Mohamed Amer

Independent Board Member, Investor and Startup Advisor

Living in Southern California, Mohamed is keen on applying his corporate and entrepreneurial executive leadership across strategy, technology, and communications in the service of progressive boards of directors, c-suites, and startup companies.

Building teams and driving results spanning multiple industry sectors and domains, Mohamed brings successful experience in public and private sectors across mission-critical operational, supply chain, strategy, communications, and technology roles.  He is a highly trusted coach and advisor for senior executives and entrepreneurs in the technology and consumer-facing industries.

During his tenure at SAP, Mohamed held several senior roles that included leading the solution footprint, M&A, and go-to-market strategy for the global grocery business, and developing the future supply chain product area for retail. While leading the Retail Business Unit in the Americas, he supported business development, key customer implementations, and strategic relationships as well as managing key user groups and executive customer councils. He also led internal and external communication roles across multiple sectors and most recently having responsibility for executive communications in SAP’s Office of the Co-Presidents.

Prior to SAP, Mohamed was co-founder and President of NEXstep, an Internet supply chain software startup which was acquired by Viewlocity.  He also held leadership positions in the retail management consultancy, Kurt Salmon Associates (acquired by Accenture) with extensive Retail and CPG client engagements as well as general management roles in the office products industry at Boise Cascade and Buhrmann-Tetterode.

Mohamed held a commission with the United States Navy (Lieutenant Commander – naval aviation and naval intelligence). Mohamed holds a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University; in addition, he has earned an MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and an M.A. in National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

  • Posted on: 11/25/2020

    Can category management catch up to the omnichannel shift?

    Category management arose in an era in which the retailing world revolved around a product-driven view fueled by a mass-marketing model actualized on a set of physical store shelves. That worldview is no longer dominant, and in time will be even less relevant. I won’t even touch on the cross-brand trust issues that come with a category captain. A more profound trend over the past two decades is that the consumer has gained more power due to expanded channel choices and mobile technologies' convenience. She is influenced by and engaged on social media and receives personalized campaigns that acknowledge that power shift. No matter what version of category management we have now or tomorrow, the fundamental premise is out of sync with today’s reality and tomorrow’s dominant trends.
  • Posted on: 11/24/2020

    Target CEO points to one-stop shopping as key to chain’s success

    Specialty retailers should not broaden their mix to compete with chains like Target. That is the fastest route to insolvency: competing on the dominant player’s strength. Instead, they should establish credibility in their niche, go deep, and add service elements to differentiate further. Use data to craft higher engagements and launch or enhance cutting edge data science-based loyalty programs. As for Target, the company has been steadily shoring up its core strengths of merchandising, expanding grocery, and integrating online and offline shopping. The stores are bright, colorfully displayed, and the associates are helpful. So while the COVID-19 pandemic shifted purchase behavior to online and consolidated physical store visits, the brand’s underlying strengths allowed it to outperform others.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2020

    How can retailers avert a holiday returns catastrophe?

    Each retailer has to discover and address their Pareto chart of causes. I suspect fit, color and texture would be near the top of the list. Being able to visualize the product in one’s environment helps. In addition to clear product images, posting user or brand-generated content, such as videos, with accurate measurements and sizing tools can further reduce the returns rate. To mitigate the cost of free returns shipments, provide a tangible incentive (non-trivial) to visit the store or mall. That is where your deep understanding of each customer comes into play - personalization covers the entire shopping journey, including post-purchase.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2020

    Should landlords get a cut of online sales?

    They say in Vegas, the house always wins. While mall landlords would love to apply that saying, the playing field, or gaming tables, have moved to a digital space that continues to disrupt the role and function of space and the redefinition of consumer value. Sorry landlords, that dog won’t hunt.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2020

    Will GameStop play better online?

    Online gaming is fast approaching the $200 billion mark. Physical consoles do not require a physical store to purchase, although there are advantages to test driving a new device in a store setting. However the increasing share of mobile gaming, and Google’s announcement of cloud gaming service Stadia, undermine the demand for physical stores. Used consoles are easily discovered and sold online through several selling platforms. Bottom line, the shift to online is permanent, the physical footprint of games is smaller, and all growth and dominant future revenue will be online.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2020

    Target and Walmart’s 3Q results are just – Wow!

    In times of crisis, consumers purchase with a strong bias to the brands and banners they trust. Target and Walmart have invested heavily to be centers of trust and certainty in turbulent times. Layer on top of that how consumers can identify with their local target or Walmart as employer and community supporter on top of being a one-stop-shop for most of their needs, and you have plenty of reasons why large retailers with the right assortment that execute well and deliver on values important to their customers will continue to flourish, especially in crises.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2020

    Are retailers cutting their way to profitability or slowly bleeding to death?

