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: 10/18/2019

    Have Giant Food and Stop & Shop nailed ‘frictionless’ checkouts?

    Frictionless checkout is still very much in its infancy. This solution will certainly resonate for some customers, but with other "more frictionless" solutions already operational. I don't expect this version to become the standard experience. The slow adoption rate is due to the many protocols that are involved when letting the customer drive the transaction. Certain items do not have bar codes, others are sold by weight. Prepared foods still need associate interaction. A routine grocery shopping trip is very complex from a technology standpoint and all of that needs to be accounted for when turning over the checkout process to the customer. Even self-checkout is slower with all of the voice prompts that are not normally utilized in an attended checkout process. All of this will be solved in time and result in something easier than ScanIt.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    Should Amazon rent out its Just Walk Out tech?

    Leasing the technology would get it in the marketplace faster. Amazon certainly has the money, so it sounds like Amazon is struggling with store build-out red tape - permitting, etc. However, if Amazon is struggling with store profitability, I am wondering how they can make the lease price attractive enough for other companies to want to use it versus waiting for a cheaper solution (prices will come down) from a less competitive provider like Microsoft.
  • Posted on: 09/24/2019

    Two hot trends, personalization and frictionless retailing, are at odds with each other

    I don't see this being an "either/or" situation. It's just another challenge in the evolution of retailing and meeting consumer demands. When consumers wanted more choice, brands and retailers pivoted to take advantage. We saw dramatic increases in flavors, shapes, sizes, etc. This also caused friction in the supply chain and SKU proliferation at retail. In some cases that proliferation has gone too far and curation and personalization are now desired, while also keeping the offer fresh and convenient.
  • Posted on: 09/24/2019

    Do retailers need better business intelligence tools or a better analytic strategy?

    Progress is being made but the challenges are myriad. It's not too hard despite the complaints. However, you do have to take the time to create an analytics strategy. That would include an exhaustive assessment of what data you have, what data you really need and a roadmap to fill any gaps. This is a leadership directive that should be cross-functional in nature. Strategies should also include a resource plan to find the talent that can turn data into actionable insights, changes to the organizational structure (if necessary) and a change management plan to ensure that everything is implemented properly.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2019

    Macy’s elevates diversity goals

    Practical? Yes, because it is the right thing to do. Consumers respond to companies they can identify with. The closer Macy's gets to looking, feeling and acting like its customer base, the better it will be.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2019

    Caribou appears in Starbucks’ rearview with drive-thru concept

    I think there is a time and a place for both grab-and-go only locations and extended stay options. As long as the customer gets the appropriate messaging as to what the location offers, I think this makes sense. Store segmentation to match customer and trip type/occasion segmentation.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2019

    Does a new product donation program for marketplace sellers make Amazon the good guy?

    The bigger and more successful you are, the more scrutiny you will attract. There was a time when folks were rooting for Amazon as it was perceived to be the David to Walmart's Goliath. I'm not sure at the size and scale Amazon's at now, they can "win" the public relations battle. The positive moves tend to get much less coverage than the negative moves. And people are always looking more aggressively for the negative stuff. It's something to be mindful of as other retailers and brands make it bigger.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2019

    Can Jill Soltau rebuild J.C. Penney?

    More power to Jill, but I think it's too late. I don't think J.C. Penney has enough of a brand left to be rebuilt given its financial situation. There's too much to do and not enough time to do it. I suppose it's possible that younger generations have simply no frame of reference for what J.C. Penney is/was that they could be introduced to whatever the new version of J.C. Penney turns into, but that would likely have to be on a much smaller scale than the size of the current company.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2019

    Is Nike’s new subscription program for kids a parent’s best friend?

    It will make sense for a niche group of customers if Nike can get the fit equation correct and minimize returns. I think it's a smart move to focus on kids ages two to 10. Kids older than that are more likely to be swayed by current fashion trends (which isn't always Nike) and could result in cancellations when the kids don't want to wear what Nike sends.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2019

    Grocers develop their own tech responses to Amazon Go

    I don't think they are getting ahead of themselves. They aren't going fast enough. This is consumer-driven, not Amazon-driven. Amazon just happens to have the most frictionless solution so far. As technological capabilities improve to handle an experience similar to Amazon Go, you will see retailers adopt it versus scan and go or other stop-gap solutions.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2019

    Is FedEx smart to say goodbye to Amazon’s U.S. business?

    FedEx has taken a low margin, low sales (percentage) contract and ended it with the opportunity to drive higher sales at higher margin. It's smart to do this. The only reason why this is news is because it's Amazon. Add in that Amazon is increasingly competing against them and it's an easy decision.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2019

    Does North Face’s new concept point the chain in the right direction?

    A smart move by The North Face. They are a lifestyle brand and in a prime position to build on the emotional connection they can create with their customers. There are plenty of moves into rentals, services, expeditions that they could make to further this connection. The key will be to have the trained staff and consistency to keep it going. Retailers like Galyan's (now part of Dick's) had climbing walls and ponds for customers to test out everything from climbing gear to kayaks. However, these features slowly faded into nothing more than some attractive merchandising as it required a specialized staff to monitor and execute. Having a feature that customers cannot use is worse than not having it at all. I believe The North Face is better positioned to not let this happen.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2019

    Nike to marry predictive analytics and RFID to optimize inventory performance

    Definitely a positive move for Nike. Having products in the right place, right time and right amount is the goal and this helps get them there. RFID will be a big benefit for Nike and other companies that can make the cost/benefit work whether it's at the item, case or pallet level. Look for other large companies to begin buying such integral solutions versus being customers.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2019

    What are the signs of a dying retail business?

    Within the area of discount reliance, a big warning sign is when a retailer moves from a longstanding discount (say 20 percent) to a progressively deeper one (30 percent and then 40 percent). Increasing the cadence is also a big red flag.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2019

    Where does J.C. Penney go after ending its Bombfell subscription deal?

    It's a similar discussion to the Sears/J.C. Penney threads from February. Much of what has been said for Sears can be said for J.C. Penney. Like Sears, JCP has a customer relevance problem. Consumers have moved on. The brand is dead except for the reminiscing. Efforts by a leader to salvage the brand are low risk. Everybody expects it to be a losing proposition, so your career isn't really going to be impacted negatively. If you can magically get a bump in performance, other companies will come calling.

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