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: 06/17/2019

    Does self-checkout make sense for Costco?

    Obviously time will tell if Costco's latest venture into self-checkout is successful. I just wonder if shoppers were asking for self-checkout terminals, or if management figured they were needed. That makes a difference, especially if there are glitches with the scanning process.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2019

    Kroger is high on the CBD sales opportunity

    This will not be a fad if the products are effective. Most major retailers will soon begin stocking personal care products with CBD as an ingredient, but grocers will wait until they see consumer reaction and sales before committing to private label versions. Sales of CBD-infused food and beverage -- when legal -- will be a bridge too far for most grocers.
  • Posted on: 06/10/2019

    Walmart debuts store-to-fridge fresh food delivery service

    So, grocery delivery to your fridge is the next step for in the ever-ending drive for the most convenience with online ordering and delivery. What's next? The delivery person prepares a meal and washes the dishes? Can sleep-overs be far behind with pancakes for breakfast and taking out the trash?
  • Posted on: 06/06/2019

    Stores have cut out-of-stocks. Why don’t consumers know that?

    The out-of-stock rate in supermarkets 20 years ago was 8 percent. Today, it's still 8 percent, according to the latest research I've read. Maybe robots are the answer to full assortments.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2019

    Are Wegmans, Giant Eagle and Tops wise to drop in-store childcare?

    I suppose it makes economic sense to discontinue the service if not enough shoppers are taking advantage of it. But it's ironic that these grocers are eliminating child-care services at a time when QFC supermarkets and Stop & Shop are installing special doghouses outside their stores so customers can park their pets safely while shopping inside. I wonder if that will make economic sense.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2019

    Do the benefits of using facial recognition in retail outweigh the risks?

    Let's say grocers polled their shoppers and asked if they would mind if facial recognition was used to improve customer service. My hunch is that 90 percent or more of them would say NO WAY. The customer is always right. Or am I wrong?
  • Posted on: 04/12/2019

    Why consumers are breaking bonds with their favorite brands

    Young adult consumers are not developing loyalty to the brands they grew up with. As adults, they don't want their mother's or father's brand anymore. New brands that challenge established heavyweights are cool and offer something truly innovative for the digital generation. Some big brands react by just purchasing these upstarts rather than developing cool new brands for a new generation of consumers. That is not long-term strategy for success.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2019

    Will Walmart clean up with its robotic workforce?

    I would give Walmart more credit if it invested in hiring more people instead of deploying machines, which certainly will result in letting people go no matter what the corporate spin may be. But humans have not solved the out-of-stocks problem, so maybe robots can. If not, get rid of them.
  • Posted on: 04/08/2019

    Retailers still haven’t solved last mile challenges for fresh foods

    Selecting produce and delivering it is an issue that may never be solved without consumers lowering their expectations and standard of satisfaction. People are picky. One's opinion about the quality and appearance of produce items will rarely match that of the in-store selector.
  • Posted on: 03/19/2019

    Can Walmart lead the fight to eliminate plastic waste?

    Walmart's plan to reduce the plastic waste of its private brands is nice. Good for them. Maybe other retailers will follow. But I would be more impressed if Walmart led the way by eliminating plastic bags at checkout.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2019

    Can location intelligence provide a lifeline for retailers?

    I disagree with the post that predicted beacons in-store and elsewhere that send offers the shopper agrees to receive on her smartphone is the way of the future. This has already been tried in grocery stores and failed to catch on. Shoppers may initially agree to accept the ping of a special offer. "Hey, that's a cool idea!" But they will change their minds once they are pinged to death in the aisles.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2019

    Will other cities follow Philly in banning cashless stores?

    "Cash on the barrelhead" is a practice that comes from the days when upended barrels served as both seats and tables in bars and stores. In other words, customers had to pay for their drinks and goods in full at the time of purchase by putting money on top of the barrel. The barrels are gone, but the concept still serves those not blessed with bountiful resources who need to pay in cash because they don't have credit or debit cards.
  • Posted on: 03/08/2019

    Will new Scan & Go tech turbocharge Sam’s checkouts?

    This "convenience" may be cool at first. But I have never believed that encouraging shoppers to do the work of scanning item after item enhances the shopping experience. In the long run, this convenience will be discontinued.
  • Posted on: 03/07/2019

    Where are grocers failing on in-store experience?

    The area of human contact may be the most important of all. People respond to pleasant, well-informed store associates, be they clerks, sampling folks, customer service people, cashiers, or others. Such contact makes for a friendly and pleasant shopping experience. Ironically, grocers are moving away from human contact with their interest in and testing of cashier-less stores, robots in the aisles, robot brand ambassadors, more self-service kiosks, and who knows what other techno-nonsense to be unveiled in the future. When you lose the human touch, you lose the shopper.
  • Posted on: 02/25/2019

    Tide to roll out laundry cleaning service nationwide

    Great idea! It's a logical extension of the Tide brand for a new generation of younger consumers who will use this service more than other demographic groups. The Tide brand keeps getting stronger.

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.