    Retailers will always have a series of store closings and openings. That is a natural process of growth and repositioning of its assets, in the form of stores. Consumers' shift to online purchases is not only accelerating the juggling of store closings and openings but is changing the characteristics of the expanding role and function of future stores. Massive store closings signal desperation instead of thoughtful planning for growth. Some pruning in the garden is necessary, so resources are used optimally for a more vibrant and robust crop.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2020

    Will Amazon’s new online pharmacy disrupt the U.S. drugstore business?

    Prescriptions run into two categories, the initial script that has time-sensitive fulfillment and the highly predictable repeat refill business. Amazon’s challenge is getting the initial prescription, as the company should excel in the repeat part of the business (think of chronic diseases). If Amazon’s prices are competitive and it can provide free same-day deliveries on the initial prescription, then Amazon will have a significant impact on the U. S. drugstore industry by capture of the initial intake and securing the predictability of the refill business.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2020

    Oreo lovers gladly pay a higher price to customize their cookies

    Historically, customization has been the antithesis of manufacturing efficiency. When a brand can expand on the range of possibilities and muster premium pricing for these product personalizations, it can create novel consumer niches, discover new price elasticities, and increase manufacturing agility and flexibility. The direct impact is minor, but the change in mindset combined with infused manufacturing agility and greater alignment between marketing and manufacturing hold longer-term organizational benefits.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2020

    Chipotle’s expansion plans include adding ‘digital-only’ restaurants to its menu

    As I have shared in previous commentaries, the pickup only formats with varying ”contactless” space, be it a drive-thru, curbside, or specialized lobby, is one more option that retailers need to offer consumers. The digital consumer is the engine of change in the economy. Those companies that combine data insights with emerging social trends, consumer trends, and behavior shifts have the opportunity to create value and capture out-sized gains.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2020

    Should C-suite execs keep their opinions to themselves on store visits?

    C-suite executives ought to visit stores to instill confidence in their associates and not to create fear. The executives have inherent organizational powers, and their actions reflect and communicate the company’s normative values. The idea of the store as a battlefield which the CEO visits to inspect the troops and equipment going into battle is not only arcane and dangerous; it reinforces the artificial separation of the mind, heart, and hands. The organizational culture is the ultimate differentiator for any company, especially consumer-facing ones. The store visits are opportunities for the C-suite executives to learn, reinforce the good, and take note of improvement opportunities. These visits form new input for constructive discussions in the C-suite that include fresh initiatives and organizational learnings.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2020

    AI poses a leadership test for business

    There are two fundamental chasms for retailers and consumer-facing industries as exemplars of economic sectors collecting unprecedented amounts of data. One is the actual awareness of the inherent potential and insights residing in the data collected - this cohort is steadily decreasing. The other, and more severe gulf, is having the organizational mindset and culture to create customer value from that data. Those are prerequisites before we can entertain the potential and leverage that artificial intelligence, which is much broader than machine intelligence, offers in profoundly enhancing managerial decision-making. Consider that spreadsheets as in Lotus 1-2-3 and Excel were the killer apps that launched the popularity of the IBM PC and Microsoft Office, respectively. I suggest that today, AI is the next killer app for the 2020s compute environment - be it at the personal or enterprise levels. What remains elusive is the nature of the platform that AI will spawn and from which mass adoption will occur. It begs a radical construct which proposes that application logics flow through purpose-built AI machines instead of having AI embedded in existing applications, or smart processes, as a feature or an after-thought. This is the dawn of the age of artificial intelligence, and I guarantee we will be surprised at the disruptive computing landscape of the coming decade.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2020

    Will its values-based approach turn Hive into an e-grocery powerhouse?

    When you combine technology’s ability to hyper-target consumers with the rise of value-based lifestyle and consumption behavior, you create a company like Hive. In addition to creating brand awareness and credibility, the company’s initial success will turn on their curated assortment’s social value fit and the quality of actionable insights derived from consumer data. To become a powerhouse, Hive will need to guard against any complacency from its initial success, ensure its supply chain network is scalable, and leverage advanced analytics to derive deep customer insights necessary to make sound strategic and operational decisions.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2020

    Trader Joe’s and Wegmans satisfy, others falter, through the pandemic

    The secret sauce has been and will remain the company’s culture. If you begin with a culture that dignifies associates and highly values customer service, you will withstand the wind shears of a pandemic. Alternatively, if you ignore culture and customer, the pandemic-induced storms will shred your sails as you struggle to remain afloat.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2020

    Will Lowe’s customers ‘gift’ their homes for the holidays?

    Spending on the home has been a true growth category in 2020. Lowe’s is making a smart and well thought out move to enhance the home beyond traditional DIY projects. This holiday strategy has the potential to increase its same-store comp numbers and possibly expand their customer base. Post-holiday, Lowe’s must look deeply at the data to fully understand the pros and cons of this strategy and its execution.

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