Rich Kizer

Partner, 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. They recently served as official correspondents for the National Retail Federation’s Digital Retail 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. To learn more, visit: <a href=""> </a>
  • Posted on: 11/16/2018

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Best Buy

    Sorry Amazon, I just don't get it. And I didn't feel it ... a message from singing boxes? Some people may get excited over delivery of a box, but isn't that kind of expected now? So there was little emotional content for the Amazon ad (excluding the chld in the hospital), but Best Buy demonstrated a problem solved, smart associates, extended service in the home -- case closed. Best Buy by a long shot.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2018

    Visually rich social content produces ‘shoppable’ experiences for retailers

    Yes instagram is incredibly valuable for retailers who do focus on the efforts described above. In addition, we have had tremendous success inserting video email messages into the marketing plan of retailers whom we have consulted. These weekly or biweekly emails feature a 20 to 35 second video of an excited personality from the store, on the floor, featuring some new product(s) with invitations to come and see. This email with video (and very minor copy under the video) appears "above the fold" to minimize having to scroll down endlessly.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2018

    Will right-sized stores drive bigger returns for Macy’s?

    When I think of the department store experience, I think in terms of Macy's on State Street in Chicago and in New York City. These types of stores still resonate the department store experience, and remind me that many visits to those stores happen when people want to walk, explore, and absorb a cultural experience, especially at this holiday time. That being said, I think shoppers today are getting used to smaller formats that maximize their shopping time. I believe this move by Macy's focused on their not so "top performers" stores is brilliant. Like it or not, we still measure store profitability on sales per square foot, maintained margins, controlling expenses and payroll. Slimmed down formats here are perfect decisions. But what is still unchanged and critical, is maintaining quality associate interactions with customers, and easy and speedy checkout experiences.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2018

    Is it time for U.S. retailers to embrace Singles Day?

    Customers will shop if given great deals, period! No matter what it is called. Now, if we think that these sales events have to have a theme or cause, let's create the title. That's exactly what we do. And what could be better that titling a sale to celebrate a cause or or generation, or whatever? That will work. Nothing new here. I am sure it will get traction if properly promoted in America. And we will ring registers.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2018

    Retailers need to focus on customer lifetime value for long-term success

    When we talk about CLV issues and plans, we have found that there is usually one aspect that is normally missed by retailers today. We focus on all the comments above, but rarely do retailers think/know how they can leverage current great customers into disciples of the store. Customers believe other customers about how great a store is before they believe that same message from the store. Why? Stores are supposed to tell you how wonderful they are and how they love their customers. Customers are not required to do that unless it is real, and that can be the most powerful marketing tool in the world to grow the next great group of customers. All a retailer has to do is to create an event/program to get the current customers to endorse the store to their friends. Word of mouth!
  • Posted on: 11/09/2018

    Can retail rivals beat Amazon without having lower prices over the holidays?

    Amazon is like that store next door that drops price to get footsteps/market share. There will always be customers looking for and patronizing those stores. For them, it's all about price. So Amazon will sell a ton this year. Remember this: It's always been a retail axiom that if you continue to chase the competition, the competition is essentially running your business. Rivals to Amazon will try to play in the game, but I certainly believe the best retailers will also have a wide eye on maintained margins, intelligent staff, outstanding service and in-store events. It will come down for retailers such as Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target and Walmart to shine in areas where Amazon cannot.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2018

    CVS’ new concept is about the health of its customers

    What we are seeing is the (expected and predicted) paradigm for these store formats. And it makes perfect sense.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2018

    Will Walmart’s bring your own device policy work for it and its associates?

