Rich Kizer

Consumer Anthropologist, KIZER & BENDER Speaking
Rich Kizer is a 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. 2018 marks their 28th anniversary as a speaking team.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2019

    Retailers approach tech’s cutting edge with caution

    I do think that all retailers must have their heads above the sand and be willing to challenge themselves in the adoption of new technologies - carefully. I think that the guidelines on what determines their adoption need to be how these tools will reach their customers' hearts and add unexpected pleasures to the store experience, while creating a customer perception of ease, comfort and control. This is no time for a retailer to sit down and watch in this rapidly-moving technology-enhanced world.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2019

    Have U.S. malls lost their sense of community?

    I fear that malls have a very large challenge bringing back foot traffic like the good old days. For the past years most malls (not all) have appeared to be mausoleum-like; not knowing what to do to increase customer foot steps. Now we talk about community. I hope that the virtual community interaction that so many people hold in their hands will not make the real-life "people interaction" at the mall a thing of the past. I think malls will need to hire talent that knows how to create events that people will come to see (like on-the-spot pop-up fashion shows featuring specific stores) while entertaining them, and so on. It is a daunting task!
  • Posted on: 09/13/2019

    Old Navy is ready to set sail on its own

    Really? Oh no!
  • Posted on: 09/13/2019

    Did Whole Foods just give conscious capitalism a swift kick to the curb?

    Oh no! Now all the better and talented staff run to find a better deal. It is hard to take away something that is thought of as a benefit. I am sure Whole Foods thought this through, but with long term impact and perspective on the business? I will be watching inside their four walls.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2019

    What keeps online shoppers from creating user accounts?

    The fear of having more and more emails plugging up their system. And also, my favorite quote from one of our consumer focus groups: "I want to date your store, not marry it!", which means that with the mentioned breaches of privacy and the hordes of data collected about them, people are becoming more vigilant about their personal information.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2019

    Nordstrom Local hopes for big returns from the competition

    And by the way, Kohl's Amazon return program does drive customers into the store -- which is loaded with items to buy, what a novel idea. That works.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2019

    Nordstrom Local hopes for big returns from the competition

    I actually think this will be the retail move we refer to often in the future ... with a grin.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2019

    Ace Hardware builds through acquisition in the do-it-for-me market

    The concept of having this service is becoming incredibly important to many home owners, and this will grow. But Ace has created a huge "ace" in this acquisition, here is why: when handy men/women are independent workers that do not work for the home improvement stores, the store loses the ability to control every action of working with the customer. That has had some negative repercussions for retailers who do not have "control" of all the work quality of the independent contractor. It leads to unhappy customers who blame the store. Ace understands those brand-smashing repercussions, and so to make sure they extend quality through the end performance, they don't hire outside independent contractors, they acquire Handyman Matters. What is better is that Andy Bell, founder and CEO of Handyman Matters, will continue to lead the day-to-day business operations for Ace Handyman Services. Well thought out.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2019

    Would you go to Walmart to see a doctor?

    Brilliant. Building excellent and needed services for everyone's needs in-store demonstrates Walmart's desire to be more than a store. This certainly impacts and improves their positioning in the customer's minds. These types of strategic moves demonstrate that the company is truly focused on the community.
  • Posted on: 09/05/2019

    Whole Foods wants a hand from shoppers at checkout

    So will this hand thing make it even more of an impersonal interaction at a noted and expected "better" grocery store? And if it does, what steps will Whole Foods take to appear at least as caring and attentive as ever?
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Will miniature Meijers be a big hit?

    I think smaller, quick hit environments will grow because the pace of customers, who are stressed, pressed for time and need immediate fulfillment. The key for these new Meijer stores: everything must must look fresh and un-duplicated, different from what is presented in their superstores. That means signs, fixtures, staff appearances -- everything. That creates a new identity and experience for the customer to enjoy.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Will Walmart’s customers accept its rejection of the firearms ‘status quo’?

    I'm "all in" with Walmart on this one. I see a lot of stickers on store doors prohibiting weapons in the store -- at least that is taking a stand as well. I agree with most commentators here, this cannot hurt Walmart. They are creating a better level of comfort and assurance that they hold their customer's safety as the highest priority. Walmart's action will ripple through the retail industry. Thanks Walmart (and all the other retailers who have implemented similar steps in their stores) for taking this stand.
  • Posted on: 09/03/2019

    Walmart and BuzzFeed deliver shoppable recipes

    I see this as more of a discovery zone for customers who are looking for new recipes and ideas. For that, this is the sweet spot. Will it build customers? Not as much as Walmart may expect. It is just another chip on the table.
  • Posted on: 09/03/2019

    Will H&M’s ambassador program turn employees into social influencers?

    Customers (certainly not only H&M customers) will assimilate to these influencers once found. This obviously is not new but, when something seems to work well, adopt it. I applaud H&M for making their own staff members into influencers.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2019

    Lord & Taylor to be sold to Le Tote

    "Beginning in 2021, HBC can reassess the use of Lord & Taylor locations and recapture certain stores to determine their best use." What? And after that, “The customers have spoken, and people are looking for smaller, more personalized locations — that’s something we do well at Le Tote.” What a deal.

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