PROFILE

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.
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  • Posted on: 12/12/2018

    Is Kroger following the Sears playbook for self-destruction?

    When addressing shifting consumer behavior, there's no such thing as finding a balance between digital and store investments; you have to err on the side of innovation. That said, one cannot ignore the physical store and from my own local experience, I see no evidence of that. Kroger has been one of the sharpest operator over the years and from where I sit the comparison to Sears' financial acrobatics and massive store rationalization is difficult to justify.
  • Posted on: 12/12/2018

    Where will Amazon go with its cashier-free concept?

    The expansion of the smaller Go stores concept addresses unmet needs of high density traffic areas. Amazon minimizes initial investment through small footprint as well as operational costs with the help of technology. Using purchase data, they can continuously adjust the assortment to deliver the goods. The traditional rules and risks in evaluating cross-border expansion need not apply. This is the dawning of a new age of possibilities where the P&L lacks a labor line-item entry.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2018

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Target vs. Walmart

    Both ads work and are consistent with the brand. Target commercials communicate clearly and distinctly: the red color always stands out, the scene is always crisp, and the people and their movements are choreographed with precision. It comes off as a work of art, a 30-second moving canvas that is unmistakably Target. This spot was consistent with what a Target customer expects to see and it drove home the message of great convenience in shopping. There's no mistaking the spot as anything but a Target commercial, so branding and advertising work well here. Walmart's is more "real" with a story focused on one person as she checks off her list of holiday gift giving. We get to connect with her and not just experience the excitement of the season, but also how easily she combines the online and store experience on her mobile device and local Walmart. The scenes are real life situations, the movements are brisk and unguarded. I don't recall any mention of low prices or best deals and so on, this was about convenience and shopping your way. This spot will work well for current Walmart customers, but I expect it to be even more effective in attracting new customers. Two thumbs up!
  • Posted on: 11/26/2018

    Millennial brand loyalty comes into question

    Our approach to prioritize any generation by some key attributes that keep their cohorts coming back to spend more money is locked into a long outdated mass marketing model. Just because you can measure it, doesn't continue to make it valid. The whole premise of "consumer loyalty" is out of whack with today's retailing reality. The unstated assumption is that a retailer or a brand can "own" a consumer through marketing and advertising. Today's consumer choices are too many, the competitive landscape is too intense, and the consumer purchasing power through technology breakthroughs require us to jettison the old notions of consumer loyalty to a brand. What's needed is the reverse approach of building brand and store loyalty to individual consumers, to give them compelling reasons to spend their money in your store and on your brands. A shift in mindset is a necessary first step towards new set of behaviors. The accelerating adoption of online digital retailing will hasten the strategic and organizational changes required to address retail's new reality.
  • Posted on: 11/26/2018

    Are Black Friday results a sign of Christmas 2018 things to come?

    Online comps are now hitting the 30 percent range for milestone days, this tells me we're still early in the shift to digital shopping experiences. Combined with the steady flow of store traffic and the increasing hybridization of online/offline retailing, I expect consumer spending to continue its rise making the 2018 holiday season one of the better ones in years. Locally the shopping malls, parking lots, and traffic around major shopping destinations over this period were as busy as ever -- a very healthy picture for the 2018 holiday season. BOPIS is a huge hit and I found many examples of retailers offering incentives to pick up in store (while still reducing COGS). There are more opportunities ahead to integrate online and offline retailing and deliver personalized predictive and intelligent offers based on individual consumer behavior and preferences.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2018

    Waitrose disses John Lewis’ Elton John Christmas commercial

    This is a perfect example of Waitrose leveraging its sister company's ad investment and treating the video spot as a social event and a topic of discussion. Waitrose takes a more practical view of the holidays by inviting you to indulge and take comfort in the immediate gratification of feel-good food in a fast moving world. It reminds me of the vintage 7-Up commercial urging you to "enjoy, don't analyze." This is all very smart, well-planned and brilliantly executed. I wonder what else they might have in production?
  • Posted on: 11/20/2018

    Will 2018 be the last holiday season for long checkout lines?

