PROFILE

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.
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  • Posted on: 10/29/2020

    Will J.C. Penney be renewed under new ownership?

    I have always said that Jill Soltau is a brilliant merchant. That being said, this deal smells a lot like the Sears bonfire.
  • Posted on: 10/26/2020

    What’s the best recipe for holiday ad messaging during a pandemic?

    It seems that the all of us are bombed daily with news of the virus, closings and new rules defined for businesses. That’s where our attentions are headed. Rightly so, I suppose. Holiday time is coming and the messaging should be extremely positive and heartwarming; a little escapism is good. I often think of the RetailWire holiday ad contests. The impact of those ads? It is like putting the forgotten icing on the birthday cake.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2020

    Can Gap prosper without mall stores?

    Options: You can run out of the malls for cheaper rental rates, or renegotiate a percentage of sales arrangement, but running away down the street comes with risks and expenses. Building the traffic will take some form of promotions to change customer habits, and that almost always is necessary. Cheaper rents, and promotional pricing which affects margin, can be a dangerous move.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2020

    Can Target assure customers they’ll be safe shopping for the holidays?

    I have got to say I am proud of (and certainly not surprised by) Target's efforts for customer safety and of CEO Brian Cornell’s boast that the chain is the easiest place to shop in the U.S, which shows a corporate position of becoming number one in their crowded market. And the icing on the cake? They are serious about customer health and they show it. It's not just a single slogan sign on the door to wear masks as required, but it demonstrates and communicates to the customers how seriously they take their role of safety for everyone.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2020

    Amazon will pay you to know what you bought somewhere else

    It's that age old dilemma: "I never knew" ... "You never asked me!" The information collected can be extremely precious and can be shared with their sources. It can even give information leading to uncovering desired consumer trends and products to come. We are frequently asked by retail clients to conduct and gather this type of information search, and we find it incredible in how consumers spill out their feelings, desires and turn offs. And Cathy is right: Amazon is getting it on the cheap.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2020

    Should local book stores be taking on Amazon?

    Trashing a competitor is a dangerous thing. It brings your competitor to the customer’s minds. On the other hand, repositioning the competitor through events and strategies to romance the customer can propel the store to a higher and much more competitive position in the customer mind. Just think Tattered Cover … For me when I visited them, it was the ultimate chocolate chip cookie cookie experience, the kind that customers fall in love with. Those are emotional connections customers fall in love with and are hard for a competitor to duplicate.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2020

    Amazon follows record-setting Prime Day with Holiday Dash Deal events

    In all my 40-plus years in retail, one truth continues to ring true in my mind: in bad times you have to buy sales increases, and in good times you carefully enjoy sales increases. So the purchase of sales dollars in full force begins, with maintained margins always in peril, especially in this COVID-19 environment.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2020

    Is YouTube a shopping powerhouse waiting to happen?

    Facebook Live has literally saved thousands of retailers during this pandemic. Is it a potential shopping platform? With their traffic and knowledge -- I would say that the "Facebook Tsunami" is insight.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2020

    Macy’s is turning stores dark for the holidays

    We all realize that department stores are taking a hit with new aggressive competition from channels that did not exist only a few years ago. With declining sales trends, along with lower traffic counts, this is probably a great offensive move. Keep in mind that Mr. Gennette is not afraid of being aggressive as he has shown us by past years' closing of fair performing stores.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2020

    Will Dollar General win over higher-income consumers with its new store concept?

    Grow it? They will explode it. This is a brilliant retailer that has opened up a huge number of stores this year alone! They are a formidable competitor and know very well how to seize new opportunities and create new formats. And now this new concept store rolls out. A store which will be a store every customer who is mindful of a good deal and convenience will relate with and support. Brilliant.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2020

    Can ‘boo-bags’ save Halloween?

    Look, it's a great idea but -- what happens TO THE CHILDREN when one neighbor decides it is all over for them, and stops passing bags? And that can happen earlier in the afternoon. It is a great effort on behalf of the retailers, but I don't think it will reach their desired projections. I hope I am wrong. I hate to see the little ones disappointed.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2020

    Retailers say the new stimulus plan can’t wait until after the election

    This is sad and distressing: many people, both at the legislative and business levels, have the responsibility and opinions as to "if and when" funds should be distributed to small business. I sit in far too many retail stores with owners and lament over stacks of invoices on merchandise they must have to keep the wheels turning, while wondering how they will pay for it and keep staff to run the store. The well can run dry quickly. This is like political ping-pong. These businesses need help.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2020

    Can one site make men love, not hate, shopping online?

    It is interesting that men are truly "time stress" shoppers. A male who goes to a mall for a purchase generally takes the first convenient parking space he can find, and a long walk is OK. For a high percentage, the objective is to get to the one store, get the item and get out. Wandering in the mall is rather rare. Shopping on the store's website has to reflect these needs. Packaged offerings? I'm not so sure.
  • Posted on: 09/30/2020

    Holiday hiring ain’t what it used to be

    Services that retailers offer to please customers tend to allow customers to form shopping habits around them. That being said, I do not think we will ever see times when customers stop coming into stores that offer brilliant experiences performed by enthusiastic professional associates.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2020

    Did CDC’s announcement boost retail’s online sales prospects for Christmas?

    I have repeatedly said that the mood of the public, affected by the health threats we face every day, is like getting a birthday cake without the icing. They want to get out. Customers will shop the stores, but I think that in the back of their minds will be thoughts and fears of threats to their health, which could shrink the average time in the store, thus affecting the size of sales. The approach will be to shop for specifics and get out of threatening environments.

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