Dave Bruno

Director, Retail Market Insights, Aptos

With over 25 years of experience in retail technology, Dave supports Aptos with brand development, corporate messaging, and product marketing. His deep resume includes widely varying experiences helping bring retail technology to market at GERS, Escalate Retail, RedPrairie, JDA and Epicor.

Dave is a frequent speaker at industry events and is highly regarded for his ability to identify emerging technology trends that will impact the retail model. He has worked with many of the world’s leading retailers, and he is an accomplished marketer, having won numerous awards for his content marketing programs and campaigns.

He is a member of the advisory board for DemandGen Report, and the executive producer of the CommerceofCaring podcast series. Dave is also a regular contributor to

  • Posted on: 11/30/2022

    Claire’s sets up shops inside of Macy’s stores

    I love the Toys "R" Us stores inside of Macy's and hope Claire's is an equally successful fit. Time will tell if this move connects with the younger audience Macy's is seeking. But looking beyond this Macy's program, as this store-within-a-store concept continues to expand (e.g. Target, Kohl's, etc.), do we run the risk of recreating the (rapidly-dying) mall? When do we stop adding value and start diluting brand identity?
  • Posted on: 11/30/2022

    Can Alexa find a path to monetization?

    Does voice-enabled shopping have mainstream potential for replenishment items? Maybe (at best). For product discovery? Not a chance. Product discovery online is gruesome as it is, when one can actually see the choices. Voice discovery is simply a non-starter. I use My two Echo devices constantly for things like shopping lists, order status, simple internet searches, kitchen timers, Yankees schedules and, of course, music streaming. But I don't believe enough people yet trust ordering anything via voice, even for replenishment items, and I am not sure they ever will. As such, I suspect "Alexa, play music by Steely Dan on Amazon Music" is likely to remain my most common command for the foreseeable future.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2022

    Will Shoppable Shorts become a viral sensation for YouTube?

    Color me skeptical that the core YouTube audience will indulge in shoppable ads, perhaps with the one exception being influencer videos. The young people I know don't watch the ads at all. Rather, my young friends are laser-focused on the "Skip Ad" timer, thumbs poised to pounce the moment they can skip to their content. YouTube has trained us to skip the ads - not engage with them - and with 250 million hours of YouTube content consumed every day, that training runs deep.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2022

    What does the promotional climate mean for off-pricers and resale?

    I noticed that both off-price executives quoted in Tom's article cite assortments as the key to sustaining growth and market share. As ever, product remain the critical path to differentiation. I suspect that both off-price giants will continue to set themselves apart through assortments that remain aligned with their customers, regardless of promos and inventory overages elsewhere.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2022

    Is being the low price leader critical to Amazon’s ongoing success?

    Selection (albeit a double-edged sword) and speed are what drew people to Amazon originally. And as long as their prices remain competitive, if not the lowest across the board, I believe people will continue to go to Amazon first when shopping. For many, Amazon is the Google of shopping for all but exclusive products only available elsewhere.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2022

    Black Friday is back as record number of Americans are expected to go shopping

    I have given up trying to predict holiday trends this year. There are just so many wildcards affecting consumers, it seems foolhardy to even try to forecast how they will react. What I know for certain however is that Black Friday deals have become very difficult to discern, given that we began promoting them in -- October. In one of our modern marketing era's great ironies, I honestly think many people, overwhelmed by the barrage of Black Friday emails, have decided to just walk the stores to find the deals that appeal to them. Inbox offer overload is real!
  • Posted on: 11/23/2022

    Will a new shopping platform redefine the formula for AI-driven personalization?

    Something has to change about the challenge that shopping online has become, and maybe Shoptrue is a step in that direction. We simply have to find a way to make discovery easier (via better recommendations), returns fewer (via more size/fit consistency) and selection smaller (via more personalization). Shoptrue looks to be making inroads into all three of these gigantic e-commerce shopping challenges. Will retailers adopt their tech? Will shoppers invest the time it takes to begin to build profiles that are meaningful to the algorithms? Only time will tell. But I am encouraged to see investment in innovation that attempts to make online shopping less of a nightmare.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2022

    Do digital coupons discriminate against those who can least afford it?

