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: 07/26/2021

    Macy’s should have stayed local

    I spent twelve years in the department store industry and, as I visited our stores across the country, I was always impressed on the localization the professional managers of those stores were so intent to possess. This led us to give much more authority to the management staff to buy at markets and be responsible for the results. It wasn't all localized control, but it certainly pleased the local customers and yielded the stores to have tremendous square footage productivity.
  • Posted on: 07/23/2021

    Will an enhanced rewards program turn Gap’s customers into ‘lifelong loyalists’?

    I really don't see any downside to this move, in fact it is a smart strategy. I think what this will do is drive more customers into the stores and if Gap is listening, (I'm sure they will be), this will be a positive as to hearing consumer wants and needs of their operations.
  • Posted on: 07/22/2021

    Should retailers reconsider bringing their HQ staff back to work?

    With what we know now about the delta variant, and what we don't know, I'd keep the same precautions that companies have implemented during COVID-19. Perhaps a monthly meeting at corporate offices for the vaccinated ones to keep everyone on the same rhythm and page. Beyond that, be sure to read read Ryan Mathews' comments in this discussion.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2021

    Will a new private label be a good fit for Macy’s customers?

    I have to admit that I have historically loved Macy's. However I am getting tired of retailers who think just one more label will cure a lot of ills. Not today! I would start with hiring a research company to visit every location where they have stores and interview current and past customers and non-customers, taking their time to be absolutely thorough about in-depth information, and then hire another company to do the same. I really don't think one label will up their game and market position.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2021

    Victoria’s Secret is moving out of the mall

    Big mistake. Victoria’s Secret has always relied on foot traffic conversion not footsteps into the front door.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2021

    Is it time for retailers to reinstate pandemic protocols?

    I am not a doctor, but it seems to me that everyone can easily be a spreader. I'm vaccinated, but still can catch the variation as I understand it, from people who have not taken the sensible precautions as in wearing masks and getting the shots. It is sad that we have a lottery to give money away just to encourage the common sense of the safety and necessity of shots. Nevertheless, my thought is: retailers get ready. The mandates and care practices most likely are coming back.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2021

    Is the Walmart/Justice tie-up a harbinger of more retailer brand partnerships?

    I think it is rather simple: Walmart is a big power player with brilliant operators running the show, that enjoys (offers) power in markets everywhere. I don't know if I would call this a major win for Walmart, but it is a brilliant move for both parties.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2021

    Can a Tesco exec school Amazon on physical retail?

    The opportunity of a super seasoned retailer to jump into a monster opportunity like this is the envy of all (or most) retail executives. He'll come, open his bag of brilliance and influence all the folks under his direction. This is going to be a fun watch! I'm jealous! Can't wait to watch this unfold.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2021

    Can ghost kitchens inject new life into mall food courts?

    Ghost kitchens recast the food court. I think they would attract traffic, and traffic creates sales -- so what does that result in? Happy customers and happy retailers. What else should we do?
  • Posted on: 07/09/2021

    Retailers still have a COVID-19 problem

    I do think there is a high degree of responsibility on retailers' shoulders for their employees to be protected. Secondly, they have the responsibility to assure their customers of their safety practices. The government must step in or be complicit. Doing nothing is like releasing a rabid dog into a kennel of championship dogs. It's just not fair.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2021

    Will in-person conferences make a comeback after a year of virtual shows?

    People like to go face-to-face in one-to-one conversations when making major deals. Idea generation blossoms, shared profit strategies are born. There is no way these connections can be reproduced at this effective level while looking at a computer screen.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2021

    Marketers go to college to recruit brand ambassadors

    Being a BIG TEN FAN, I can see that those and other players in high profile positions will get and generate a lot of buzz and attention with these promotional efforts. It is big business. For example, I believe that if Michigan's athletic program were a company, it would be a whisper away from being a Fortune 500 player. Never forget: celebrity sells! .
  • Posted on: 06/30/2021

    Impulse shopping is a family/social affair

    Anything that creates an impulse purchase is money from heaven. It's a sale that is not expected but is created in a number of ways: obviously from friends, respected associates with a good purchase history of the customer's business, product placed uniquely in a strike location or zone, and video or talking signs (quoting shoppers who have purchased the product.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2021

    Help Wanted: Authentic leaders to drive sustainable business success

    Nothing else to be said, Georganne.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2021

    What makes a great post-purchase experience?

    I once met an older gentleman who sold new cars. I asked him if he does anything special for the customer after the sale is made. His response floored me: He said "YES, I send them a birthday card every year." I did not think this was very special. Then he blew me away with this statement: "Son, you don't understand, the birthday card is for the car (congratulations, you're a year older), not for the owners!" I smiled and the owner of the dealership told me he out-sells everyone. I wonder why. What would be the impact of a retailer associate doing the same? I wonder. Why not? .

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