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: 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.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2019

    Why is shelf management getting short shrift in supermarkets?

    Too much time and money is spent on all the components of e-commerce, which -- of course -- is important. But more important are the results of a recent survey saying that 87 percent of consumers prefer grocery shopping in stores. They say they want a satisfying shopping experience. That surely includes product availability, which is the result of efficient and consistent shelf management. That is where grocers should be devoting more time and money.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2019

    America has too many retail stores

    In one sense, many marketplaces have too many supermarkets; that is, when two or three traditional chain stores are within a few miles of each other. They essentially cancel each other out. It's another situation if one chain store, an ethnic independent, a Trader Joe's and Aldi compete in the same locale. That gives consumers a choice of shopping experience and product assortments.
  • Posted on: 02/13/2019

    Can Whole Foods’ business afford higher prices?

    Obviously, Whole Foods has less room to raise prices than other grocers because of recent promises to lower prices. Shoppers notice and appreciate such promises. Raising prices across the board would diminish the brand and reduce shopper loyalty, so Whole Foods will do so selectively. Money is money, after all.
  • Posted on: 02/11/2019

    Are apps and voice assistants the keys to e-grocery adoption?

    Here's a simple prediction: Yes, grocery apps and voice assistants will play "some" role in elevating the online grocery experience in the years to come, but -- it will be a LONG time before that happens. It will be be a generational change, and it might not happen until the generation after Generation Z.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2019

    Walgreens tests tech that sort of recognizes you in-store

    This is just the latest example of Technology Gone Wild in mass market stores. Shoppers will not appreciate this invasion of privacy, especially if it is explained to them. Peek-a-boo! I see you!
  • Posted on: 01/18/2019

    NRF: Would digital experiences be even better with a human touch?

    Maintaining the human touch as technology invades the store is key. Co-creation makes a lot of sense, but it won't be deployed by every retailer. It is something for the big boys (and girls) with the resources to executive properly.

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