    Oh boy. This is a very difficult issue for me. On one hand, the human in me wants to find ways to ensure that the people without access to tech have access to the same deals as the tech-enabled. On the other hand, the marketer in me understands the meaningful value of marketing to specific customer segments, including tech-enabled shoppers. Engaging shoppers through digital offers often yields benefits that are meaningful and long-lasting. I don't believe retailers have an obligation to make every offer available to every customer, but I do think there is ample room for a combination of offers that give those with technology opportunities to save in other ways. There are certainly myriad ways to create meaningful segments of those without tech and to develop marketing strategies that serve both those shopper segments as well as the business. These programs can co-exist with digital marketing programs that target different, tech-enabled segments.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2022

    Are department store shoppers getting a late start on Christmas or taking a pass?

    I'm not yet convinced that "late" is the operative adjective here. I fear "less" may in fact be what we see when all is said and done. With the cost of just the typical Thanksgiving meal up almost 23 percent this year, consumers simply don't have the disposable income they had last year, when they were flush with stimulus cash and pent-up shopping impulses. We are up against unrealistic comps and so many headwinds, I suspect Wall Street is just waiting to pounce. Smart retailers will be aggressive with promotions to secure the biggest share possible of those reduced wallets.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2022

    Will cracking down on serial returners solve retailers’ return problem?

    I am not surprised at all by the survey results. Targeted return policies are really not all that different than targeted offers and promotions: personalized approaches are always the most effective. As with so many things, I would prefer not to punish the many because of the actions of a few.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2022

    Saks Off 5th aims to deliver on schedule

    I am not convinced the delivery "guarantee" is a necessity at the point of purchase, but converting to dynamic scheduling and deep visibility and tracking is definitely emerging as an expectation for many shoppers. As ever, communication is critical to delivering exceptional experiences, and order status visibility (and alerts!) is certainly a requirement.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2022

    How can meetings be made more effective?

    Long ago, I began setting meetings for 30 minutes or less whenever possible. And it made all our lives more productive. I have now started scheduling 15-minute meetings, and they may become my new standard. Less time per meeting = much more productivity per attendee, in my experience.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2022

    Is Trader Joe’s success formula becoming obsolete?

    As a long-time, loyal customer of Trader Joe's, I will do my best to be objective. I love their assortments, I love the simplicity of EDLP: no apps, no coupons, and no loyalty card required. What you see is what you pay. Those two things have kept me coming back to their stores for more than 20 years. I am not convinced that offering online options diminishes their brand promise in any way. But they spend a lot more time and money thinking about those things than I do. So, as much as I would love to be able to order my TJ's favorites through Instacart or DoorDash, I respect their decisions. And guess what? I rarely walk out of a Trader Joe's store with only the things I had on my list when I entered the store. Their ability to constantly evolve their assortment with interesting temptations continues to impress me (and my taste buds). Maybe they know what they are doing by forcing me into the store to get my annual Candy Cane Joe Joe's fix after all...
  • Posted on: 11/09/2022

    What will happen to Kohl’s after Michelle Gass goes to Levi Strauss?

    Assortment is everything for Kohl's at this point. I see no benefit from slicing off the online operations, but the terms "hyperlocal assortments" planned for the smaller format stores caught my eye. "Hyperlocal" in theory is good, but differentiated hyperlocal assortments are critical. I wish them well and will be watching closely, as perhaps lessons learned in the smaller stores can benefit the larger stores next.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2022

    Lowe’s sells its Canadian ops to focus on the U.S.

    It certainly seems that divesting its Canadian operations will have an immediate impact on margins, and doing so will definitely help simplify operations. I'm not clear yet, however, as to how they will gain market share. There is no direct line relationship between simplified operations and increased share, but perhaps the shuffling of executive roles and reporting structures that continue apace at headquarters will begin to make an impact on market share and shareholder value soon.

Contact Dave


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