Ken Lonyai

Consultant, Strategist, Tech Innovator, UX Evangelist

Ken is a 15 year veteran of interactive project development including some of the industry’s most unique experiential systems. His skills span the on-line world and nearly every realm of human/computer interface used by brands and retailers – mobile, interactive kiosks, experiential displays, and more. Known as the man with the miniature R&D lab in his head, when he’s not working on a client project, Ken can be found designing, tinkering, and developing some cool new experiential device in SPIA Labs.

He is a consumer engagement expert using cutting-edge, unique, and enticing brand experiences that encourage “like”, “share”, and “buy now” behaviors, as well as a creator of true consumer excitement by baking-in fun, social, and gamification actions that generate results. Focused on producing “amazing user experiences” for brands and retailers, he helps companies transform into destinations that consumers seek out and want to interact with.

Ken is a subject matter expert in user experience, most things interactive, experiential marketing, mobile app strategy/development, and digital UX/UI.

Additionally, he is a co-founder of NUI Central™, an organization to promote using natural human traits (voice, gesture, eye movement, etc.) to bi-directionally interact with smart devices.

Other Links from Ken Lonyai:

Perspectives (blog)

  • Posted on: 07/17/2019

    Alexa – Are Americans ready to shop by voice?

    "It is WAY past time for retailers to apply retail common sense to the digital world." Spot on!
  • Posted on: 07/17/2019

    Alexa – Are Americans ready to shop by voice?

    For transparency: I did not read the report in order to reply to your comment -- I read the summary article that you linked to. I can't speak for what you think, but it seems like from your history of views about the store being pretty much the whole ball of wax for consumer commerce, most anything else is secondary or invalid to you. I see the balance of consumer-driven technology and human to human interaction and each having a leading role in specific contexts. You did listen to the recent BrainTrust Live! I did with Georgeanne Bender and heard me say essentially that. Regarding opinions, you've injected many in your comment without facts, especially "yet another opinion on how no one wants to go to a store, wants everything predicted by AI and the future is only digital" which I didn't say or imply.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2019

    Alexa – Are Americans ready to shop by voice?

    Bob - you are oriented to in-store and salespeople, so the survey results don't surprise me, even with Oracle leading. I have no idea how the chatbot/AI questions were oriented and to who. The 400 retail executives skew the survey as well — for all questions about customer experience. And Oracle's own article said "...AI and VR are not yet the answer." I do agree with "yet." Banking is moving to digital in significant ways and every major bank has or is rushing to deploy chatbots and assistants because customers embrace them for easy/speedy results. Those same people shop, particularly online, so retail will not be exempt from chatbots, intelligent assistants and voice interfaces as the technologies improve. Read my comments below and accept that the genie is out of the bottle and that especially kids growing up with AI/voice assistants will expect it everywhere for everything.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2019

    Alexa – Are Americans ready to shop by voice?

    Humans start using voice on the day they are born -- it's innate. So not having a voice shopping option is what's unnatural. Just like ATM, internet, and mobile adoption, it's still early on the curve, but when the curve moves along, there is zero doubt voice shopping will be a significant platform -- likely within five years. Smart speakers however, are not the best implementation. For reordering staple products, voice is obvious and convenient and smart speakers can get the job done. When it comes to discovery they are not good and offer no visual product understanding (obviously). There will be a growth of both in-home devices with screens and speakers as well as better integration of voice assistants into mobile and desktop browsers. So when the real convergence of intelligent assistant, contextual AI, personalization, and multimodal devices occurs, voice shopping will be a booming business.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2019

    Will free, same-day pickup give Sam’s Club the edge it has been looking for over Costco?

    Is this news? This is BOPIS. So what that it's a "discount club" and not a "retailer." In reality, there's no substantial difference between the two and BOPIS is now a permanent fixture of retail so the same is to be expected of clubs. It's more an admission that discount clubs are just as bad as retailers at not knowing how to skate to where the puck is going.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2019

    What’s the story behind Macy’s partnership with Dick’s Sporting Goods?

    Sure as a foray and exploration of new concepts, the partnership is great. Beyond that, there's nothing substantial there for Macy's to hang its future on. Macy's has a real problem in staying relevant and competitive as society moves away from the large format department stores of days gone by. They still have a massive real estate overhead to deal with and lackluster stores, not to mention an average at best digital presence. This partnership sounds progressive, attracts some PR/press, and creates a blip of interest, but unless Macy's really focuses on and improves their core focus, so what, they are still headed for the troubled future Terry Lundgren positioned them for.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2019

    Mom-and-pop grocer gives SNAP recipients an organic foods discount

    Huge Kudos to The Local Grocer! The Local Grocer is sending a message that lower-income people are not lesser than anyone else and that they deserve the same opportunities to access healthier choices as do people of higher income. Often, low-income families buy cheap (government subsidized) high carb, processed, big ag produced foods that do play havoc on their health over time. Giving an incentive to use SNAP for organic produce will hopefully create a positive impact for some people/families on their eating habits and health. It would be amazing if competitors matched this program -- especially Whole Foods.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2019

    Will a worker walkout put a kink in Amazon’s Prime Day results?

