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: 10/15/2019

    Why are grocers still missing the mark with small food brands?

    I totally agree with Warren. Young people -- and I just came back from a Bachelor party weekend in Denver with a big group of them -- want to eat foods that are real and let's be honest, those "better for you" foods are coming from the smaller brands. Those retailers and manufacturers that get ahead of this, for the long term, will win the race. Those that stick to the old tried and true slotting fees and stack 'em high and let 'em fly will win in the short term and be the Kodaks and Blockbusters of the future.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Amazon makes its social positions public

    I call BS. Until Amazon starts treating employees, even those that are part time, fairly, their positions sound hollow at best. Amazon needs to clean up their act before I would buy into their social responsibility claims.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2019

    Are legacy CPG brands just naturally digitally-challenged?

    I just finished reading a book called Predictable Success. I recommend it. Many smaller digitally enabled organizations are in the "fun" stage and have not yet grappled with the "treadmill" stage where many of them will be before they can make it into a "predictable success" model. Many large CPG companies are trying to get out of the treadmill stage and back into predictable success which is very challenging as it takes a cultural transformation which takes time.
  • Posted on: 09/26/2019

    Can grocery shopping make people less lonely?

    Ryan, you were right then and you are right now. You were ahead of your time and American grocers should have been listening more carefully.
  • Posted on: 09/26/2019

    Can grocery shopping make people less lonely?

    Yes, grocers can make a positive impact and yes, I do think that where appropriate, shoppers will participate. This is a very positive step towards helping people that feel isolated and yes, not just for seniors but young people as well who use social media to such an extent that they are sometimes more isolated than seniors. The art of conversation is something that many young people struggle with. It is not the responsibility of the grocer to do this, but you see grocers in Europe doing this which is consistent with the way many other countries treat and in fact cherish their elders. In a way, Starbucks and Barnes & Noble have been doing this since day one. Although most will be engaged with their phones or computers, there is human interaction as well. Bravo Jumbo!
  • Posted on: 09/24/2019

    What will Apple’s reinvented Fifth Avenue flagship mean for the brand?

    There are not many brands that A.) can afford to do the type of renovation that Apple did at this location and B.) could afford to be in this location in the first place. That piece of Manhattan real estate is ground zero for tourists from all over the world and the Apple store is a must see on the list of what tourists want to do. If this is the bar, then I really feel for retail.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2019

    Will free same-day delivery boost Macy’s online sales?

    Totally agree with this comment. Yes, the pressure is on but they will place themselves in a worse position if they don't get their ducks in a row first. Putting in some extra time up-front always makes a difference.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2019

    Is AI at the center of the retail technology universe?

    AI has tremendous potential and it has already been proven in many areas. As in any area of utilizing a new technology that has great promise, think Big Data, there must be a solid and well thought out plan specifically focused on the problem you are trying to solve. It cannot be everything at once as some senior executives will treat it when a shiny new object arrives. Too many times, they want to use it but the strategic and implementation plan is not well thought out. I am confident in the benefits of AI and do not want to see it go the way of many other technological trends that had great promise and were simply not planned or executed appropriately.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2019

    What is retail’s role in building a better society?

    It is everyone's responsibility. CPGs, retailers, and consumers must and should pitch in and help in areas that give back to the community or to communities that have been hit hard by natural disasters, etc. Yes, the government is ultimately responsible, but who are we as a society if we see the pain and just shrug it off and say, "not my job"? Doing things that help to build a better society, whether by Home Depot helping hurricane victims to rebuild, or Nestlé Waters handing out water is a good thing and should be recognized and rewarded.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2019

    Are grocers falling short in selling better-for-you foods?

    Shoppers need to educate themselves as there are too many details about "better-for-you" foods for the manufacturer and retailer, making it difficult for better signage/integrated categories to be adopted by most retailers outside of the largest ones. At a natural/organic conference I attended, I was stunned by a slide that compared how materials allowed in organic processed foods compare to materials allowed in all other food. Seventy-nine non-agricultural minor ingredients are allowed in organic processing. More than 3,000 substances comprise everything added to food in the United States. Shoppers need to be aware and I agree with my fellow BrianTrust commentators that you have to give the shopper some credit to know and understand what they want to eat and how much they are willing to spend for a certain items.
  • Posted on: 09/16/2019

    How profitable is online selling?

    I agree with Georganne. You need to interact with the brand and with real people to get things done. Online is fast and sometimes easy but not always. Case in point. My daughter is getting married soon and the guys are all ordering from an online tuxedo company which sends them to you based on an online survey. I simply don't have time to screw around with sending them back for additional alterations as the tuxedo needs to be perfect for this occasion. I decided to purchase at a physical store where I interacted with a very knowledgeable salesperson who took good care of me. I also shopped for bow ties online, and my wife ordered a few and we found they don't quite fit, and guess what? She is so used to buying online that she assumed they would be able to be returned. On closer inspection, she discovered that there was no return policy mentioned on their website and a few e-mails have received no response from the bow tie company. I think I'll purchase one from the same place I bought my tuxedo. Is online profitable? For companies that don't let you return an item -- you bet!
  • Posted on: 09/09/2019

    Ace Hardware builds through acquisition in the do-it-for-me market

    Ace is jumping on the bandwagon of Angie's List, Home Adviser and a host of others in the space. It makes sense as one feeds the other and it is a logical revenue stream to add for continued growth.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Will Walmart’s customers accept its rejection of the firearms ‘status quo’?

    Yes, they are taking necessary steps as our lawmakers have failed to do so. The majority of Americans are in favor of an assault weapon ban, a ban on large capacity magazine clips and more comprehensive background checks. Heck, even most gun owners are in favor of these. There are so many loopholes still to be closed such as if you've been convicted for assault of any kind on your wife, husband, etc. there is a law on the books that prevents you from getting a gun, but if its your girlfriend or boyfriend, than you are free to buy a gun. This is crazy and Walmart has taken a major step here, perhaps something they should have done long ago, but nontheless a step that many other retailers should follow. If something is not done, and this continues to happen at Walmart locations, what happens to Walmart? The CEO is taking action on something that is an existential threat to their business, their shareholders, their associates and their shoppers.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2019

    Social media antics cause grief at Walmart, Target, Home Depot, others

    This is such BS and yet another dark side of social media. Every time this happens and the police or fire departments are called, it takes them away from actual emergencies and these idiots should be locked up and treated as adults. Why should the retailer, its employees and shoppers have to put up with this nonsense?
  • Posted on: 08/29/2019

    Amazon seeks more third-party price control

    This will help but will not resolve Amazon's Wild, Wild West ecosystem of sellers and pricing. If it is focused on brands more than resellers it must do more to control the practices of resellers and I am at a loss as to how they do that without completely re-vamping their model. Brands must demand more control from Amazon as they are taking the hit once products end up in the consumer's hands. That goes for pricing as well as quality of product delivered.

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