Kenneth Leung

Retail and Customer Experience Expert

Kenneth Leung was the enterprise industry director at Avaya, responsible for vertical industry strategies.

Kenneth previously was with Cisco Systems, with the last position as senior marketing strategy manager for Internet of Everything campaign. His roles at Cisco included development of private sector industries strategy and messaging at Cisco as well as retail industry marketing.

Prior to Cisco, he worked at IBM software group in WebSphere Commerce and Information Management groups with responsibility in marketing management for retail and e-commerce. Before joining IBM, Kenneth was retail industry director for Informix Software where he was responsible for market management and programs.

Kenneth Leung is currently working on his first marketing book and pursuing future opportunities. Learn more

  • Posted on: 12/02/2019

    Mobile jumps out as retailers get a mixed start to the holiday season

    With the increasing size of mobile devices including tablets, it is just more convenient and it is the new "candy aisle" for impulse and convenience shopping. Retailers need to make mobile applications friendly and easy to transact with as few clicks and swipes and possible (and address the security issue of storing customer financial data) and create experiences in the store to drive purchase either in store or via mobile. Offering mobile charging stations in stores wouldn't hurt either this holiday season.
  • Posted on: 11/25/2019

    Why is Sephora paying associates to leave shoppers alone?

    Polarizing subject given the number of downvotes on some comments. I personally think the results will speak for itself via data: first step, measure how many people pick the "leave me alone basket" versus the regular basket. If the percentage is high, that means you have an issue with the store associate being over aggressive in the first place. If it is a small percentage, you are simply catering to shoppers who either know what they want, or prefer to shop undisturbed till checkout, and just keep offering the basket. I am pretty sure if I am holding a "do not disturb basket" and I need help and call on an associate, staffers are trained to respond. This is frankly a better way to focus the associates on customers who does want help versus those who want to be left alone.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Should Santa be a loyalty program perk?

    I understand Harrods wants to have a premium experience for its premium customers, but Christmas is probably not the time to play Scrooge to public. Shoppers understand they have to buy something to visit the Christmas Grotto, and there maybe a ticketing system for crowd control. They could have easily managed the message better by offering a time segment for premium members ticket allocation and other times for random draws, the under privileged, etc.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2019

    Did social media spook Party City’s Halloween sales?

    I think DIY is cheaper for small children and growing environmentalism means parents are less likely to buy the cheaper disposable costumes. The exposure to cosplay culture turned mainstream via social media. I think that means the older segment will go "big production" or not do costuming at all. At the end of the, day Party City needs to sell things people want to buy, and the low end cheap costumes aren't cutting it any more.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2019

    What does artificial intelligence mean for loyalty marketing?

    People are difficult to predict, things are easier. I think AI machine learning can be used to derive pattern data for loyalty programs, but right now it takes human to understand the nuances and emotions that comes with certain customer interactions and offers. AI is a better fit in the short term in areas like supply chain and merchandising I think where there is rich data, less privacy issues and very little emotions involved.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2019

    Will Barneys find success setting up shops inside Saks Fifth Avenue?

    The question in my mind is what value is the Barneys brand as a product offering inside Saks versus a retail experience? Certainly people shop at Barneys New York and Beverley Hills for the assortment and customer service. With those flagship locations, Saks can get the assortment itself by opening to the vendors that supplied to Barneys. I guess the other part of the value of Barneys would be the customer base data -- I just don't know how well Barneys collected/managed them.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2019

    Will shoe swapping be the new shoe shopping?

    It is basically the "uber-fication" or a variant of eBay if you look at it. The Shoe Bank carries no stock and adds value by serving as the middleman between the two parties. I think there is a niche, but the question is cost and profits given it is paying for the shipping and processing out of the $10 transaction. It would be curious what the path of profitability is and how much they can scale.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2019

    Will becoming a UPS pickup/drop off point drive craft sales at Michaels?

    Given the square footage of Michaels stores, a UPS Pickup/Drop off is an easy sell. As long as there is enough personnel to cover, especially around the holiday seasons, it reminds the customers of shipping options for gifts in the craft category with convenient shipping and pickup.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2019

    Walmart sells ModCloth, seeks Jetblack spinoff and cuts Bonobos jobs

    It is common for tech companies to buy smaller companies for talent and intellectual properties. Walmart is basically doing the same experiments to find out what it can and can't do with digital ops. Some of these acquisitions obviously don't fit and need to be spun off. It is an expensive lesson but in the grand scheme of things, it isn't that much money.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    Should Amazon rent out its Just Walk Out tech?

    Good deal for Amazon who is ultimately a tech service provider. Would be curious to see the fine print on who has access and owns the data generated by these systems, as other panelists point out, the data is worth more than the system.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2019

    Will new ‘stores of the future’ produce results for retailers in the here and now?

    I think labs are important; the key to any proof of concept is defining the criteria of success to include scalability within the resources of the retailer to deploy. We have seen a lot of one-off proof of concepts that work in the lab/pilot store, but are never broadly deployed because the capital resources needed to do so is not feasible.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2019

    Why do IT service outages keep happening at retail?

    A combination of legacy systems being pushed together because of mergers, plus adding on systems to address omnichannel retailing creates a difficult environment to maintain. In addition, the speed of change is reducing the amount of time available for quality assurance and stability testing.
  • Posted on: 09/24/2019

    What will Apple’s reinvented Fifth Avenue flagship mean for the brand?

    Apple is known for its experience and it can still afford the space for a flagship in NYC. As it transitions to a mix of service and hardware (phone, pad, watch, computer) and accessories, it needs a great focus hub that can adjusted over time. I think a large open space will allow for more flexibility for different displays in the future, whether it is product demo, education or socialization.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2019

    Nordstrom Local hopes for big returns from the competition

    This one is something I would expect to do in a pop-up. Basically Nordstrom is connecting with customers dissatisfied with another retailer's offering (hence the return) and trying to convert them to Nordstrom products and experience, plus capture their contact information for future marketing. Given that it's in Manhattan it may work. At the end of the day the data will tell.
  • Posted on: 09/04/2019

    Simple answers to fix retail’s loyalty marketing mess

    Big issue is, many retailers still confuse a reward program with a loyalty program. You can always drive purchase through a rewards program, effectively doing discounts for certain customer segments. What you need is a loyalty program that target rewards and returns on investment on customers to drive purchases without only providing discounts.

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