PROFILE

Ken Lonyai

Consultant, Strategist, Tech Innovator, UX Evangelist

Ken is a 15 year veteran of interactive project development including some of the industry’s most unique experiential systems. His skills span the on-line world and nearly every realm of human/computer interface used by brands and retailers – mobile, interactive kiosks, experiential displays, and more. Known as the man with the miniature R&D lab in his head, when he’s not working on a client project, Ken can be found designing, tinkering, and developing some cool new experiential device in SPIA Labs.

He is a consumer engagement expert using cutting-edge, unique, and enticing brand experiences that encourage “like”, “share”, and “buy now” behaviors, as well as a creator of true consumer excitement by baking-in fun, social, and gamification actions that generate results. Focused on producing “amazing user experiences” for brands and retailers, he helps companies transform into destinations that consumers seek out and want to interact with.

Ken is a subject matter expert in user experience, most things interactive, experiential marketing, mobile app strategy/development, and digital UX/UI.

Additionally, he is a co-founder of NUI Central™, an organization to promote using natural human traits (voice, gesture, eye movement, etc.) to bi-directionally interact with smart devices.

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Perspectives (blog)

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  • Posted on: 08/06/2020

    Is it time for Walmart to drop its COVID-19 return policy?

    Returns have always been an important part of the purchase cycle and a potential differentiation point for retailers. Walmart has differentiated itself here. There has to be a policy that they can invoke that finds a happy medium, else they will ultimately hand over customers to competitors.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2020

    Can influencers make stores feel safer?

    Influencer marketing is a viable channel that some choose to follow and be directed by. For those shoppers willing to believe that their favorite influencers can assess if a store is "safe" to shop in, they will likely be persuaded to give visiting stores a try.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2020

    Survey says Amazon and Walmart are among the most patriotic brands

    Walmart: the retailer that pioneered massive imports of cheap Chinese made retail products at the expense of established American companies. Amazon: the U.S.'s (maybe the world's) largest marketplace for imported low-quality items, fakes, and counterfeits, at the expense of established American companies. Either something is wrong with the citizenry of this country or this survey.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2020

    Will diversity pledges be followed by results?

    These pledges have been the most ridiculous and insincere messaging to come from corporate America in a long while. They were only driven by blatant public outrage and the internal need for corporations to put spin on their own shortcomings when the spotlight got bright. What--before the #MeToo movement and George Floyd/BLM protests, these companies didn't notice sexism/glass ceiling/racism/lack of diversity in their ranks? They absolutely did and chose not to act on improving it in a meaningful manner. Now that there is such public discourse, many have felt a need to use PR statements and change some policies so as to not leave their brand in the dark and vulnerable. That's not sincerity. That's not caring. That's not moral responsibility. It's reactivity in the marketplace ELSE, this would have been addressed decades ago. And as I said here yesterday: Corporate values don’t have meaning if they change every time there’s a social or political issue. If corporate values have meaning/resonance, (like anyone’s values) they do not waiver under any circumstance.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2020

    Trader Joe’s says ‘never mind’ on private label name changes

    The issue here is not whether the names are or are not racist or demeaning. The issue is the flip-flop in policy. It seems that in the heat of the moment of protests there was a decision to be politically correct and potentially mitigate a backlash and then later a choice to not be politically correct. Corporate values don't have meaning if they change every time there's a social or political issue. If corporate values have meaning/resonance, (like anyone's values) they do not waiver under any circumstance.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2020

    What didn’t Jeff Bezos know and when didn’t he know it?

    “I don’t know the answer to your question” equates to "excruciating detail" for you Gene? Were your example companies' CEOs testifying before Congress? You must really be smitten with Bezos/Amazon to be apologizing for him so extensively in this discussion.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2020

    What didn’t Jeff Bezos know and when didn’t he know it?

