Joe Skorupa

Influencer, Consultant and Strategic Advisor

After spending 20 years at RIS News, Joe currently does consulting work for a number of leading retail technology and advisory companies. Prior to joining RIS, Joe spent 10 years at Popular Mechanics during the birth of the worldwide web and moved to San Francisco during the height of the dot-com boom to earn his stripes on the frontlines of early-stage e-commerce and online technologies.

Joe is the Editor-at-Large and featured blogger for RIS News (, which was named the best B2B retail website by Folio Magazine in 2018 and 2019. Joe’s blog, Retail Insight was named the best B2B retail blog by Folio Magazine in 2019.

  • Posted on: 08/29/2022

    Should retail worry about the ‘quiet quitting’ trend?

    Love "acting your wage." It's saying the quiet part out loud. Don't expect employees to go above and beyond if they aren't paid above and beyond, even if you call them "associates." However, it also means that if employees are fairly compensated, it is fair to have high expectations.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2021

    Mob thefts rock retail. What can stores do?

    You nailed it, Ken. Retailers are soft targets for criminals and have absurdly viewed "shrink" or "loss," both euphemisms, as an after-the-fact line item and a cost of doing inefficient business. Technology is a big part of the solution with real-time video capture in stores, alerts to headquarters and local authorities, video capture in the front of the store to capture license plates and faces (if unmasked), and sharing of data among law enforcement.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2021

    Walmart is stocked and ready to roll back prices for Christmas

    You are absolutely right about Walmart being famous (sometimes called notorious) for driving their suppliers hard, but guess what? It turns out suppliers were the ones that got caught flat-footed when consumer demand exceeded expectations. Certainly there are problems at shipping ports and shortages of truck drivers, but the main problem is that suppliers did not (maybe cannot) ramp up quickly enough to meet demand. Walmart is an expert at predicting demand (as well as an expert in supply chain management) and pushes suppliers to meet their demands or they will go somewhere else. This is a threat no supplier wants to hear. So it is not surprising that as many other retailers are short on inventory Walmart is flush.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2021

    Is working in retail a real job?

    Good points. "Real jobs" pay a living wage, offer 40-hour weeks, and have set schedules. If retail does not offer these things to store associates then it is offering something other than what most people think of as "real jobs."
  • Posted on: 09/28/2021

    Why are retailers falling short of their hiring goals?

    I totally agree that retail has become a crappy job. It is an industry based on maintaining a huge workforce that gets paid the absolute minimum retailers can get away with in terms of salary, benefits and quality of life. Examining the future of work has been a trend for at least a decade in several industries and now that time has come for retailers.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2021

    Do retailers need a chief data officer?

    Yes to the question about a strong need for the position. Both Walmart and Target have chief data officers, which makes a strong case for the position. Target is particularly interesting because it heavily invested in its data capabilities to create 10 different billion-dollar in-house brands, something I believe no other retailer has done.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2021

    Will Amazon department stores spell trouble for Kohl’s?

    Legacy retailers invented omnichannel, not Amazon. Amazon arguably invented e-commerce at scale and is now, since it began opening stores and purchasing Whole Foods, catching up to omnichannel. This new, larger Amazon footprint is another experiment, another extension into omnichannel. Legacy retailers had a 10-year head start on Amazon and were just too "successful" (in their limited vision) at the time to move as aggressively and seize the opportunity. You could say legacy retailers were blindsided by Amazon, but it all took place in front of their noses while they slow-walked omnichannel.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2021

    Should retail prepare for a vaccine resistant virus?

    Retailers should recognize they are in the midst of a fight for the lives of their customers. There should be no aggressive steps held back in reserve for when it gets worse, because if it gets worse and the virus mutates, we will be in this national economic mess for another two years or more or whatever time it will take to create, test and distribute a new round of vaccines. Retailers and other businesses should require their workers to be vaccinated now to reduce and eliminate a pandemic of the unvaccinated, which feeds evolution of mutations.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2021

    Kroger seeks to ghost up take-home and meal delivery sales with dark kitchens

    This is a smart, on-trend, revenue extension for Kroger that will be a long-term winner, especially in poorly served markets that currently rely on convenience and dollar stores for take-out meals.
  • Posted on: 07/08/2021

    Will in-person conferences make a comeback after a year of virtual shows?

    I can see a vendor and attendee split on the benefits of in-person trade shows. In-person, vendors get 100% of the attention of the people they are talking to, which is not the case for virtual trade shows. End-user attendees to virtual trade shows get to learn important information and multi-task or even if they don't multi-task during a presentation, they can quickly jump back into work instead of returning home from a trip with a huge backlog of tasks and unread email. I think virtual trade events on feature-rich tech platforms will evolve and improve while in-person shows will not return to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2021

    Forget digital first. Stores first, digital second is the future of luxury retail.

    You nailed it, Ken. It's a huge mistake to think you can be store-centric or digital-centric. It's both and the right balance will depend on each specific brand and its customers.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2021

    Boxed is taking bulk e-commerce public

    The Boxed story continues its amazing record of success. Keys are a tech-first approach, subscription model, focus on customer satisfaction, focus on company culture, working hard to create an engaged workforce, expanding at a controlled rate, and a visionary founder. This is a retail company easy to root for.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2021

    How can retailers best navigate supply chain turbulence?

    This is another example of the retail supply chain being more like a steel point-to-point cable instead of a flexible chain. Suppliers have done a great job selling retailers on the idea that creating deep exclusive partnerships (usually located continents away) is better than creating a network of suppliers that includes multiple alternatives. Exclusive partners won't help if they can't produce or deliver. Retailers need a fully digital supply chain ecosystem that can optimize manufacturers, suppliers and distributors (shipping, too) as situations change. The retail supply chain has other problems to discuss another day, but the current situation is extreme and is likely to last throughout the year.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2021

    Amazon scales its Just Walk Out tech for a full-size grocery store

    The costs for Just Walk Out technology will come down and then Whole Foods and other grocers will make it widely available. It's just a matter of time and there will be no small amount of difficulty. The key is that customers love it and what customers want retailers supply. Retailers will learn to love the labor savings, data gathering, and real-time operations control. It's another of the many signs we are seeing of the age of autonomous technology in retail kicking into high gear.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2021

    Walmart gives associates free phones and a mobile work app

    This is all about employee empowerment and will be a big win both for Walmart and its employees. 2021 will be remembered as the year of a tipping point -- when retail employees became valued team members as opposed to a disposable (60 percent average turnover rate) minimum wage workforce. Some people missed this point in last week's discussion about the Best Buy employee empowerment plan due to how the discussion questions neglected to mention the larger goals. No one can miss this point about Walmart's employee empowerment plan. It is massive.

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