PROFILE

Ricardo Belmar

Sr Director, Global Enterprise Marketing, Infovista
As enterprises and brands in the retail, manufacturing, and supply chain industries accelerate their digital transformation via collaborative, mobile and cloud-based applications, the need to deliver the best user experience to all users and customers across all devices is ever increasing. Ricardo helps these organizations find business value from technology investments by optimizing their enterprise network and applications to drive omnichannel customer experiences and drive digital revenue. As the Senior Director for Global Enterprise Marketing at Infovista, Ricardo develops the marketing strategy for Infovista’s enterprise solutions, leveraging his 20+ years of industry experience to help enterprises protect digital revenue by optimizing their enterprise networks. Ricardo actively engages with industry influencers in retail, consumer goods, banking, payments, and restaurant industries on technology trends via Twitter and LinkedIn. He was named Social Media Mayor at the 2015 Retail Executive Summit, the 2015 ENGAGE Summit, 2016 RetailTech Conference, and 2018 Retail Experience Summit by RIS News. He has conducted frequent video interviews of senior executives from retail, banking, and restaurant brands as well as many industry analysts and is frequently interviewed by retail publications. Ricardo is also a supporter of the RetailROI charity organization. For more information, visit: www.infovista.com
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  • Posted on: 12/06/2019

    Are its Nordstrom pop-ups a sign that Glossier is ready to work with department stores?

    This is potentially a match made in heaven for both brands. It's definitely a win-win as Glossier has lots of buzz, and Nordstrom customers will surely love discovering Glossier if they're not familiar with them already. I suspect seven pop-ups is a test to see if there is something worthwhile in a long-term relationship with Nordstrom. I don't believe this says much about Glossier partnering with department stores to fuel growth as much as it is Glossier partnering with Nordstrom to fuel growth. There's a difference. Nordstrom is not the average department store. I wouldn't expect to see a Glossier pop-up show up in a Kohl's or J.C. Penney anytime soon. Not that there couldn't be other department stores chasing Glossier (and other similar digital brands) for similar purposes to drive foot traffic. In many ways, this is what department stores are supposed to be - a place where shoppers discover new brands.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2019

    To localize stores or not, that is the question for retailers

    Of course, it depends -- the answer could be a little, or a lot, of both. It truly does depend on what a retailer's brand identity represents to its customers. If that identity can be preserved with a local flare then that should be embraced because it will add to the uniqueness and intrigue it brings to the customer relationship. It's all about eliciting an emotional response and localization is just as powerful as personalization.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2019

    Will Rent the Runway‘s hotel concierge deal change how people travel?

    Sold! Of course, many travelers will find this an outstanding offer. Two immediate concerns come to mind:
    1. Not only does RTR need to ensure the items will be there (no room for error) they need a way to ensure the right fit. Travelers arriving to find the size they thought was right for them doesn't fit will be greatly disappointed and potentially have nothing to wear!
    2. Why just these four hotels? Sure, this is a great test of the logistics needed to ensure 100 percent success rates, but I can see this being a game-changer for Marriott hotels if they can work out the necessary logistics with RTR to supply this across their properties. I can see this as a new feature in their Bonvoy app as an option for a reservation booking. I'm sure other hotel chains will be watching this closely!
  • Posted on: 11/26/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Old Navy vs. T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods

    This one is a tough call. Both seem on-brand for each of them, but I'll give the nod to TJX as it felt like it gave a more compelling reason to shop there and discover something new.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Etsy

    I'll go with Amazon on this one, not just because of the singing, personified boxes are clever, but because they did a great job of humanizing Amazon via the people "behind" the boxes. Also, they made the joy of receiving a gift all about seeing an Amazon logo on a box rather than the actual gift item. The message is that getting an Amazon box gives you joy, almost regardless of the item inside. While Etsy's ad was good, it feels too similar to other ads and doesn't really convey enough about what makes Etsy different and unique.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Kroger brings the farm closer to the table

    This is a great idea by Kroger, but could be quite challenging from an operational view in-store. It's a different labor skill set than what is in the grocery store today and obviously requires many new day-to-day operational processes. Is it worth it? Yes! During peak season you'll find me and many of my neighbors buying most of our produce at a local farmer's market. If that suddenly became available at the grocery store, it would be a huge hit in our area. There are other applications for this vertical farming approach and there were a few concepts at GroceryShop this year that caught everyone's attention. I expect we'll be seeing much more of this approach, possibly even more in urban areas to increase fresh food sourcing as well as close to food desserts if the costs can be controlled enough. What a great way to feed areas in need in the future!
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Is Target killing department stores and specialty clothing chains?

