Brent Biddulph

General Manager, Retail & Consumer Goods, Cloudera

Brent has extensive experience working closely with a variety of leading retail and consumer goods companies providing thought leadership to help align strategic objectives with technology and analytic solutions to drive top-line growth, reduce costs, improve profits and create a differentiated competitive advantage in the marketplace.

During his career at Cloudera, Teradata and Oracle he developed solution go to market positioning, sales plays, use cases and led big data analytics consulting engagements at a number of Fortune 50 companies. Working as a trusted advisor with client executives to identify, define and capture business improvement opportunities.

Brent is known as a customer-focused advocate and innovator, leveraging his extensive domain experience in store operations, replenishment, merchandising and marketing at senior management levels in retail, distribution and consumer goods.

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  • Posted on: 09/22/2020

    Grocers are primed to compete with Amazon’s free grocery delivery

    Let's not so easily forget Amazon's epic "grocery" ecommerce failure just a few months ago with Pantry (shutting down) and their utter inability to deliver basic "essentials" up to 4-5 weeks regardless of the Prime promise early in the COVID crisis. Simultaneously, traditional grocery retailers replenishment response times were far superior both in-store and online crushing the Death Star with much deeper inventories and replenishment capabilities. Frankly, Amazon still seems puzzled by grocery, having played around the edges (unprofitably) for nearly two decades (yes, nearly 20 years). Finally, taking the plunge in brick and mortar, acquiring Whole Foods 3 years ago that most would have to admit seems to still be "an experiment and learning platform" at best. Not that Amazon won't figure it out, they most certainly will. But it will most likely be at the expense of mom and pops and weak regionals that will lose. Grocery leaders like Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Tesco, Loblaw's, HEB, Wegmans have not been sitting on the sidelines when it comes to investing in data and technologies -- in many cases at superior capabilities still to Amazon "delivers" in the grocery sector.
  • Posted on: 09/17/2020

    Amazon Fresh grocery store opens touting low prices and cashier-free checkout

    After nearly two decades of experimentation, acquisitions and dedicated "Fresh" delivery fleets focused on grocery "around the edges" - this feels like the first attempt to go at the core industry (where 90 percent of grocery sales still occur in-store) - competing head-to-head with well established leaders who have significantly upped their game in data analytics in recent years. Early on, it's a legit threat to local and regional grocers that have yet to embrace data analytics as a competitive differentiator, and perhaps that is the point - selecting markets where weak regional grocers still have market share to lose.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2020

    J.C. Penney rescued. Will it now find success and save the mall, too?

    Happy to hear many great people at JCP have a bit of lifeline here, but it is simply that, a lifeline with an "extended" expiration date. Call it Sears 2.0; this is an equity/real estate play now, not much different than the Fast Eddie VC play at Sears to squeeze all value from the asset with little knowledge and respect for retail strategic thinking and competitive credibility. A "zombie" retailer regardless.
  • Posted on: 09/08/2020

    Learn about AI success from execs who are getting it right

    First of all, recognizing data and analytics as an enterprise asset and competitive necessity is essential - perhaps obvious, but far too many have yet to embrace this reality. In my experience, successful prioritization of AI projects takes into consideration a blend (value v. effort) of tackling low-hanging fruit (aka quick wins) to sustain momentum, incremental improvement of enterprise business processes to ensure cross-LOB engagement and fleshing out data governance improvement opportunities, and a few "moon shots" to test new hypotheses and drive innovation.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2020

    Best Buy produces record results doing things differently in the pandemic

    Having been one of those customers that made a purchase online with Best Buy during those six weeks of "appointment only" store openings - two things really impressed me. First, during my online search (discovery), Best Buy not only had the best prices, but options that included "open box" items - something they are better than anyone in executing (including Amazon). Second, the curbside pickup experience was something to behold - at least a half dozen Best Buy employees in neon yellow shirts standing outside the storefront, earpieces to communicate with in-store order fillers, cashiers, etc. and immediately engaging every car that pulled up. Scurrying about to grab orders, AND answer consumer questions from their car doors in a highly orchestrated effort to make the best of the situation. For me, a consumer trading with various retail sectors in the early days of COVID-19 - Best Buy was the most impressive response given the circumstances (non-essential designation) they were dealt. Kudos to the executive team for thinking outside the box and making the commitment to staff up and get creative.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2020

    Will Lowe’s new push turn rentals into a tool for growth?

