Rob Gallo

Chief Marketing Officer, Impact 21

Though Rob Gallo’s title is Chief Marketing Officer, his role goes above and beyond marketing. He has a knack for connecting the dots and finding better paths to reaching goals. And he has more than 20 years’ experience in doing just that as a trusted strategist driving real business results for the world’s biggest brands. At Impact 21, Rob guides the overall marketing strategy for the firm, working closely with clients including retailers, consumer goods companies and technology providers.

Rob leads a wide range of strategy, business outlook and performance improvement engagements, tapping into his significant experience with primary consumer research studies. He helps suppliers and retailers identify viable growth opportunities and provides diagnostic analysis. Rob has been heavily involved in assortment strategies, competitive and landscape assessments, market entry strategies and “Store of the Future” studies. Rob is frequently asked to share his knowledge in trade publications or as a guest presenter/speaker for organizations like NACS.

Rob’s expertise stems from his first days as a bagger for Big Bear grocery store. Rob’s experience has gone well beyond his bagging days and now encompasses multiple fast-moving consumer goods channels including grocery, supercenters and warehouse clubs. He also gained extensive experience with specialty apparel and department stores. He has worked with suppliers servicing most retail channels in the areas of growth strategy, market entry, category management and shopper insights. Currently, Rob holds advisory board positions with CBUS Retail and Med-Compliance IQ. Prior to Impact 21, he held senior positions at Chute Gerdeman, Kantar Retail, Retail Forward and the Management Horizons Division of Price Waterhouse.

Born in Philadelphia but raised in Ohio, Rob attended The Ohio State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing. He applies his know-how to the natural soap company, Elemental Blue, owned and operated in partnership with his wife. Rob is still able to find time to play and enjoys bicycling, fitness, fishing, the outdoors, traveling, and spending time with his family. He makes it a priority to support multiple charities that have affected his friends and family.

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  • Posted on: 06/17/2019

    Shake Shack founder says, ‘Do it. Don’t talk about it (sustainability initiatives) until asked.’

    Actions speak louder than words. There's a difference between doing something because you care about it and doing it because others care about it or because it will soon be required by law. I applaud the efforts. And consumers notice. They will do the talking.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2019

    Does self-checkout make sense for Costco?

    It does make sense to revisit the technology since improvements have been made. This would appease those with smaller baskets who don't want to wait behind someone with two carts full of stuff. Based on the comments here, that's who is using self-checkout at Costco where it remains in place. That said, You'd be hard pressed to find a faster, more accurate and generally friendly checkout staff than what Costco offers. I face all of the UPCs upward/outward when I put stuff in the cart (even on big trips). When you get to the checkout all they have to do is use the scanner. In rare cases they are forced to take items out of the cart anyway per company policy (weight restriction).
  • Posted on: 06/07/2019

    Will associates rocking new vests help improve Walmart’s image and results?

    Labor challenges? Let's see:
    • Low unemployment
    • Labor force participation is down
    • Average store wages are increasing (and they need to)
    • Average number of days to fill a job is at its highest point ever
    • Store turnover remains at high levels
    • Labor cost reduction/management vs. meeting employee needs for more hours and benefits
    • Tasks in the store are changing due to myriad fulfillment options (BOPIS, Delivery, Click & Collect, etc.
    Every retailer needs to be hyper-focused on labor. The goal is to put the exact amount of labor precisely where it is needed in order to maximize profitable, positive customer experiences. Getting anywhere near the efficient frontier is a huge challenge. Walmart, Target and Amazon seem to recognize this and are taking steps to tackle these challenges.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2019

    Will the price of avocados make Americans say enough to Trump’s tariffs?

    To add some context to the impact. From Chipotle: Chipotle (CMG) says tariffs could increase its costs by about $15 million this year due to the higher prices of avocados. The restaurant chain could take a 20 bp to 30 bp margin hit or pass on the extra costs to consumers through a modest price increase (~$0.05 on a burrito) on certain products. Five cents can be absorbed by either the consumer or Chipotle. Higher prices will have a bigger impact.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2019

    Will the price of avocados make Americans say enough to Trump’s tariffs?

