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: 03/19/2019

    Can Walmart lead the fight to eliminate plastic waste?

    I applaud this Walmart initiative. I believe that because of all of the attention that plastic pollution has received, the public is becoming sympathetic with this issue. When a giant like Walmart takes a strong stance on an issue like this, the cause gets legs. Yes, there will be costs, but I believe these costs will be hard (and unpopular) for Walmart to pass on to the consumer, as they have announced the decision to discontinue their Savings Catcher program. But all considered, I am still applauding Walmart in this effort.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2019

    Will customer hosts raise the shopping experience bar at Walmart?

    I am all in on this strategy of customer hosts in Walmart. I expect that they will be professionally trained to do all they promise they will do. Here is the real upside: Walmart removes greeters, replaces them with hosts, and very importantly insists that all hosts practice the "seven tile rule," which is, when ever they come within seven tiles (that is seven feet) of a customer, they must greet that customer, ask/answer questions or offer help. That will incredibly impact and create a positive customer centric service environment after the official greeters are gone.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2019

    How does dynamic pricing affect online purchasing behavior?

    There is extreme danger here: the more exposed to downward movements of pricing to make the sale, the more exposure to the customer seeking intelligence on the location of the best deals. It's like creating a deeper hole for retailers to fight over. It also challenges the validity of the regular price in stores.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2019

    Walmart says ‘goodbye’ to greeters and ‘hello’ to controversy

    I think Sam is rolling over at high velocity. Sure, the greeters probably do not add substantially to sales, but they did do something that I think we forget about. First of all, it's the loss of an icon. Secondly, it is just their appearance to welcome shoppers (albeit, perhaps not the most professional at times) to the store. In our surveys of customers, one of the high agitations of shopping is not being recognized or welcomed in a timely manner. Sam understood that. At some point in all businesses, there must be small margin sacrifices to magnify the heart, goodness and appreciation of the customer. It's a shame, but it will melt away, and customers will use this as another example of "remember the good old days when...". I think Walmart has other, major fish they can fry to enhance the bottom line.
  • Posted on: 02/26/2019

    Will a curated marketplace strategy be an online game changer for Target?

    Brilliant. I'll say it again - keep your eyes on this company. They seem to do their well-thought-out thing, and then they do it very well.
  • Posted on: 02/26/2019

    Will Walmart’s Baby Savings Day grow up to be a big retailing deal?

    I think, no I know, there is some call for damage control here. This is what happens when a business tries to mimic what a competitor does. If a retailer tries to offer the same/similar experience to their customers that the competitor has already instituted, the promotion must have qualities that have not been seen before to hold their customer's enthusiasm and love for the store. No empty promises. Walmart got some bad press on this and now needs to recover. And I hope every retailer remembers; when you mimic and follow competitors' actions, the competitor is actually running your business. So make it bigger and better and certainly not stale news while you definitely have the merchandise and in-store efforts clearly planned to make the celebration come to life.
  • Posted on: 02/25/2019

    Should district managers be held more accountable for store performance?

    First off, a DM must be a proven player. That is critical when working with and helping a store and the management staff. Every company needs to focus on making the DM a partner with the store management, thus creating an environment of mutual success. All too often, DMs scare the heck out of store personnel which is clearly anti-productive. Successful retailers must be trained into what it takes to be a successful DM partner to store management, and when the retail performance drops in stores, upper management must communicate with and travel with the DMs to get a real dose of reality. At that point there must be mutual respect and strategy among the store personnel, the DM and the executives.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2019

    Will the ‘c’ in c-stores soon stand for cannabis?

    I think that for most retailers contemplating selling cannabis, when it is time, there will be a line. As Georganne and I travel, we shop these stores. I always inquire of what their biggest challenge is, and the answer is almost always the same: what to do with all the cash. Prohibited to utilize most banks and credit cards is a serious problem and most frequently the answer. I think that kind of business points out what non-cannabis retailers see, and anxiously await. There still will be many regulations to come, but I think the wait line will be long. At a cannabis convention in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity of speaking with some of the biggest promoters to the industry, and I must say they were brilliant retail minds. These people are serious.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2019

    What will it take to transform BOPIS ops from just okay to great?

    The past six months I have made a mission of standing and watching, from inside the store the BOPUIS customer experience. The retailers I experienced have more thinking to do. Many times it seemed that customers had to stand in line and at times, wait over five minutes. Agitation was on their face. There was never enough staff evident. Makes me wonder how the expectation of customer service and add-on sales, which is viewed as a service to the customer, can possibly occur. Seems like I saw a lot of customers who were now NOT going to walk into the store.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2019

    Is Walmart just starting to hit its stride?

    I frankly, like many of the other BrainTrust commenters, applaud Walmart. I believe that under Mr. McMillon's guidance, they have very focused and intense plans to grow their success. And it seems like when they make the decision to move, it is well thought out and with no reservation. Commitment strategies to their customers' experiences are deeply entrenched in the corporate blood. It's the old adage: listen to the customer, think clearly and develop the "do it right" solutions using all the information they have. They seem to possess a "don't look back" mentality in delivery. Impressive results.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2019

    Where did Payless go wrong?

    I think this is the point: every year, retail changes by a minimum of 10 percent. Everything changes - communications, product, service, the way customers buy, the way product is promoted ... it doesn't stop. And the Payless ship apparently never lifted anchor while the rest of the industry was sailing into rediscovering ways to romance the customer. What's that old saying: there's room at the top, just not room enough to sit down.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2019

    Will Amazon’s decision to bail cause a New York backlash?

    You're spot on Bob!
  • Posted on: 02/15/2019

    Will Amazon’s decision to bail cause a New York backlash?

    Mr. de Blasio in a statement said: “We have the best talent in the world and every day we are growing a stronger and fairer economy for everyone. If Amazon can’t recognize what that’s worth, its competitors will.” Mr. Mayor, Who will? #bigloss
  • Posted on: 02/14/2019

    Will Mastercard’s sonic identity connect with consumers on a new level?

    I can’t understand why Target plays no music in most of their stores, now this? Will they turn down the MC fight song? Mastercard is now the Law and Order of credit card sounds? Doink Doink. Dumb.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2019

    Product and promo knowledge won’t make the sale

    After many years that span every aspect of retail, I can certainly and easily point to management's inattention to sales training and development that led to the establishment of mediocre interactions and shameful cultures of excellence on the floors. Today, due to the vast options of where to buy, there is a much higher level of expectations from customers. Our mandate with our retail clients is: Training has no season ... it must be on-going and one step ahead of the customer -- period.

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