Yogesh Kulkarni

Chief Operating Officer,

Yogesh Kulkarni is the Chief Operations Officer of the Merchandising and Marketing business unit at

His core expertise is designing, developing, and implementing price optimization, promotion, and revenue management solutions for retail and consumer brands companies.

Throughout his career, Yogesh has obtained extensive experience in managing large transformational analytical programs for retailers and consumer brands in the areas of merchandising, pricing, inventory management, and marketing.

In 2007, Yogesh co-founded Prognos, a boutique retail and consumer brands focused advanced analytics firm. Prognos served large retail and consumer brands clients such as PepsiCo, MillerCoors, Nike, Adidas, and Sobeys in the areas of price optimization, demand forecasting, and personalization. In 2015, acquired Prognos. Yogesh assumed his current role as Executive Vice President.

Before Prognos, Yogesh held technical and product management positions at SAS Institute and spearheaded the team’s creation of SAS’ Retail industry offerings. Prior to SAS, he served as a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Octon Technologies, an Internet services company based in India, Germany, and the United States.

Yogesh holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics from Shivaji University.

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  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    Great point, Gene. Most of world does think of store and store related costs as sunk costs and that's incorrect to understand the store vs. online cost structure. As retailers invest that capital heavily in their DC and fulfillment network, this question of where the capital is best invested will definitely come up.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    David, I completely agree that developing a very granular understanding of demand is going to be critical in serving that demand profitably. Retailers will be forced to understand demand not only down to location but also at fulfillment models too (in-store vs. curbside vs. ship-from-store etc.). That is the only way you can plan the inventory and labor and keep the costs down.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    Well said Andrew! The efficiencies have to come from all parts of business.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    The challenge for many retailers is that Amazon is setting the benchmark on speed of delivery and cost of returns too! But yes, they have to think about how they are going to offset the real costs of doing business.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    Venky that's absolutely right. You are seeing so many retailers scramble to open and consolidate DCs this past year, while many others converted stores to be able to support online demand. This has indeed led to unplanned cost increases.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    Jeff – great point on returns, especially when it comes to categories such as apparel, where she can order 2 sizes and return the one that doesn't fit. Returns have ballooned during pandemic and reverse logistics costs are a big challenge.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2021

    Can omnichannel be as profitable for retailers as in-store sales?

    Suresh - I totally agree with the need to understand the customer holistically, irrespective of the channel and focus on share of wallet.
  • Posted on: 04/14/2021

    Nike decides to ‘just do it’ in the sneaker resale market

    The footwear space has a foundational sustainability problem, just as fast fashion does. Many of the shoes that are made today cannot be easily taken apart and recycled sustainably. Also, sustainability is important enough that many consumers have started to take notice and brands have to address it head on. On the other hand, the second hand market is growing rapidly for apparel and footwear given the ease of use of digital platforms. Nike is bold enough to address it head on. In the short term, it might lead to some cannibalization in very few and specific categories, but in the longer run Nike will build a better brand cachet and gain from this move. Ultimately, there are only so many gently used shoes that will turn back on the sales floor. I would say that Nike should bring their "Reuse a Shoe" recycle program to the forefront of this initiative as well and get all the swag for being a responsible company while they are at it.
  • Posted on: 04/13/2021

    Does GameStop’s next CEO need brick & mortar retail experience?

    Going by how the world is going for the gaming industry, the answer is NO. Digital and gaming experience will be key. Having said that, the current GameStop store experience is terrible - with products packed on shelves and the need for a store associate to even find the product you are looking for. There is a long way for them to go to re-imagine the store as a gaming center. They can really host e-tournaments, have customers try new versions of the games, etc. Also, even with all the talk of digital transformation, I really don't know how they will re-capture their single most important customer trip mission -- i.e. swapping games on a disk. It is still interesting though to see how this will play out.
  • Posted on: 04/08/2021

    Amazon’s CEO Bezos comes out in support of national infrastructure bill

    Jeff Bezos is reading the tea leaves of how the consumer narrative has changed recently. He doesn't want normal consumers to think of Amazon as big, bad, ugly and win at all costs type of enterprise but a socially conscious new age tech company. Amazon has been heading in the wrong direction in terms of perception with their historically low taxes, supply chain improvements at the cost of employee privacy and health and most importantly the unionization in Alabama. In Bezos' eyes, support for tax increases is perhaps just good for Amazon's business.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2021

    What will 80,000 closed stores mean for America’s retailers?

    In my view, one should take these types of projections with a pinch of salt as the predictions are made with what we know at this very moment. There are so many new variables- what the store of the future will look like, will we have distribution or micro-fulfillment capabilities at the store or close to where the customer demand originates, how the AI/Robotics tech evolves etc. One thing we know for sure is that we won't talk about store vs. online anymore in 2026 and the physical and online worlds will be intertwined in a way that the customer truly gets a seamless experience. For most retailers, the customer relevance and their share of wallet will be the primary metrics to worry about that the actual physical number of stores they own.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2021

    Kroger CEO says no one has the ‘data and insights’ that it has

    First of all, it is audacious and admirable of Mr. McMullen to consider "customer data and insights" as a competitive moat. He has a point in that everyone has access to data, but a very few are turning that into action. Often times, you do get examples of pockets of excellence, but using individualized data to drive everyday customer experience is truly commendable on Kroger's part. He is perhaps not correct to assume that Kroger is the only one doing it though. In retail, the paradigm of what was called "execution" has changed from being store centric to now being customer centric.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2021

    Will drop shipping become a major catalyst of online growth?

    The footwear market for brands such as Nike and Adidas has changed quite a bit recently during the pandemic. The "Limited Edition, Limited Supply" collab products have become the tip of the spear to now draw huge customer demand with sneakerheads trading for these products on StockX and Goat like it were GME or Tesla stock. Companies like Foot Locker cannot neither predict the demand nor miss this action and so drop ship becomes a great option for them. Broadly though, the drop ship fulfillment model isn't good for retailers as brands have the cachet, increasing DTC reach and will eventually render the retailer channel superfluous.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2021

    Is AI adoption moving too fast?

    For many retailers, AI fundamentally represents an opportunity for "decision automation." If you have a fast changing marketplace, supply constraints and decreasing staff to deal with it, you have to adopt AI. We are indeed in an exciting time where where cognitive AI (machine learning that can read, respond, write, drive) is now getting adopted for business problems that relate to inventory management, pricing, personalization for retailers. But AI adoption is easier said than done. Most of the solutions in the marketplace in retail are black-box, don't give users the confidence or guide them to key decisions and tell them the risks and reward with the decisions driven by AI. There is a definite need to drive more innovation in the "adoption frontier" to make AI mainstream in the retail business. AI today is more like -- you have it, I have it, all of of us have it, but most don't know how to use it. But given the pace of innovation, this is about to change rapidly.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2021

    Will tech acquisitions enable Nike to drive personalization at scale?

    True DTC model is all about knowing everything about the customer and serving the customer uniquely. Nike has to know everything about the athlete -- not just what they buy, but also what drives their motivation to buy. As an example, through their NRC and NTC apps, Nike knows how much mileage I am running every week, so they can recommend a shoe to me every 3 months like my barber recommends a haircut every 4 weeks. They know my running speed and calories burnt, so they can cross and upsell their innovative products that have better running stability. Personalization isn't just about recommending products, but it is about "mass individualization" for them too -- just as you order your own cup of Starbucks coffee. Nike is culturally changing from being a great consumer brand to a great digitally enabled brand. I applaud them for making the right moves with the tech acquisitions.

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