PROFILE

Mohamed Amer

Global Head of Strategic Communications, Consumer Industries, SAP
Living in Southern California, Mohamed joined SAP in 2003 as Solution Manager in charge of global grocery segment within the Retail Business Unit. Subsequently he led the Supply Chain product area for Retail in the Americas. For three years he led the Retail Business Unit in the Americas supporting business development, key customer implementations, and relationships as well as managing User Groups and Executive Customer Councils. Mohamed also led the building and championing of internal and external Retail communities. He is currently the Global Head of Strategic Communications for the Consumer Industries at SAP (Retail, Consumer Products, Wholesale Distribution, and Life Sciences).

Prior to SAP, Mohamed was co-founder and President of NEXstep, an Internet supply chain software startup which was acquired by Viewlocity. He also held leadership positions in the retail management consultancy, Kurt Salmon Associates with extensive Retail and CPG client engagements as well as general management roles in the office products industry at Boise Cascade and Buhrmann-Tetterode.

Mohamed held a commission with the US Navy (Lieutenant Commander – naval aviation and naval intelligence) and has earned an MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, an MA in National Security Affairs at the US Naval Postgraduate School, and an MA in Human and Organizational Systems at Fielding Graduate University.
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  • Posted on: 04/16/2018

    Dyson believes in showroom stores

    The showroom model is perfectly suited to deliver on a rich, high-touch experience that turns on, but is not limited to, high-end items. We've seen several new ones pop up across categories and geographies -- and I fully expect to see many more in the future. The organizing principle is the customer experience, not the product. The targeted experience will determine the central item and the secondary ones that help fulfill the experience. Simply having new products with high wow factor isn't sufficient to pull through follow-on sales. The products need to touch people's lives in unique ways and fulfill deep needs and desires. Identifying and satisfying these needs will be key to success.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2018

    Will electric vehicles prove a bane or a boon for c-stores and energy drinks?

    Why not reimagine how and where we make impulse buys? Electric cars are an intermediate stop along the way to a completely different ownership and use experience for the automobile. With an aging population and a reduced desire to drive by Millennials, I envision a new model of impulse purchases made in fleets of autonomous cars operating as new age vending machines with limited but highly-desirable selections. You don't have to go too far into the future to see examples of stores on electric wheels in cities like the San Francisco Bay Area. Bottom line, opportunities abound for those that can leverage changing lifestyles and combine with new technologies to envision a different future rather than restricting themselves to incremental changes to existing models.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2018

    Will a mobile game and free pizza combo deliver sales for Domino’s?

    Gamification is an important lever to increase engagement and loyalty in the online experience. This is a smart move by Domino's. By creating mobile games and combining them with free better-tasting pizzas, Domino's is continuing to raise the competitive bar and wrapping more services to enhance the entire culinary experience. This is a great example by Domino's of turning a commodity product into a highly-differentiated and rewarding experience. Bravo!
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

    What makes a successful retail CEO?

    The paths and skills outlined by Cassandra Frangos are valid across industries. With retail as a lens, the major hurdles to overcome are the historical twin anchors of product-based business models and the perennial efficiency trap. The former represents the best of the push model of retail and making it work at the store; the latter is a prisoner of high fixed costs and the necessity of efficiently flowing high volumes through the supply chain and store network. The breakdown of "mass" marketing and rise of a segment of one in combination with advancing technologies (at enterprise and consumer levels) has shifted the equation to one that favors the consumer. Such a wholesale change to the competitive environment and retail's business model are disrupting the leadership development and selection processes. A great retail CEO is a bridge builder and is very comfortable with data, technology and a distributed organizational model. She will have spent time in a store, is well versed with merchandising and how her customers use and experience the products and services offered. She takes risks and keeps them small and frequent and ensures the organization learns from these. She hires direct reports that are confident and challenging. She differentiates between the open and at times messy dialogue of informed decision-making and the laser-focus of aligned execution. She is not an expert in every business realm but is capable of asking the right questions and holds her team, and herself, accountable for results. Lastly, she diligently selects a diverse board of directors that can mentor, supplement, challenge and inform her strategy and decisions.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2018

    Can Nordstrom’s full-line men’s store make it in Manhattan?

    The big draw for Nordstrom is not doing what other retailers do but what is unique about Nordstrom the brand. A full-line men's store in Manhattan will become a destination on its own as long as the promise of impeccable service is delivered every step of the way. This is a bold move by Nordstrom that combines the core values of the brand with new and appropriate technology and processes that enhance -- and do not overshadow -- the brand experience and the focus on the individual customer. This is a back-to-basics approach in one of the most demanding retail markets anywhere.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2018

    Retailers must unite to bring dying downtowns back to life

    Retailers are a crucial element in downtown revivals. Well-coordinated and organized efforts can incentivize real estate developers and will go much farther and faster to effect a turnaround. Technology, media and service sector employers can also provide a boost to downtown attraction. But let's face it, the critical path resides with city councils and transit authorities to make downtowns attractive and easy to work and live in. If you can't attract people to live there, any downtown shopping revival work will fall short.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2018

    Is Walmart building a tower of power with its expanding in-store pickup network?

