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: 03/26/2020

    Should retail associates be treated like frontline health responders?

    YES. Right now, Food, Drug, Mass (FDM) frontline workers are mostly unprotected - these workers are the (perhaps only) firewall to complete community panic. Interacting with and supporting exponentially higher numbers of un-screened people, and in complete darkness.
  • Posted on: 03/24/2020

    Retailers are going to curbside and delivery. Will they stay that way?

    For FMCG retailers that had already implemented curbside pickup as a part of their business model, they are undoubtedly ahead of the curve here and will likely see a boost to this option going forward. For GMA and QSR retailers, it has been amazing to see how fast they have been able to adapt to a 100 percent curbside model. Either way, it may be more broadly viewed as a competitive strength for those traditional retailers able to execute and sustain, while Amazon's fulfillment capabilities have essentially collapsed during COVID-19.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2020

    Retailers act to protect seniors from coronavirus shopping chaos and contamination

    As a former member of the "grocery club," makes me proud to see the tradition of taking care of customers in innovative (even, low-tech) ways still remains. Grocers are integral partners with their local communities, are visited more often by consumers than any other retail segment, are supported by CPG partners in arguably the most efficient supply chains in the world, are no strangers to being on the front lines during catastrophic events, and many of them essential to their communities for over a century here in the US.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2020

    Should retail close?

    Of course non-essential brick-and-mortar retail (including restaurants, bars) should close for at least two to three weeks, maybe longer depending upon what science dictates. Perhaps for the first time we will see a real stress test of retail e-commerce and supply chain capabilities - this is a sudden unplanned event, unlike Black Friday or Cyber Week.
  • Posted on: 01/29/2020

    The measured store, version 2.0

    There is a tremendous opportunity here for traditional retailers to consider how they can also leverage (read: monetize) in-store data and consumer insights enabled by new tech with their trading partners. In fact, traditional retailers can become digital disruptors themselves, creating entirely new business models, and teams focused not only on driving internal ROI (via business analytics for their end users), but also offsetting some of related costs by re-selling this in-store data and consumer insights into "at shelf impacts" that has tremendous value for their brand partners and suppliers. Without this capability, retailers will continue to lose trade funds to their competitors anyway. Further, considering the millions of dollars spent (and collected by) third-party providers (brokers, syndicated data providers, etc.), whose business model is essentially reselling retail execution data to measure in-store execution of displays, promotions, pricing, etc. in sample stores and often weeks after the fact, there is a natural new revenue model here for retailers capable of providing real-time and holistic data and insights by working directly with their trading partners in a more collaborative manner. Rather than focusing on barriers, retail leaders are already leaning in, considering the bigger picture (e.g. data monetization), and the competitive implications of sitting on the sidelines.
  • Posted on: 01/27/2020

    Forget football, the Super Bowl is all about the food!

    Grocers (and CPGs) have long recognized the impact of the Super Bowl on their annual business -- it's effectively a holiday, not just a one day sporting event. In-store displays and weekly ads have been built around this "holiday" for decades in grocery. We've all seen very creative displays (typically designed and built by DSD suppliers) in our local grocery stores. However, I would argue that grocers have not capitalized effectively on digital channels at all (e.g. search, mobile, social) with creative ads, placements, buzz, etc. This is where other consumer brands (fashion, apparel, general merchandise) simply outperform grocers today. There's still plenty of upside.
  • Posted on: 01/27/2020

    Why did IKEA end its pilot on Amazon?

    Kudos to Nike, IKEA and other traditional retailers for "experimenting" with Amazon's e-tail platform. It's long overdue that traditional retailers (themselves) test and learn on to gain insights, on a limited risk basis, to then take those learnings to help shape their own DTC solutions - versus the other way around.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2020

    NRF puts on another ‘big show’ for a hopeful industry

    What was inspiring to me at NRF this year was retail winners clearly recognize data as a strategic asset, are investing heavily in talent and tech, and embracing the responsibility of owning (creating) new IP, competencies and even new business models. It was also evident that traditional retail leaders that are making big bets in their "digital transformation" and demonstrably breaking away from the competition, may well be leaving more data and analytic impaired laggards in the dust in 2020.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Kroger goes beyond meat and looks for impossible growth with private brand

    Brilliant. This will mean that Kroger, now with its own brand, will be driven to carving out space, signage, and actively promoting the entire category both on/offline. This is a category commitment (with broader category expansion branding and merchandising opportunities -- akin to organic, and natural) as much as it is about private label, which is the real headline here, IMHO.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Will ‘five pillars’ provide the foundation Bed Bath & Beyond needs to succeed?

