PROFILE

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 US Navy (Lieutenant Commander – naval aviation and naval intelligence) and has earned an MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, an MA in National Security Affairs at the US Naval Postgraduate School, and an MA in Human and Organizational Systems at Fielding Graduate University.

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  • Posted on: 07/31/2020

    Will axing commission fees entice Amazon sellers to move to Google Shopping?

    Google has a fundamental problem. While consumers associate Amazon with shopping and Prime, Google is the keeper of information on the internet; it is synonymous with search engine, as in "did you google it?" Waving fees reduces friction for those merchants already on or considering using Google Shopping. The move is less likely to make an impact on the margin - to draw new merchants. On the demand side of the equation, Google Shopping does not have high consumer awareness and the pre-existing mainstream alternatives have the consumers’ mindshare. Google has come to be equated with technology and the dominant search engine of the information side of the internet. Amazon is the shopper’s search engine AND the most frictionless shopping execution engine and platform. With highly significant investment, Google Shopping can capture share of mind and wallet, but it is unlikely Google is willing to enter a spending war with Amazon only to be a distant number two, at best.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2020

    Is a drive-through-only store the shape of things to come for Wawa?

    If the customer is aware of and believes in the brand promise then you have overcome a major hurdle. Add to that a limited assortment offering and speed of service while building on changing consumer behavior, and you increase the likelihood of success. Coffee and sandwiches represent a significant portion of Wawa’s sales, the drive-through only concept has a good chance to do well in the right demographic and location.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2020

    Beauty becomes a digital beast

    The pandemic has caused a major shift in the way we apply technology in customer engagement. For years, the prevalent approach was to have technology support the in-store selling process by empowering the sales person with more tools and access to data. The store closures have forced a pivot in which to concentrate technology’s utility. Go to where the customer is located, not where you wish they were. This pivot is perfectly demonstrated in the notion that "beauty becomes a digital beast." It is a beast that adapted beautifully to the exigencies of the moment and will make this category even more attractive with demand growth that will include both physical stores and online sales.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2020

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

    Mr. Bezos is fully aware that the Amazon brand is built on trust. Consumers trust the value received, the Prime service promise, the ease of enjoying the multitude of consumer offerings, and the trust consumers have placed in Amazon regarding their data. That is the background against which Mr. Bezos must confront his inner demons of crushing any and all competitors; he cannot ignore his company’s trust issues with third-party vendors while relying on the consumer trust he has worked hard to create and earn. Amazon cannot have it both ways.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2020

    How can retailers differentiate curbside delivery?

    Don’t underestimate the power of solid execution of a customer-desirable plan. Call it flawless, smooth, on-time, easy and simple, but whatever it is be consistent in every single interaction with NO surprises - that means all expected items are accounted for, no substitutions, priced accurately, and delivered in a friendly, contactless way.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2020

    Retailers hunt for spare change

    Whatever incentives you create will only move those people that were already willing to dig up their coins and actually use them at retailers. The incentives will not motivate the rest that won’t deal with any cash, let alone coins, during the pandemic. Personally, I have not used cash since early March and have only used credit cards. So fix the bigger problem and you’ll fix the "non-coin" shortage. Although unsatisfying, until we get the vaccine and regain confidence, a simple sign informing customers that you can’t make change will have to suffice.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2020

    Will Amazon become the go-to place to buy face masks?

    Think of it as a new category of products created by an exogenous event - with built in demand, rather than an innovative product that addresses an unmet need. Masks are a safety product and will be with us longer than we want and many will keep a supply in the pantry just in case. So this category has legs across the globe, just don’t expect huge growth. We’ve already hit the explosive spike in demand, now it’s a replenishment cadence with a few spikes from those stocking up for the next emergency. I don’t expect Amazon to launch private label lines unless the data tells them that masks are now a must-have item in one’s wardrobe.
  • Posted on: 07/15/2020

    Are subscriptions a winning strategy to get through the pandemic?

