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: 09/29/2022

    Are marketers shortchanging product placement’s reach?

    How many times do we watch a TV show or a movie in which the ubiquitous laptop computer is NOT a Macintosh? That is product placement at the highest level.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2022

    Will Amazon’s $1 billion payroll investment work to keep front lines staffed?

    I suspect that there are as many or more "frontline workers" as there are "other workers" at Amazon. Those are many jobs that have to be filled. That is not easy. Attracting that many people is a challenge and offering these features and engaging employees who typically are out alone most of the working day is one approach that should work. A smart move.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2022

    A bag ban is all part of the brand at Wegmans

    We see more awareness about humans' negative impact on the environment and many businesses reacting to become more responsible and to keep pace with younger generations more concerned with improving the environment. This a good move with multiple positive potential results.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2022

    Walmart enters the metaverse on Roblox

    Entering the metaverse can certainly help to keep the younger consumer engaged with Walmart. The other side of the coin is whether entry into the metaverse can attract members of this age group who were not Walmart customers before...
  • Posted on: 09/23/2022

    Is an influencer a legit career?

    The key to the answer is in the make-up of the audience a brand is trying to reach. I am only influenced - and infrequently at that - by people I know (or think I know) and whose opinions I respect. Everyone else can make all the noise they want. If I know they are getting paid to push, I can immediately discount their opinion. But then, I don't think I am the intended audience.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2022

    Should CPG brands cast their DTC businesses in a supporting role to stores?

    Except for the fact that one can buy Heinz ketchup in any grocery store or have it delivered the same day or sooner. No consumer needs to go to Heinz to get it and Heinz should not be selling it DTC.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2022

    Should CPG brands cast their DTC businesses in a supporting role to stores?

    I think I disagree. The role of the CPG company in this context should be to advertise the brand and specific products in support of the retailers and not to compete with them. As to using the DTC sites to test new products, maybe it is a good way to introduce a new product, test it and, if it is successful, demonstrate it to retailers, sell it in stores only, take the product down from the DTC site and continue to promote it as "now available at a store near you." Call me stale!
  • Posted on: 09/22/2022

    The Starbucks experience aims to be the same no matter where you get your coffee

    "No good deed goes unpunished" and there are almost always "unintended consequences." We use these truisms daily but it does not stop them from happening. Yes, extending, mobile pay and rewards to licensees is beneficial to all. Besides that, we are always talking about retailers having to provide "one face" to the customers, who demands it.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2022

    Will electronic carts help Kroger fulfill curbside pickup orders more quickly?

    The challenges of curbside pick-up begin with traffic flow and easy in-and-out parking. More challenges emerge in the accuracy of the picking and availability. The electronic cart may serve to supplant human labor and is probably less prone to delivery errors (the right station, the right customer). However electronic carts appear to be a costly device that cannot take more than two years to return the investment because by then, we will have a new concept being born.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2022

    Will on-the-job training become a new norm in CEO succession planning?

    Many, many organizations have such succession plans. It is to a company's advantage to groom one or more people over time to take the reins of a business. Experience and familiarity with the company add to the list of ingredients for successful leadership.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2022

    Will upgraded virtual try-on tech get more Walmart shoppers to say yes to the dress?

    Why is Walmart different in this case from any other retailer that sells apparel? The technology has to help, even if with a small but naturally growing number of consumers.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2022

    Should store associates handle customer service chats?

    The customer service center is the most trained and effective at responding to customer questions and complaints. Calls should spill over to in-store personnel when the wait time for callers reaches a threshold but the primary responsibility of the in-store associate should remain the in-store customer.
  • Posted on: 09/12/2022

    Do retailers face too many conflicts as they move into logistics services?

    The opportunities are there. The question is: Do retailers want to vertically integrate in this fashion and, assuming they are really good at logistics, will they be providing a heretofore competitive tool to their own competitors?
  • Posted on: 09/12/2022

    Is now the right or wrong time for retailers to invest big in their businesses?

    One of the greatest characteristics of the U.S. economy is its ability to recover from a difficult economic situation. If they invest in the right places, any time is a good time for retailers to invest judiciously. The objective should be to increase more sales from existing locations.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2022

    Target ditched its mandatory retirement age to keep Brian Cornell in charge

    Even flying airplanes pilots could be asked to take a proficiency test annually.

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