    Anyone defending/apologizing for this money glutton needs to be ashamed of themselves. If he had to go before investors, it's beyond a doubt that he would have proper answers. Congress' buffoonery at holding corporations/C-suite leaders accountable during/after investigations has sent a message that Congress can be had. It's all a sideshow that both sides knowingly participate in for their own gains. There is no need for Amazon to care about fake goods and fake reviews--people keep coming back anyway and Bezos' pockets keep getting stuffed. There's no legislation, there's no real concern. All there is are consumers that have to decide to vote with their dollars by supporting abusive behemoth companies or instead, small businesses that do better/have more customer respect--especially during this challenging period.
  • Posted on: 07/10/2020

    Is consumer arrogance driving word-of-mouth recommendations?

    One study proves nothing. Influencer marketing will surely grow, but conventional marketing isn’t going anywhere. Brands that continue to maintain and build authenticity will still leverage outbound marketing effectively, that is unless influencer marketing goes awry, especially via consumer arrogance, then all bets are off.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Has the pandemic changed shopping behaviors forever?

    Surveys are always very tentative for a lot of reasons, so their results must always be taken with a grain of salt. It's far too early to judge lasting effects in a post COVID-19 world. No one knows when we'll be past it or even if we'll be past it, so the effects aren't yet predictable. If there's a quick and permanent end and an economic recovery occurs in a few years, resultant behaviors will be very different than if the current situation is prolonged and/or reoccurs annually and an economic recovery is long, like America’s Great Depression. People are already dropping social distancing and mask-wearing rules, so future modified personal behavior is quite unpredictable, despite survey claims.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2020

    Has COVID-19 exacerbated online return challenges?

    Our experience is that returns have been a disaster. My wife had big challenges dealing with/shipping back returns to both DSW and Lord & Tailor. Saturday Home Depot couldn't handle a curbside pickup, arguing I was at the wrong store until the manager finally had an "Oops--the customer is right" moment. Masks and shields are just one piece of making stores hospitable to customers in the present situation. For non-essential goods that often tap into "disposable income," something in ever shorter supply, delightful customer experiences are just as necessary as ever and both ease of purchase and ease of returns is a HUGE piece of the retail customer experience.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2020

    Are automated freight trucks ready to carry retail’s heavy load?

    TuSimple will have to prove its far-reaching claims. If not them, others will eventually prove the model. The impact on retailers will be positive for most/all of the reasons claimed, with only refueling limiting continuous product transport between warehouse and destination. Whether that translates into cost savings is dependent upon how transport companies position themselves, speed, cost savings, or both. Of course, this says nothing about displaced truck drivers and probably warehouse workers too. As the automation economy ramps-up, society is going to have to address the problem, else the faster to market goods will have a shrinking set of consumers to buy them. Not to mention social unrest which may keep shoppers away from stores.
  • Posted on: 06/30/2020

    Can robots keep the salad bar safe?

    When kiosks were "in," it would have been called a kiosk. Bots are "in" so it's called that. It's just marketing spin for a touchscreen vending machine. There's one that cooks hot dogs to order. Is that a hot dog bot? (shaking head).
  • Posted on: 06/24/2020

    Are large grocery chains putting profits before people?

    Same thing, but masks were falling off of a number of shoppers/staff with no staff speaking up and cart "cleaning" was a team member giving each cart two spitzes of something while semi-distracted chatting with another staffer.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2020

    Are large grocery chains putting profits before people?

    I just went to Trader Joe's for the first time since this started. Although there were some procedures, from a germ/virus exposure perspective, things were very lax, putting both staff and customers at risk. Going through the motions rather than maintaining safe protocols is exactly what creates dire consequences. Trader Joe's and others need to step up yet again.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2020

    Would Amazon and Google benefit from publishing fake consumer reviews?

    The core problem is that platforms don't detect when they are being gamed or possibly, know and don't do much about it. Amazon specifically has terms against it, yet (as with fake merchandise) and despite some progress, they are woefully insufficient at stopping it. So mutual exclusivity is irrelevant.

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