PROFILE
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John Lietsch

Chief Operating Officer, Bloo Kanoo
Digital and Business Transformation Executive with a history of successfully bridging the gap between leadership vision and disciplined execution. As a consultant, I have devised, managed or advised on critical initiatives for organizations ranging in size from start-ups to multi-billion dollar, global companies. I specialize on the needs of growing organizations across a broad range of industries but have been fortunate to spend the last 25 years primarily in Online Retail (Direct Selling and Traditional Retail), Information Technology and Professional Services. I am passionate about helping people, teams, departments, and companies, define, understand, and achieve their desired states. As a business and customer centric technologist who appreciates the critical role technology plays in empowering organizational success, I help companies efficiently and effectively deploy technology and ensure that their technology and business strategies are aligned. Most importantly, I enjoy partnering with visionary leaders, executives, entrepreneurs and their teams to help focus and align an organization with its desired business objectives.
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  • Posted on: 02/02/2023

    Do stores have a place as vocational tools inside high schools?

    Whatever happened to working in the cafeteria? I paid for lunch that way in elementary school. No one will argue that giving business skills to kids, especially our special needs kids, is a fantastic idea. However, there should be a line between business skills and consumerism. Do we really need to sell Nike shoes in schools? I'm not sure I care as much about the profitable growth of Nike, PJ's or Papa John's as I do about the impact of targeted marketing on our kids in their schools. And yes, I have kids so I know that they're walking billboards and have handheld, smart billboards that sometimes double as phones.
  • Posted on: 02/01/2023

    Is technology the answer to better customer experiences in grocery stores?

    Some people, like Ron's grandfather, have an innate ability to care. What's missing from grocery stores is the attention Ron's grandfather gave in the aisles and the knowledge of product and people to engage in a meaningful customer interaction. Technology, like CRM, has been around for years and upgrades to it along with newer technologies could provide grocery staff with the information they need to deliver the experience Ron's grandfather so sincerely delivered. Ironically, grocery stores either need to hire more people or leverage technology like self-checkout lanes to free up people to help where they're most impactful, the aisles. Those people need to possess or be trained in the soft skills necessary to sound sincere and demonstrate the knowledge necessary to solve the problems people go to the grocery to solve (like making pickles). By the way, I'm a fan of self-checkout because I'm often in a hurry and don't want to be stuck in line behind the person who is chit chatting with the cashier, but I'm often left wishing it was easier to find someone in the aisle to assist me.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2023

    What does Amazon know about delivering groceries that others don’t get?

    We all know it's easier to lower prices than to raise them and raising them from FREE will likely cost Amazon some customers. However, we need to understand the composition of their grocery customer base. Are they predominantly Prime Members? If they are, the alternatives aren't comparable because Amazon Prime offers more than just groceries. Ultimately, Amazon has proven its expertise and dominance in fulfillment and I wouldn't bet against its calculations. I would guess that other grocers will follow suit unless they're willing to continue funding a loss leader or have finally beaten Amazon at its own game.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2023

    Hy-Vee uses tech and people to deliver a sense of awe in its stores

    The biggest challenges are from changes to the supermarket business model like the pace of omnichannel development, shorter shelf lives and alternative food options coupled with traditional challenges generally related to backend operations, competitive pressures and workforce management. Technology can help in multiple areas, but I suspect that grocery stores may be in short supply of the ability and the people necessary to implement them. It sounds like Hy-Vee is managing all of it well and leveraging technology to support a sound and necessary business strategy.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2023

    What will David’s Bridal gain from its wedding vendor marketplace?

    We all do it: ask the people we trust for referrals to related services. This is the business extension of that concept and if executed well, it can pay off. It seems consistent with their value of being "experts, super celebrators, budget optimizers and stress relievers" and a great, strategic move. One of the risks is the potential damage to its own brand when referring to partners who fail to deliver in a manner that is consistent with David's values. Critical to this strategy will be the extension of the David's Bridal experience and values across partners over which it has limited control and its willingness and ability to manage those partnerships.
  • Posted on: 01/27/2023

    Has luxury retailing become more recession-resistant?

