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: 08/13/2018

    Hy-Vee opens fitness-focused grocery store concept

    It makes total sense to those that are really trying to integrate their fitness routine with eating healthier. Gyms typically have monitors that showcase healthy choices from nutritionists that members can now easily shop for after their workout. Good idea for those that are like-minded and determined to eat right so that their workout pays off. I see this trend continuing, especially in markets where a healthy and active lifestyle is more of the norm instead of the exception.
  • Posted on: 08/07/2018

    Where does art end and retail begin?

    It's all about display. When consumer products are displayed in a way that is pleasing to the eye, they can be seen by some as art. Some high-end retailers do indeed fashion themselves as museums -- displaying very few items on fairly stark shelves with men in black suits watching over the merchandise. Retail is becoming art and art is becoming retail. Pop-up stores and pop-up exhibits will co-exist is my prediction.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2018

    Walmart still trying to figure out home delivery

    It's a tough problem that will take considerable trial and error to get right. It may never happen if the current model of having no cost to the consumer holds. I think that Peter Charness has a good point. Grocers do have a slight advantage to deliver cold items over Amazon due to the proximity of their stores as opposed to Amazon's distribution centers, but will Amazon somehow open more, smaller distribution centers to fix this? It's a logistical nightmare but one that Amazon has deep pockets to solve.
  • Posted on: 07/25/2018

    Kroger’s 90-day terms have CPG suppliers seeing red

    This is indeed a slippery slope. Retailers beat up manufacturers, manufacturers beat up suppliers of ingredients as well as solution providers like us. It is not unusual at all now for manufacturers to demand 90-day terms but actually pay at 120 days or beyond! This, so they can have better cash flow to re-invest in their business. How does this help the industry overall? What choice do we or the suppliers have to meet the customer demands?
  • Posted on: 07/23/2018

    Retailers use brand ads to help pay for free delivery

    Why not? Ads on buses, ads in the bins going through security at the airport, ads in stairs, ads on turnstiles -- why shouldn’t retailers try to make some money to help offset the costs of free shipping? Retailers need some relief and balance. Consumers cannot expect low prices and free shipping without it having a negative effect on many retailers and the industry as a whole.
  • Posted on: 07/17/2018

    Walmart and Microsoft team up to slow Amazon’s roll

    I believe this is a positive and perhaps critical step. It is one that both Walmart and Microsoft recognize will provide a realistic chance of gaining an advantage over Amazon, or more likely will let them at least hold their own.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2018

    Analyst: Prime perk could eventually double customers at Whole Foods

    Amazing what you can do with deep pockets! As a Prime member and shopper of Whole Foods, it is difficult to find a down side to this announcement.
  • Posted on: 06/22/2018

    Supreme Court rules e-tailers must collect state sales taxes

    We talk about how physical retailers can keep up almost daily. This will do more to at least allow those that do truly want to compete to have a fighting chance to do so. The old ruling of not having a physical presence in the state was somewhat misguided. Although the product may come from an online retailer, the actual package is delivered by a UPS driver whose distribution center is located in the state, and so on.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2018

    The question for today’s retailers: What business are you in?

    This is a question that many consultants are still using in many speaking engagements at many conferences. "Disney is not in theme park business, but in the experience business," and so on. While it is certainly important to focus on what you provide to your customers or guests, changing the "what you do" from "what you sell" or the industry you are in is useless unless it is truly socialized and adopted by everyone in the organization that services the customer. I recently changed my LinkedIn profile from describing the software we sell to, "Helping CPG companies use all of their data sources more efficiently and effectively to increase sales at retail." Unless this is put into practice by everyone in my organization, it is just marketing speak.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2018

    Are chronic online returners only a few bad apples?

    As the saying goes, "it's the price of doing business" whether online or in-store. This will create, and in fact already has created, new businesses such as Optoro that have in effect become a new secondary channel for returned goods. Creative people will always find creative ways to solve these problems. Still, both online and offline retailers will need to find a way to deal with the "bad apples" to some extent or it will spoil the bunch of us who don't take unfair advantage of the system.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2018

    Walmart’s newest service brings texting and personal shopping together

    Chris, you nailed it. This is a profound shift in overall strategy for Walmart and it will be exciting to follow this closely.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2018

    Walmart’s newest service brings texting and personal shopping together

    I like this one. A lot! You have to hand it to Walmart and Jet in keeping up in the innovation category with Amazon. I think this is the perfect intersection of how to implement AI and human interaction and/or guidance depending on which side of the process you happen to be on at the time. If this makes it in NYC, I think it could make it anywhere (as the song says). Looking forward to seeing where this goes next in terms of functionality as well as geography.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2018

    Is $119 too much to pay for an Amazon Prime membership?

    With free delivery with Prime, and the discounts that we take advantage of at Whole Foods, it is still a pretty good price/value proposition. For those that use it on a regular basis, as we do, it is still a good deal. Ask me when they raise the price again and I may have a different answer.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2018

    No site comes close to Amazon for Gen Z

    Shopping habits may remain the same, as in Gen Z will always shop online as they go into adulthood, but the brands they buy will come and go. Nike, Adidas and others may be cool now but Gen Z is as fickle as they come -- just ask Under Armour. It's no surprise that Amazon is Gen Z's favorite site to shop. It is my favorite as well. Why? Because I can find literally every item I could ever want to find, and it gives me all of the choices I could ever want to compare, without having to go to a dozen brand sites (and being a Prime member allows me to get a decent deal). It's as simple as that. The online shopping experience -- read "easy" -- is what makes Sephora, Nike and Amazon appeal to Gen Z teens and much older teens like me.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2018

    Can Nordstrom’s full-line men’s store make it in Manhattan?

    I walked by yesterday and it did not look like it was open yet but I thought it looked pretty impressive. It's in an area that will attract both New Yorkers and tourists which they will need to make it a success. As we discussed the other day, in the discussion on whether men shop differently than women -- having a store where men can purchase absolutely everything they need from suits to shirts to ties and shoes will be important to New Yorkers. The ability to shop at any hour of the day and pick up at any hour of the day could be a real win for the the city that never sleeps. Although this may seem silly to many, trust me, it is a perk that many guys in this town will indeed take advantage of. My biggest concern for the success of this store will be cost. They are going to have to cater to those that may want to buy one or two items at an increased cost over other retailers, but can't afford to buy a suit there. Will Nordstrom be able to do this and still make enough profit to pay the exorbitant rent and offer all the perks like 16 tailors and 24/7 pick up service?

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