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: 01/22/2020

    Is a ‘hassle cost’ justified in resolving customer service issues?

    Shades of John Grisham’s The Rainmaker! If you read the book or saw the movie then you are familiar with this technique. What’s the point of screaming about how great the customer experience is (like every company does) when you hit them in the back end when a product fails or the customer wants to do a simple return? It might save the company money, but as a consumer I will only do business with that company once. A consumer in 2020 has endless choices. And a loud voice online.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2020

    Does IKEA need parking lots?

    IKEA sells a lot more than furniture, it sells home decor, accessories and grocery items. I can’t speak for what goes on in other countries but I can tell you that here in the U.S. people still drive. Maybe not in big cities, but certainly in the suburbs. Consumers go to IKEA because we can take what we buy home with us that day. You can’t get near the IKEA closest to my house, especially on weekends, because the parking lot is always full to capacity. I get that IKEA is trying to help the environment, and I applaud that, but that’s not how people shop here. Why mess with success?
  • Posted on: 01/17/2020

    NRF 2020 Review: Human vs. Machine

    I read an article not too long ago about the life on the sales floor of an Old Navy store associate, which involves having to use seven apps to do their job. Working on the front line is getting harder. NRF was definitely a tech show, I saw technologies to solve just about everything and I’m sure I missed almost as many as I saw. Robots are cool and can do amazing things, especially when they are doing tasks that free up humans to work with customers. I agree with Paula. I don’t go to stores to talk with a machine. I can be frustrated at home trying to get a usable answer from Alexa.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2020

    Will Walmart become a fashion destination in 2020?

    Walmart as a fashion destination? Maybe online but in-store? Nope. There’s not a lot of cool in Walmart stores, but that hasn’t really been the point, has it? Walmart is about low prices. Masses of apparel on rounders and stacked on tables ain’t fashion, kids. There will need to be changes made on the sales floor and a whole lot of marketing to make consumers equate Walmart with fashion.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2020

    Consumers want up-to-date online reviews

    I read reviews for a variety of reasons but as a traveler, I rely on them. And the more recent the review, the better. If there are photos posted by guests, I’m golden. It’s so easy to fake a photograph, and a lot of places still do it. They take a photo of a nice setting but the customer arrives to find that nice setting is nestled in a mess. My advice to clients is to be truthful and transparent; if you aren’t customers will destroy you in reviews and on social media. Sometimes that’s hard to come back from. It’s also important to consistently ask customers to review your business. You need to keep those reviews fresh.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Will coffee drinkers miss single-use cups?

    I get it. I worry about remembering to clean in between uses.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2020

    Will coffee drinkers miss single-use cups?

    A couple of years ago not being able to get a free cup with my coffee would have driven me crazy but I’m evolving. I’d pay the deposit for the cup if I didn’t have one of my own. We’re talking consumer re-training here. Blue Bottle’s customers will get on board and those who don’t will go someplace else. This is a good start!
  • Posted on: 01/08/2020

    Can casinos save the mall?

    I’m with you Bob Phibbs 100 percent on this one. Rich and I have worked in Las Vegas six to 12 times a year for as long as I can remember. Vegas has changed, gambling is no longer the big money maker - or draw - that it used to be. As I write this I am sitting in a nearly deserted local mall, waiting to meet with a client. Both Sears and Macy’s will close here in February, Carson’s bailed last year. There’s a lot of empty space but the clientele is still families. Moms pushing strollers, kids in play areas, people meeting for coffee. As tempting as it might be to fill empty spaces, I just don’t see casinos in malls as a good thing.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2020

    Do alcohol and shopping mix?

    Martinis and Manicures are popular indie retail events, some Nordstrom locations have bars on the sales floor, in some cities you can shop with a “traveler,” grocers invite customers to shop with a glass of wine in hand, and everyone at the mall already carries Starbucks, a Big Gulp or a bottle of water. Am I worried about ruining merchandise? Not so much. This novel idea will attract shoppers, I say go for it.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2020

    Did Domino’s gouge Time Square revelers?

    Unfortunately, this isn’t anything new. We pay more for an Uber during peak times, and we all know that a bottle of Advil that retails for $5.99 at home is going to cost at least $15 in a hotel gift shop. Speaking of hotel gift shops, surge pricing is the latest way to increase revenue in Las Vegas casino shops. In 2019 some MGM properties stopped marking items because the price changes when consumer demand is highest. If you want to know how much something costs, you have to ask a store associate. Is it legal? Sure, but it’s not always ethical.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2020

    California’s new privacy laws may trigger a wave

    For all the talk, has any retailer really got true personalization down yet? Yes, this new law is disappointing to marketers, but it will be a relief to consumers who are not happy with how much businesses know about them. Given the choice I will opt out every time.
  • Posted on: 12/27/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: The Final Competition

    Macy’s! For hope, inspiration and goosebumps.
  • Posted on: 12/27/2019

    Walmart hires remodeling squad

    This isn’t anything new, but I am surprised that it has not already been in place at Walmart. In my corporate life in visual merchandising and store planning we had store opening managers whose sole job was to move from state to state, coordinating both new store openings and remodels. Store opening managers knew exactly what to do, and how and when to do it, it making a big job so much easier. It’s a huge, and sometimes overwhelming, task to remodel a store the size of Walmart, even more so when the store is open for business. It makes perfect sense to hire dedicated remodeling teams. I’m surprised that this hasn’t been in place all along.
  • Posted on: 12/26/2019

    Is Super Saturday rivaling Black Friday in importance?

    That’s a good way to put it: retailers panic on the Saturday before Christmas, not consumers. They just wait around for another good deal. Retailers killed Black Friday, not consumers. This year we had Spring Black Friday and Summer Black Friday, and deals that some retailer or another called Early Black Friday happened every other week. It made the actual day a moot point. Super Saturday is a day consumers are only starting to grasp. Where it goes from here, and how it is defined, will depend on how the retail industry chooses to exploit it. You want a single big day? Don’t water it down. But if you want just another ho-hum day of sales follow the Black Friday template.
  • Posted on: 12/23/2019

    Is BOPIS over its growing pains?

    I used BOPIS a lot this year for my Christmas shopping. In many cases my order was ready within an hour, many times sooner, and pick up was easy. I agree with the survey that getting product sooner and saving in shipping costs is important. I would add shipping materials to this list - I cringe at the pile of boxes and plastic sleeves we accrue when shopping online. An interesting aside, I forgot to pick up a BOPIS order at Old Navy. They sent a reminder email, and when I still didn’t come in, my order was politely cancelled and my credit card was automatically refunded. That’s good business.

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