Mohamed Amer

Vice President, Executive Communications, Office of the Co-Presidents, SAP Industries
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. Most recently, Mohamed was the Global Head of Strategic Communications for the Consumer Industries at SAP (Retail, Consumer Products, Wholesale Distribution, and Life Sciences). In his current role, he is responsible for executive communications in SAP's Office of the Co-Presidents for all industries. 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.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2019

    America has too many retail stores

    The ongoing shift in the role of the store is likely to aggravate the "over-stored" syndrome. The problem with any ratio or index on retail square footage per capita is that the number hides jewels and sins equally well. I like to think of the situation as being more about having the right mix of the location, type, size, and format of the retail store, how it's connected to the lifestyle of consumers, and its use of technology to deliver a unique value with great convenience. This requires a far more nuanced approach rather than application of blunt force.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2019

    Will CVS’s HealthHUB concept change what consumers expect of drugstores?

    The HealthHUB concept by CVS will create a new retail category that combines healthcare, convenience, and access in a value-adding and compelling manner. The challenges for anything new are creating awareness and adoption, ensuring you deliver on the promises made, and maintaining a differentiated edge against emerging competitors attracted to the space. The entire healthcare delivery system is ripe for change. CVS has the lead in anticipating consumers' wishes for improved healthcare delivery with a brand they know and trust. Early success will require flawless execution in each HealthHUB and a feedback process to incorporate quick lessons into future store roll-outs while the company leverages its unique Aetna asset. .
  • Posted on: 02/13/2019

    Retail leaders need to care more about tech

    Technology is a core competency to the success of the 21st-century enterprise. It matters not the size or industry. How and where it gets applied may be different, but it has become a constant across the board. The old paradigm viewed technology as an efficiency and productivity engine: doing things faster and cheaper. Today, technology does that and much more through the power of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics. New business processes in the back office and customer-facing are being reinvented and connected in real-time. All this is creating opportunities for those companies and CEOs ready to harness this emerging potential. Short-term IT investment mentality is shaped by how we define the challenges ahead and the need to deliver against financial market's expectations on a quarterly basis. Those decisions reside ultimately with the CEO and the board of directors.
  • Posted on: 02/13/2019

    Will the new plan for Sears work any better than the previous ones?

    if you take enough swings, you're bound to eventually connect. We've gone to extra innings and the edge goes to the never tiring pitcher. In business as in sports, small wins beget bigger ones as confidence is boosted. A history of striking out doesn't help the morale of the team or the coaching staff. Nevertheless, the death of Sears has been anticipated but somehow it continues in one form or another. Mr. Lampert's expertise is on the financial and deal-making side of the house and so, the prospective CEO must have strong merchandising experience and be equally adept at designing and executing a connected hybrid strategy across the physical and digital arenas while leveraging the post-purchase service opportunities. A serious dose of in-store investments and round of sustained marketing that communicates the new value for consumers is necessary to re-establish trust in the brand and the future plan.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2019

    Is Allswell with Walmart’s tiny house tour?

    Terrific idea to introduce and raise awareness of a private brand while solving accessibility and trial. The tiny house tour brings the product to consumers and emphasizes Walmart's practical and frugal values through the theme of the delivery mechanism: the tiny house movement. By integrating online and mobile showroom experience with quick home delivery service, Walmart can infuse the trust customers have in the brand into a category replete with wild price variation and requiring a black belt in price negotiation.
  • Posted on: 02/11/2019

    Foot Locker makes $100M leap into the sneaker re-seller space

    Good move by Foot Locker. Retailers need to identify new functions for their physical stores in order to enhance productivity and performance. Foot Locker's partnership with GOAT adds to those possibilities in a credible way that consumers can trust while also tapping into the mega trend of the circular economy.
  • Posted on: 02/11/2019

    Is there really wisdom in the crowd?

    The core assumption here is that there is wisdom in the crowd that can be extracted and that novel ways of asking questions can increase the utility and predictability of the outcomes. The work by professor John McCoy and colleagues takes crowdsourcing as having predictive powers that can be further refined and improved upon by going beyond the simple majority outcomes, and asking the right type of questions and combining the results. This research suggests that crowdsourced data – properly collected and analyzed - can be a powerful predictor for new product introductions, new service offerings, with potential consideration of the contextual setting.
  • Posted on: 02/11/2019

    Are apps and voice assistants the keys to e-grocery adoption?

    Simply trying to replicate an "offline" process onto online tools misses the real opportunity to improve the underlying practice. In other words, we tend to look for ways to make existing processes faster and more efficient rather than create new ones or combine existing capabilities in novel ways. Ben's example of telling Alexa is a good example of new directions in grocery purchasing. Additionally, flexible subscription programs are another way to capture repeat purchases that help to enhance loyalty and trust between store/brand and consumer. Increase use of grocery store apps and voice assistants will transform the entire path-to-purchase journey and require greater flexibility in delivering multiple and simultaneous means of interacting with the store and brand. The word of caution here is not to ignore the need to have near real-time inventory visibility across the store, accurate data throughout the supply chain and shelf replenishment through the checkout process. The powerful results from creating beautiful apps and convenient voice interactions can be enhanced or diminished by how well, and in real-time, these are connected in end-to-end processes.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2019

    Is experiential retail overhyped and misunderstood?

