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: 06/04/2020

    Will retailers pass along or eat COVID-19 shipping surcharges?

    Argh! You're right, Peter - now I am really aggravated with them!!! ;^)
  • Posted on: 06/04/2020

    Do mobile shoppers disclose more valuable data about themselves?

    People have always shared more personal information from their phones than their PCs. For evidence, look no further than phone settings to see how many companies we allow to track our locations. We do so because, as the Wharton study indicates, the phone interface is inherently challenging. Sharing location and other personal data typically make using phones easier, which brings value to our experience. Consumers have a long history of being willing to trade privacy for value, and anything that makes the mobile experience easier, faster, or more intuitive is highly valued by most people. So they happily trade privacy for convenience and efficiency.
  • Posted on: 06/04/2020

    Will retailers pass along or eat COVID-19 shipping surcharges?

    Oh, great. Another challenge for retail. Just what we needed. I must confess to being extremely naive to the inner workings of the logistics industry, but my initial reaction to these surcharges is exasperation. UPS and FedEx are seeing unprecedented revenues, with no end in sight. According to George's report, it looks like most of the revenue increases are coming from retailers that are shipping more packages to nervous, cautious, and homebound consumers. So, instead of supporting their biggest customers in a time of deep crisis, the cash-rich shippers are punishing them with surcharges? It's unconscionable. With 40 million people out of work, consumers have no capacity for higher fees or prices. Retailers will surely be forced to cover these additional costs.
  • Posted on: 06/02/2020

    Will dollar stores be the biggest post-COVID-19 winners?

    The math is simple: 40 million people out of work + one pandemic = dollar store growth. Dollar stores will continue to flourish for the foreseeable future, and if their supply chains can outperform bigger box competitors they will have a legit chance to grab even more share.
  • Posted on: 06/02/2020

    Do retailers need to go beyond ‘reopening playbooks’?

    I could not agree more, Adrian. Governance and compliance are hugely important issues just lurking around the next corner, and I have not yet seen evidence that many retailers have plans in place to ensure safety protocols are consistently enforced. Operations management needs to assign responsibility and accountability to senior store staff, they need to implement consistent communication programs, regular audits and rigorous reporting processes -and they need to do so quickly. Cleaning logs hanging on the back of bathroom doors are no longer even close to good enough.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Is it safe to bring back food sampling?

    I'm going to defer passing judgment on the Costco plan until I hear more details but, in general, I am advocating that we move slowly and very carefully into programs that introduce more risk to the shopping journey. So I would like to see a limited trial in a limited number of stores in order to evaluate the efficacy and safety compliance before a large-scale rollout. I fear governance of and compliance with safety protocols may be a blind spot lurking around retail's corner, and adding programs that require touching shared services, removing masks, and congregating make me worry about safety and compliance at every step of the experience.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Is the REI/West Elm collaboration a win-win?

    I see only advantages with the West Elm/REI collaboration. The alignment on target customers, brand values and sustainability make this a no-brainer. West Elm did what they do best and designed stylish and high-utility products that add value to the REI experience when and where customers use their products. Both brands benefit from the exposure and customers benefit from the collaboration. Where's the downside?
  • Posted on: 05/29/2020

    Socially distant Americans find comfort in retail therapy

    Our clients are not reporting dramatic shifts in online purchase patterns (other than significantly more people shopping online than before the crisis, of course). What we are seeing, however, is a shift in online behaviors and expectations. People are now seeking therapy through online communities. Retailers have a real opportunity to bring people together to engage and interact around a common interest, and those that have delivered authentic digital community-building programs have seen big leaps in brand engagement that will last far beyond the crisis.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2020

    What will Applebee’s and Boston Market learn from their virtual restaurants?

    I guess I'm not entirely sure I understand why people are frustrated by this branding, except perhaps the Chuck E. Cheese example, which only discreetly exposes the affiliation between the two brands via a character name. But even then, I am not sure why this is an issue. These chains are by no mean the first restaurants to prepare meals for multiple brands from the same kitchen, and while some may question the marketing efficacy of the branding decision, I do not see why people take issue otherwise. What does it matter whose kitchen prepared the meal? Either you like the product or you don't. Am I missing something?
  • Posted on: 05/21/2020

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

    I sincerely hope that Kohl's is emerging from this phase of the COVID-19 crisis a stronger company, but I am not sure I agree. Without question trending younger is a great thing for their customer mix, and the bump in e-commerce business is fantastic, especially if they optimized store fulfillment and pickup processes along the way. However I have not seen evidence that the company has made any strategic moves to sustain the younger digital community they built during the pandemic. I would love to see an investment in engaging and sustaining that online energy in ways that will outlast whatever the coronavirus has in store for us in the weeks and months ahead. Then I would be more bullish on the idea that they are emerging stronger.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2020

    Bob Mariano has plans to create a great ‘next-gen’ grocery store

    If there were any retail category where I might invest in a new concept right now, I suppose grocery would be that category. However, most of the plans thus far disclosed for Dom's Market & Kitchen center around shopping experiences that seem to have dubious futures: open food prep, tasting classes and dine-in options, to name a few. I would love to think these shopper experiences will all be possible again by next March, but I would also like to hear how Dom's will adapt if not. And I would also like to hear how Dom's will take advantage of the opportunity to start from scratch and build a supply chain with robust redundancy, collaboration and scenario planning.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2020

    What should retailers do about social distancing renegades?

    The issues of enforcing social distancing and safety precautions in the COVID-19 era are among the most difficult challenges facing store teams. Clearly confronting those who disregard or disobey the rules is risky, but allowing people to violate the rules is also risky - and potentially for far more people. Unfortunately, I don't see any easy enforcement answers -- store teams are damned if they do (enforce) and damned if they don't.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2020

    Gap plans move into non-apparel categories

    At face value, expanding their assortments typically has some appeal to me, but only if the brand identity is strong and thriving. I suppose one could argue that Banana Republic's brand identity is strong and thriving enough to make this strategy work. That it would work for Gap, however, is a tougher argument to make. I am not sure about their intended target markets or messages, but maybe they could target college students and position themselves as dorm room outfitters? Or possibly they could target young city dwellers with gear for apartments and flats? Off the top of my head, these ideas feel like they have as good a chance as any, but I am not convinced those chances are all that good. I wish them luck, however, and hope that it works out well for them.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2020

    How should indie retailers prepare to reopen under the now normal?

    I am hearing the same thing from my clients, Cathy: keeping up with national, regional, and local regulations is a nightmare, and it's especially challenging for multi-nationals. One client, with stores only in the U.S., has dedicated two corporate FTEs to the task -- and they are struggling to keep up. Several have established store "hotlines" with direct 24/7 access to corporate executives to help their store managers navigate the spider's web of rules and challenges. They all tell me they don't expect this issue to fade away any time soon, either.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2020

    Will mall owner’s $5 billion revitalize retailers weakened by COVID-19?

    This money will be a lifeline for many of Brookfield's tenants and it will give Brookfield a stake in their future. However, this investment is really just the first of two investments that are desperately needed. Next, Brookfield must consider investments that will re-invent their mall experiences to become more relevant to today's consumers...

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