Rich Kizer

Principal, KIZER & BENDER Speaking
Rich Kizer is a retail and 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. 2021 marks their 31st anniversary as a speaking team.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2021

    Is My Pillow being ‘cancelled’ or is its CEO trashing the business all on his own?

    There is a lot of passion today. We've all got it. Mike is a bright business leader, and I admire him and his success. And I admire his truthfulness. But perhaps there are channels outside of our business that are more appropriate venues to discuss one's thoughts and feelings. He had to know he would have blowback.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2021

    Should store associates deliver online orders?

    Well said, Bob.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2021

    Should store associates deliver online orders?

    This ads a brilliant personal touch and will build valuable word of mouth among their target customers. But one warning: Liability for all, even the company. Say a delivery person shows a customer how to go down the driveway and the customer breaks a leg. Get insured.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2021

    NRF 2021: Retailers make an appointment with the future

    Appointment shopping? In categories yes, but any regular retailer who thinks they can mandate shopping times and dates is flirting with disaster. It's a competitive market. Always will be. We're a service business at the customer's convenience. Always have been, always will be. You have the power to set appointments only when you supply a unique service or product. The test for being able to set appointments? Ask yourself what is that special, exclusive product you sell that is not easily found anywhere else in your market.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2021

    Will paying associates to get COVID-19 vaccines work for Dollar General and Trader Joe’s?

    I would take great pride posting signs in my store stating "Welcome. We are proud to be a 100 percenter store! 100 percent of our staff have been immunized!"
  • Posted on: 01/15/2021

    Will paying associates to get COVID-19 vaccines work for Dollar General and Trader Joe’s?

    First of all, perhaps, the first step is to have a common sense presentation with the staff on why we have been stressing the safety of face masks and sanitation practices. If I were the president of the company, I would rather pay them to do it rather than to have my customer base hear that my associates have the option of receiving the shots. That’s common sense! Won’t take the shot? – no customer contact for you.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2021

    7-Elevens could be destined to undergo a konbinification

    Interesting. One thing that may be a major challenge: the required additional investments and ongoing investments as they change, as well as much more additional training of staff. One thing I learned in my franchise past: franchisees get nervous very quickly.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2021

    What leadership lessons have retailers learned during the pandemic?

    Focusing on all of these great comments about the best offered services that made a pleasurable surprise and created a great customer experience, we found and hung a sign in our office that stated: "The primary objective is to focus on how we make the customer feel thrilled." When that happens, everything else falls into place.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2021

    Convenience retailers aren’t letting the pandemic get them down

    Convenience stores have become very aggressive and competitive in category offerings during the pandemic, and they're not stopping. In the pandemic environment, the word convenience hit the sweet spot with many customers. And if their experience was sweet, they're locked-in fans.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2021

    Should your DNA data be used to sell products?

    Wow! This is just too invasive -- and creepy. Could a company ever know me better than me? No! At least I hope not!
  • Posted on: 01/08/2021

    Shopify dumps Trump’s stores from its platform

    Actually any business has the right to carry/not carry anything. This conversation is so loaded with thoughtful comments, I'm sitting on the side lines and waiting for the best thought-through answers.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2021

    Retailers call on Trump to end the national chaos he created

    I really don't how to address this as a retailer. I was as shocked at the event as everyone else. Now my message is that we can all come together peacefully and in respect in the inauguration of President Biden. I guess what I am saying is I hope for peace and respect for our America.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2021

    Are local retailers ready to flex their omnichannel muscles?

    No one can argue about the new innovations in shopping having widespread appeal to shoppers, especially during the pandemic era. And that widespread appeal has forced, to various degrees, the smaller retailer join in as best as possible. Are independents at a disadvantage with shoppers? Yes, perhaps in some areas. However we have seen independents thrive utilizing other available strategies. For example, the frequent use of Facebook videos that feature new products that just arrived, walking through the stores with staff members explaining and showing new product offerings, etc. Most of these type of efforts by homegrown staffers have had marvelous results. But all that "local" flavor and effort does not mean the local retailer is not on the high tech hunt. We have seen brilliant small retailers adopt high tech strategies to sell products. The difference between them and the larger retail players is, they didn't have to invest boatloads of money to get into the game.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2020

    Will the FAA’s new rules speed commercialization of drones?

    As a private pilot, I would certainly expect that drone restrictions and regulations would be just as clearly enforced as they are for general aviation, such as with air space restrictions and regulations around commercial airports or altitude restrictions or over large gatherings of people on the ground, and so on. Beyond that, bring on the drones!
  • Posted on: 12/28/2020

    How do you grow sales the week after Christmas?

    I'll join in here with Bob. The rule is to train associates on how to handle returns prior to customer interaction. Never open with the phrase: "Would you like your money back?" Be ready to offer smart exchanges. Merchandise the store with your very best talent to make the product look attractive enough to be exchange bait. Closing note: I walked into a store yesterday that had a "cash returns only" register. Yes the lines there were long, and my bet is they ran out of cash before 2 p.m. THINK.

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