PROFILE

Keith Anderson

SVP, Strategy & Insight, Profitero
Keith Anderson is senior vice president, strategy & insights, for Profitero, where he leads product strategy and the analyst team. Keith’s insights on technology and retail have been featured in Financial Times, re/code, Bloomberg, Forbes Magazine, and Shopper Marketing Magazine. He has been a featured speaker at RetailNet Group, Brand Activation Association, Food Marketing Institute, Retail Council of Canada, and other retail, technology, and media events.
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  • Posted on: 09/11/2019

    Will multistory warehouses mean faster deliveries from Amazon, Home Depot and others?

    Some of the challenges with multi-story facilities and the related history shared by other commenters are well noted. That said, I'd argue that the present context is quite different, and that decades of building out instead of up has created a multitude of other issues that transcend "costs" as they appear on financial statements. Using less land and traveling fewer miles should lead to lower costs, and there are other benefits to an approach like this, though it may not be appropriate for all types of retail or all contexts.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2019

    Is composting key to sustainable e-grocery?

    Glad to see models like this emerging that account for externalities we've long overlooked as an industry. My hope is that Rise Mrkt and all retailers and manufacturers put significant focus on rethinking the entire supply chain. Compostable packaging is an important but small part of it -- what we produce, how we produce it, how we store it, how we transport it, and and what happens at the end of that lifecycle are on us.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2019

    Can Loop make packaging reusability a reality at scale?

    I'm very intrigued by Loop (and TerraCycle broadly) and have been trying to learn more about their operation. Providing more durable containers and packaging and a system for returning containers and having them refilled may not be a silver bullet, but it does seem to have potential. That said, I have questions:
    • Will a critical mass of shoppers get habituated to returning and reusing these products?
    • Will the program be viable outside of large metros like Paris and New York?
    • Will advances in product form and configuration (e.g. the emerging dehydrated cleaning and personal care lines like those from Blue Land, Truman's, and P&G's DS3) prove to have a bigger impact on CPGs' environmental footprint by incorporating factors like weight and cube in addition to packaging?
    Ultimately, I applaud any serious effort to take more responsibility for the lifecycle impacts of the products our industry makes and sells.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2019

    Gen Z survey: Brands get drowned out in all the cause marketing noise

    The most resonant "cause marketing" campaigns I've seen are backed by structural and substantive commitments to ways of operating. Patagonia being selective and turning down business that doesn't align with its values. Truman and Blueland minimizing single-use plastic in their cleaning products. Companies becoming certified Benefit Corporations (B corps) to align their operations with their values. Brands that want to benefit from cause marketing should align with their R&D, supply chain, operations, and finance teams to put real substance behind their messaging.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2019

    Can grocers digest their way to zero waste?

    It's good to see a few grocers taking responsibility for minimizing waste and carbon footprint. The upfront capital investment may seem intimidating, but I'm very curious to better understand the impact this will have on the behavior of shoppers (who are increasingly voting with their wallets in favor of more sustainable options) as well as on long-term cost structure.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2019

    What are retailers and suppliers to do when caught between Amazon and Walmart?

    Despite concerns from Amazon's competitors, this dynamic is rarely a function of suppliers providing Amazon lower wholesale costs. It's sometimes a function of weak links in the supply chain being exposed by Amazon's third-party marketplace, as when limited supply from a closeout or liquidation channel is opportunistically snapped up and listed on Amazon. It's sometimes a function of Amazon's asymmetrical economics (enabling short-term, Amazon-funded discounting subsidized by its cloud and media arms). Suppliers should have visibility into the scope and magnitude of this dynamic for their own portfolio, strengthen supply chains with well-enforced authorized distribution policies, improve unit economics with more efficient product forms, packaging, and logistics;, and support for non-price mechanisms for delivering value to shoppers.
  • Posted on: 04/08/2019