    When consumers start to feel a more direct connection to their wallets being used to fund immigration challenges, they will get vocal and quickly. Anecdotal evidence, but I saw frozen avocado chunks at Costco for the firs time yesterday. The product was sourced from Peru. Is Costco already making moves or is this simply a coincidence? Either way, I think it is an example of what you will start to see - products being sourced from outside Mexico whether that's the U.S. or other countries. Retailers will make the effort to mitigate lost sales due to tariff-driven cost increases where the consumer is most price-sensitive and/or where the cost increases are the highest.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2019

    Consumers are changing – or not – in ways that retailers may not understand

    Agreed. There's nothing more disappointing than traveling to a new locale for business, checking out the retail and finding the exact same stuff you can find at home. Everybody wants more, digital natives are just hungrier.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2019

    What will happen when Grocery Outlet takes things public?

    If they are growing and profitable, where's the need to go public and have to deal with the hassle? I'm not sure the benefits of accelerated growth outweigh the quarterly earnings pressure. Once you're on the main stage, the game changes.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2019

    How should retailers raise prices to offset tariffs?

    Politics aside, this is where price optimization can help. Retailers should be able to analyze the elasticity models for each of their impacted categories, forecast the impact of incremental price increases and then make decisions on whether to hold margin steady (or increase it) to yield unit profit or to relax it in order to keep unit sales afloat. They can also identify non-impacted categories for opportunities to recapture margin lost by tariffs. It won't be perfect, but it should give them plenty of data-supported options.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2019

    Should Kohl’s buy At Home?

    Is this Option A or Option B? Option A: Former Wall Street darling has run out of runway and needs to make a move in an attempt to satisfy shareholders. Option B: Strategic move ahead of an acquisition by Amazon. If it’s Option A, I’m not sure I would want to be moving into a space where the stores are huge and shopping frequency, sales per square foot (still relevant since they have no e-commerce) and inventory turns are low. And it’s difficult to think that Kohl’s would be counting on Option B. For those that think this is Option B, does Amazon want these assets? Just curious.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2019

    Kroger launches accelerator fund

    A good move by Kroger. The balance of power continues the steady shift away from CPG to retail. Kroger can leverage its competencies to gain more visibility, control and margin opportunities. Simple Truth has been a huge win and it makes sense to develop other brands that resonate with consumers.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2019

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

    It's like the retail version of Storage Wars. Even though the retailers mentioned in this thread -- Filene's Basement, Syms, Loehmann's, Odd Lots, etc. -- aren't around anymore at least in their original form they did have a good run. Now that e-commerce has indirectly generated another source of goods, it could be interesting to watch, but it won't scale as James points out above. The customer won't expect anything in terms of store experience, merchandising, return policies, etc, so the model can run on the cheap.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2019

    Why is Amazon paying employees to quit their jobs?

    It's a hybrid incubator/franchise model. They have fertile ground of people who are willing to take the (huge) leap, but are lacking the funds to do it. Amazon certainly has the funds to invest to get these DSPs up and running. The question is whether "consistent delivery volume" is enough to run a profitable business. I would lean toward it working at least better than the hourly wage some of them are currently earning. Amazon has a vested interest in the success of the program as you wouldn't want these all to fail and deal with the backlash.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2019

    Is the gig economy sustainable?

    While Uber and Lyft have become representative of the gig economy, the definition is much broader than that. And to me, the gig economy is alive and well, especially as big corporations continue to downsize. While the on-demand portion of the gig economy that Uber and Lyft focus on is under scrutiny right now, disruptors always are. It's everything from the business model to unfair practices. The incumbents always cry foul. At some point, the original model evolves and a survivor or two emerges. The original version of Amazon had no stores, no AWS (major profit driver) and no real path to profitability. Regardless of what folks may claim now, Amazon was the target of major negative sentiment and endless short selling. Retailers should certainly be diligent and pay close attention, but some company will figure out how to satisfy demand profitably.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2019

    Petco opens in-store kitchen for pets

    I like the experiential aspect but question the long-term viability. There already seems to be some backlash against the new, very expensive dry dog foods (i.e. grain-free, etc.) as they have limited research regarding the long-term benefits. And as expensive as these foods are, they’re a fraction of the price of what’s featured at the in-store kitchens.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2019

    Why is Party City closing profitable stores?

    Very proactive and commendable. It makes sense to increase financial flexibility. Rationalizing the store base is something that should be done continually and not just when four-wall profit turns sour.

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