    Experiential retail, framed here as bad amusement park, small PR, nothing new or gathering places detracts from an otherwise excellent argument that strong stores deliver excellent experiences. Total customer experience is the emerging battle ground that separates winners from laggards in any business, especially consumer-facing ones. That entails product, pricing, services, shopping and browsing environment, as well as identifying the right brand promises and delivering on them. It translates to a level of trust that engenders more confidence in the brand, products, and services offered. When experience is accentuated with something fun and perhaps a bit unique and exciting, it serves to enhance the feel-good bond between consumer and brand or retailer. No reason to go to extremes here, but if I have to err, I'd rather do it on the side of "experiential" rather than having a sterile undifferentiated store with products readily available from Amazon. It need not be a zero-sum game or of either/or.
  • Posted on: 01/25/2019

    Are NanoStores the new ultra-convenience stores?

    There will be a place in the retail landscape for this type of format and offering. I don't see NanoStores replacing convenience stores, but certainly complementing them. I view the keys to success to be:
    1. Data-driven hyper-localized assortment supported by a strong supply chain network;
    2. Mobility factor which provides flexibility across trade areas for right fit and concentration as needed;
    3. Greatly reduced fixed cost allows for more agile decision-making;
    4. Low variable cost to operate affords a lower ROI hurdle rate;
    5. Can extend an existing chain or create a new banner.
    On the investment side, I see "in-store" technology and connectivity requirements as two important capital requirements. Potential vandalism is also a concern.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2019

    NRF: Will success in mobile shopping depend on progressive web apps?

    Although speed kills when you drive too fast, for the mobile experience the opposite is true: speed saves lives. Frictionless commerce requires speed as well as next-gen processes. The speed of webpage loading on mobile devices will absolutely create a more meaningful shopping experience on mobile devices. We have become more, not less, desirous of instant gratification for everything we do on mobile devices.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2019

    NRF: Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly talks about what it takes to ‘be’ a great leader

    Being a purposeful leader is important and Mr. Joly certainly brought that out. Peeling back on purpose requires having empathy and understanding that business is a terrific construct for helping us improve what we do, the way we engage with each other, and how we experience life. You get to keep on participating if your revenues exceed your costs and more people buy your products or use your services. Leadership is enduring and its core elements transcends the ages. However, technological advances and societal changes impact how leadership is manifested and what gets the spotlight. Leadership in retailing is no different, just more challenging and unforgiving. Retail is at the leading edge and intersection of people, technology, media - all within rising and shifting expectations from individual consumers to financial markets.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2019

    NRF: Roving robots report for work at all Giant Foods’ stores

    Cost, cost, cost. Ideas don't get to see the light of day without funding. Securing a budget does depend on how well (creative) you can craft an ROI. This takes into consideration working assumptions on how associates, shoppers, and functionality (use cases) will be adopted. So the initial wave of robots hitting the stores is more on a test basis but to read about a battalion of 500 robots takes conviction and commitment. I view the appointment of Mr. Farhan Siddiqi as Chief Digital Officer and member of the Executive Committee at Ahold as a sign of what we should expect from the company in the future. Mr. Siddiqi is expected to drive digital transformation and innovation across Ahold Delhaize with a focus on loyalty, data analytics, and personalization. The greatest potential is shifting of time consuming non-customer facing interactions to robots so store associates can focus on customer service.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2019

    Where is AI’s potential for personalization?

    With 51% of the respondents in the survey coming from B2B companies, I'm not so sure there's sufficient data points to truly illuminate "hyper-personalization" strategies. The overall direction and shape of the results (from predictive analytics to open-question chat bots) probably does resonate with many practitioners. Being human, we like to control and predict future events as much as possible and predictive analytics fulfills that need while reducing a lot of uncertainty. No doubt there's an immense value and effectiveness in predictive analytics, but how we construct and imagine other opportunities, say open-question chat bots, artificially limits our ability to objectively assess the potential effectiveness. To truly deliver on the promise of personalization, companies will need to combine multiple types of complementary technologies together: contact via chat bot, recommendation engines using artificial intelligence, robotic process automation confirms and completes the transaction and updates the customer's profile and follow-on communications. Just as in business we're pushing to eliminate organizational and data silos, we need to take a wider view of technology and how to harness that power across the customer experience. Stop thinking point-to-point and embrace end-to-end.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2019

    Whole Foods halts 365 concept’s growth

    This makes sense given the pricing strategy by Amazon for Whole Foods stores. There's no change to Amazon's intention on its grocery business: to gain market share by better use of physical assets and increasing the value of Prime membership programs.

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