Georganne Bender

Principal, KIZER & BENDER Speaking
Georganne Bender is a consumer anthropologist, retail strategist, keynote speaker, author, consultant and one-half of the KIZER & BENDER Speaking team. Georganne and her partner, Rich Kizer, are contributors to MSNBC’s television program Your Business. They made Meetings & Conventions Magazine's list of Meeting Planners Favorite Keynote Speakers, have been named two of Retailing's Most Influential People, and have been listed among the Top 40 Omnichannel Retail Influencers and the Top 50 Retail Influencers since 2014. Their award-winning Retail Adventures blog was named the Top Retail Blog by PR Newswire Media, and is consistently listed among important retail and small business blogs. KIZER & BENDER are partners and emcees for the popular Independent Retailer Conference. Any speaker can talk about consumers, but KIZER & BENDER actually become them. In addition to yearly focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes posing as every kind of customer you can imagine; and maybe even a few that you can't. The result of their research is literally straight from the customers’ mouth: solid ground level intelligence you can use to better serve your own customers. KIZER & BENDER are married, just not to each other. 2018 marks their 28th anniversary as a speaking team.
  • Posted on: 02/25/2020

    Was Burger King smart to showcase moldy Whoppers?

    Good point, Lee! I am a Baby Boomer, classified as part of Generation Jones, so pretty pictures alone don’t do it for me. I’m also a cook so foods without preservatives is important. Mold happens on fresh food, I get where Burger King was going for.
  • Posted on: 02/25/2020

    Was Burger King smart to showcase moldy Whoppers?

    So it’s gross, but it makes me feel a whole lot better than seeing photos of 10-year-old Twinkies that look the same as the day they were made.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2020

    IKEA tests the value of time as a sales incentive

    What about the time lost trying to get out of the store? IKEA’s store layout is a maze, once you’re in it takes a while to get through it.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2020

    What are the biggest barriers to AI adoption for retailers?

    I agree that currently AI is more hype than reality, but I also believe it has a place in retail, especially to supplement when store associates are not available or the task is novel or best done by AI. I’m curious about the comments in the article that AI can help retailers fine-tune execution at a local level. Local relevance and finding the right format, location, and items for a store seem more like spending time in a location decisions. Rachel Schechtman just demonstrated that with Macy’s The Market in Texas.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2020

    Should retailers scale hyper-localized store elements chainwide?

    Exactly, Ken! Working for a chain store that thinks it’s local is an oxymoron. Those store managers still have to follow corporate guidelines and use company planograms. There’s not a lot of room for creative thinking that could make a particular store stand out. I can hear the headquarters' comments now, “But that’s not on brand!”
  • Posted on: 02/20/2020

    Should retailers scale hyper-localized store elements chainwide?

    Indie is the new black. Independent retailers are deeper into local and community than chain stores will ever be. It’s a different mindset. The examples above, like DSW’s nail salon or Levi’s in-store signing, are not examples of either local or community. That would involve assortments, events, classes, etc. that are truly related to the community, like Foot Locker working with local designers. Being a true part of a community means more than small tweaks, it means being active in what happens every day.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2020

    Consumers hate paying for shipping more than just about anything

    The old “give customers what they want, when they want it, the way that they want it” always holds true. We have trained shoppers to expect fast and free shipping; when it becomes the norm it’s expected. What can retailers do? Perhaps something in-store that makes choosing BOPIS sexier with packaging, bounce back incentives or luxury pick-up areas. I agree with Ken about burying the shipping fee. Consumers know they are paying it, but it’s not an in-your-face extra charge. Southwest gets it with its Bags Fly Free program. We know it’s not really free, we’re just happy not to be nickeled and dimed at checkout.
  • Posted on: 02/19/2020

    Shoppers have a love/hate relationship with self-checkouts

    Full disclosure: self-checkouts hate me. You’re thinking operator error, I’m glad I’m not alone. The self-checkout is supposed to be fast and convenient but that’s not always the case. Until they are perfected I’ll opt for a live cashier every time. Convenience for consumers like me is a sharp cashier and a talented bagger. People are an important part of the in-store experience.
  • Posted on: 02/18/2020

    Can Body Shop build a better workforce with an open hiring policy?

    The Body Shop has always been on the front line of doing what’s right for people and the environment, that’s who they are. Open hiring is an interesting concept; I am anxious to see what happens in a retail environment where store associates interact with shoppers every day. The article in Fast Company said, “When there’s an opening, nearly anyone who applies and meets the most basic requirements will be able to get a job, on a first-come, first-served basis.” Sounds like fine print. You have to wonder what that “nearly” means, I know I do.
  • Posted on: 02/13/2020

    Holy badgers! Target did what with a University of Minnesota onesie?

    S**t happens. This is a simple error, just own it. No one got hurt and it’s not one of those horrifying retail mistakes like the bloody Kent State sweatshirt sold by Urban Outfitters a few years ago. A fun oops apology should fix this uff da.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2020

    Will Pop Up Grocer bring discovery to grocery retailing?

    It’s hard for grocery stores to change drastically because what we expect them to be is so deeply ingrained in the consumer psyche. We know to grab a cart and explore the aisles; products that are new aren’t a stand out because we shop with tunnel vision. This is why I like the concept of Pop Up Grocer so much - it takes shoppers out of the expected element and leaves them open to new things. Hopefully, vendor participation will lead grocers to give pop-ups a try in their own stores. And I know that the suburbs aren’t considered sexy enough for a pop-up like this, but I’d sure like to see what suburban moms, typically with overflowing shopping carts, would do at a Pop Up Grocer!
  • Posted on: 02/11/2020

    Brandless halts operations. What went wrong?

    Some of the Brandless items would be a value at $3, others not so much. But the line “product quality control issues” speaks volumes about the company. It took years for consumers to trust generic grocery store brands, why would this be any different? The concept sounded cool, but at the end of the day cheap isn’t always the most important element in what we choose to feed our families.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2020

    H-E-B gives $100 bills to all its employees for top grocer ranking

    Your frontline is your bottom line, right? These are the people who made this award possible; sharing it with them makes it real. I think it’s great, I wish more companies shared celebratory moments with more than just a memo.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2020

    What does it take to earn the trust of consumers?

    This Boomer tends to trust a company until it messes up, then I reevaluate. I am also not crazy loyal to retailers like I was when I was younger. Loyalty has to be earned. Caring for data is so important because it has direct consequences for the consumer; complete transparency is important. We had a conversation earlier this week on RetailWire about companies doing good and then telling the world. People like to know that their stores of choice are good corporate citizens. And I really like the fact that people care about employee treatment and are vocal about it. Consumer input will only make retail better.
  • Posted on: 02/06/2020

    Did Barnes & Noble engage in ‘literary blackface’?

    Well, we can add Barnes & Noble to the list of retailers who have done incredibly insensitive things. The only way for Barnes & Noble to celebrate Black History Month is to honor African American authors. I am stunned that no one at Barnes & Noble or Penguin Random House thought this was a bad idea and shut it down. Maybe it’s time for corporations to add the position “Conscience of the Company.”

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