    This Walmart BYOD is a fantastic idea. Associates are used to the utilizing their phones and most are very proficient at entering information, creating an efficient tool for both associate and customer. On the other hand, many stores have banned personal phones on the floor because of abusive personal use. If Walmart is vigilant in requesting that the use is for business only, it certainly will help the customer -- if the associates take the initiative to be present and intercept the customers. Quicker service for customers, and nearly instant information flow on tasks and requests ... that's great.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2018

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Kohl’s vs. Macy’s

    Macy's ad is an institutional ad, making us feel good. Feel good doesn't create a call to action. Kohl's ad was more fun to watch, and made a hard argument to shop at their stores, starting now. Like last year, this year we will see ads created to make us cry, and others to drive us to buy.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2018

    Did Amazon just crush Target and Walmart’s free holiday shipping moves?

    Deloitte’s study seems to make a very compelling case for free delivery. This entire issue with these giants is becoming like scoring a boxing match. Who wins this fight? I think, because this is only round four, we have a longer time to determine the winner. And market share growth over last year? I'm thinking Walmart or Target by a punch or two.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2018

    Is there a failure to communicate between retail HQs and stores?

    Hey, here's novel idea: Let's call it a "dose of reality." Every month have some executives work (really work, not observe) in a store for two days and employ the strategies about to be mandated to district personnel. Then, upon their return to the offices, have a meeting where top management gets their doses of reality about what is and isn't easy to implement, and what other problems they learned during their time in the store. This executive visit should happen at least once every quarter.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2018

    Will Goodyear roll over rivals with new Millennial-friendly showroom concept?

    Just thinking this afternoon ... if Goodyear plans to locate in areas dominated by other successful retailers, their rent will not come close to the rents they are used to paying in the typical lot. And they won't be able to persuade the landlord that they should get a better deal because they draw customers. These new concepts will have to turn and burn to maintain proper ROI.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2018

    Will Goodyear roll over rivals with new Millennial-friendly showroom concept?

    ..." has also gotten in on the act with a nationwide deal whereby Sears Auto Centers..." Wait! This will work only if you can find these centers in the future. Now with this new Goodyear concept: customers can select the products they want in the showroom or shop online. I think gear heads like me can go online, but the vast majority will have to go face to face. Internet sites like can help if you have some basic understandings on what you need, and feel it is imperative to do research on tires. I venture that 90% of people must be told and sold in the facility ... and then "showrooms with contemporary design elements" -- spending 90 minutes waiting for tire installation isn't an enjoyable event. The picture of this customer area I think would be painful for 90 minutes of doing basically nothing. At least give me a soft chair and perhaps the news on television. Discount Tire and Les Schwab Tires are two environments I can hang for 90 minutes. Finally, I like the Goodyear van idea, and I think that customers could and will pre-shop the store and arrange for the van deal to bring and install the tires to their homes or other locations. Will there be an up-charge? I would guess so, but that's ok.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2018

    Kohl’s CEO rejects department store tag

    Kohl's is giving up space to Aldi for the attraction of Aldi's customers. If Kohl's sales productivity per square foot was wonderfully high, I don't think they would so easily give up the space to cut down their own footprint. Best Buy has already released part of their store (in my neighborhood) to Aldi. That being said, I absolutely agree with the BrainTrust members who have stated that the promotions and Kohl's cash are the hook! That is absolutely spot on. One suggestion for Kohl's holiday business: focus on a little more associate presence and customer interaction on the sales floor, and especially the fitting room areas. (Have you seen that stack of tried-on/declined garments piled high at the fitting room entrance?)
  • Posted on: 10/29/2018

    Stores find that kids can be scarier than a bull in a china shop

    When I was in the department store business, I hated the fact that my stores complained because of icy roads and snow. But isn't that a fact of life for many retailers? I would always tell the managers to be glad for the customers who did come in, and to make the best of it and sell something. When shoppers were in the stores with children, that was always, and still is, a good thing. Some stores built kids "corrals" with two staff members as attendants. Always two. Each child was given a bracelet that matched numbers with the bracelet on the parent. These "corrals" were far from any entrance, but certainly easily visible for parents. Areas like this required insurance. Was it worth it? We certainly had our share of thrilled customers who understood that their children were just as important to us as they were.

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