Rich Kizer

Partner, KIZER & BENDER Speaking
Rich Kizer is a professional speaker, author, consultant, and one-half partner of KIZER & BENDER Speaking.

KIZER & 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, are included in the Top 40 Omnichannel Retail Influencers, and the Top 50 Retail Influencers three years running. Their award-winning Retail Adventures blog was named the Top Retail Blog by PR Newswire Media, and is included in the Top 25 Websites for Retailers, Top 50 Retail Blogs, and the 7 Best Retail Publications just to name a few. KIZER & BENDER recently served as official correspondents for the National Retail Federation’s 2017 Digital Retail Conference.

Rich and Georganne are experts on generational diversity, consumer trends, marketing and promotion, and everything retail. They are widely referred to as consumer anthropologists because they stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today's consumer. Any speaker can talk about consumers, but Georganne and Rich 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 mouth of the consumer: solid ground level intelligence you can use to better serve your own customers.
  • Posted on: 05/17/2018

    Walmart drops Scan & Go tech – again

    Here is the one thing that no business can ignore: In our ever increasing "speed economy," 10% of everyone's business changes each year. Do nothing for two years and you're 20% behind your competition. With this perspective, I salute Walmart for not fearing trial. And yes, people will have to get used to it, but I remember when people resisted ATMs and shopping online. We all grow in this 10% arena, and learn, fail, innovate and improve as we go. There is no alternative of experiencing lessons learned from trial and error.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2018

    Should Starbucks acquire Blue Apron?

    I read this article and then went to the "high-volume" Starbucks I visit every morning, except Sunday. And I asked questions of both baristas and customers. Today my impromptu and very casual focus group consisted of high volume, upscale customers. Many of these customers consistently purchase food, and so I stopped the food purchasers this morning. I asked if they liked the selection of offerings, how frequently they bought food, and and when they ate it. Most of the purchasers said they bought 3 to 5 times weekly. I inquired about selection expansion, and inquired if they would like to see more. Many of the customers said they were fine with the selections, but they would welcome larger selections (not a surprise answer). When do they eat their early morning purchase? Most replied that they eat their food immediately in the car during rush hour (the most frequent response), with a few stating it was for lunch later. No one claimed to stop in during their trip home to purchase more food. I even asked if the selection was widened, would it make a difference? Not so much. My take? Starbucks could stand to expand their food offerings, but I am not sure their customers will pass those wonderful prepared feasts in upscale grocery stores to pick-up a package meal to cook. Just my take.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2018

    Is an on-demand workforce heading to retail’s selling floors?

    Frankly, I have a hard time with temps in retail. First, one of the he most precious commodities a store can possess is great customer relationships, which are built primarily through professional interactions of staff. There is a place for temp staff in stores, which I would place in areas as warehousing, relaying fixtures on the floor and helping in store display, etc. But there are two real issues I would be concerned with: First is with my current staff attitudes, as in, "I have been here six years building relationships and selling, and they think a non-trained person can come in and do the same?" Secondly, I would be very concerned with any non-trained help working with customers in this competitive environment. If any of our retail clients called us to ask if we thought they could use temps, I would answer with; "Walk very carefully. Remember, your brand is built through all you do and largely by your staff."
  • Posted on: 05/14/2018

    Is an on-demand workforce heading to retail’s selling floors?

    When I first read this article, I choked on my coffee more than once. Look, if the temp is there to do the necessary jobs, such as helping move fixtures, help in warehousing, etc., maybe this is possible. I know we're speaking of nice people coming from a reputable temp agency. But going head to head with my customers with little to no experience on the job? Can't happen. I'll tell you why; current employees will start to feel less important and less respected by management. (I've worked here six years, and someone with no experience ....") Then in agitation, they start letting the temps do more and more with customers. Danger. Plus, I wouldn't feel comfortable having a temp for five days, ending up working for a competitor next week. Who knows what stories and strategies they could disclose. Perfect storm.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2018

    Best Buy campaign highlights its ‘insurmountable advantage’ – its people

    Short and sweet: it always comes down to relationships established by associates with customers. This emphasis really creates a "contract with the customer" that lifts the associate's self-belief that they are the the experience, and responsible to supply each customer with a new level of extraordinary service. Great move!
  • Posted on: 05/10/2018

    Why is Amazon partnering with Sears again?

