Bob Amster

Principal, Retail Technology Group

Mr. Amster has served the retail and distribution industries as both a Consultant and Systems Manager since 1971. He currently heads The Retail Technology Group, an independent consulting firm.

Bob was a Senior Manager with the Northeast Retail Consulting Group of Ernst & Young. Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Mr. Amster held Systems Management positions for large retailers such as Kmart Apparel, Waldenbooks, and Caldor. In addition, he has consulted to retail, distribution, and software companies since 1985.

Bob’s hands-on experience encompasses strategic planning; operational reviews; and systems design and implementation. He specializes in needs assessments; software analyses, selection and implementation; operational procedures and process improvement; and systems integration. His project experience includes numerous engagements in the evaluation, selection and implementation of merchandising, financial, warehouse and store systems packages.

Additionally, Bob has served as interim head of IT for Barneys New York and Shane Company, and as interim head of the Store Systems Group for Savers, Inc.

Bob also has provided due diligence assistance to a number of private equity firms and has served the advisory board of retailers and of a number of e-commerce merchants, to whom he provided retail industry perspective.

  • Posted on: 01/18/2023

    PepsiCo’s retention recipe starts with technology

    I would think that flexible scheduling may be number one with families with children/two-earner households. Streamlining and even eliminating tedious, boring tasks and enabling employees to perform more of the satisfying or advanced tasks, would appeal to all. After all, feeling productive is always internally rewarding.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2023

    Are retail communications out of sync with consumers?

    Communications to consumers from many retailers are irrelevant (to me) and too frequent. Some retailers know how to pace the communication. With AI, and even pre-AI available history, it should be enough technology available to dens out only communication perceived to be relevant to a consumer. Of course, "relevant" is a large umbrella that includes "timing" since I purchased a similar item, "price" point at which I buy a category of product, "styles" of my liking, previous "categories" I purchased, etc. Preventing being "a pest" should not be difficult.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2023

    Is nepotism all that bad for retail?

    It very much depends on whether the parent leaves the business to a well-trained,well-prepared offspring, or the idiot child. I've seen both.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2023

    Consumers get some relief as inflation eases

    As inflation eases (if it continues to ease), consumers will first pay off debt incurred over the holiday period. Then they will begin spending again.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2023

    Is ‘quiet hiring’ the next big thing in labor?

    The concepts of training the human resources already in place, promoting experienced, longer-term employees and improving the working environment for associates are not new. We may have strayed away from them in the past, but they are not new. It is as simple as reinstating what we already know works!
  • Posted on: 01/09/2023

    Is now the time for retailers to double down on cloud investments?

    The concept of almost dynamic expandability or reduction of resources, coupled with the concept of browser-based applications that are easier to install and to access from anywhere, made the so-called "cloud computing" a de rigueur technology from the start. It was only the group of potential users that feared the very new that held out. There was very little choice between the cloud and on-premise computing. The cloud wins.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2023

    Nike gets Netflix viewers moving

    Nike will strengthen the loyalty of its customers with this added service (especially if it's free) and hopefully drive them to do everything Nike.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2023

    Can enhanced self-checkout stop shrink?

    The way that the industry is complicating self-checkout with technology is beginning to look like the U.S. tax code. It may be time to go back to the achievable through simplicity.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2023

    Will others follow Shopify’s lead and cancel recurring meetings?

    Recurring meetings have a way of setting a cadence for recapping weekly results, and discussing items such as upcoming recurring events. One way to maintain productivity is to cancel each occurrence if there is nothing to discuss that day.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2022

    ​​Is drone delivery really here for Walmart and Amazon?

    Drones will work until the "friendly skies" (United Airlines) become "...too crowded..." (Expressway to Your Heart, Soul Survivors, 1967). Then the industry will recalibrate and regulate. Drones will be used in moderation and in certain markets.
  • Posted on: 12/22/2022

    Should Barnes & Noble shift back to store-expansion mode?

    When I think of the fact that today's Amazon began as Amazon Books, and that Barnes & Noble was always a leader in the category, I have to believe that B&N can come back as strong as ever.
  • Posted on: 12/22/2022

    Just Walk Out – Just in time or just too soon?

    No significant breakthrough in 2023. Implementation of the technology is affected by multiple factors. On the retailer side: it is costly, it needs to be accurate, it must not increase fraud (just-don't-pay) and customers must like it. On the customer side: customers must like it, immediate assistance must be available, it must work equally well with all product categories (packaged/loose/large/small), and it must be super intuitive to avoid abandoned transactions.
  • Posted on: 12/21/2022

    Does self-checkout set up Walmart for theft?

    Self-checkout is one factor in increasing shrink but there are others that contribute as much or more, such as organized retail theft. Shutting down a store because of self-checkout theft sounds dramatic. Why not resurrect manned check-out? And if shrink is that large in a specific store, isn't it indicative of a larger-scale problem?
  • Posted on: 12/19/2022

    ‘Just in time’ and ‘just in case’ systems leave retailers with too much inventory

    Peter, to quote Jeff Sward's title quip, as many as forty years ago, "just-in-time" purchasing and delivery was the goal but "just-in-case" was how we non-merchants referred to buyers' other "irrational exuberance."
  • Posted on: 12/19/2022

    ‘Just in time’ and ‘just in case’ systems leave retailers with too much inventory

    I am an advocate of trying to shorten lead times to create flexibility should things go poorly or very well. Merchandise planning, accompanied by a strong discipline rather than emotional reaction, is key -- not just in difficult times, but all the time. I would prefer some lost sales due to disciplined buying (NOT "just in case") and remaining profitable, over marking down large amounts of merchandise and breaking even.

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