Rich Kizer

Principal, KIZER & BENDER Speaking
Rich Kizer is a consumer anthropologist, retail strategist, keynote speaker, author, consultant and one-half of the KIZER & BENDER Speaking team. Rich and his partner, Georganne Bender, are contributors to MSNBC’s television program Your Business. They made Meetings & Conventions Magazine's list of Meeting Planners Favorite Keynote Speakers, have been named two of Retailing's Most Influential People, and have been listed among the Top 40 Omnichannel Retail Influencers and the Top 50 Retail Influencers since 2014. Their award-winning Retail Adventures blog was named the Top Retail Blog by PR Newswire Media, and is consistently listed among important retail and small business blogs. KIZER & BENDER are partners and emcees for the popular Independent Retailer Conference. Any speaker can talk about consumers, but KIZER & BENDER actually become them. In addition to yearly focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and intensive on-site studies, their research includes posing as every kind of customer you can imagine; and maybe even a few that you can't. The result of their research is literally straight from the customers’ mouth: solid ground level intelligence you can use to better serve your own customers. KIZER & BENDER are married, just not to each other. 2018 marks their 28th anniversary as a speaking team.
  • Posted on: 06/02/2020

    Nordstrom crushes inventory optimization

    As every seasoned retailer knows: don’t panic, control the pipeline of on-order product, cancel shipments where necessary, and turn the economic slow-down into an opportunity to eliminate aged products in the stores. This opens up major "open to buy"/"open to receive" dollars that freshen all stores. Very smart move. And lots of experts criticized them during this saga! Nordstrom knew what they had to do, and how to do it, all along!
  • Posted on: 05/29/2020

    Is purposeful giving an answer to retail’s inventory glut?

    As an old department store guy, I remember my greatest mentor by the advice he constantly gave me. He confronted me one day in December about an extreme amount of summer apparel packed away in stock rooms. I told him it was residual that had not sold, and had been deeply marked down without movement, and that we were holding it for sidewalk sales in the late spring. He then explained that it costs us 1 percent of the cost of goods a month to hold that merchandise and, with an original keystone mark-up that we already had taken 30 percent markdowns on, would take further markdowns on the sidewalk. This meant we were merely tying up dollars we could invest in new product and sell at a profit and enjoy the fortunes of inventory turns. So donating makes huge sense.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2020

    Retailers focus on making safe spaces for customers and associates

    I haven’t met anyone in the industry or at the consumer level yet who has told me they didn’t care about safety and living (if they were being honest). That being said, it is critically important that retailers have messages with well-constructed copy stating their belief in the importance of safety, and that they will not take shortcuts on any and all safety methods. You know, I think the time has come to ditch the (sometimes hand written) mundane black magic marker and white sign boards of copy, and have the brilliant advertising people create a graphically appealing “our care and commitment to all of us” storytelling campaign. This can be placed through out the entire store(s) to show the emotion and the seriousness surrounding this deadly issue.
  • Posted on: 05/27/2020

    Is Walmart about to become the king of online resale retailing?

    When I first started reading this article, the infamous song "Sears has everything" began ringing in my ears. This deal I believe will be giant. The power of Walmart will literally drive customers to the sales tables. And Jenn Volk? She obviously has done a marvelous job at positioning thredUP for this business boom.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2020

    What will Applebee’s and Boston Market learn from their virtual restaurants?

    Why would you de-emphasize/hide your name and logo on the packaging? It kind of smacks of there being a corporate belief that there is a loss of both brand equity and position in the customer's mind. Or perhaps it is a trial run on new branded items?
  • Posted on: 05/22/2020

    Who wins/loses if Amazon pushes Prime Day to September?

    I expect Amazon's competitors will do what aggressive retailers anywhere would do: run after first dollar capture. The best retailers watch each other, and consistently try to out-position and out-perform the competition. We will see the competitive cannons start firing as we see earlier battles for consumers' minds. It will turn into a "positioning" battle. Amazon wins.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2020

    Is Kohl’s a stronger retailer as it reopens stores?

    I take my hat off to their entire management team as they guided their company through troubled waters. They made hard decisions; but that is what successful companies do. I don't think we should ever forget about the incredible equity they have with their customers. This company knows its customers well, and will making the correct moves. As a tough, customer-centric competitor, they will soon pick up and start running hard again.
  • Posted on: 05/19/2020

    Is Amazon about to buy J.C. Penney?

    A brilliant old department store retailer once said to me: "most of the time, when a big store goes bad, it has the same effect as a skunk does after it sprays, and it lasts a long time." For Amazon securing J.C. Penney locations for distribution, it's probably a cheap deal. To sell retail out of? It needs a big and expensive differentiation strategy. I don't think this will/can affordably happen.
  • Posted on: 05/18/2020

    What’s J.C. Penney’s next move?

    In a retail world where it seems that "meaningful specific" retailers are successful in their efforts, being a "wandering generality" retailer is very dangerous territory. And that's where I think J.C. Penney is. It's very sad.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2020

    McDonald’s publishes playbook for reopening restaurants

    I tip my hat to McDonald's. A perfect example to all businesses of the thought process of a great company opening the doors. Now, planting my tongue firmly in my cheek: how do you eat a Big Mac while wearing a face shield? Maybe it is in the design.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2020

    How can brands support shuttered independent retailers?

    I don't know what posture these programs can assume after the pandemic threat ends. But this I know: these programs better make the retailer the hero.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2020

    Are Amazon’s at-cost face shields an act of goodwill or predatory behavior?

    Here is a statement I have found to be my favorite: No company stands so tall as when it stoops to help others in times of need. It is easy to find faults with huge companies, yet the best continue to serve and survive. That is what is important.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2020

    Americans are shopping more impulsively online

    In talking with my contacts in the food industry, I believe impulse purchases are going to stay strong as long as we are remaining in the home. "It just makes them feel good to go after those non-essentials, and online makes it very quick and easy," they say. I would guess that when we all get out and wander the aisles of our favorite grocer once again, and seem to have more time to lift and look at impulse items, impulse shopping may slow.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2020

    Nordstrom focuses on seamless shopping as stores reopen

    Jeff, I am with you on this one! I have followed Nordstrom for over 35 years in my time in the the industry. If there is one player I would put my money on, they are the one. This is not the end of life as we know it, this is the blossoming of brilliant ideas that will be very consumer-centric. No surprises, it's the Nordstrom way.
  • Posted on: 05/05/2020

    Can J.C. Penney make it without Sephora?

    Sephora does not need J.C. Penney. Sephora said in a statement: “Although this is a sudden and unfortunate development, we are hopeful of continuing discussions and reaching an amicable agreement." The writing is on the wall. Now all J.C. Penney has to do is find their way out of the woods and redefine and implement their strategy to make THEIR brand stand for something, creating footsteps for themselves -- not someone else that drives the sales into the store -- based on their own brand strategy. J.C. Penney has to be the brand captain so they can't get held captive by someone else.

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