Dion Kenney

COO, Mondofora

Dion is the founder of local-search marketplace, and a business consultant at y2 Strategic Group. Dion’s primary areas of interest include retail tech, local business, consumer trends, technology as a transformational tool, entrepreneurship and innovation. His education mirrors this tech/business mix with a Master’s Degree in Experimental Atomic Physics and a Wharton MBA.

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  • Posted on: 01/26/2023

    Will ChatGPT supercharge chatbot conversations?

    ChatGPT is probably the most enthusiastically watched tech in the news today, and the interest and expectations are well deserved. I cannot remember a new product release that has created this level of activity, prognostication, and experimentation. That said, we are still probably one or two generations of development away from the pervasive application of augmented intelligence technology. The general engine, APIs, use case libraries, and marketplace familiarity are still in the formative stage, with a lot of experimentation going on. But at the rate of development, those two generations of development could realistically occur within the next 18 months.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2023

    Can opera keep loiterers away from store parking lots?

    In general, solving problems by being irritating is misanthropic at best, and sociopathic if the foundation for your normal course of action. But perhaps even more offensive is the notion of high art being used as punishment. What long-term negative associations will this create in the minds of the general public?
  • Posted on: 01/24/2023

    Where are the cost savings in last-mile delivery?

    For all of the brainpower dedicated to e-commerce business models, last-mile issues have yet to demonstrate a clever and workable solution. Between undesirable added costs, shortage of labor and delivery vehicles, package tracking reliability, impact on local traffic issues, and porch pirates, it may be the greatest pain point for retailers, outside of supply chain issues. If 89 percent are struggling with last-mile delivery operations, it would be worthwhile to hear what the other 11 percent are thinking.
  • Posted on: 01/23/2023

    Does retail need a data-based rebuild?

    With the rapid change in technologies, some obviously applicable to retail and some only imaginable to very creative minds, there is enormous opportunity to re-imagine the retail industry. On the obvious side, supply chain management and real-time inventory are critical to meet the increasing expectations of shoppers. Similarly, customer outreach, blending CRM, shopping patterns, data analytics, and demand-based pricing can create and enhance customer/retailer relationships to a seemingly magically-curated level. On the non-obvious side, the shopping experience -- in-store, online, and virtual-reality based -- can benefit from bringing in the equivalent of Disney's Imagineers to craft retail immersion and entertainment experiences.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2023

    Is Saks Off Fifth better off online?

    It sounds like Saks has been paying attention to the behaviors and shopping experience desires of their audience. With all of the changes in the both demographics and shopping preferences, it's good to see retailers implementing experience-centric changes. I don't foresee a time when Saks will be online-only, but if they can coordinate an online, in-store, and technology-enhanced curated hybrid, they may have the winning combination.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2023

    Consumers get some relief as inflation eases

    Inflation is a double-whammy for retail. First it decreases consumer demand. And then it makes it more difficult to fill lower paying retail associate positions, as employees look for better paying positions outside the industry. For a lot of reasons we should all look forward to a more stable, less catastrophe-impacted economy.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2023

    Is nepotism all that bad for retail?

    Well, it does reduce recruiting costs. In theory, a business owner wouldn't want an incapable person in a critical role. Where I've seen the most damage is in multi-generational family businesses where cousins start factionalizing the company.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2023

    Are targeted online ads going away?

    Sounds like the first GDPR shoe has fallen! And we should expect a similar outcry in the U.S., even though GDPR doesn't apply here. However Meta can make a legitimate case that their algorithm requires user-specific details to optimize content for the user experience. The trick will then be to make a convincing case that ads are content!
  • Posted on: 01/09/2023

    Is ‘quiet hiring’ the next big thing in labor?

    Isn't this really old wine in with a new label? Companies have forever been handing out "not my job" assignments to employees, as changing conditions and new demands require the team to flexibly respond without busting the budget.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2023

    Is now the time for retailers to double down on cloud investments?

    Forrest is correct, now is the time to think bigger and smarter. What should that include? Absolutely a focus on automating processes by leveraging cloud capabilities, but also leveraging integrations with tools like Zapier and Integromat. And equally as important as leveraging the technology to improve operational effectiveness and reducing cost, they should be leveraging these technologies to improve the user experience: easier, more entertaining, better search and checkout, etc.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2023

    Is Bed Bath & Beyond nearing the end of the line?

    Not particular to Bed Bath & Beyond but certainly applicable to them, once a company reaches a certain velocity of decline it is very difficult to recover. Reducing the cost of excess real estate and inventory is not a short-term correction. Just in my area, the four local stores were more than the local population could support. The costs and time required to re-organize can be more than is available, as other retailers (even Amazon!) are seeing declining sales and projections of recession are increasingly common. Chapter 11 will give Bed Bath & Beyond some protection and a little time, but a failing business model coinciding with a global recession will make it a very difficult challenge.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2023

    Bloomingdale’s looks to make more with less

    Not all shopping can be virtualized. But there is a cost - financial and operational cost - to the big department store model. Despite many retailers cutting costs, reducing staff and service, until the shopping experience feels like a Big Box store, many shoppers still want a great shopping experience. Pampering customers is a competitive dimension where Bloomie's has historically excelled. So adapting that to the current drivers and limitations of the industry makes complete sense. Rock on, Bloomingdale's!
  • Posted on: 01/05/2023

    Will others follow Shopify’s lead and cancel recurring meetings?

    At this point there should be very little disagreement about the impact of 4th Industrial Revolution technologies on business operations, particularly in the area of connectivity and asynchronous communications. Very few meetings actually require all the participants present to be able make important decisions -- the necessary criteria for having a meeting. Otherwise, send a video, survey, or memo.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2022

    What’s up with the stalled Amazon Fresh openings?

    Amazon has become the unbeatable warrior of retail, as the name implies. However they seem to be hitting the natural barrier to growth that many firms hit: internal rates of return (IRR) on new investments are decreasing and investment requirements are increasing. Amazon's investment in physical plants and property, as well as the many zoning regulations, employment laws, and property tax issues is an enormous gamble, jumping into a competitive model that many think is oversaturated. They may be realizing that it is difficult to innovate and disrupt when your business model is starting to look like everyone else's.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2022

    If DTC is broken, is CTC the fix?

    CTC is an attempt to address one of the major shortcomings of DTC. Namely, most brands don't have a relationship with the end-user, and therefore their products don't necessarily have a context, as would be provided by which retailers are presenting it, and which collections it appears in. Colloquially, "borrowing other people's audience" gives the consumer a starting point of how/where a product fits in with their other purchases and their lifestyle. CTC may still come up short, in that a product's context is likely to be only viewed by the proximity to other products on social media, as opposed to curated in collections by a consumer's chosen arbiters of taste.

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