Kenneth Leung

Retail and Customer Experience Expert

Kenneth Leung was the enterprise industry director at Avaya, responsible for vertical industry strategies.

Kenneth previously was with Cisco Systems, with the last position as senior marketing strategy manager for Internet of Everything campaign. His roles at Cisco included development of private sector industries strategy and messaging at Cisco as well as retail industry marketing.

Prior to Cisco, he worked at IBM software group in WebSphere Commerce and Information Management groups with responsibility in marketing management for retail and e-commerce. Before joining IBM, Kenneth was retail industry director for Informix Software where he was responsible for market management and programs.

Kenneth Leung is currently working on his first marketing book and pursuing future opportunities. Learn more

  • Posted on: 02/11/2019

    Is there really wisdom in the crowd?

    The interesting thing about crowd-driven answers is that it is based on current perception and knowledge. I don't think crowd sourcing would have predicted the iPod, iPhone or social media because those were disruptive innovation. If you crowd sourced the answer to whether the earth goes around the sun in the 15th century, not sure you will get the right answer either. :-)
  • Posted on: 02/01/2019

    Is trust the next omnichannel inflection point?

    I think the challenge of physical stores as far as trust is concerned is that there are physical experiences to deliver, whereas there isn't online. Online you are delivering messaging, information and promise: "we stand for X because you see us doing X," "the product you are looking for is in/out of stock," "your product will arrive by date X." That is manageable by technology or people. In the store you are relying on store associates for assistance, merchandising and product availability on limited shelf space, plus physical checkout lines.
  • Posted on: 01/28/2019

    Cloud and AI seen fueling digital transformation

    Technology is part of the solution, but simply because you know something doesn't mean you can do something about it. In areas where you can automate the execution as well as decision, such as e-commerce and route optimization, technology is going to have a bigger near term impact than let's say in-person customer service.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2019

    NRF: Is the time right for retailers and brands to take political stands?

    Societal, yes, especially given today's consumers and use of social media, being able to demonstrate common value with your customers can help develop customer loyalty. Political gets tricky though, especially with the blurry line of politics and societal issues, but explicitly supporting specific candidates and parties I think should be avoided. Legislation support is a different story since that is more issue related.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2019

    E-commerce forces CPG brands to think differently

    I think that as the population that is used to e-commerce ages, they will shift to online fulfillment of supply type products like detergent, especially when they start driving less. I see e-commerce being used for basics fulfillment and shopping trips to stores for fresh products and experiences. I still wonder about the economics of it all in terms of shipping costs and also increased environmental impact of all the delivery vehicles, but I guess the next economic downturn will determine the winner/loser of that.
  • Posted on: 12/27/2018

    What are the takeaways from the best holiday season in six years?

    External factors I think, a combination of the macro news on the economy for sustained periods of time let people feel comfortable enough about the future for now. Low gas prices help drive travel and spending and puts people in the holiday mood. The volatility in Washington and the stock market doesn't help but I do wonder if some people did "retail therapy" to get away from the news and reality. Stores do seem to have better managed their inventory when I visited. A combination of a bunch of factors for sure.
  • Posted on: 12/19/2018

    Can Barnes & Noble’s in-store experts beat algorithms?

    Promises made well in the advertisement, but can the stores deliver? Independent book stores have been able to do that because the store owners and staff are often knowledgeable and have a genuine love of books. Can B&N hire and retain book lovers at the store who can make credible recommendations?
  • Posted on: 12/13/2018

    Retailing success doesn’t depend on silver bullets

    The challenge is store managers and associates seem to be treated as cost of goods sold more than revenue generators. The increase use of automation seems to be a drive to reduce in store staffing. I am sure a few retailers is looking closely at the Amazon store experiment to see how they can replicate. I always say you can't win by copying, you have to win by innovating, creating your own niche in product and services.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2018

    Will Instagrammers all scream for Baskin-Robbins’ new ice cream concept?

    Basically an extension of the popular Ice Cream Museum concept. The issue I see is maintaining a rotation of displays to keep things "instagram fresh." Things age quickly in Instagram time so time will tell whether BR can maintain the awareness and attractiveness.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2018

    Payless scores with mock-up luxury shop

    Nice start but it will take a lot more to change the perception of the brand. You can perceive it as the lack of experience of the invited fashion bloggers to what luxury construction is, or the fact that the shoes are luxury at a low price from a normal buyer perspective. For me, it actually points out that social media influencers may not be as much of an expert as they promote themselves to be.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2018

    What will it take for retailers to win the last-mile race for customers?

    Agreed. Amazon is a tech service and content provider (in essence a Customer Experience provider) that delivers goods. Most retailers have to figure out how to turn a profit with their customers with their brick and mortar AND web properties. You can't keep trying to replicate Amazon or Apple as a retailer.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2018

    Will right-sized stores drive bigger returns for Macy’s?

    Reducing the store size by 8% and reducing labor by 40% -- sounds like a savings move to see how much less service customers will tolerate while maintaining margins.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2018

    Did Amazon just crush Target and Walmart’s free holiday shipping moves?

    Free shipping is important, but so is merchandising availability and trust that the product will arrive on time. What I am curious about is the last mile logistics this Xmas and retailers making promises that shippers like UPS, USPS and FedEx need to keep. All the free shipping could turn into bad publicity if the presents don't make it for Xmas.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2018

    Why are Foot Locker and Nike sending ‘sneakerheads’ on AR scavenger hunts?

    All about stickiness, and also generating some experience for actual buyers to talk about rather than people who buy to resell. Using the AR serves as a gating factor so the store employees couldn't be bribed to hold back inventory for the grey market. Smart move.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2018

    Stores rarely ID customers before they check out

    Unless the retailer has a specific call to action and has the proper staffing to act on it, there is no value to the customer to be identified when they enter the store. For years, technology has been around to try to capture data when customers browse the store, but end up creating mountains of data that cannot be actioned. Unlike online, for which is much more natural, people are visiting stores hoping for a great experience, without the need for personalization. I am more appreciative when I get positive service the FIRST time I visit, rather than as a repeat customer.

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