    Walmart's Pickup Tower is a revolutionary step for the company. We don't have to go back too far in time to realize that the company's strength has been the size of the store with its broad and low-price selections. Convenience was defined as more of a one-stop shopping experience versus a speedy in-and-out one. For the company to realize and execute on this new variation of convenience tells me that there is serious shift in their corporate DNA: from product-driven strategies and decisions to ones that begin with and revolve around their customers. With a year of purchase data under its belt, I wouldn't be surprised if the location of the towers made its way closer to the front or along the side of the store. The bigger story for me here and what I consider truly exciting for Walmart is the apparent broadening of their customer base and the company's ability to pivot to their needs rather than doubling down on what has historically worked well for the company in the past. Bravo!
  • Posted on: 04/09/2018

    Retailers face criticism for failure to protect customer data

    Data breaches are fueled by an increasing number and types of transactions irrelevant of where they take place. These same breaches are also facilitated by economic incentives in the form of an illicit and seemingly liquid market for stolen identities. There is growing awareness of the damage these breaches cause in people's lives and the danger that these will become normalized as the "cost of doing business" for companies and consumers alike. Data breaches cannot be regulated out of existence nor can they be completely eliminated; incentives are too high for malicious hackers to cease and desist. What retailers and any consumer-facing company can do is conduct thorough audits (and necessary structural changes) to what, where and how consumer data is collected, processed and stored. On the other side, retailers need to expect a more forceful response from their customers as the very personal damage of the various data breaches begins to be felt.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Former Walmart U.S. CEO raises prospect of breaking up Amazon

    Extraordinary success breeds adoration and contempt. To date, Amazon has wildly succeeded in changing existing economic models across industries while being rewarded by consumers and financial markets. Economist and even the Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell, have ascribed the Amazon Effect to the historically low and stable inflation rate levels. Progress is achieved through the numerous new and innovative business models and continuously raising consumer (and business) expectations -- this in turn violently disrupts the status quo. Such is the visceral nature of change and it will never have a fixed endpoint nor will its path be clear and uncertain. Management and leadership are about assessing multiple scenarios, identifying a future vision and preparing their organizations for the multiple paths forward. This requires taking certain risks, being agile and obsessing in the competition over incremental new customers. Runaway winners that succeed in changing the competitive rules, especially if coming from outside existing paradigm, will always be attacked and labeled as unfair. Such vitriolic attacks will only serve to give false hope to the economic laggards.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2018

    IKEA asks, will virtual inventory be key to the new urban showroom?

    If you can't bring the customer to your large mega store warehouse, why not bring the store closer to your customers in a significantly smaller footprint while engaging a different set of senses? The ongoing trend to move from suburban to urban living and the rise of driverless vehicles necessitate these types of format moves. This is an additive strategy of expanded shopping and format choices rather than limiting customer choices. If implemented, it would positively change the economics of store expansion in this important category while shifting operational focus to inventory movements and speed of urban deliveries.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2018

    Amazon/Whole Foods planning store pickup service from third-party retailers

    Thanks Gene. We are living in interesting times. What we're witnessing with Amazon is beyond what anyone could have imagined 20 years ago (even by the now legendary Mr. Bezos). I mean it's one thing to reinvent an industry but a whole set of them? Facilitate a new cloud computing paradigm? Turn technology into tangible value levers for both consumers and businesses? There have been many visionaries, inventors, and leaders with significant business impact. Jeff Bezos is certainly earning a spot alongside Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in actively creating what we're taking for granted in our lives in the second decade of the 21st century. For the next decade, I foresee the biggest changes coming from applying blockchain technology to reinvent many current industries (and once more redefine value). Who will be the next Amazon that takes that courageous leap and survives the pundits' scoffs and scorns?
  • Posted on: 03/16/2018

    Amazon/Whole Foods planning store pickup service from third-party retailers

    It's very difficult to define and pigeonhole Amazon using traditional industry boundaries and associated logic. The company crosses (nearly) all industry lines, changes rules by which they participate and not only elevates but defines consumer expectations (and businesses via AWS) on trust, value and convenience. As Amazon combines trust, value and convenience across an ever wider industry landscape and does so at unprecedented scale, the company is creating unprecedented growth opportunities. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this next step in the evolving Amazon-Whole Foods pickup strategy can further deepen and widen the company's strategic moat. Like anything new, there will be operational problems; however, if history is an indicator, none will be insurmountable. The bottom line is that the future of retail has completely shifted from inside the proverbial four walls to the digital realm which in turn has created new economic models that blur industry lines, pushed for novel collaboration models and realized new real-world processes that are changing what counts as consumer value.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2018

    What does Ring mean for Amazon?

    There is a "land and expand" mentality to everything that Amazon does, and they do so at an unprecedented scale and commitment. The current acquisition of Ring is another brick in their overall strategy. Amazon wants to be fully integrated into the lives of their customers. Consider their historical investments in horizontal platforms such as AWS or expanding their original book-only e-commerce entry into an e-commerce platform for search, discovery and purchase of every imaginable product category. As earlier investments begin to show promise, Amazon expands with further investments that bring out additional value and even create new business models. Amazon has been brilliant in turning its investments into platforms for others to use and derive incremental value. This becomes a virtuous circle with a self-creating moat. Solid strategic vision combined with well executed plans are making it more difficult to identify any significant chinks in Amazon's armor.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2018

    Walmart goes big, goes nationwide with online grocery deliveries

    Walmart's national grocery delivery announcement is a watershed moment for grocery. The Walmart brand has always been about delivering value products at an affordable price. It targets a large swath of the population and requires broad adoption to succeed -- as it has over the past decades. By going all-in for a nationwide rollout of online grocery delivery, Walmart is turning that element of the value proposition into table stakes. Walmart's bold move is a shot across Amazon's bow and a warning to others that they must make further investments in a new model of value delivery for the grocery customer.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2018

    Will department stores regret their off-price push?

    Dick, we are in violent agreement!

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