PROFILE

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 at:about.me/kennethleung

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  • Posted on: 03/04/2021

    Are CTOs finally getting the respect they deserve?

    A strong CTO doesn't help if the rest of the leadership does not recognize the importance of technology in retail across supply chain and customer experience. Merchandising decision always come first for retailers (bad product mix decisions can't be fixed by technology based customer service or supply chain) but technology and HR goes hand it hand after that.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2021

    Automated checkout ‘will be everywhere’ sooner rather than later

    I think it is about context and shopping types. The same survey years ago would have predicted self checkout replacing cashiers in stores, and yet we still have cashier-driven checkouts. Having employees in the front of the store isn't just about checkout but also customer service and information. There is a vocal segment of "zero touch" customers who treat shopping as a transactional process, but for retailers it is a decision around customer service and costs.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2021

    Can making deliveries once a week make e-commerce sustainable and more profitable?

    I have used order consolidation on Amazon a few times, but the reality is most people who pay for convenience want it now, and also consolidation means a potential single point of failure for multiple items on delivery. I do wonder if Olive is going to have to stock the items for the retailers, otherwise the trips between the retailer warehouse to Olive warehouse for consolidation adds up quickly in terms of costs and lead time.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2021

    Are outlet centers immune to the ills of regional malls?

    I think outlet centers fared better during COVID than indoor malls because of the outdoors setting, large parking lots and ease of social distancing while browsing, and easier to manage number of people inside the stores given smaller footprint. However in the long run, the structural issues remain of what would drive people to travel to the malls to shop; perhaps it is entertainment and dining plus other experiences.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2021

    Will 7-Eleven’s beer and wine on tap be a c-store game changer?

    I haven't been to a 7-Eleven big enough to have a seating area, and unless the area allows open alcohol carry, that means the drinks are consumed on premises. I am assuming this is for specific locations where it maybe a long haul freeway rest stop where the stores have a dine in? If so it is store format and location specific and probably won't scale broadly.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2021

    Digital gains are changing how Best Buy puts its associates to work

    This is a tough one because publicly traded companies are judged not on how they perform today, but how they perform tomorrow. Having good quarters in the middle of pandemic, when people are refreshing their home tech because they are stuck at home, means nothing down the road when the pandemic is over and consumers shift discretionary spending elsewhere. It would have been better if they lead with redeployment and retraining for online support for store employees for online first. I wonder if they are seeing internal data that shows rapidly declining employee utilization rate inside some stores as customers switch online with delivery or pickup in parking lot, and when the Sony PS5 cycle slows down they see a cliff coming.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2021

    Whole Foods gets a lot right and wrong

    People may complain about what Amazon has done to the Whole Foods shopping experience, especially post COVID. I am not sure Whole Foods would have survived COVID without Amazon acquisition. As much as people loved the Whole Foods store experience, the ownership of Whole Foods sold the company because they know it was losing the organic premium battle. Add COVID to the mix and Whole Foods has to pivot to online fulfillment as a primary business because the majority of shoppers demanded it. In-store shopping has become stressful for masked up trying to get in/out quickly and not exactly browsing for innovative products or experiences. I think the key is whether post-COVID Amazon will continue to pivot Whole Foods to online grocery, and whether shoppers stick to online grocery when they have to the option to go back to the store.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2021

    Is Hobby Lobby making a mistake (a big one) ending 40 percent off coupons?

    I think you have to wean off the promotions slowly, start with enforcing coupon expiration dates in all channels, then shortening the expiration date and decreasing the frequency, meanwhile do your marketing on everyday low price.
  • Posted on: 01/28/2021

    Will vaccine reluctant Americans slow the retail comeback from COVID-19?

    I think the issue is less about whether or not people say they won't take the vaccine. I think people will say they are reluctant, but when there are proof of safety and social/work pressure will drive people to vaccinate. I think whether or not people go to the mall to shop will depend on other factors such as convenience, price and availability. As much as people say they don't like shopping, when you are NOT allowed to shop in person, people do enjoy going out to browse and meet people. Based on the number of violators of shelter in place, I'd say most people are more social than surveys lead you to believe.
  • Posted on: 01/25/2021

    Will Godiva’s stores ever come back from the pandemic?

    The Godiva stores here in SF are all part of indoor malls, which is a disadvantage compared with competitors who have standalone stores with street entrances. I am not sure what it is like in other areas, but I suspect that is part of the reason for the closure of the chain. Given the rent loads, it probably makes more sense to shutter all stores, take the one-time charge, then slowly reopen in selected locations in 2023 with big fanfare.
  • Posted on: 01/23/2021

    Girl Scout cookie selling goes omnichannel

    People buy Girl Scout Cookies to support the cause, support their coworkers, impulse buy from the pop ups or genuinely like the product. During the pandemic, popups are of course affected as traffic decline (I remember seeing them in the middle of SF financial district next to the BART entrances and near the high rises), however, the loyal customers will find them through their coworkers or online. Online is simply an order and delivery channel, and yes, entrepreneurship is definitely online as well as in store, so it is good education whether it is face to face in a pop up or sending emails and doing socially distanced drop offs.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2021

    Will contactless Hudson Nonstop concept stores take off in airports?

    Makes sense, especially for the frequent traveler who needs to grab and go and doesn't have to wait in line for other travelers who have questions. Provides an alternative to vending machines where the assortments are much more limited.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2021

    Retailers give customers refunds and tell them to keep items

    It is all about the cost of shipping and disposal versus value of the goods. With modern analytics it is very easy to calculate the cost benefit of shipping return versus letting the customer keep the dissatisfied-with item. You can also attribute the return to the shopper and identify customers that are potentially abusing the returns program. Another way is to return a small but critical part of the product to reduce the shipping cost (like the key or a custom part) that will render the product inoperable.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2021

    Will meatless burgers moo-ve in on beef’s market share as prices fall?

    The taste of Impossible, I have to admit, comes very close to beef in my personal taste test. For many, if a plant-based alternative is close enough, they will give it a try. Personally, I prefer my vegetables whole and when I eat meat, I want real meat, but many I think will try it and make their own decision if the price premium is small.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2021

    Curbside cocktails anyone?

    I think that definitely in the short term, this will help bars and restaurants to boost their margins. In the long run, the large alcohol distributors and manufacturers may have some issues, as well as concerned parents. Given the extraordinary situation everyone is under, I think it will stay as a short-term offer.

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