PROFILE

Georganne Bender

Principal, KIZER & BENDER Speaking
Georganne Bender is a retail and 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. 2021 marks their 31st anniversary as a speaking team.
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  • Posted on: 01/26/2021

    Bud is latest major brand player to punt on Super Bowl spots

    We all love the Budweiser Clydesdales and the heartfelt stories the Super Bowl commercials tell every year. This year Budweiser allocating that $5.5 million ad cost to build public awareness and education for the COVID-19 vaccination effort is commendable; those Clydesdales always save the day. This year they will help save real, live people.
  • Posted on: 01/25/2021

    Will Godiva’s stores ever come back from the pandemic?

    A stop at Godiva during a visit to the mall was a natural. There was always something going on in the stores, like new product introductions and tastings, to entice shoppers inside. But the pandemic has changed how we shop and will continue to do so for a while, and free samples aren’t as easy to distribute as they were pre-pandemic. I am with the rest of the BrainTrust who suggest there is something else going on with Godiva that would cause it to make this decision. I have a feeling Godiva stores will be back in some form when things get back to normal.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2021

    NRF 2021: What did it take for consumer-direct startups to get through the pandemic?

    Now more than ever, a company’s values are key. Millennials and Generation Z choose brands based on values and ethics and the rest of us are following suit. Walmart, for example, put its values front and center during the pandemic, letting consumers know that it would be there for them, and it followed through with what it promised. Advertising for most companies did not stop, it just took a different turn. Throughout the pandemic we have seen ads become less about hard sell and more about how the brand/product can be used to help make our lives better. I like that twist.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2021

    Do boutique hotels and housing make sense for RH?

    The first time I walked into an RH Gallery store I thought I was in a hotel lobby. This is an interesting concept and I think it is a good one.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2021

    NRF 2021: Are retailers stronger having made it this far into the pandemic?

    Sadly, many retailers, large and small did not make it through the pandemic. But many more did, and with lots of changes are stronger for it. My company works with independent retailers. As I have said before, these retailers are not fighting for a job, they are fighting for their livelihood. They have moved quickly to update websites, adopt new customer services and conveniences, and jumped with both feet into selling via social media. Ironically, even when their stores were closed, many experienced stronger sales and continue to do so. Retailers are exhausted but continue to work harder and push forward, making their stores stronger. As awful as it is, the pandemic has caused retailers to make, tweak, keep and abandon changes faster.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2021

    Should store associates deliver online orders?

    I see pros and cons with this idea. Certainly delivering a skateboard and then showing a kid how to use it is a cool idea, as is tying the buyer to the local store. But it is different than a pizza delivery. Is the Zumiez associate safe potentially entering a customer’s home? What about COVID-19? Are there precautions taken? Are the associates compensated by Zumiez for using their personal vehicles? During high school my son worked for a popular sandwich shop that one day required him to deliver orders all over the community because he had a car. Are the associates properly insured? In 2020 when independent retailers offered delivery during the pandemic they had to purchase additional insurance in order to use their personal cars for this task. This program requires more thought than “it’s similar to a pizza delivery model,” especially since most of Zumiez associates are young and may be unclear about all that interactive delivery to consumers homes entails.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2021

    Would a Not-Amazon.ca-like effort help indy retailers compete with the online giant?

    It seems to me that this has been done here already, and since I can’t remember the name of the website that tells you how well it worked. Indies have worked together before and during the pandemic with “Hops” - blog hops, website hops, Facebook Live hops, sharing customers who hop from one site to another. It’s such a great way to attract new customers it will continue far into the future. Pike Place Market retailers came together in 2020 to create Savor Seattle, a subscription box service that gives customers a taste of what Pikes Place Market retailers have to offer. And retailers in our town have banded together as well, cross-promoting and cross-marketing. It’s better when it’s done locally.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2021

    NRF 2021: Retailers make an appointment with the future

    There are certain retailers where I know I need to make an appointment, and it has been necessary during the pandemic because of limits on how many people can be in a store at one time. But when this is over people are going to want to shop when they want to shop. I completely agree with Neil, shopping by appointment isn’t going to fly. Can you imagine being told you can only go to Target between 1:00 and 2:30 on a Tuesday or not at all? Not gonna happen.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2021

    Will paying associates to get COVID-19 vaccines work for Dollar General and Trader Joe’s?

    This is a nice bonus for associates who already plan to get the vaccination and an incentive for those on the fence. People who choose not to vaccinate have that right. Retailers will have to juggle employees much the same way that schools have to deal with children who are not vaccinated for medical, religious or personal reasons. President-elect Biden’s American Rescue Plan, in partnership with the states, makes sense, too. COVID-19 mandates and guidance on a national level have been needed since the pandemic began.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2021

    Is Amazon on its way to becoming America’s favorite grocer?

    My question is, where do the fresh groceries delivered by Amazon come from? Is everything sourced through Whole Foods? As a consumer, I prefer to have groceries delivered by a local grocer because I know that store and I am familiar with the quality of items I will receive. I’m in the suburbs of Chicago and Jewel-Osco is my go-to store. During the early days of the pandemic I confidently shopped via Instacart because I could choose which store the shopper would shop. These days grocery chains like Kroger, Jewel (SuperValu) and others offer just as many conveniences as Amazon. I prefer to keep it local.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2021

    7-Elevens could be destined to undergo a konbinification

    7-Eleven created the world’s first soda fountain and the first to-go coffee so why can’t it reinvent - or konbinify - its stores? The Japanese version of the store sounds very cool. I typically drive by 7-Eleven unless we are on a road trip and need to stock up on snacks but that might be a mistake. The Medium article outlined the foods and services 7-Eleven has added in recent years and during the pandemic. It’s impressive and I am all for reinvention, just leave the Slurpee machine alone.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2021

    Walmart to deliver groceries to temp-controlled smart boxes at customers’ homes

    I also remember a company in the '90s that would deliver your dry cleaning to a box outside your house.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2021

    Will contactless Hudson Nonstop concept stores take off in airports?

    I do that anyway!
  • Posted on: 01/13/2021

    Walmart to deliver groceries to temp-controlled smart boxes at customers’ homes

    Do you think the boxes will match your home as nicely as the one in the photo? Or will they be the equivalent of an old couch on your porch? LOL
  • Posted on: 01/13/2021

    Will contactless Hudson Nonstop concept stores take off in airports?

    As someone who in non-pandemic times lives in airports, and who has had more than one anxious wait in line while a clueless traveler takes far too much time at the checkout, I love this idea. The Amazon Go stores I have visited were more of a novelty for me but that technology in an airport shop could be an actual flight saver.

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