    Perhaps I'm joining the chorus here. Hopefully the new leadership takes the time to drill down deeper with a focus on how to differentiate in those five pillars -- with a good dose of reinvention. And it is clear Wall Street expects this. Let's take "product" for example. I would argue that Bed Bath & Beyond has not fully leveraged the relationship with Shark Tank as the go-to place (retailer) for bringing new, innovative products to market. Yes they have been a leader in this respect, but why not start negotiating and working with the Sharks more closely for exclusivity/social media buzz/branding, etc.? Retail success in the future will depend on distinctive products. Then there's "promo" (and "price") - honestly, who shops at Bed Bath & Beyond without using the 20 percent off coupon which this retailer has perpetuated for years as a requirement to get a fair price (meaning their everyday prices will always be higher than Amazon, with far less reach and rapid DTC delivery capabilities). When is the last time you searched for a product and Bed Bath & Beyond made the top five search results on the first page? Beyond Amazon, Wayfair and other digital disruptors beat them to the top of search results often. SEO is also something they will need to improve. The business has a solid foundation, but new leadership could not have been brought in with the expectation of just tweaking the fundamentals (five Ps) of retailing - transformation with big, bold ideas are needed, and the clock is ticking.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2019

    Is ‘OK Boomer’ a merchandising opportunity?

    What immediately came to mind for me was the Oklahoma (OU) Boomer Sooners... ...someone needs to be a bit more creative with the tagline in order to get any traction IMHO.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2019

    Should the recent Instacart strike concern retailers?

    Yet another cost of outsourcing last mile delivery. It's a head-scratcher for me why any grocery retailer (mid-size and above) should not have anticipated this risk, along with losing control of customer data and delivery experiences.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2019

    Will free deliveries for Prime members make Amazon the driving force in online grocery?

    Amazon really had no choice after a decade of failed efforts to get any meaningful traction with Amazon Fresh, and customer backlash to two-tiered pricing at Whole Foods more recently. While Amazon has very successfully taken share from laggard grocers in the commodity center store departments via traditional Prime, that has not translated well to fresh foods or grocery shopping missions. After a decade of failed efforts to get any meaningful traction with Amazon Fresh, and the Whole Foods debacle with two-tiered pricing and eroding market share, perhaps they have learned new lessons. That's the thing about Amazon, they test, learn, adjust, and invest heavily in that philosophy (with great loss in many cases, and Wall Street still rewards them). Beyond Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons and a few other regional grocers who own the local credibility in fresh, and are also investing in people, technology and analytic capabilities - this move may impact independent grocers and laggard regionals in the near-term; those still in denial about the changing consumer and investments that need to be made to survive long-term.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2019

    Why is Walmart so concerned about Aldi and Lidl?

    Walmart recognizes credible competitive threats and perhaps more importantly, has the leadership vision and ability to rally resources (people, process and data) to address market changes on multiple fronts, online and offline, including Amazon, other traditional offline competitors, channels including dollar stores, convenience, etc. The real threat (U.S. grocery market share shifts) are far more likely to be directly to independent grocery retailers (IGA, Save-A-Lot, even neighborhood stores) that simply lack the economic leverage and resources required to respond effectively to either the digital OR physical store realities of evolving consumer expectations and shopping preferences. Aldi has already proven successful here in the crowded U.S. grocery space (1,800+ locations). While a new entrant, Lidl also brings a very impressive, yet conservative and methodical approach that is highly likely to be successful here over time. Neither of these privately held companies rely on "buy-side" economics (read: CPG funds, product focused incentives) that many laggard U.S. retail grocers still do. Rather, it's all about best consumer price/value (e.g. Costco, WinCo) philosophy. Having just returned from Germany last week myself and having witnessed this on their own home turf, it's a relatively simple philosophy but very effective, consumer-focused and frankly impressive. "Hometown Proud" may only get U.S. independents so far, especially if a recession were to occur -- in that case, Aldi and Lidl will certainly benefit, grow customer numbers and market share.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2019

    Is e-grocery less convenient than shopping in stores?

    Grocery leaders are recognizing that the "big bet" in their digital transformation is circling back to brick-and-mortar. Now they are able to leverage new technologies to drive operational improvements and customer experience (e.g. real-time sensors to ensure freshness and reduce wastage, friction-less checkout, towers, lockers and curb-side pick-up to improve convenience, digital signage to enable story telling, instant promotions, reducing prices dynamically, and so on). Beyond these experience efficiency improvements, grocers are also stepping up their game leveraging deep customer insights (which most retailers envy) to tailor assortments, develop distinct private label products, and enhance overall quality and variety in prepared, and grab and go foods - focusing on what was described a decade ago as the broader "share of stomach" market (including convenience, QSRs, etc.) by leveraging local, fresh, healthy, artisanal products and ingredients that today's consumers are looking for. Grocers are uniquely positioned to own the authority/credibility here, having served many local neighborhoods in some cases for over a century.

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