Venky Ramesh

CPG/Retail enthusiast, blogger and a couch potato warrior

Venky has over two decades of multi-disciplinary experience in the consumer goods and retail industry spanning across corporate strategy, supply chain, and sales. During his career, he has worked with 20+ CPG/Retail companies across home and personal care; health and beauty; food and beverage; pet care; and specialty segments, helping them win in the digital world through innovation strategy, experience design, design-led product engineering, digital consumer engagement, insights and so on. He closely follows, and actively writes about the digital trends disrupting the consumer industry.

  • Posted on: 10/08/2021

    Your next c-store online order may be delivered by a robot

    Does it matter if I am ordering online from a convenience store vs. a mass merchandiser if I am ordering online from my couch and getting the order delivered to my doorstep within the same time frame? The channel itself becomes immaterial in that case, and price probably will take the front seat.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2021

    Should retailers be looking to leverage free return shipping?

    In light of the wider supply chain disruption which is coming in the way of timely availability of products during the holiday season, I think retailers need to consolidate returns by way of a fourth model (by employing the services of firms like Happy Returns). That will hopefully ease some pain around forward shipments.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2021

    Will Taco Bell lovers sign up for a taco a day?

    Absolutely, Taco Bell is definitely thinking outside the bun. More than people buying a taco subscription for themselves, Taco Bell should position this as a gift option to give to your loved ones who love tacos. That, IMO, will drive higher sales. Not just for tacos but everything else a customer is tempted to buy when they are at the restaurant.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2021

    Will overstocking get retailers through the holidays?

    The Consumer Brands Association just released the CPG Economic Pulse: Q2 report. As per that, "the economy grew at an annual rate of 6.5% in the second quarter. That growth, however, was below economists’ predictions of around 8%. The space between prediction and reality is not a product of consumers tightening their belts in anticipation of a rough road ahead or further pandemic-related restrictions. Economic growth has been constrained by supply chain backlogs." Retailers and brands don't want to miss on the additional 1.5 percent of demand, but they have to ensure they stock the right products. Demand forecasting plays a key role and it needs to incorporate the voice of the consumer to ensure their prediction is in line with consumer demand.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2021

    Retailers don’t have to choose between profitability and customer satisfaction

    As they say in chess: when the king is under attack, you don't worry about losing a pawn. Rightly so, brands and retailers alike focused on investments that went towards retaining their customers during the pandemic. We saw a lot of that happen in the beauty industry. For a very profitable business model, it struggled with margins. Their investments focused on driving customer acquisition, retention, and loyalty with scant regard to managing costs. However that is changing now, with many retailers (and manufacturers) in the space moving their enterprise data to the cloud with the intention of driving analytics at an enterprise level with the goal of driving profitable revenue growth.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2021

    Should Banana Republic revisit its safari past?

    I like the visioning - “I want you to be able to see someone and be, like, ‘that’s Banana Republic.’" but I think with the growth in the sustainability-minded generations, they should tie the safari theme to a good-for-nature message to resonate better with the Gen Zs.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2021

    Online grocery shopping is pretty much all about convenience

    I think consumer desire for convenience translates to a better omnichannel experience rather than just online. I think Walmart is doing a good job of thinking omnichannel - creating a unified experience across app and store navigation, Walmart+ service, and frictionless checkout with mobile scan-and-go.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2021

    Will Walmart’s latest test ‘pave the way for autonomous delivery’?

    It is interesting to see the auto industry and the retail industry coming together to solve the last-mile challenge. As much as the evolution in the AI systems is important for the viability of autonomous delivery, it is more important that the people are able to trust that these vehicles will not cause any harm or havoc. Over the long term, autonomous vehicles will be able to drive the last-mile delivery costs down due to less reliance on drivers.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2021

    Rite Aid is going remote-first with its corporate workforce

    I think it's a smart approach that allows employees the flexibility to work at their productive best. A remote-first approach also provides them wider access to talent without any boundaries.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2021

    Are consumers craving more warehouse and anniversary sales events?

    Given a choice customers will always go for a deal, even when they are willing to buy at full price. Perhaps retailers should introduce a concept of a great deal on three or so (limited) items of their choice and full price on the rest, subject to meeting minimum total purchase. That way they are not setting customers' expectations to lower prices for the future while driving more personalization and choice. Crazy thought, or maybe some have already tried that and didn't work out!
  • Posted on: 09/15/2021

    Will the Kroger/Instacart deal redefine grocery shopping convenience in America?

    Though Amazon provides the benefit of convenience and immediacy in the grocery space through Whole Foods, Kroger provides a much wider scale of assortment relevant for the mass market. To Ken Morris' point, this is a marriage of two MFC giants. It will be interesting to watch the automation-at-scale of the last mile and how that helps make the e-commerce route-to-market profitable.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2021

    Can Kroger offset its margin headwinds?

    Retailers (in collaboration with CPG manufacturers) will need to rely on revenue growth management principles to offset cost inflation. Through RGM they can look at the product, price, promo, and trade spend from the eyes of the consumer and increase prices for some existing products (or launch new products) that are valued higher by consumers while retaining prices for others - all in a way that they are able to increase the gross margin of their entire portfolio.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2021

    Amazon marketplace sellers are becoming retail giants

    Amazon aggregators are playing a crucial role in providing capital and scale in extending the reach of a popular mom-and-pop brand. That can only mean good news for customers and a higher GMV for Amazon.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2021

    Is the government’s vaccination mandate plan good for retail?

    As DeAnn mentioned, retail is one of the few industries that brings people together in close proximity to others - so the industry needs to take on more responsibility to ensure it doesn't play a role in the spread of the virus. Retail employees have been the heroes during the pandemic, ensuring people get essential supplies during the lockdown. Retailers will need to continue to treat them as saviors who continue to shoulder great responsibilities to keep the people safe.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2021

    Will Just Walk Out tech work for Whole Foods?

    Because of the nature of their business -- natural/organic products, working with local brands, and an upscale image -- Whole Foods operates at an industry with high gross margins (30-50 percent), which gives them the ability to absorb costs of such high-tech experiments. Eventually, technology costs will come down, attracting more grocers to try out the tech. In the meanwhile, if Whole Foods can drive higher loyalty by reducing friction, they will be able to capture higher market share and emerge a winner.

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