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.

Other Links from Ken Lonyai:

Perspectives (blog)

  • Posted on: 06/10/2022

    Could better technology have averted the supply chain crisis?

    Short answer: NO! In theory this is largely a technology issue, in reality it's a political one. International and national politics, brinksmanship, and agendas are behind the supply chain problems. It's a combination of poor leadership and feudalism across many, many leaders and countries that underlies this. It includes highly politicized and money grubbing responses to the pandemic, as well as the long arm of heavily funded verticals and their henchmen -- ahem, I mean lobbyists. There could be technology and capacity planning solutions, but as long as politicians and certain enterprise interests stand in the way, technology won't work. Plus add more than 15 food warehouse and production facility fires in the U.S. in recent months, that absolutely impact the food supply chain.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2022

    What will Dave Clark’s exit mean for Amazon’s retail business?

    Without being a fly on the wall, there's no way to know the truth. Amazon got a huge benefit from small business lock downs, or else this may have come one to two years sooner. Amazon has passed its peak growth curve and unless future lockdowns destroy enough small businesses to change that, it has to deal with the realities of maturity. That means better capacity planning for the realities of its market position in the U.S. and potentially other global regions no longer producing stellar growth opportunities in retail. Additionally, it has made its own union dilemma and, like Henry Ford found out years ago, will one day have to face up to the problems it made and accept unionization.
  • Posted on: 05/12/2022

    Has Best Buy found an outlet for future growth?

    On the surface this sounds great, but what really differentiates an outlet? What are the average cost savings? Are shoppers expected to shop regular stores and outlet stores as if this was a fashion retailer? If the answer to the last question is yes, markdowns have to be substantial and real as opposed to fashion where the markdowns are often substantially lower than list price but not so much real prices. Tech is a completely different model, so I'm skeptical that this has a big growth trajectory.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2022

    Can Starbucks replicate the ‘third place’ in the metaverse?

    This is yet another company out of ideas grasping for what is supposedly "the future." They sell coffee, not pixels. This is all window dressing to try and sound new, in-tune, and relevant. It's a distraction from what should be their focus: relentless improvement of the IN-STORE experience.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2022

    Should grocery shoppers and delivery personnel be talking?

    What am I missing here? Sounds like what Instacart has covered for years: the consumer can select substitutes when placing the order and communicate with the shopper in real-time when they are picking the order for additional substitutes or additions.
  • Posted on: 04/15/2022

    Will Amazon have to ground its drone program?

    From the first RetailWire discussion we had on this, I claimed it was hype, noted it was fraught with huge challenges and public resistance, and unsustainable. If they really spent what they claim, then it should have been resolved by now. Nothing adds up. And by the way - sidewalk drones are an ultra-niche market as well that have barely done anything. Centuries of human operated wheeled vehicle last-mile delivery are hard to replace with automatons, if for nothing else, entrenched human habits/expectations, but there is "else."
  • Posted on: 04/13/2022

    Nike steps up its game with a new tech innovation center

    "...reimagining the consumer experience with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning." In 2022, that is boilerplate marketing speak. The details here are vague. Until specifics are provided around innovations that authentically impact consumers (or even shareholders) in some concrete way, this is just the same old talk.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2022

    Should dietitians patrol Kroger’s supermarket aisles?

    Ridiculous marketing hype. A six-month study is not sufficient enough to make lifestyle impact determinations and according to the study summary "Blood pressure was not improved by dietary intervention." So what was the measure of success - a change in DASH scores? So what? When CVS decided that it wanted to take a stand for health consciousness it stopped selling cigarettes. Kroger has patrolling dietitians yet sells a plethora of junk food and processed food with junk ingredients. If Colleen Lindholz was truthful in Kroger's position about food as medicine, the store would emulate CVS and get the garbage items off of their shelves. Until that's done, this in nothing more than a marketing exercise, even with the apparent support of outsiders.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2022

    Will Target Zero help guide sustainable choices?

    There are a few small startups aimed at this space including containerless shopping, whereby shoppers bring their own containers for bulk-serve items. Having a mainstream bricks and mortar retailer committing to something similar is a great acknowledgement of the market for sustainable purchases. In the way that nutritional content is an expected (government mandated) feature of food packaging, this may be early days of moving to acceptance of this type of information and approach across most consumer goods.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2022

    Will Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ignite a global food crisis?

    There will be an indirect effect on increased food prices and decreased availability from the invasion of Ukraine. Although the U.S. is not a direct importer of the major crops, there are follow-on effects that we'll feel here. As countries importing Ukrainian and Russian wheat, buckwheat, sunflower oil, etc. lose their sources and global shortages arise, global prices will follow. Markets will open for increased U.S. exports of multiple products creating demand pressures. Oil is another factor that affects supply chain costs as well. And -- many U.S. businesses that see an opportunity to leverage perceptions to inflate prices will. Not good news for U.S. consumers.
  • Posted on: 02/18/2022

    What happens to pharmacies when the COVID-19 vaccine demand wanes?

    It's ridiculous that COVID-19 vaccinations were ever part of a business strategy. It was a temporary windfall except for those that want to believe the ever-morphing statements of Fauci, Gates' claims, and the recent undercover FDA Executive Officer, Christopher Cole, all of whom state that COVID-19 vaccinations will never end. Mom and Pop drugstores are waning. The chains have made it so by upscaling their offerings into more non-pharmacy SKUs and added services. Real business planning/success will expand on that and not be based on emergency adaptations.
  • Posted on: 02/17/2022

    How far should retailers go with the use of computer vision?

    Computer vision and other implementations of AI are all acceptable IF -- the true use case is clearly defined, the data use/retention/sharing policy is honestly defined/shared, and consumer participation is opt-in and opt-out. As soon as any of these criteria are not maintained, problems and risks are inevitable. I have built CV systems and, in one instance, although it worked nicely it would not recognize the primary person signing our checks at the client -- and he was Caucasian with red hair. So these systems are fallible in nearly every direction, at least to a small degree. Deploying them for critical tasks is an invitation for trouble and shoplifting prevention is precisely one of those potentially troublesome areas. As with anything else, it's a risk/benefits analysis that must include reputational risks in the decision making.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2022

    Will retailers find it harder to pass along price increases in the months ahead?

    Context matters. Some industries and categories will have an easier time of pushing reasonable price increases and some won't. Although it's such a behemoth that no significant impact will register, Amazon's Prime subscription increase is going to cause many to drop their accounts. The company can claim that the rising costs of fuel, packaging materials, etc. justify the increase, but not when company profits continue to grow and the founder's net wealth grows another $20 billion. Members in the know aren't going to want to fund another space joy ride or even bolster shareholder's interests from their receding purchasing power. They will be more sympathetic to local businesses trying to stay afloat than irreverent corporations and choose the recipients of their crunched budgets more carefully.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2022

    Will Meijer’s free grocery delivery gesture be rewarded by customers?

    Essentially, this is a proof of concept. It's positioned in a way that if they drop it when there's a little more normalcy to the shopping routine, it won't seem like a retreat, so Kudos to Meijer's for giving it a try.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2022

    Are retailers’ returns concerns coming to a holiday head?

    Omnichannel retailers with physical presences can find ways to incentivize return-to-store as the primary return path. They can also carefully frame return requirements to still give a broad policy but create better guardrails that align with reduced processing costs. An example is the extend holiday return window. Is it really necessary? It is especially problematic for seasonal items, including clothing and to me an unnecessary perk that likely gains little on the sales side and detracts more in operating expense. E-commerce only sellers have more challenges, but I can't think of any I've purchased from that offer free returns, so the return shipping cost is a built-in throttle against over purchasing.

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