PROFILE

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.
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  • Posted on: 12/06/2019

    Will Rent the Runway‘s hotel concierge deal change how people travel?

    It would absolutely be worth the $69 if I were assured that that garments I chose were guaranteed to fit. If they didn’t, or were not what I visualized when I placed the order, I imagine my panic would be similar to an airline losing my luggage. Westin’s Gear Lending program, a partnership with New Balance, allows guests to rent running shoes and attire at its hotels. This I would do, but leaving my wardrobe to chance before a presentation? I think this partnership with Rent the Runway is a great idea, but personally I’m not there yet.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2019

    To localize stores or not, that is the question for retailers

    I think a retailer has to do both. Staying true-to-brand makes the experience authentic, but there has to be some local flavor sprinkled in as well. Right now in most malls a chain is a chain is a chain - you could be in San Diego or Cleveland and the stores are mostly the same. There might be some added local flavor, but not much. Look at STORY. Its NYC flagship was a cool concept, at Macy’s it’s just product on shelves. The magic that made STORY unique is missing. We have a new brand of retailer emerging who is quickly evolving, spending more time on the in-store experience to ensure customers receive their brand as intended, and not just visiting another place to buy “stuff.” It’s a fine line but it can be done.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2019

    Will Kroger’s dark kitchens cook up something good?

    Part of the equation is how much the consumer knows about where the food they order is prepared. If I order a meal from Kroger I assume that food to was prepared at a Kroger store or facility. My grocer, for example, proudly posts signs that the baked goods and prepared foods offered in its stores are made onsite. That being the case I would assume any meal ordered from them would be, too. Obviously, Kroger and others that use these facilities want to deliver their customers a wonderful meal; here’s where it gets complicated. These days we like to know where and how the products we buy are made, and where they are sourced. Dark kitchens are necessary for programs like this to succeed, but I believe consumers need to be in on the details.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Kohl’s vs. Macy’s

    According to Ad Age the Macy's ad also has 30 and 60 second versions. I really like the “Believe in the wonder" message and that Macy's keeps the spirit of Christmas alive in its stores, even when its sales floors are populated with sale racks. The brand message is strong.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Kohl’s vs. Macy’s

    Apples and oranges. The Kohl’s commercial drives me crazy every time I see it because it’s such blatant commercialism. Christmas is an important season for retailers, but there are less in-your-face ways of selling it. On the other hand, Macy’s mini-movie made me tear up but that’s the point, isn’t it? I wanted that little girl to succeed. Macy’s at this time of year is all about magic, giving and believing in things beyond shopping. I like that a retailer can make me feel good about its stores through its stories. My clear winner is Macy’s.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2019

    Why is Allbirds asking Amazon to do a better job ripping it off?

    The headline about Allbirds asking Amazon to do a better job of ripping it off made me smile. I might have to use this approach the next time we find someone "borrowing" our materials and claiming them as their own. Seriously though, this is a smart PR move – and a love letter to Allbirds efforts to reduce its carbon footprint by creating environmentally friendly materials. Plus, taking Amazon on in this friendly way exposes more consumers to the Allbirds brand. We’re all talking about what we can do to take better care of our planet, so inviting Amazon to steal its unique approach to sustainability is genius.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2019

    Big things are happening as Small Business Saturday turns 10

    Good things don’t always happen overnight. Kudos to American Express and indie businesses for never giving up on something so important. Shop Local, Shop Small, Shop Indie is our mantra. Rich and I work all year long to help indies get their share of consumer dollars. Communities all over the U.S. have stepped up to support local businesses on Small Business Saturday and beyond, as have consumers. Sure, they will be out grabbing the big deals at big boxes this weekend, but they will also visit their local favorites. This year our adopted town of St. Charles, Illinois will hold its annual Holiday Homecoming Weekend that starts with the lighting of the Christmas tree, culminates with an amazing electric light parade, and kicks off our Shop Local, Eat Local campaign. As the article points out, community is important to us all.
  • Posted on: 11/26/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Old Navy vs. T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods

    I love everything Broadway, so TJX is the clear winner for me. It’s more than that though because I like TV commercials that aren’t, well, overly commercial. The Old Navy ad is all about savings so it’s true to its brand. And I have to give them credit for adding a lower third super with its web address throughout the entire ad. There are so many commercials this year - TJX included - that don’t tell you who they are for until the very end. Why keep shoppers guessing?
  • Posted on: 11/25/2019

    Why is Sephora paying associates to leave shoppers alone?

    It will be interesting to hear how it works out!
  • Posted on: 11/25/2019

    Why is Sephora paying associates to leave shoppers alone?

    Let’s introduce something else to make shopping more complicated. I get it, some people don’t like to be bothered when they shop but store associates are supposed to help shoppers, it’s their job. Most customers understand that and at least appreciate being acknowledged. If they don’t want help then they say so, if they want help later they ask. I’ve been in furniture stores that have offered “Just looking!” buttons, and that made sense. But we’re talking about Sephora here, a store that practically screams “You’re here to try new things and we’re here to help!” What happens if I grab a black don’t-help-me basket and then I decide I want help? Do I run to change baskets? Will associates ignore me because that’s what my choice of basket is telling them? It’s hard enough to be a retail associate these days without your own company potentially throwing you under the bus.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Is Target killing department stores and specialty clothing chains?

    I absolutely agree, Ray. Target’s popularity is not generational.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Is Target killing department stores and specialty clothing chains?

    Here’s the thing: Target actually sells clothing you want to be seen in. I can’t say the same for Kohl’s or J.C. Penney. Target gets it - gets the consumer. Its stores are bright and colorful and even though most of the product is displayed on gondolas it’s still a fun place to shop. Target has built a lifestyle brand that consumers are proud to embrace; we’ve joined its club. Target’s marketing messages, commercials and social media reinforce that it’s the place to be. Target listens to its customers, that’s the smart thing to do.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Should Santa be a loyalty program perk?

    If you think this is a good idea then get ready to start hitting the thumbs down button. This is a ridiculous, elitist move that is a complete opposite of the meaning of Christmas and what Santa Claus represents. So Harrods is a luxury retailer, big deal. If the retailer wants to host a special event for its loyalty club customers, then go for it. But to keep a child from visiting Santa because their parents didn’t spend enough money in the store is obscene.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Can a Soho pop-up relaunch Tupperware’s party?

    My daughter introduced me to the world of BPA free, eco-friendly Tupperware alternatives and, frankly, I have never looked back. That being said, I would be open to buying Tupperware products (the brand is part of my childhood after all) if I knew they had evolved, and knew where to buy them. So Tupperware parties. Most of us run from any kind of product party, and having to decide which mercy gift to buy so we don’t insult the hostess. Tupperware’s Soho pop-up to introduce new customers to its products is a great idea, it’s just not enough. You can’t expect consumers to find, let alone buy, a product that’s nearly invisible across most of the country.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    Is the environment Amazon’s Achilles heel or opportunity?

    A friend on Facebook just proudly posted a pile of Amazon boxes that almost reached the ceiling. She’s happy her Christmas shopping is finished; all I could see were those empty shipping boxes. I think about those boxes each time I am about to hit “add to cart” on Amazon. Sure, I love the convenience of overnight delivery but I can just as easily buy what I need ASAP from a nearby retailer. This is a growing problem that Amazon needs to solve, and it needs to keep consumers apprised of what it is doing - and what we can do - to care for the environment. I’m with the 60 percent of survey respondents who said they are willing to wait longer for delivery if it saves 200 trees. I bet more people would do that too if they knew it was an option.

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