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

    Maintaining a cold chain along with the labor and fuel costs are the largest barriers to sustainable economics. Automation and improvements in packaging (including reusable packaging) are making progress on each of these fronts.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2019

    Whole Foods to expand nationwide to drive Prime Now growth

    For once, Amazon seems to be reacting to the speed of competitors like Walmart and Kroger and Instacart and its network of partners, which collectively are expanding online grocery availability on a local level much faster than Amazon has to date. In online grocery, winning that first order is a huge hurdle -- but if you deliver a good experience, you can keep a household loyal and grow baskets over time. While a centrally-picked fulfillment model may be the optimal logistic model for large, high-density urban areas, Amazon needs to move faster to reach households in the rest of the country. It will be interesting to see how Whole Foods evolves if it is expanded this aggressively.
  • Posted on: 12/18/2018

    When are outside Amazon experts better than inside ones?

    Amazon is indeed more complicated to deal with than other major retailers; most decisions are automated, and the automation is opaque and always changing. Additionally, demand for experienced talent significantly outstrips supply, and training and development options have historically been lacking. So beyond the rationales for and against in-sourcing, there are practical challenges. Outside partners can accelerate performance, absorb some of the volatility of doing business with Amazon and, over time, help internal teams level up and become more self-sufficient. As the article notes, it's a fragmented landscape of potential partners. We recently identified more than 80 agencies, brokers, and consultants offering wide-ranging services related to Amazon and other online retailers. (We published this as an asset for the industry here.) Given the above complexity, it's essential for brands selecting and working with partners to define success up front (and how it will be measured) and confirm that each partner has specific capability and competency in the areas that require the most help.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2018

    Why haven’t CPG giants figured out what makes small brands so popular?

    "Emerging" or "insurgent" brands are simply more responsive to new and fast-growing pools of demand. With nothing to defend, they're able to invest and act more aggressively. Large brands actually do understand this. Between 15 percent and 20 percent have even launched brand or technology incubators/accelerators, some as independently operating companies, to try to replicate small brands' success. The real open question at this stage is whether the new demand patterns are compatible with big, traditional CPGs' business models.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2018

    Walmart expands test of pickup-only grocery store concept

    Click-and-collect models, when picked from stores, can become disruptive if they're "too successful." Opening standalone pick up points can be a good way to support online demand while minimizing the impact on in-store customers' experience.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2018

    Walmart’s two-day shipping pledge comes with a caveat

    These types of initiatives are necessary to make e-commerce economically sustainable. The keys to success are offering shoppers transparency and meaningful choices.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2018

    ‘Jittery’ prices will come back to hurt Amazon

    Amazon dynamically re-prices based on competitors' prices and promotions, stock on-hand, third-party sellers' prices, item-level economics and other factors. Does price volatility potentially confuse or frustrate shoppers, sometimes causing them to check prices elsewhere? Perhaps. But if, when comparing to other retailers, Amazon's price is ultimately equivalent or cheaper, is trust really being eroded? We've analyzed prices on tens of thousands of items over the last several years and generally found that Amazon's prices are reliably competitive. I do think we'll see more retailers helping shoppers make choices that balance the economics of price and convenience, allowing them to pay less by picking up in-store, waiving return privileges, ordering in larger quantities, etc.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2018

    Shoppers may finally be using retail apps

    I attribute the trend to a few key drivers: divergence between the mobile web vs. native app experience; better app discovery platforms and simpler triggers for download; and steady investment in better functionality.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2018

    Walmart looks to automate grocery pick-up

    As click and collect or store-picked delivery models scale, the impacts on in-store stock levels and shoppers' experience can be significant. This model has potential to be considerably more efficient and simultaneously to minimize impacts on in-store shoppers' experience. It's another sign that Walmart (and others) sees significant demand for online grocery on the horizon, and that the conventional wisdom around the limitations of online grocery's economic viability is changing in light of more automated order picking, packing, staging and delivery.

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