    Until the pandemic hit, I had not used any subscriptions services. Today our family has a growing list of at least a dozen items on subscription and we are valuing the ease, flexibility, and convenience of this model. Subscription services are here to stay and will succeed by how much control the consumer has on quantity, frequency, and delivery options combined with a fair price point.
  • Posted on: 07/14/2020

    Bed Bath & Beyond banks on private brands

    The shortcomings identified by Mr. Tritton are spot on. The first two areas are well on their way to being addressed; however, the last one on enhancing the merchandising assortment is problematic. Mr. Lick’s appointment is apparently linked to “rebuilding Bed Bath & Beyond’s authority with customer inspired brands that are truly differentiating.” That aspiration will take a lot more than launching private brands and a far longer duration than this turnaround might take. Online retailing is more crowded than ever, the bar to compete continues to move higher, and the investment to build successful private brands is not cheap. Sure private brands have inherently higher margins, but they don’t get there overnight and the financial market’s patience meter is not kind to turnaround stories, especially with the increased economic uncertainty.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Macy’s plans for the Christmas rush

    Macy’s is smart to keep all options open for the holiday season. This year, there are too many variables with a wide range of possibilities. The key is to remain flexible and open-minded. You cannot go all in on any single initiative due to structural uncertainty of our moment. In Daniel Kahneman’s terms, retailers need to think and act fast and slow.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2020

    Has the pandemic changed shopping behaviors forever?

    COVID-19 has created a global human laboratory called "shopping behavior" with unprecedented and head-spinning phase changes. In real-time, we are experiencing the effects of viral epidemiology, government policies, scientific and technological advances, social relations, and retailers’ strategies and communications. It is impossible to expect the future to be a continuation of our past trajectory. Online retailing’s rate of change growth is spectacular. The physical store model, as anchors for the social shopping experience, has never been weaker. Technology, in every sense, permeates all aspects of the business and operations, news of vaccine breakthroughs send financial markets to the moon. Psychologically, we seek certainty and stability, yet that inventory is flashing red. Companies will begin reporting second-quarter results next week. That will give an early indicator of future consumer mood and sentiment. Retailing trends are collapsing into a single overarching trend: safety. That umbrella will include physical, epidemiological, value, convenience, accessibility, organic, and sustainable. All those become the new phase of experiential retail that fulfills the lower rungs of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retailing is essential to regaining our sense of being healthy, and that normalcy is changing in ways not observed in many generations
  • Posted on: 06/22/2020

    Should retailers boycott Facebook?

    Like it or not, ethics are roaring back into a company’s business model for revenue and profit generation. That means retailers and brands will be held accountable for all their business decisions. Look at your current customer and future customer base, your own brand values, and make decisions that align with those fundamental priorities.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2020

    Will IKEA import its c-store concept into the U.S.?

    No one can accuse IKEA of lacking creativity, a necessary ingredient for long term success. Their c-store concept is ideal for Japan, but the U.S. is a different retail environment from shopping behavior to density of population and transportation network. The brand extension in the U.S. is more of a stretch than a natural fit. I don’t expect IKEA to bring this format here in the foreseeable future.
  • Posted on: 06/09/2020

    Has Macy’s secured its future success with its new financing deal?

    The new financing was a must-have for Macy’s to execute on its strategy in Q4 and calendar 2021. Polaris was announced in early February of this year with great fanfare, then reality of COVID-19 hit retailers. Rationalizing their cost structure will require even more work with less people and economic uncertainty at the consumer level. Their new off-mall store format, Market by Macy’s, is appealing with its food options and community events. However, the growth part of Polaris appears fixated on what I call a product focus: plans to build four $1 billion power private brands, without a focus on customer experience that goes beyond Loyalty 3.0. While the Macy’s brand is among the best in retail, it not only loses its luster, but permanently dilutes it as the company expands into off-price formats. The overall strategy needs to be more cohesive rather than a patchwork of growth initiatives that appear sound on their own. Bottom line, the financing deal was a must-have and gives the company a long runway. But sustained revenue growth and a return to desired margins may remain illusive under the current plan and market conditions.
  • Posted on: 06/04/2020

    Walmart sells inclusivity at its annual shareholder meeting

    Yesterday I saw a true anomaly in the business world. A bold statement by Ben & Jerry’s titled, “We must dismantle white supremacy: silence is not an option.” The statement went beyond raising awareness and offering solidarity to demanding change with a specific four-prong strategy. Statements and actions by companies such as Ben & Jerry’s affirm the leadership role that businesses must take up to right wrongs and create a healthier marketplace for retailing to take place. As I’ve shared in the past, retailers are the intersection of business and society in the communities they serve. They can be leaders for change.

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