    Target wins the gold medal for understanding how stores are an asset, not a liability. They have maximized the value of their stores not just for same-day delivery but for the overall customer journey. Add to that their amazing operational efficiencies and they have truly made it easy to shop, and buy with them as promised. These are the areas that department stores are suffering from, and even discount stores haven't mastered them. One could argue even the mighty Walmart hasn't leveraged its stores (outside of grocery) as effectively as Target has. Who stands to lose the most competitively? I'd say Kohl's and J.C. Penney stand to lose the most to Target. But I also believe off-price/discount stores may also be losing on apparel basics. There is much to like about Target going into this holiday shopping season!
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Should Santa be a loyalty program perk?

    Without being too cynical here, it would seem despite the outcry, Harrods has no trouble selling tickets for all the available slots. By the numbers, someone in finance at Harrods is declaring this a wild success, while someone in PR may be cringing at the social media response! Sure they're a luxury brand, and this is a luxury perk, but maybe they should have balanced this with something for the masses to keep their brand untarnished.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Will a hack ruin Macy’s Christmas?

    It certainly won't help matters, but Macy's has a lot of irons in the fire so to speak to try and create a happy holiday sales story. I suspect this will be a blip and most customers won't slow down their shopping as a result. Macy's still has a job to do to get those customers in their stores and on their website and mobile app. The real question is, has Macy's done enough to attract those customers in the first place? I think they have a number of positives happening but the final details are always in the execution at scale and this is historically where Macy's suffers. Data breaches may impact those consumers that were on the fence about shopping and buying at Macy's but I expect this won't push too many away.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2019

    Dunkin’ introduces online holiday pop-up

    There are some brands, particularly QSRs, that have a cult-like following and for those customers, branded, limited-time merchandise via an online pop-up shop should be a hit for the holidays. If this proves successful for Dunkin' I expect we'll see it back for the holidays in 2020, although I don't think this is sustainable year-round. If Taco Bell could make a hit out of a branded hotel, then why can't Dunkin' sell branded electric guitars!
  • Posted on: 11/18/2019

    Will a purpose-driven site do good for Zappos?

    Socially conscious shopping is more than just a trend today - it's an emotional response to consumerism and Zappos is brilliant for not just supporting the trend, but enabling people in a frictionless way to fulfill that desire. Kudos to Zappos!
  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    Is the environment Amazon’s Achilles heel or opportunity?

    Amazon already does two things to help minimize packaging -- offering a checkbox to minimize the number of packages shipped per order, and offering to hold your packages for delivery on a set day of the week of your choosing. I don't see Amazon promoting these options very much and I wonder how many customers even know they are an option. Then there's the question of how many consumers if shown these options, say they would choose them. I bet the answer to that is a high percentage. So why don't we see these options promoted by Amazon more often?
  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    Walmart has a too much grocery problem

    How is it that Walmart's success at grocery sales has become a problem for them? Grocery is a low margin business, and once it became Walmart's majority revenue source, it was bound to drag down overall margins and profitability, especially by driving online and delivery grocery sales. Interesting that they're having the opposite problem as Target who wants to drive more grocery business, but is killing it with their private line labels and general merchandise. Walmart has taken a very generic approach to their non-grocery business online, despite the increase in e-commerce sales. It's not easy to discover new products and many of the products they offer can be found elsewhere. That said, Walmart has proven they know how to invest appropriately to turn around portions of their business, and I believe they've learned from all of their recent acquisitions (despite having to sell some of those off or shut them down).
  • Posted on: 11/14/2019

    Are mixed reality apps set to skyrocket?

    AR glasses and headsets have one essential negative against them currently -- clumsiness. Meaning, the level of convenience every consumer is used to from their smartphone just doesn't translate yet to those glasses and headsets. That's really why VR headsets have largely failed to catch on. If Apple, or someone else, can introduce a new form factor of these glasses/headsets that truly delivers convenience, ease of use, along with the promised experiential benefits of mixed reality technology, then we may have something to talk about. Otherwise, there will always be interesting applications of mixed reality tools, but it just won't hit mass adoption in the mainstream. Retailers are carefully finding useful implementations of this technology and I expect that to continue, but not at a faster pace until the underlying technology addresses this hurdle for mainstream consumers.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2019

    Shoptalk makes a statement with a conference featuring only women speakers

    While there is an element of PR/marketing cleverness involved here, it's a fantastic gesture to draw attention to a real-world equality issue. Ananda nailed the key issue, however, in that while it's great for ShopTalk to highlight the inequality in retail, it takes board-level action to create any true change. I see that some BrainTrust members have raised the question of whether this will impact ShopTalk attendee rates, but I don't foresee that happening at all. It's a bold move and I fully expect we'll see a big uptick in attendance as this event continues to grow and shock the industry. Will this force any real change? I'm not so sure, time will tell, but it's certainly overdue!

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