Zel Bianco

President, founder and CEO Interactive Edge

Zel Bianco and Interactive Edge have been helping companies, specifically in the Consumer Goods industry, run more efficiently since 1994. Zel’s focus is always on the needs of the client. He strives to be a real business partner to every customer — no matter what the size of the contract or the scope of the implementation. He wants to help companies eliminate the cumbersome and time consuming tasks associated with data management and organization in order to free up users time so that they can do what they were hired to do: generate insights to grow their business. Zel enjoys helping clients bridge the gap between category management and shopper insights. He collaborates with clients in the development of a process that streamlines the flow of qualitative data into customer facing presentations and reports.

As the president, founder and CEO of Interactive Edge, Zel is responsible for setting the company’s strategic vision and developing business alliances. He is also an industry thought leader who has enjoyed presenting at many industry conferences such as the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the International Committee of Food Retail Chains (CIES), SAP’s SAPPHIRE and SAP’s TechEd Demo Jam. He has been honored to speak at both DePaul University and Michigan State University, and has donated the Interactive Edge XP3 software for use by students at both of their business schools. Interactive Edge and its customers have won numerous industry awards in areas including Customer Management, Visionary Innovation, and Demand Data Analytics.

Prior to founding Interactive Edge, Zel held senior account management positions in the advertising industry, at Young & Rubicam and other large New York agencies. He worked with many consumer package goods clients and was a part of the account management team that introduced the IBM personal computer.

More information about Zel and his solution for presenting demand data analytics can be found at the Interactive Edge website.

  • Posted on: 03/08/2021

    Wholesale curtailed. Is retail’s favorite model faltering?

    This is about margin but it is also about brand consistency. If you think about it, its very much like the automotive business model. You don't see BMWs or any other car brand being sold by anyone other than a BMW dealer. Even used or, should I say, pre-owned BMWs are sold while being very mindful of the brand. Wholesalers do not become part of the equation until dealers sell cars to wholesalers. It does not surprise me that brands like Nike and Under Amour want to control every step of the brand in the sales cycle and beyond.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2021

    Is Texas messing with retailers?

    It was completely irresponsible for the governor to do what he did. Retailers and their workers will be left holding the bag. How are they supposed to close this gap left open by their elected officials? There will be many conflicts that will need to be resolved in-store and that is unfair.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2021

    Automated checkout ‘will be everywhere’ sooner rather than later

    A pleasant shopping experience can be easily ruined by a bad checkout experience at the self check out. Amazon Go is good. CVS is mostly good, but Morton Williams, a supermarket chain in NYC which is a great store in every way (great selection, always fully stocked, etc.) is ruined by their horrible self checkout POS system. A shopping trip needs to check all the boxes and a bad checkout leaves you wanting to check out of going back there.
  • Posted on: 02/26/2021

    Is it the right time to reopen food bars?

    If it is, then you may as well walk in the middle of traffic as you would be taking a big risk if you do. Have you ever watched what people do at these salad bars?
  • Posted on: 02/22/2021

    Should suppliers help fund retailers’ omnichannel investments?

    They truly do need each other to get through this new normal that will be with us for quite some time. Passing costs on to the consumer is not a great idea at least at this time when so many families are hurting. Partner now for a better future for all.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2021

    Walmart discovers a unique craft beer on Instagram. Will this become a thing?

    The pandemic has accelerated how retailers source new products but the process has always been there. Retailers use social listening tools to assess what people are talking about, what's hot and what's not, and then do a good deal of research to understand where those products are being bought and sold and try to predict what markets they will play well in. It is not easy and that is why we are using many data sources and tools to help bring emerging brands to market.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2021

    Should retailers ask workers to return to their offices?

    It will most likely land on a flexible option as that will be a happy medium, fostering more effective communications between co-workers to meet and plan in the office while using the days working from home to do the work and execute the plan. Coming back together in the office a few days a week makes total sense, but if we do it too early it does not.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2021

    Will retail pharmacies be the cure for America’s ‘vaccine deserts’?

    The biggest challenge is that they simply do not have the staff to handle it. It is challenging to pick up your medicine and with the pharmacist being the only one trained to give the shot, it makes it quite difficult to have the process run smoothly. More people are needed and fast.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2021

    Who won this year’s Super Bowl ad contest?

    With so many spots being quite a mess in terms of what they wanted to be, my vote goes to the more normal ones. I think the Jeep, Bruce Springsteen, Let's Grab a beer and Huggies were the best. Alexa was quite good as well.
  • Posted on: 02/03/2021

    A new era for Amazon as Jeff Bezos hands over CEO role

    Bezos made bold decisions that paid off when Amazon was in its infancy. A foundation on which he continued to make bold decisions that paid off on most fronts. He also failed on a number of them but had the resources to overcome them and continue to make bold decisions. We all talk about failing fast and often, but it is much easier to fail and be OK to start again when you have the kind of resources that Amazon has. On the other hand it proves that in business, and in life; no risk, no reward!
  • Posted on: 01/29/2021

    Are small brands eating big food’s lunch?

    Small brands are about listening to what consumers want in terms of "better for you" ingredients. They understand that bigger is not necessarily better. They know that the smaller brands are able to include attributes that make the consumer feel better about themselves and the food they give their family as well as the products used, from laundry detergent to shampoo. Small brands started with this in mind. Large brands, in most cases, are playing catch up.
  • Posted on: 01/26/2021

    Bud is latest major brand player to punt on Super Bowl spots

    Good decision. If more companies took this route, we would get back to business sooner and companies like InBev would be rewarded.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2021

    Will paying associates to get COVID-19 vaccines work for Dollar General and Trader Joe’s?

    They need to get the vaccine anyway, so getting paid to get one should make the pinch a little easier to take. For the sake of their livelihood, their families and ours, everyone needs to just suck it up and get it done.
  • Posted on: 01/11/2021

    Retailers give customers refunds and tell them to keep items

    This will work in most cases, but will require a close watch on those that try to abuse the policy. As online continues to grow, so will the ways in which retailers will need to deal with this challenge. Third party companies that handle returns will take on more of this process.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2020

    Is there a secret sauce to Kroger’s online success?

    I think Kroger's success is partially based on their ability to deliver on the promise of an omnichannel experience for their shoppers. They have been perfecting this position for a number of years now, so I am not surprised at their win here. They have also worked hard to be data driven and have used that expertise to drive their online business bigger and faster than their competition. Kroger is an example of how traditional retailers can lead the pack.

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