PROFILE

Gary Read

CEO and Chairman, Import.io
Gary Read is CEO and Chairman of Import.io, the leading web data integration company. Gary leads Import.io’s team of engineers, data scientists, product gurus, marketing mavericks and algorithmic magicians to build a truly transformative company that enables an easy way to create structured data from anything that is on the web. Throughout his career, Gary has served as a leader, advisor and board member to numerous technology companies with a strong track record of scaling their businesses to eventual exits. Previously, Gary served as founder and CEO at Nimsoft, acquired by CA Technologies, and CEO at Boundary, acquired by BMC. As a member of Riversoft’s executive team, Gary contributed to the company’s IPO and eventual acquisition by Micromuse. Gary also served as advisor to LogicMonitor and board member to Granicus, leading both to acquisitions by Vista Equity.
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  • Posted on: 11/06/2019

    Nearly half of online fashion shoppers say social media inspired their last purchase

    In 2018, over one-fifth of the total fashion retail sales in the U.S. were made online. As more and more fashion retailers move their inventory and sales to the web, the competitor and customer data available online - from customer reviews, sentiments and ratings to competitor product and pricing info - will increase exponentially. As product reviews can be artificially inflated through fake reviews submitted by bots and product marketers, social media is still one of the best places to find organic customer sentiments regarding fashion products. Consumers know this, and are also turning to social media to find new products and learn what their peers think about those products. In tandem with internal sales data, customer sentiments found on social media should guide and inform digital, as well as real-world, marketing strategies. Even if a retailer does not sell their goods online, the customer sentiment and competitor product info available online can inform in-store promotions and real-world marketing campaigns.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2019

    Do retailers need better business intelligence tools or a better analytic strategy?

    The barrier to advanced analytics for retailers may not lie in the actual analysis of the data, but in the accessibility of the external data retailers need to inform their strategies. Any retail data analysis should include information pulled from both internal (pricing/inventory/sales/etc.) and external sources (competitor pricing/inventory/sales/etc.), but pulling data from external sources is not an easy task. Many retailers have invested large amounts of resources and manpower to create a reliable flow of this external data to be analyzed. This manual data harvesting requires standardization and organization of the external data, which can be a costly and time-consuming process -- reducing the amount of time and resources available to actually analyze the data. What retailers need is a data-focused leadership team, not one merely focused on the analytics process, as well as a strong Chief Data Officer to guide data collection and initiatives. An automated tool that can clean and format external data as it is collected eliminates most, if not all, of the need for manual standardization of the data. Some web data integration tools can standardize, analyze, and visualize the data in one simple step, and actually integrate the data insights directly into existing business systems -- making the data immediately actionable for advanced analytics vs. requiring standardization prior to analysis.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2019

    Two hot trends, personalization and frictionless retailing, are at odds with each other

    A great way for retailers to increase customer personalization while also streamlining the consumer’s journey-to-purchase, is by partnering with data-driven payment processors. As more retail-oriented payment processors integrate web data into their mobile and web solutions, more consumers will benefit from the customized experiences. In turn the retailer builds brand loyalty, increases customer touch-points and creates a persuasive personalized experience the consumer desires. A highly personalized shopping experience not only shows the consumer that they are appreciated, but it is also effectively a win-win-win scenario for all three parties involved in the purchase process: the consumer, the retailer and the payment processor. Consumers are pleased with the personalized shopping experience provided by payments processors (such as suggestions on additional products the consumer might also enjoy); retailers receive increased brand recognition and marketing value (and potentially increased revenue) from the additional suggested products that are displayed to the consumers following their purchase; and payment processors enjoy increased traffic (and revenue) in their app by offering goods from any merchant that is a part of their network.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2019

    Pfizer relies on multiple data sources for better shopper insights

    Pfizer’s use of data is a great example of what’s quickly becoming the status quo among retailers. When it comes to analysis of competitors’ pricing, retailers that have access to multiple sources of data to glean pricing insights are at an extreme advantage. Retailers are having an increasingly difficult time enforcing minimum advertised pricing (MAP) of products with the growing presence of e-commerce. MAP violations are often not noticed, and it then becomes the job of the retailer to keep an eye on the competitive pricing of products. In order for retailers to keep up with their online competitors, they need to adopt the best practice of tapping their available data sources on a weekly (if not daily) basis to ensure their prices are neither too high, thus losing potential sales, or too low, conceding extra margins of profit.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2019

    What are the signs of a dying retail business?

    Solid list, overall! Expanding on the third and fourth point, another way to see the red flags of a dying retailer is from their online presence. A retail store that can’t keep up with employee churn may eventually remove online job listings, and occasionally go completely dark in locations that were once hiring. So if a store seems understaffed but with no signs of hiring efforts, the outlook for its survival might be grim. Additionally, online comments and reviews of a retail store are often a clear indicator of where the business is headed. Poor reviews and negative comments compound on each other, making it that much harder to keep regular customers coming back, let alone acquire new customers.
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