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: 01/20/2021

    Is My Pillow being ‘cancelled’ or is its CEO trashing the business all on his own?

    He saw a firestorm and walked right into it. Most companies have HR guidelines that spell out what top executives can/cannot say or do regarding controversial topics. Apparently My Pillow does not have one that applies to their CEO so it will have to take the consequences of Lindell's self-immolation.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2021

    Will contactless Hudson Nonstop concept stores take off in airports?

    Going to be a winner. I can see this concept working at self-serve gas stations, too.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2021

    Will becoming a fintech powerhouse make Walmart an even more formidable retailer?

    Walmart doesn't need to become a fintech powerhouse to gain benefits from its venture with Ribbit. What it will gain is serving its broad customer base (and huge employee base) with financial services that are currently offered through third-parties. If anyone has ever had a retail experience serviced by Synchrony Bank (used by many retailers) you will clearly see there is a gap that needs to be filled. And, of course, Walmart will be able to cut out the fees of the middleman.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2021

    Retailers call on Trump to end the national chaos he created

    Totally agree. They were willing enablers.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2021

    Albertsons ditching in-house drivers to deliver online orders

    It is debatable whether third-party delivery is cheaper than in-house delivery per order due to fees charged by third-party services. What is not debatable is the wide range of extras offered by third-party services that make them attractive: rapid deployment, no-limit scaling, no HR management of delivery staff, no vehicle maintenance or insurance costs, access to detailed data on customers, access to data about SKU sales, access to the third-parties' platform for promotion, access to the third-parties' route planning capability, access to managing trade promotion dollars offered by suppliers through the platform, and more. For large enterprises these extras add up to big money saved and/or earned.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2020

    Is there a secret sauce to Kroger’s online success?

    Great points, Shelley. Love the "battleship" description of Macy's. Kroger's secret sauce: 1. Massive tech/digital/omnichannel investment that started several years ago (so different than the usual grocer mentality), 2. Willingness to put money into experimentation, innovation and leading-edge initiatives (Ocado), and 3. Fearless and effective leadership to move fast (the Covid-inspired Blueprint for Success, curbside pickup, scaling e-commerce, etc.).
  • Posted on: 11/30/2020

    How will Tony Hsieh’s legacy live on at Zappos?

    I met Tony several times when he came to conferences where I was acting as host and moderator. Zappos was small at the time but clearly a brilliant concept headed for success. Tony came to learn from peers in those days and brought a few people with him from his company. He was quiet and hung around in the back of the meeting rooms listening, learning, blending in with other retailers. He was clearly a people person and his humanity subsequently came through in every aspect of his management style and business philosophy, which is rare. I was shocked to learn of his death. I think his example, while impossible to replicate, will have a growing impact on how businesses can break down the barrier separates financial goals from their impact on humanity as a whole.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2020

    Target and Walmart’s 3Q results are just – Wow!

    The tech investments and innovative programs that Walmart and Target made 5+ years ago enabled them to achieve their phenomenal success today. I have always said there is no justification for investing in expensive technologies, i.e., personalized websites, real-time supply chains, advanced analytics, omnichannel orchestration, etc. if your company isn't growing and the marketplace remains static. You invest in expensive technology to reap rewards, as Walmart and Target are doing, as your revenue grows and the marketplace moves in unanticipated ways.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2020

    Should C-suite execs keep their opinions to themselves on store visits?

    Yes! Listen, learn and encourage the associates.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2020

    What will President Joe Biden mean for retail?

    The President of the U.S. is a powerful influencer, but he will not make retail great again, or end the retail apocalypse, or return retail to "normal." What President Biden will do is reverse a phase of American-driven wrecking-ball chaos in such areas as tariffs, international agreements, and pursuing personal agendas as opposed to coalition building. This return to sanity will help retail and all industries as long as they make smart adjustments to key business trends, which they should always be doing.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2020

    Do retailers need to make price optimization a priority right now?

    If a retailer hasn't adopted dynamic pricing (at least online) and advanced pricing technology, then for years they have reduced the sales and profits of their most successful lines and enabled their least successful lines to burn unrestrained holes in their bottom lines. The most successful retailers today use dynamic pricing powered by advanced technology -- period.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2020

    Albertsons offers a new refrigerated take on store pickup

    This is not a game changer. Amazon launched its locker program in 2011 and it hasn't set the world on fire. Will temperature control catalyze widespread consumer adoption of the locker option? Probably not. However providing options for consumers to shop is a smart move by Albertsons. Consumers want more last-mile choices and Albertsons is giving them what they want.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2020

    What’s holding back Black advancement to leadership roles?

    Change has to come from the top, which includes mentoring, training and mandates backed by metrics. If not, the problem is institutional and change will occur at glacial speed if ever.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2020

    Macy’s is turning stores dark for the holidays

    This is another example of Macy's being a smart back-end retailer and a poor front-end retailer. Graduates of the Macy's school of retail executives proliferate throughout the retail industry because they know the fundamentals of supply chain, merchandise management, labor management, financial management, mass marketing, and even omnichannel commerce. When times were good for every retailer, Macy's made lots of money for its stakeholders. However, Macy's has never excelled at consumer-facing retail. Its store service is poor, assortments are uninspired, and its connection to customer loyalty is weak. So, kudos to Macy's for making another smart back-end move by opening dark stores. And too bad its front-end strategy is always a laggard.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2020

    Has Walmart come up with an answer to Best Buy’s Geek Squad?

    I agree this is a minor business opportunity for Walmart. The Geek Squad was launched at a time when when the PC wars were producing a lot of junk products that were not user friendly, standardized or performed well even when they worked. So there was a huge need back then. Even if Walmart stole 100 percent of the Geek Squad's subscription support business it will not become a major sales and profit center. However it could morph into a sales platform using member-only coupons and discounts to drive future sales, upgrades and cross-sell opportunities. If this is the plan, then it could evolve into a bigger initiative than it now appears.

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