    I can imagine that today's newly born may never experience the same overnight camping ahead of Black Friday so they can give someone their money in exchange for a physical product. The entire experience will become the stuff of lore as we reminisce of a passing age. Never mind that the actual waiting and camping in line was an experience in itself - one worthy of bragging rights and unheard of deals. Today consumer options and retail competition have made the derived benefit of those shared experiences less attractive as human queues have turned into digital clicks and count-down timers with same-day home deliveries.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2018

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Big Lots vs. Dick’s Sporting Goods

    Dick's Sporting Goods gets a big thumbs up! They delve deeper into the meaningful aspects of a product and how it is experienced across time and generations. Powerfully executed, it draws you to the many other possibilities you can create yourself by shopping at Dick's. This is a well-executed story that equally relies on the audience to participate and imagine the possibilities. Big Lots' spot is replete with joy in fast moving collages of jubilant family gatherings. The message is about how value and low prices that can make everyone experience joy in their own family. The message is direct and unambiguous, the meaning is clear and singular. Nothing wrong with that and I expect it will resonate well with their customers.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2018

    FAO Schwarz makes an iconic comeback in the Big Apple


    The FAO Schwarz flagship store in Manhattan is perfectly located to garner media and consumer attention at the right time of year. The brand's history combined with the bold store opening statement will provide a halo effect to its international presence. Manhattan is a tourist and shopping magnet. The success of this strategy does not require becoming a dominant player in the toys category, but rather rediscovering the brand's exclusivity and boldness. This is a well thought out move by the Three Sixty Group on its investment. Now it's a matter of smart execution without dilution of the brand or over-extending on future investments.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2018

    Can Walmart turn its haters into lovers?

    Price and customer service are markers for getting great value for your hard-earned money and the desire for personalized service in a post mass-retail world. Walmart's brand imagery and history tap deeply into the value proposition frame held by most consumers. In the past couple of years, Walmart has been working on supplementing its brand image with one that speaks to innovation, convenience, and increasingly frictionless commerce. It takes years to establish a new frame in the mind of consumers. As long as Walmart stays the course and continues to innovate while adhering to its roots of low prices, the company has a more than reasonable chance to cross the chasm.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2018

    Walmart reimagines its big boxes as town centers

    The Walmart of the past few years is a reinvigorated company with a zeal for reimagining retailing and by extension they are addressing how people make meaning in their daily activities and how they identify with brands. The physical space is more than simply a location where things happen, it becomes more purposeful and integrated in a lifestyle way with fully engaged sensory experience. By rethinking their store location as town centers, Walmart takes more control of the variables that help create the desired customer experience -- going beyond the traditional product/price/checkout continuum. This is a big idea with significant consequences for the future of retailing outside of an urban setting. Real estate, ease and convenience as well as pleasant aesthetics will come together as we explore retail's future model that integrates space, time, and intelligent technologies in new and innovative ways -- and all catering to delivering a compelling customer experience.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2018

    Is there a failure to communicate between retail HQs and stores?

    There are two broad types of communications between stores and headquarters. One type involve plan-o-grams, initial and changes to assortments and pricing, inbound goods, and general transactional data. These represent the operational flow and lifeblood of the store and how HQ and store make meaning out of inventory and customer transactions. The other communication category is more soft and squishy but equally important: the brand's and banner's story, execution of the visual experience in each store, and the use of technology in the hands of the store associates and as embedded intelligence in the store itself. Both happen in parallel but not at the exclusion of the other. They are intertwined and, properly set up and executed, they can be the difference between failure and success. Organizations tend to focus operationally on the former type of communications due to its "hard" data with measurable, tangible, and more real characteristics. The thinking is if you focus on that category, the second one will come through according to active management of the right KPIs. From my experience, ignore one and both will suffer and so will overall performance and associates' morale.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2018

    Will organic food sales soar on the latest cancer research?

    This research will not add to organic food sales in the U.S., nor will it necessarily change minds The converted already believe and aren't seeking validation; the rest won't pay any attention. Outside of a lifestyle change, consumption of organic foods is based on availability of such choices at reasonable prices and far less with any research study -- with or without a long list of caveats.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2018

    Did Target just become the easiest place to shop for Christmas?

    Target's biggest advantage is the executive team's shift in mindset from online and services being adjuncts of store sales to one that takes full view of the shopping experience inclusive of new conveniences, fresh assortment, exclusive products and offers, integrated supply chain, trained associates and frictionless commerce points. As we've seen in the past few days, the 2018 holiday selling season is ramping up as a breakout moment in retail. It will serve to further separate those committed to tap into retail's new reality by executing on broad strategic fronts as well as on high-leverage points of differentiation. The winners of the upcoming holiday season will set the pace for the rest in 2019 and beyond.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2018

    Why haven’t CPG giants figured out what makes small brands so popular?

    Size and scale are extremely powerful in driving product and delivered cost per unit as low as possible. In today's post-mass consumption society, that scale does not translate well into desirable consumer sentiment and purchase. Today's perceptions expands the "small is beautiful" adage to small is simple, clean, healthy, and in tune with nature. What once was an enviable advantage, size and scale have become a liability unless the titans of industry can change the narrative through deliberate actions along tangible dimensions such as ethical products, transparency of ingredients, higher nutritional value and better environmentally-sensitive packaging.

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