Ken Morris

Retail industry thought leader

Ken was CEO and President of LakeWest Group and founder of CFT Consulting and CFT Systems, a retail software company. Earlier in his career, he held retail information technology executive positions at Lord & Taylor, Filene’s (Macy’s), Talbots, Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, and Sears. His experience is with strategy, selection development and deployment of retail management systems and processes.

  • Posted on: 01/22/2020

    Has BOPIS changed holiday selling?

    I believe BOPIS is the solution for last minute shopping. The question really is the definition of last minute. My wife and I had problems with orders we had placed well in advance of Christmas with Amazon. We ended up not waiting for a risky Amazon delivery and leveraging BOPIS at Target. Retailers can improve BOPIS sales performance by getting rid of silos. Those legacy systems they acquired over time that are not integrated in real time but are synchronized at end of day ... POS is one of the biggest issues as almost every one of the systems in retail today is not integrated in real time for inventory. They are of course real-time for credit authorization but not for inventory control.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2020

    What does it take to create a risk-taking, innovating retail culture?

    Retailers are risk averse by nature. When I was at Filene's, now part of Macy's, I was always forced to find a departmental sponsor to fund innovation. That meant someone had to take money out of their budget for the coming year equal to what I would spend in order for me to develop innovation in IT. Every year I would propose an exception-based reporting system and every year it would be shot down because I couldn't get a sponsor. Ten years later when I started CFT Consulting and Systems we developed XBR and it eventually became the most widely used exception based reporting system on the market. Sometimes you just have to experiment and not rely only on "hard" dollar savings. Frequently, so-called "soft" savings equal innovation.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2020

    Did Trump’s phase one deal with China deliver the goods for retailers?

    Phase one is a positive step but as was said on Kai Ryssdal's NPR's Marketplace last night, "show me the money" from this deal. We need to stop the tariff madness. We are losing to countries in South America, Europe and other Asian countries as China looks to source much needed product. We are in a global economy and the sooner we realize that, the better we will be as retailers, farmers and consumers.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2020

    NRF puts on another ‘big show’ for a hopeful industry

    I believe 2020 will be the year we begin to break up the silos. We have been functioning in siloed environments for too long in technology, process and the organization. It is time to take a more holistic approach, break down the silos and approach the problems with a unified commerce approach for people, process and technology. What causes me the most agita is the political situation in Washington. We are passing through some of the most turbulent times since the Cuban Missile crisis and nobody seems to notice. I hope for all our sakes we wake up before it's too late.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2020

    Will ‘guests’ love Target even more as Circle members?

    I believe the program is good for Target but not necessarily good for their customers. Unless I'm reading this wrong the 5 percent goes away and everyone gets the 1 percent. If I apply the 80/20 rule (20 percent of my customers account for 80 percent of my sales) it appears that I am punishing my best customers to appeal to the 80 percent who might spend less than $500 ... maybe I'm missing something.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2020

    Is ‘re-commerce’ going mainstream?

    I believe consignment will be on fire in the next few years. Sites like “The Real Real” are moving mainstream and disposable is despicable. I see societal trends broadly affecting the way we shop. Paper vs. plastic and bring your own bag are the law in many states, changing food shopping for the better. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Re-commerce is a space that will grow along with our awareness that we need to protect our planet and its limited resources.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2020

    Will endless aisles and better supply chain management negate Amazon’s edge?

    Retailers need to move to a real-time inventory platform, eliminate safety stock and remove their data silos to create one system of record for all inventory. That will go a long way to eliminating the Amazon edge because everything they do is in real time. Retailers also need to improve their store level processes to be able to truly leverage endless aisle. Knowledgeable associates make or break the success of endless aisle.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2020

    Does ‘selfish shopping’ justify post-holiday discounting?

    I believe anything you can do to attract traffic to your store is a good thing and presents you with the challenge of how to get customers to spend on full price merchandise. Retailers need to get creative to move dead merchandise and sell the coming season on the heels of the holiday rush. This is no easy logistical task but well worth the effort.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2020

    Will 3-D printing tech change the footwear industry?

    I believe 3-D printing has a place in the future of retail. It will be the way we bring manufacturing back on-shore in the United States. Footwear, with its endless variations, is an interesting frontier for the technology. We have been trying for 25 years to figure out a custom option for footwear driven by diabetic patient needs and spearheaded by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. This is a real need and will save many lives and limbs. I have a nephew who is a product engineer who worked at the Ministry of Supply and he and I both believe this technology will spread in the coming new decade. It is already being used in aviation with a unit on the space shuttle to create specialized tools that can be recycled to be made into yet another tool while in space. Retail will surely leverage something that eliminates excess inventory.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2020

    Did Domino’s gouge Time Square revelers?

    Domino’s in NYC? The best pizza in the world is just about anywhere in the city. Domino’s was definitely wrong to gouge the new year’s crowd. The amount of bad press here is staggering. How could a chain be so tone deaf? Perhaps a better idea would have been free pizza to gain some loyalty. Heads should roll!
  • Posted on: 01/03/2020

    Better-for-you foods produce healthier results for convenience stores

    C-stores have a brilliant opportunity in 2020 and beyond. The U.S. population is always on the go with less and less time for traditional sit down meals because of longer commutes, and activity laden lifestyles for children and adults that create a perfect storm for healthy food choices at the c-store. I also think c-stores need to prepare for an electric future. Longer dwell times due to charging station wait times equal another opportunity to entertain their guests. Larger spaces will be required to handle a charging environment as currently you can get approximately 80 percent of a batteries capacity in 30 minutes which will require a big investment in infrastructure. The electric future is happening with new electric choices from Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Volvo, Porsche, VW and Byton hitting the market so it's best to prepare now.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2020

    California’s new privacy laws may trigger a wave

    This is a very big deal for retailers. I believe privacy is going to become a major consumer concern over the next few years. Almost every consumer trend starts in California and spreads across the rest of the country so retailers need to be prepared. Privacy laws will require many changes to the supporting IT infrastructure and those retailers who have not already begun a GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) project will need to scramble to support the new laws. With this concern comes opportunity and those retailers who can offer their best customers something in return for their data can create a more intimate relationship with their base.
  • Posted on: 12/26/2019

    Will we see AI’s impact on 2019 holiday results?

    AI's impact will surely be felt but few retailers will communicate their secret sauce. The winners here will likely be leveraging some form of “prescriptive” AI. It’s not enough to just identify what occurred or predict what will occur. The idea is to do something about it in a closed loop process with notifications and management escalation. These AI prescriptive bots are the key to AI success. When you capture remedial functions, activities, tasks and steps you can automate actions, and significantly increase performance and sales while reducing cost.
  • Posted on: 12/18/2019

    How should grocery stores leverage unaffiliated influencers?

    I think this is just a new way to spend marketing dollars. A newspaper insert is the way to go if you want to influence my parents. In today’s world we must use different approaches to marketing and this is one of them if we want a younger demographic. Spend the money, build the community and the guests will come.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2019

    Why is Amazon banning FedEx ground delivery?

    Amazon clearly thinks that this announcement and its timing will hurt FedEx more than it will hurt them. They are competing for the logistics business and have clearly learned enough from the relationship that they can disintermediate FedEx. The only winner here is Amazon! Customers, FedEx, UPS (et al.) and third-party sellers will all be hurt by the ban.

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