    I don't think that some of the factors Bain highlights are fundamental enough to be sustainable over the long term. However what's exciting to watch is the convergence of digital and physical in the luxury goods space. Luxury goods retailers are leading in the use of livestream shopping and shoppable videoconferencing to offer highly personalized, online experiences that mirror those once limited to physical retail. Customer-centricity and fashion's connection to identity are sticky and the feeling of being a VIC is a powerful tool in luxury's battle for the high income wallet; a wallet that has proven to be recession resistant.
  • Posted on: 01/26/2023

    Will ChatGPT supercharge chatbot conversations?

    Couldn't have said it better myself -- trust me, I tried! Well said, Brian!
  • Posted on: 01/26/2023

    Will ChatGPT supercharge chatbot conversations?

    New technologies or new twists on existing technologies are exciting but we must separate the hype from the underlying tech. Crypto anyone? AI is the flavor of the month but in most cases, that's all it is. Even the mighty ChatGPT has flaws -- mainly, it still can't think. However it has supercharged the ability to collect and present data and when used properly, it can deliver trustworthy results. All of us know how frustrating chatbots can be, because they're not us (though many of us have frustrations with humans too, so don't blame the bots!). The limitations remain language, understanding and actual intelligence but ChatGPT, buzzword or not, has supercharged the ability to analyze data quickly and mostly correctly. The potential to elevate product search and chatbot conversations is there and maybe ChatGPT and its underlying tech will generate enough interest to attract more investment and to get us closer to true artificial intelligence (as scary as that thought might be, right HAL?).
  • Posted on: 01/25/2023

    Walmart using a well-proven formula to attract B2B customers

    Yes, Amazon should diversify beyond books and Walmart should expand into B2B "artfully," which they seem to be doing. After all, understanding and leveraging a core competency is a key to long term success. Walmart will charge for a business membership and has priced itself competitively against Sam's Club. However it remain free for the public. It's a no-brainer that is more dangerous to Staples than to Walmart.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2023

    Where are the cost savings in last-mile delivery?

    You can't do everything at once or, at least, not very well so if I had to guess, route optimization and returns could offer some quick wins given there are proven processes and technologies available to address both (albeit neither is an easy fix). However tech rarely bails people out of bad processes. After all, complex tech stacks and disparate channels don't make themselves. Without evaluating and understanding the underlying business processes and problems, no amount of tech is going to bail anyone out especially as quick commerce becomes more prevalent. Define the problems (processes). Fix the problems (processes, tech, both). Repeat.
  • Posted on: 01/23/2023

    Will reducing organic fraud help justify higher prices?

    Everyone loves saving the environment until it costs money to do so. There's no denying that removing fraud will improve the integrity of organic products. However we know consumers are price sensitive and at less than 10 percent of food sales in the U.S., organics have a pricing problem and a long way to go before they're less Lexus and more Corolla.
  • Posted on: 01/23/2023

    Does retail need a data-based rebuild?

    Data, like all tech, doesn't save businesses from themselves. Businesses still require sound business strategies and management. Therefore, the biggest opportunities for data are to provide decision making information for areas that may have been difficult to analyze because of their sheer size or complexity, like consumer behavior. Determining whether you turn lights on or off or hire people is probably something we could have done with green screens, mainframes and a very sharp pencil. I'm not sure that what Woolworths has done constitutes the re-imagination of a fundamental, core business process but it sounds like they are applying data strategically and not because it's one of today's tech buzzwords. With solid strategy and management it will make a difference.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2023

    Bite-sized content tests bring Dick’s impressive results

    Home runs are fun and exciting to watch but often come at the cost of high strikeout rates. The best hitters work with the pitches and situations presented to them. I think Mr. Wilkinson's position, if executed as advised, is a great way to hit a lot of singles and to obtain a lot of experience, awareness and knowledge so that when the opportunity presents itself, he will have additional information and muscle memory to take the bigger swing with greater confidence resulting in an improved chance of success (the home run). I think bite-sized testing is a viable strategy in understanding a fickle and competitive online space but it will require organizational patience and commitment to execute it properly (and also reduce the spam in my inbox).
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