much crime in stores nowadays, including shootings.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2021

    Are in-person trade shows safe (enough)?

    Attendance will certainly be down at major trade shows even if health and safety measures are taken and encouraged. I don't think walking around wearing a mask makes for an enjoyable experience. But young and strong execs will attend, while the senior crowd will be cautious, and rightly so. I think 2023 will be the year of a big rebound in attendance at trade shows. At least, I hope so.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2021

    Lowe’s wants to help customers age in place

    I know something about this, based on forward-looking personal experience, and having checked in frequently with my Mom who died at 90. Americans are living longer and more of them would prefer to stay put rather than move. Lowe's, other retailers and CPGs who help them will benefit with increased brand loyalty.
  • Posted on: 12/22/2021

    Kraft offers reimbursements for cream cheese stockouts

    Bravo, Kraft, for turning a disappointing situation into a win. Kraft is connecting with shoppers in a creative way at this special time of year. Other CPG companies surely must be thinking of ways to do the same if stock-outs are an issue for them.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2021

    Do farmers markets need to be reinvented for the digital age?

    Farmers markets are personal experiences that cannot and should not be duplicated online. Buyers and sellers enjoy this people-to-people marketplace.
  • Posted on: 12/15/2021

    Will grocers turn to Amazon as an alternative to Instacart?

    It depends on how you define "significant inroads." Amazon will make a dent, likely with small and mid-sized grocers. The big chains will back off because they rightly see Amazon as a growing threat to their their business.
  • Posted on: 12/14/2021

    Should retailers do more to protect frontline workers?

    Bravo, UFCW, for getting ahead of potential risks facing frontline workers, who have not received the credit they deserve so far. Social distancing in the store will be challenging to enforce. Floor decals and signage, sure. But PA announcements would not be out of the question for grocers who care about their employees and customers.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2021

    Mob thefts rock retail. What can stores do?

    Stores can't do much except beef up security. The "root cause" of these incidents can be traced to the attitudes of state and city political officials and their relationship with law enforcement. Instead of "Defund the Police" nonsense, the political leaders should beef up law enforcement, arrest the looters, put them in jail, and don't give them bail for a few bucks. I bet the looting stops right away.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2021

    What’s driving shoppers to Amazon?

    It is hard to beat Amazon with its ultra wide selection, great prices and fast delivery. Merchants can't duplicate that formula. But outstanding in-store customer service is the one advantage they have. Shoppers still like people-to-people interaction.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2021

    Will superfans influence more Americans to ‘thank heaven for 7-Eleven’?

    This gimmick is a bridge too far. Who exactly would be influenced? I don't expect to see copycat campaigns.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2021

    Have grocers mismanaged Thanksgiving?

    If shoppers find that some Thanksgiving staples are out of stock or higher priced, their knee-jerk reaction will be to blame the store. That, of course, will be unfair for some grocers. Savvy merchants know all about supply chain issues and surely ordered goods well in advance. Others who didn't prepare perhaps deserve criticism. However, I suspect that every shopper who wants a turkey will be able to buy a turkey in the store. If a grocer runs out, look out for shopper backlash.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2021

    Instacart wants ‘to make online grocery shopping more affordable’

    Delivery fees and the difficulty of finding and using coupons put off first-time users of online grocery shopping. Obviously, any improvements would be welcome. Would these improvements "greatly improve" business for Instacart? "Slightly improve" would be my hunch.

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