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: 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?
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

    Walmart is focused on expanding its digital brand portfolio

    It is not a coherent strategy yet, but I have no doubt that it will be in the next year or so. I have heard Mark Lore speak at various conferences and he is thoughtful and determined. Walmart seems to be giving him a great deal of autonomy to make M&A decisions that make sense for his overall, but not yet clear to see, strategy of keeping up with Amazon. I would not count Walmart and Mark Lore out.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    Do men and women still shop differently?

    A survey of 1,000 people does not give me a great level of confidence but, that said, I do agree that men shop differently than women. The big reason is that most men don't love shopping, especially for clothes. They just want to look at a few options, like one or two, not five, buy it, and be done. I don't agree that women are more price-conscious than men, but would agree that women are more price "aware", meaning that indeed they will have done more exploration online so that they have a better sense of prices that look too high or too low for that matter.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2018

    Are Amazon lockers turning Whole Foods into a quick shop destination?

    It comes down to the size of the package. Generally speaking, the lockers are pretty small so that bodes well for picking up a few other items while there. What happens when it is a larger item, and one that does not fit in the locker? Will Amazon/Whole Foods allow you to pick up these larger items which will need to be stored outside the locker and risk having the store look messy? I see a huge difference in store layout and shopability when shopping at a Whole Foods in the city versus one in the suburbs. The challenge will be, how big is the box?
  • Posted on: 03/26/2018

    Customers want to be left alone while shopping

    Technology is there to be used, but how many times have you been disappointed because you simply could not find the information you were looking for? A knowledgeable associate should always be available for a shopper to ask for help. One without the other can be extremely frustrating. Those that think that technology can replace helpful associates will miss them once they are gone. Shoppers do want to be left alone until they are ready to ask questions or need help. Associates at some retailers tend to approach shoppers too early.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2018

    Has Facebook become toxic for advertisers?

    The challenge is how to balance the use of data so that it makes sense for advertisers while protecting our privacy. Facebook is now way too big to pull out of from the advertiser point of view, but will turn off many of their audience if Facebook does not step up to the plate and start taking responsibility for their actions or lack thereof. Zuckerberg is hiding behind PR statements and does not seem to accept his position as one of the most powerful men on the planet.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2018

    Home Depot commits $50M to create trade jobs and secure its future

    I don't see any downside to this. Great PR move, but more importantly, it will actually help to facilitate their business for many years to come while helping those who are transitioning from the military or those in communities where the trades are a great step forward. Good for Home Depot. More retailers need to do this in ways that help the communities they are in to prosper. I understand there is also a shortage of truck drivers. This is another area in which retailers and/or distribution companies can do more to help themselves while helping those that want better jobs and better pay.
  • Posted on: 03/12/2018

    Will steel and aluminum tariffs hurt American retailers?

    While I agree with the comment from Kai that retailers have bigger fish to fry than this, it will indeed have a ripple effect throughout the industry and one that is self-inflicted. Targeting a very small group that this will help is not a reason to hurt almost everyone else. Pittsburgh has long lifted itself out of being a steel and coal town in favor of high tech and medical industries which has made Pittsburgh a great place to live and work. There are very few people in that area who want their sons or daughters to go back to an industry that they have worked so hard to get away from. Manufacturers are already dealing with being squeezed to lower prices and now this? Not good.
  • Posted on: 03/01/2018

    Dick’s responds to Parkland teens – won’t sell AR-15s anymore

    It's the right decision. While Congress limps along on this issue, it should give all of us some comfort in knowing that retailers are not waiting for our government to act.

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