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: 05/22/2019

    Should retail boards include seats for store associates?

    So you want to get the true perspective of what is going on in the stores, from a board of director view. I love the old United Airlines commercial where the CEO announces that their best customer just fired them. At that point, he hands each board member a round trip ticket to visit one of their biggest customers to make sure things are good. One member asks the chairman, where he is going to go, and the answer should have shaken every board member in the country. His reply? "I'm going to go see our best customer who just fired us." I don't think we will see associates in the board room, but how about a dose of reality for board members? Each member visits at least two stores a quarter, and works there alongside the associates. Then at their meetings, everyone could give the entire board their "doses of reality." The associates' voices will be heard. And I really think those voices not being heard is the crux of this story.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2019

    Will an online deal with Fanatics prove to be a big win for Kohl’s?

    I guess this is ok. Competitive marketplace. My question is are items different in offerings between these two giant retailers, or is this a shoot-out of sorts?
  • Posted on: 05/21/2019

    When the going gets tough, the tough get transparent

    This is a no brainer. Stuff happens in all businesses that causes havoc. Honesty with customers? People will long forgive, and respect, any business that makes mistakes and blunders (when they are legitimate) and confesses apologetically. On the other side, try to pull the wool over customers' eyes and you will lose big time. Even the best in business have times of sorrow and mistakes. Welcome to retail! Hats off to Rothy's!
  • Posted on: 05/21/2019

    How should retailers raise prices to offset tariffs?

    Bob's post was/is spot on. It always scares me to think that staff will converse with customers on the tariff impact on the prices of merchandise. That just puts price suspicion front and center in the customer's mind. However, in some cases staff should be ready. In many stores, there are plenty of "blind items" that secure better margins every day for the stores. My suggestion is to move margins up where possible on the blind items. At the same time, look for opportunities of slight price increases without creating shock. My guess is there is room here. To prove it, management should hold up non-basic items and ask the staff members what the selling price is. If they have a hard time being accurate on the item, there may be price expansion opportunity there.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2019

    Just how big is Amazon’s ethics challenge?

    When a company grows and grows, with the obvious support of customers, there comes a time when size offers opportunities for concerned people to criticize. Great companies can't be so careful that they are afraid of making a mistake - mistakes are lessons to build better companies. Everyone got excited for a quick, high tech, no cash needed store ... until others felt that it was unfair for cash carrying customers. I'm not disagreeing with all the comments and concerns about this giant company. But I think it is pretty easy to jump on the bandwagon.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2019

    Is Crazy Cazboy’s pricing too crazy or just crazy enough?

    Wow! I'm having a flash back of Filene's bargain basement. Of course this is a gimmick. However, sources for product are not in short supply for Crazy Cazboy's venture. Outside of stores dumping obsolete and unwanted "markdown demanding" merchandise, you can find a hidden supply of products everywhere. A semi truck turned over and these guys buy the whole trailer for a price - without seeing inside until they pay. The gamble can pay off. I once met a merchant that salvaged 64 televisions - nice ones, for pennies on the dollar, from a flipped trailer. Will this merchant and these opportunities stay? When will people stop looking for that treasure that "just might be "around the corner" in the store?
  • Posted on: 05/15/2019

    Is Apple’s App Store a monopoly?

    First of all, Apple is not the only game in town. No one is locked into purchasing Apple products. Secondly, I would prefer to continue with Apple as their products work. That assurance is worth any investment and I find it to be a value proposition. There is no monopoly that I see, just good management desiring quality products for their customers.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2019

    Why is Amazon paying employees to quit their jobs?

    Doesn't this sound a heck of a lot better than that program Walmart conceived by utilizing employees as delivery drivers on their trips home after work? You would expect a lot more from Amazon with this type of delivery program, and this is it. Today it is hard to control so many independents who represent the company, and the scarcity of available players is tight. By employing this opportunity for Amazon associates, it will create a closer bond of understanding between all parties, and I believe performance at the street level. And Amazon benefits from more efficient operations in delivery.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2019

    Will Schick parent’s acquisition of Harry’s create a ‘next-generation consumer products platform’?

    The way I see it, this is a wonderful chance to form a larger company which will have a global reach. And as a result, new marketing techniques will be absorbed by both. Brilliant move.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2019

    Will Walmart’s new online pet pharmacy and vet clinics draw more pet parents?

    Many pet owners have an allegiance to their vet, and may find switching vets a little difficult. But many also complain of the cost of filling their pets prescriptions. Learning that Walmart carries a multitude of pet products and now drugs at more affordable levels will in time impact their choice of where to go. I would suspect to sell the new veterinarian. and get pet owners to switch, there will be hard promotions in-store, like those in Walgreens promoting their care clinics. All that said, I think Walmart will be very successful in this venture.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2019

    What will Walmart gain from its ‘returnship’ program?

    Extremely logical. In a labor market where is it a challenge to find, hire and retain talent, and yes, the key word is retain, "returnship" will be incredibly rewarding for Walmart and appreciated by the new hires, who will be thrilled to accept the opportunities - again.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2019

    Do urgency tactics used by online retailers amount to marketing deception?

    No. Everyone in business markets their products to sell. Look at car dealers on television. Shopping shows with limited quantities or countdown clocks. It's everywhere. It's business. Most have agreeable return policies to negate bad purchases. Beyond all this, the consumer is always responsible to make decisions for themselves. Smart consumers, who investigate items either on the internet or in-store, are rarely fooled.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2019

    Will Walmart’s ‘Great Workplace’ test work for its customers and associates?

    Every retailer wants associates to be responsible to deliver great service. Our favorite employee axiom is: To be responsible to create great moments for customers, the associate must have the authority to make it happen. With the proper training, I think this Walmart "Great Workplace" initiative can have a very positive effect.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2019

    Is retail suffering from an emotional intelligence deficit?

    OK, so my take-away is that we are to include emotional profile testing to our recruiting efforts before we put someone on the sales floor? Right? I'm tired.
  • Posted on: 05/02/2019

    Are ‘live, work, shop, play’ environments a big part of retail’s future?

    Brilliant: "consider customer needs and desires and then fulfill them." This colonization of a market with a strong preference to be able to shop close to home is putting the customer preference to the forefront. I believe Nordstrom has already put this in the mix. For a retailer this is a great move, with the traditional store feeding the satellite stores. Spreading the brand, nurturing customers. Good move.

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