    Well, it's an effort! That being said, it's a good idea to get people into the store while waiting. Wait a minute, you're buying a tire? Unless you really know what you need and require in a tire, you might not make the right choice on Amazon. You need a specialist like the tire guy at Sears (in this instance), which brings us back to the mandatory trip to make the purchase in the first place. Why then Amazon? Good move for Sears. Perhaps it will keep them in front of customers, and perhaps additional sales opportunities for the car like alignments and in-cabin air filters. And perhaps, with cleaned up waiting rooms and an attractive, well merchandised store to wander, customers may start to recreate their perception of Sears.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2018

    Uber isn’t going along on Walmart’s online grocery ride

    Shep is right, home delivery is not an option now. I do think it interesting that I remember reading that when Uber joined in with Walmart on this program, they made a statement that it was going to be an experiment, a learning process. I am not sure of the lessons either party has learned that lead to the split. I do believe that a grocery delivery service is more demanding and complicated that it appears to most, and that those companies who specialize and are proficient in delivering perishables, etc., have positioned themselves to be incorporated for this demanding service. That being said, it will be told that Walmart is making a better move for their customers with a dedicated, experienced and professional grocery delivery service.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2018

    Walmart associates check out customers on the floor in pilot program

    Great idea for Walmart. I agree with all the comments made so far. Here is the lynchpin: In order for the program to work, these "Check Out With Me" associates must be prevalent in the shoppers eyesight. Many customers complain that in these big boxes, there are only two people present; the greeter (most of the time) and a cashier. I believe customers will welcome this time saving opportunity ... but Walmart better do an excellent job in staff presence along the customer's shopping paths. Otherwise it's back to the lines. In stores where customer interaction is tantamount to the relationship, and making the sale, the focus must be on associate-enabled. In situations where the customer knows their way around, and can easily find what they need, any one of the programs will work.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2018

    New Brookstone concept brings makers to the mall

    Georganne, you’re right on spot. Brookstone is certainly a treasure hunt. This program will certainly inspire customers to discover and enjoy their time in-store. What retailer wouldn't want that? My hat's off to Brookstone -- retail today is about constant re-invention. Right on!
  • Posted on: 05/03/2018

    Macy’s latest acquisition is all about STORYtelling

    Excellent move! Creating innovative experiences in-store creates customer emotions. And emotions create purchases. Rachel has proven she gets it big time! Wonderful move, now give Rachel the freedom and authority she needs and sit back and enjoy the show!
  • Posted on: 04/30/2018

    Walgreens tests lower prices, membership savings

    Ian, thanks for your thoughts. I do strongly believe, and hear often, that common perception is that Walgreens is priced higher on shelf items than the big box stores. And yes, I do believe consumers think of Walgreens as a pharmaceutical store. That position has been a huge piece of their branding: "On the Corner of Happy and Healthy." The pharmacy wars to secure new script business never lessens, because it draws customers consistently into the store. Drug stores doomed? I strongly don't think so.
  • Posted on: 04/30/2018

    Walgreens tests lower prices, membership savings

    Brilliant. For years there has been a perception that items in drug stores are higher in price than most adjacent big box retailers in the market. That has created a deep perception with customers. This concept — for Walgreens to implement a membership/everyday better pricing program (20 percent off prices store-wide, including sale prices, and savings of up to 60 percent on prescriptions purchased) — is aggressive. It will get customer's attention. And all for only $20? I can't wait to see what their competitors do as a result.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2018

    Is $119 too much to pay for an Amazon Prime membership?

    No! Primarily the only complainers will be those who joined and rarely utilize the service. From my point of view, the entire issue has raised the platform for Amazon to demonstrate and brag about their continued focus and efforts of additional services. It all comes down to price versus value. I think all this talk of the increase and services will generate new Prime members.
  • Posted on: 04/25/2018

    UPS partners with retailers in launch of Groupon-like rewards program

    Forty-three million potential buyers is attractive. UPS's requirement is to aggressively promote this program to their "UPS My Choice Deals" clients. This program certainly is reminiscent of Groupon, where retailers learned numerous lessons (some good, some tough) on this "deal" type of format; as in product limitations and length of offerings. With that being said, if those lessons were learned, this may be a great opportunity. It is certainly becoming a small world with opportunities for many businesses to sell, promote and create new markets and market share.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2018

    Will Prime members give Amazon the key to their cars?

    We just finished a store visit and consultation. During our time on the floor, I asked customers if they were aware of the Amazon house and car delivery service. Most had heard the news. But the vast majority of responses were not real favorable: "That's weird," "I think that's going a little to far." "They have the (keys) to my house, and now they want my car?" One shopper responded, "I think I'm better off just going to the store." (And all the brick and mortars cheer). It is about convenience, but I'm not sure everyone is feeling comfortable.
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