    No brainer; what took so long? Value added services like this are what consumers are looking for and help reinforce the need for brick and mortar in retail. No different than grocers carving space from center store commodity goods to provide prepared meals, meal kits and even sit down dining. Regardless, good timing as WFH not likely to go away anytime soon. And Lowe's still enjoys a slight edge over other HI brands when it comes to DIYers of both genders and all ages -- that is where they should focus initially.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2020

    REI is going remote and selling its corporate headquarters

    A sign of the times -- the decline of brick and mortar (stores, malls, and HQs). Boundaries no longer relevant in a retail tech revolution driven by dramatically shifting consumer expectations. On the flip side, expansion of brick and mortar real estate is underway via warehouses and micro-fulfillment centers required to better serve consumer delivery expectations.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2020

    Is the Walmart/Instacart pilot a sign of big delivery news to come?

    It makes no sense that Walmart would eventually outsource their entire last mile to Instacart. With recent Instacart customer data breaches and a previous history of leveraging customer lists against former retailers, it seems there's more risk here for Walmart than upside. It could simply be a test run and learning event for Walmart, nothing more. At some point, Walmart needs to step up their game and own the last mile. They have done so many things right in all other aspects of e-commerce, yet seem to be a laggard (willing to outsource) in the delivery space. I'm not sure why they are not "leaning in" on delivery leadership - at least in major cities. I am sure they could supplement that investment by providing a platform to others needing delivery services given they have the deepest consumer household penetration (90 percent) of any retailer on the planet.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2020

    Will COVID-19 give facial recognition a second look?

    While facial-recognition is widely accepted in Asia, it is likely years away from potential adoption in Western cultures. However computer vision (streaming video analytics) is not only well underway in Western retail environments, but a game-changer for traditional retailers to better monitor inventory levels, improve merchandising execution, improve in-store shopper experiences via friction-less checkout, and enable more responsive customer service capabilities. In regard to COVID-19 specifically, computer vision is being used to "anonymously" monitor one-way foot traffic, social distancing and sanitation efforts to help ensure both shopper and employee safety. And if governmental regulations for opening physical locations require some level of compliance measurement (e.g. penalties), those retailers using computer vision today already have a significant market advantage over those who do not.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2020

    How can retailers differentiate curbside delivery?

    Back to the future, when leading traditional retailers (decades ago) were obsessed with customer service, having plenty of associates on hand to ensure an excellent customer experience throughout the entire in-store journey. However, in the most recent decade (pre-COVID) associates had been viewed as labor and subject to "cost control" measures leading to less than impressive customer experiences in the end (let's be honest here). Perhaps multi-channel retail leveraging brick and mortar stores and COVID has put a spotlight back on the business impact and valuation of the in-store human element to compete more effectively and "own" the customer experience in retail today -- and of course, this includes fulfillment and last mile delivery. Curbside delivery is not only a competitive advantage versus pure-play retailers by significantly reducing fulfillment costs for traditional retailers, so why not extend this to curbside returns -- especially for fashion and apparel brands where up to 40% of online purchases are returned?
  • Posted on: 06/18/2020

    Will PPE vending kiosks attract travelers?

    Brilliant move by Hudson. What else could be said here, other than Hudson understood the opportunity and need and beat CVS and Walgreens to the punch. Although, it could be argued that this idea also makes total sense outside of airports as well. Still an opportunity for CVS and Walgreens to capitalize on a broader scale.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2020

    Can a box of pancake mix be racist?

    CPG brands admitting that it's long overdue that they take action on these brands that are more than 100 years old may have been difficult, but it is wise. Perhaps there is also a lesson here for Major League U.S. sports franchises -- that it is also long overdue to re-brand the use of Native American names and imagery.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2020

    Walmart teams up with Shopify to give Amazon a run for its money

    Walmart proves once again, the path to dominating retail will require continued investment in digital partnerships, supply chain collaboration, and data monetization strategies that too many other retailers still lack the courage (vision or cash) to "lean in" on. Kudos to Walmart for continued smart investments, even in the era of COVID. The gloves were off long ago versus Amazon. Walmart has been all in on digital transformation for years now, with a superior supply chain and brick and mortar foundation, now leap-frogging other traditional retailers still sitting on the sidelines.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2020

    Is Kohl’s a stronger retailer as it reopens stores?

    If the speculation is true that Amazon is looking at picking up JCP at a bargain price, looks like Kohl's C-Level exit strategy hopes just got dashed. Although, Amazon may forgo the JCP rescue in favor of waiting it out for Kohl's to be in a similar situation. They kinda have a pick of the litter here with scooping up either of these undifferentiated department stores.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2020

    Should grocers keep paying their associates like heroes?

    Due to the utter failure of a cohesive US Federal response -- e.g. testing protocols and availability of such tools required to make localized informed decisions (unlike any other country on earth), the burden now falls on business leaders. As a result, grocery retailers and CPG manufacturers (including COVID-19 "hot zone" meat packing plants) are now left to deal with the bifurcated and politically charged local (State) regulations -- with really no choice, but to extend "Hero Pay" simply because of the level of uncertainty that still remains.

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