PROFILE

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.
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  • Posted on: 03/02/2021

    Are short-term leases here to stay?

    Shorter AND more flexible. There is much space available. For landlords, it is important to show spaces are rented, even if it is percentage of sales leases, with escalations of higher percentages as the store builds. Perhaps we will see percentage leases of cash sales with a slightly lower percentage for credit sales. I don't think many longer-term leases will be written early, as landlords will look for in an uptick in retail sales, thus offering them the opportunity to gain a stronger and longer term with more substantial merchants. However we are going to see a lot of "For Rent" signs.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2021

    Do rivals need to follow Costco’s minimum wage lead right now?

    I believe that the upward escalation of Costco's pay plan will have a huge positive emplooyee effect and great reactions from customers due to staff attitudes. Competition will be forced to follow in slow fashion.
  • Posted on: 02/26/2021

    Is it the right time to reopen food bars?

    Look, if I were a grocer and heard two comments about the safety of our self-service food bar, in five minutes it would be behind glass in the counters serviced by a "chef," at normal pricing with signage stating "for your safety." That would certainly reposition my competitors and afford me the opportunity of better "top of mind awareness" against them. AND I think customers would appreciate our concern for their safety.
  • Posted on: 02/23/2021

    Activist investors attempt takeover of Kohl’s board of directors

    It wasn't long ago that Kohl's had many retail admirers. Kohl's Cash, hot promotions and available product drew them in. When the virus hit, it scared people from going to stores, obviously. That pressured stores to take many measures they didn't prefer. Think of all the brick and mortar stores we lost. At that point the safe option was certainly digital. That powered many great opportunities for those in that arena, and they rightly took advantage of that. Now the waters are clearing, and we are seeing an enthusiasm of shoppers going social again, right into brick and mortar facilities. And in time more will come. It is easy to slam Kohl's performance throughout the pandemic, but I am betting on the fact that they will return with new aggressive retail tactics and presentations that will certainly lure their base back. I certainly hope everyone involved moves with wisdom.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2021

    Will 7-Eleven’s beer and wine on tap be a c-store game changer?

    Probably will work. Great margins. I think the test of success will be when we see 7-Eleven mandating the expense of adding additional square footage to accommodate the liquor annex. On a lighter note, and on the other hand, many husbands who habitually did not want yo make the trip for milk, may just find a new reason to do the shopping. Hic....
  • Posted on: 02/17/2021

    Has text messaging become retail’s go-to communication tool?

    I believe that most retailers utilize text messaging because it is an easy, less time consuming way to have immediate contact with their customers. Though that immediacy is not always welcome. But it is a good tool when used wisely. During the pandemic, I have watched with interest the retail world find gold in short Facebook Live videos, showcasing new items, news of sales, etc. These are short burst messages that have good and, at times, great results.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2021

    Digital gains are changing how Best Buy puts its associates to work

    Of course digital is up. The COVID-19 experience has scared a lot of people away from going into stores and, rightly so, digital is up. However there will be mountains of people, like me, who want to come in and speak with an expert, because I am not an expert. Thus the opportunity for an add-on sale is probable, if a proper associate is talking with me. And the thought of having someone tell me my sales expert will be with me in a few moments after they finish gift wrapping a television for a customer won't work well for me. Don't throw the towel in on me with that response. And also, "A computing specialist, for instance, could take a shift in the mobile department or home delivery" ... does not work, it actually scares me. And by the way, customers are coming back with expectations they hope to have fulfilled.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2021

    Is the toy category’s pandemic sales boon coming to an end?

    Nikki Baird, you are absolutely on point.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2021

    Who won this year’s Super Bowl ad contest?

    Who won? Nothing sparkled. And the big reason for these very expensive ads is recall and top-of-mind awareness. For me, they seemed so tame. I don't recall their names. The big one was expecting was absent: I wanted another puppy rescue -- what gives, Budweiser?
  • Posted on: 02/05/2021

    The retail apocalypse didn’t happen last year, despite the coverage

    Sometimes I get frustrated. It is true that at the beginning of this horrible COVID-19 time, retailers got hit in the head by a huge rock, which they really never saw coming. Many weaker operators sadly did not have the finances to get aggressive to create a plan to survive. Many others had the ability to look at the landscape and make enormous decisions about strategies to implement during this time. They survived and, yes, not all thrived. But they really went to work. Here is my frustration: not many of those retailers heard encouraging words, and some even believed what they heard. And that led to customers anticipating their probable demise. But during every slowdown, we see dark "for rent" windows and make gloomy predictions. Then eight months or a year later, we see new retailers lighting those windows. Let's give all those hard working, inventive retailers support; they will show up. And so will jobs. And that will continue to generate customer enthusiasm.
  • Posted on: 02/03/2021

    A new era for Amazon as Jeff Bezos hands over CEO role

    I am sure that everything will be fine in this company which knows no idea ceilings. Andy Jassy is so integrated into the program that we will be speaking about him weekly. And Jeff Bezos will never be far from the action. No worries!
  • Posted on: 02/02/2021

    Will Allure editors outdo other beauty merchandisers with a new store concept?

    The sentiment that "many brick and mortar stores are facing challenges because they’re failing to deliver the product discovery customers have grown accustomed to online" is spot on! Every retailer needs to pay attention to Mr. Grindel's playbook. Those discoveries will make it as demands on the sales floors.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2021

    Is Hobby Lobby making a mistake (a big one) ending 40 percent off coupons?

    I do admire the Hobby Lobby operation. Closing out of the constant 40% program is a big move, and one I agree with. Certainly we will see some other type of loyalty program blossoming in the store, perhaps a customer loyalty reward program that will feature some types of rotating discounts, free classes and perhaps closed event classes on new projects just hitting the market. As to the comparison with Penney, Hobby Lobby always triggers the mind with new projects and products, every visit will offer something new; while Penney adventures became a trip to basics land. Big difference.
  • Posted on: 01/28/2021

    Will vaccine reluctant Americans slow the retail comeback from COVID-19?

    People are always hesitant of new drugs and their promises; no wonder we hear about the doubt and resistance of the current vaccine. I believe most people will come around in due time, after they see millions of people walking around with assured smiles. Now retail. During the pandemic, we educated the consumer on different modes of shopping, while we closed and warned them to avoid crowds in stores. So obviously there will be mental stress about walking into a store instead of ordering from the couch. In our wanting to return to normal surveys with customers, we feel excitement from them wanting to return back to normal. Retailers are in a pinch: If they can make landlord arrangements, clean out dated product while receiving new, relaying stores to a brand new exciting look, this may create the renewed customer enthusiasm they must generate. It's a big job.
  • Posted on: 01/27/2021

    Can Rosalind Brewer cure what is ailing Walgreens business?

    What I do I expect Rosalind Brewer to bring to her role as CEO of Walgreens? A lot of competitors shaking in their boots.

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