PROFILE

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.

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  • Posted on: 06/13/2019

    Can GameStop reboot itself?

    It may be too late for GameStop. The comparisons are justified. The path and channel have shifted and just as some will walk into a record store if they are into vinyl, most will download from their music subscription. Gaming companies have the direct path to the consumer and it is not likely to change. Relating to yesterday's Barnes & Noble story, Leonard Riggio would have been well served not getting into this business or getting rid of it earlier.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2019

    Has Barnes & Noble found its savior(s)?

    I believe Lenny Riggio when he says he believes the new owner and new CEO will have the best chance to make Barnes & Noble a huge success again. I worked at the ad agency that had his account for many years and he is a great guy and a true visionary. Given the realities of the book selling business, Lenny has been able to withstand and mostly thrive in a very tough business. I don't know if the new owners will be able to pull this off, but I do know that Lenny would not hand over the keys to just anyone, I believe he truly feels that Elliot Management has the best chance of success. I hope they succeed, as bookstores are great, and Barnes & Noble are among the best. Nothing will replace a good bookstore, and in fact, airports need more real bookstores, and not just another Hudson with small selections.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2019

    Nestle, Kellogg’s and others dump their DSD routes

    Ben, you nailed it. If the presentation in store is not up to snuff, then the cookie starts to crumble and the shopper/consumer is disappointed and we all lose.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2019

    Nestle, Kellogg’s and others dump their DSD routes

    Unfortunately, the search for areas in the supply chain to cut has led to the decision to end DSD in many categories. The drivers and others whose jobs were eliminated are the sacrificial lambs in this new reality we call retail. Can DSD be modernized or improved? Those companies that have decided to abandon DSD better be confident that the quality, freshness and merchandising standards will remain high, or they will be forced to find ways to modernize or somehow improve the system.
  • Posted on: 06/10/2019

    Walmart debuts store-to-fridge fresh food delivery service

    In addition to all the other comments regarding obstacles to this service, what to do with the dog? Do you have your dog sitting in a crate all day? I don't think so. How do you train for that?
  • Posted on: 06/04/2019

    Will delivering online orders seven days a week further transform retail ops?

    Gene, I miss those days when Sunday truly did feel different. Most stores were closed and that was OK.
  • Posted on: 06/04/2019

    Will delivering online orders seven days a week further transform retail ops?

    Smart move as USPS is already delivering on weekends. I am surprised that it has taken them this long. I do think it helps to further transform retail ops as the demand is there and delivery needed to catch up to it. UPS, you are next.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2019

    Target turns to advertising opportunities as its core retail business thrives

    This is a natural progression for retailers, because of how Amazon has changed the retail business as well as the advertising business. The traditional advertising business has seemed to lose its way and continues to try to figure out exactly how it fits in to this new reality.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2019

    Kroger launches accelerator fund

    This is a smart and well thought-out strategy. Kroger has looked at and continues to look at new areas for growth and greater profit margins that are above and beyond their traditional grocery business and these initiatives help to bolster both. These emerging brands have become the darlings of the industry for many CPG companies and will absolutely compete with brands and categories that their suppliers already sell to Kroger but they are buying these emerging brands to better compete and innovate, so why shouldn't Kroger be in the mix as well? Private label, emerging brands that are being acquired by CPG companies and now by retailers - they will all need to find a way to compete and hopefully thrive.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2019

    Study says Whole Foods is the priciest grocer of them all

    Oh man, this one hits too close to home. I have this little argument with my wife all the time. She believes that the prices are comparable, sorry honey (to other grocery stores) and I say they are not. So put me in the "calling it BS" category. Yes the campaign has been trying to convince us that they are lowering prices across the store, but I think as soon as they lower them in one category like produce, they raise them another category like fish. And although perhaps it's not a fair comparison, shopping anywhere else outside of NYC the price differences are dramatic in every single category across the store! It's true when comparing Whole Foods compared to Stew Leonard's or Whole Foods to Stop and Shop. I will say that the seafood at Stew Leonard's is just as good if not better than Whole Foods. Some of the other supermarket chains, not so much.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2019

    Why is Amazon paying employees to quit their jobs?

    I think this is good for those who want to get out of the warehouse but still be connected to the mother ship. The challenge will continue to be how to deliver in congested cities like NYC. Adding more vehicles will only exasperate an already chaotic situation. Uber, Lyft and other services have rendered NYC virtually impossible to navigate. FedEx, UPS and all the other delivery services including those on bikes have added to the misery. A more nimble delivery mechanism is needed for Amazon and other e-tailers to continue to deliver the two-day or same-day promise.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2019

    What’s wrong with the (fill in the blank) category?

    The yogurt category provides a very good lesson to all the players in the Kombucha category. Go to school on this now, so as not to repeat the same mistakes.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2019

    Apple owns the checkout at Decathlon’s sporting goods store

    Yes, this will save time and let customers avoid lines but it will not be without its issues. Even restaurants are using this technology which in many cases seems to work well. I still think the Amazon Go method, once perfected, will be the one to watch as the need for store personnel is less than the Decathlon approach. As most of have said in other discussions, technology to automate the process, whether it be robots doing the scanning, ordering and even mopping up the floor to scan and go, is a good thing as long as it does not eliminate positions but places the personnel in areas where service levels and shopper satisfaction are improved because of the shift.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2019

    Why consumers are breaking bonds with their favorite brands

    What happened is that many of these brands/CPG companies were too greedy. They thought their multi-billion dollar brands "were too big to fail" and they remained greedy. They did not see the newer competitors coming or they did not care until it was too late. Now they are desperately trying to change their tune but are finding that younger consumers are seeing through their attempts to fit in or be more empathetic, etc. What can they do? They are finding that the only way to not be left behind is to buy the smaller upstarts as we have seen with Gillette and many other categories. It's the nature of the business and it will, in my humble opinion, start to balance out over the next five to 10 years, but big CPG be aware - your lunch will be eaten unless you wake up and see that the consumer of today doesn't care that your brand has been number one for the last 150 years.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2019

    Will Walmart clean up with its robotic workforce?

    Walmart's associates already do a good job of being helpful to shoppers and the added time will only raise the service levels. The automation that is being used to scan the shelves and the FAST unloaders will also improve the shopper experience as they will most likely find what they are looking for. When shoppers have the additional option of pick up from a vending machine, like "Carvana" is doing with cars, it will all add up to having Walmart continue to use automation technology to not only help them lead the way with their supply chain and back office operations but please the shopper with pricing, product availability and ease of pick up and fulfillment. There are other retailers that are doing this but Walmart seems to be the one that may occasionally fall slightly behind, but not for long.

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