Rich Kizer

Principal, KIZER & BENDER Speaking
Rich Kizer is a retail and consumer anthropologist, retail strategist, keynote speaker, author, consultant and one-half of the KIZER & BENDER Speaking team. Rich and his partner, Georganne Bender, are contributors to MSNBC’s television program Your Business. They made Meetings & Conventions Magazine's list of Meeting Planners Favorite Keynote Speakers, have been named two of Retailing's Most Influential People, and have been listed among the Top 40 Omnichannel Retail Influencers and the Top 50 Retail Influencers since 2014. Their award-winning Retail Adventures blog was named the Top Retail Blog by PR Newswire Media, and is consistently listed among important retail and small business blogs. KIZER & BENDER are partners and emcees for the popular Independent Retailer Conference. Any speaker can talk about consumers, but KIZER & BENDER actually become them. In addition to yearly focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes posing as every kind of customer you can imagine; and maybe even a few that you can't. The result of their research is literally straight from the customers’ mouth: solid ground level intelligence you can use to better serve your own customers. KIZER & BENDER are married, just not to each other. 2021 marks their 31st anniversary as a speaking team.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2021

    Walmart is ready to deliver ‘Black Friday Deals for Days’

    And this plan will create a flow of customers who perhaps rarely plan to shop Walmart. Welcome to all these new patrons!
  • Posted on: 10/21/2021

    Walmart is ready to deliver ‘Black Friday Deals for Days’

    Walmart has exposed its battle plan, and it is tough. This is a sound plan for the times. Bravo!
  • Posted on: 10/20/2021

    Instacart aims to transform in-store shopping with smart cart/checkout acquisition

    I am outside of the grocery industry so my question is, how many systems are there to choose from? I remember my excitement at the Amazon grocery store opening when I received a guided tour of their system and store. My guess is that this technology in the article is leaps and bounds ahead of the current others available today, right?
  • Posted on: 10/20/2021

    Is it time for retailers to retire ‘offensive’ Halloween costumes?

    One thing is for sure: You can't teach common sense. Adults are going to do what they do for Halloween. Want to make a fool of yourself, go ahead. But with children, I think any parent with common sense must evaluate what their kids want to wear and explain why some decisions are not appropriate. We will always have these niche costume stores; they call it business -- in my opinion, I'll call it trash.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2021

    Get ready for the ‘IOU Christmas’

    We have been advising retailers to promote gift cards, with a 15 percent discount, which are not be valid until after Christmas. We read some time ago that a substantial number of cards are never redeemed. I know we would rather have the transactions, but those non-redeemed cards cover the discounts. Secondly, this will cause an increase in store traffic when the stores finally get some new items.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2021

    Will visual search bring eyeballs to Google Shopping?

    I reviewed this article/video in a Starbucks sitting next to five women. They asked me to play it again for them. They loved it and walked out the door talking about it. Nothing else to say.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2021

    Stores? Kroger don’t need no stinking stores

    Keep in mind that even if your market has never seen a Kroger store, it most likely has heard of this behemoth grocer. That certainly makes new markets much easier to crack.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2021

    Stores? Kroger don’t need no stinking stores

    How will the Ocado system in Florida and elsewhere affect what other retailers are doing in the online grocery space? It will force change for everyone in market. If I were in the business of manufacturing shopping carts, I'd be concerned as I look down the road. Remember the neighborhood grocery store where everyone knew your name? Where did they go because of innovation? Any grocery store today needs to buy their ticket to this rapidly moving, changing ultra-competitive, consumer-focused market.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2021

    Should retailers set time guarantees for curbside delivery?

    Yes. I believe that time is of the essence for customers. But the ice gets really thin when time guarantees are missed. The first time a retailer misses a guarantee -- "well, ok." The second time is the one they share with friends -- not good. One more time and customers can become raging evangelists against you. If you make a promise like this -- BE READY TO PERFORM. Get it right, and you're a hero.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2021

    Lunds & Byerlys gives associates Thanksgiving and Black Friday off

    This is a brilliant move. Most everyone has their needs covered for their big feast, and by offering Black Friday off to their staff members that tugs at everyone's heart. Hmm, a store with a heart -- not bad publicity. Some customers will complain while they spend their days off relaxing at home. Not much sympathy from me on this one!
  • Posted on: 10/08/2021

    Should retailers be looking to leverage free return shipping?

    I certainly agree with David Naumann that free returns are table stakes today. But there is a rat in this discussion. So I buy an item and get delayed when returning it -- and then I have to pay an additional penalty fee? If I were king of retail and had a store today, that penalty policy would never happen until at least 60 percent of my competitors did the same. If you must have a purchase penalty clause, please train the associates on how to explain it so the store doesn't lose customers with bad press. Let there be no surprises!
  • Posted on: 10/06/2021

    Target is giving associates even more reasons to stay

    How does Target’s approach to human resources compare in your mind to other big retail industry employers? Everyone is looking for the right equation to get the best return for investment from their staff. Target has hit a home run here because unlike retailers that are not as proactive, Target is setting the pace for great performances from their staff members in the future. This action will produce a paradigm shift in the minds of their staff as being the best. That paradigm shift will definitely have a positive effect on customer relations and expectations. Good move.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2021

    Is working in retail a real job?

    This is really interesting. We all ask if working in retail is a real job. If you get paid it is a real job. The thing that knocks me out is that this lethargic attitude that breeds the assumption retail is not a real job is wrong. It is. The problem is interaction by store management. In my discussions with store associates, they exude a limitation of enthusiasm. When I ask if the management comes down and has meaningful conversations with them, I usually see a sly grin. BUT they all tell me that they get orders like, clean the shelves, move this to there, (not why or what do you think) and on and on. I don't think that builds character. Without character, performance will drop. Next time you are in a store, ask a manager how they build confidence, character and professionalism in their employees. I am afraid you will be in for a long pause and you will wait for answers.
  • Posted on: 09/30/2021

    Will Target’s customers treat October 10 like Black Friday?

    If it is accurate that 53 percent of consumers plan to start their holiday shopping before Halloween, hold on to your carts! Get the traffic force ready to direct the mobs. The announcement of the event and the deals will move anyone and everyone to be there. It's all about first dollar sales and Target is not playing around! This is going to be a season of sales to watch!
  • Posted on: 09/30/2021

    Will Dollar Tree succeed as a dollar+ store?

    Brilliant, just brilliant. I would be amazed if they received complaints from 1 percent of their customers. Most people walk into this "nirvana" of product presentations and find treasures at prices that make them want to sing the Dollar Tree fight song. AND 50 cents increases will be no problem. I would love an opportunity to sit down with Mr. Witynski!

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