    If this walkout really happens in any sizeable manner, it still won't have much impact on Amazon and I doubt many customers will pay much attention. So unfortunately for workers, they will need a better mechanism to get what they seek. At the moment there is little counterbalance to Amazon's labor practices and the company has quietly(!) begun deploying packing robots that are far faster than humans. So any stance against Amazon, such as unionizing, will need to happen sooner than later or job opportunities will begin to diminish and likely prospects for better compensation/benefits and respect as well.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2019

    Is Walmart at an online crossroads?

    Per previous comments I've made, it has often seemed that Walmart's deep pockets have been a vehicle for Marc Lore to get back at Bezos more than a resource for him to leverage to grow the brand's online presence. I've also been doubtful of these PR purchases of brands that don't fit Walmart's core customer. Either the company needs to do what it has always done, better, or look for a new market demographic. Attempting to do both is very costly as this article reveals. Whole Foods is a failure for Amazon (doubters you'll see!) although Amazon's grocery sales are probably okay. I agree that online grocery is an area Walmart could/should focus on because Kroger is stepping up hugely and if Walmart doesn't do so quickly, yet another window of opportunity will close on them. BTW - I predict Marc Lore will be gone in less than two years and he'll quickly start a new venture, either because he's planning it now, or to cover being fired.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2019

    Kroger sees rivals’ one-hour delivery and raises it a half hour

    This is an interesting pilot that makes sense for those times someone really needs something like diapers or an extra steak for a last minute dinner guest. I would argue that food, personal care items, and medication are about the only product areas that realistically suit rapid delivery and approach "needing" it. That said, Kroger might regret being so accommodating to its customers. Executing consistently over time will be a difficult and costly exercise that will backfire if they can't sustain it.
  • Posted on: 06/14/2019

    Amazon taps AI to drive fashion recommendations

    Machine learning from image training sets is not new. Whether Amazon has made real improvements that will allow it to train more accurately is an unknown, awaiting user feedback. All of digital commerce is ultimately going this way. For example, someone that is digging a hole and snaps the shovel handle will be able to use a camera to capture the product and also say "How soon can I get a shovel like this for under $25.00 delivered to me?" Anyone that steps back and looks at all the pieces in play today can see that coming sooner than later.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2019

    Will same-day delivery flexibility give Target an edge over Amazon and Walmart?

    I fail to see the big deal here. There's a huge difference between free same day shipping (even with a minimum purchase threshold) and $9.99 same day shipping. Very few people who shop Target are going to take advantage of this program. In those instances where there is some item they absolutely need right away and can't get to the store, they'll go for it. Otherwise, they'll accept the regular shipping options or choose BOPIS where same-day availability for in-store items is the industry standard. So unless anything on will be available same-day in-store, this seems like little more than a lesson learned from Amazon on how to spin relatively nothing into press hype.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2019

    What does FedEx’s break with Amazon mean?

    Given the small amount of revenue Amazon represents and the general hassles associated with earning that revenue, this is a bold and smart move by FedEx. Not being Amazon's bootlicker will allow FedEx to maintain control of its business as it sees fit and build closer partnerships with others.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2019

    Will a credit builder program create a new legion of loyal Amazon shoppers?

    As Prime approaches saturation and Whole Foods looks like a quagmire of no real benefit so far, building better rapport/loyalty with the other end of the market is a logical growth strategy. I'd like to understand how the card "cannot be used for purchases made from Amazon" yet "Members will also gain access to five percent cash back on orders placed on the e-tailer’s site?"
  • Posted on: 06/10/2019

    Who still thinks one-size-fits-all mannequins make sense?

    Kudos to Nike and all that are installing plus-sized mannequins. The International Journal of Fashion Design published a study stating that the average American woman wears between a Misses size 16–18 clothing. That needs to be reflected in-stores if retailers really expect shoppers to feel a connection to them. Creating displays of utopian ideals like was done in the 1950s does not resonate with many people in this era. Additionally, a mix of mannequins of all sizes/shapes and when appropriate, ethnicities, sends an important message to children about inclusion.

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