PROFILE

Zel Bianco

President, founder and CEO Interactive Edge

Zel Bianco and Interactive Edge have been helping companies, specifically in the Consumer Goods industry, run more efficiently since 1994. Zel’s focus is always on the needs of the client. He strives to be a real business partner to every customer — no matter what the size of the contract or the scope of the implementation. He wants to help companies eliminate the cumbersome and time consuming tasks associated with data management and organization in order to free up users time so that they can do what they were hired to do: generate insights to grow their business. Zel enjoys helping clients bridge the gap between category management and shopper insights. He collaborates with clients in the development of a process that streamlines the flow of qualitative data into customer facing presentations and reports.

As the president, founder and CEO of Interactive Edge, Zel is responsible for setting the company’s strategic vision and developing business alliances. He is also an industry thought leader who has enjoyed presenting at many industry conferences such as the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the International Committee of Food Retail Chains (CIES), SAP’s SAPPHIRE and SAP’s TechEd Demo Jam. He has been honored to speak at both DePaul University and Michigan State University, and has donated the Interactive Edge XP3 software for use by students at both of their business schools. Interactive Edge and its customers have won numerous industry awards in areas including Customer Management, Visionary Innovation, and Demand Data Analytics.

Prior to founding Interactive Edge, Zel held senior account management positions in the advertising industry, at Young & Rubicam and other large New York agencies. He worked with many consumer package goods clients and was a part of the account management team that introduced the IBM personal computer.

More information about Zel and his solution for presenting demand data analytics can be found at the Interactive Edge website.

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  • Posted on: 01/13/2020

    Walmart U.S. CEO: Good retail jobs are much more than good pay

    That is why huge layoffs or re-orgs such as the one at Walgreens makes it very difficult to have things run smoothly. Whether it be team leaders or those managers who run departments from headquarters, short term steps to please investors do not always translate into a sustainable plan, especially among those employees who remain. Pay is important but a sense of belonging and knowing your employer cares is a very important part of retaining good people and morale among the worker bees.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2020

    Does ‘selfish shopping’ justify post-holiday discounting?

    I don't think they are diluting potential profits as some shoppers may be reluctant to buy for themselves, especially after spending so much on others without having a promotional or discounted price as an excuse/incentive. Would the retailer get this sales without one? I tend to think not in the month of January at least.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2020

    Do alcohol and shopping mix?

    Well clearly it will help loosen up shoppers and should help retailers ring up more sales but it is a slippery slope. It is true that drinking is allowed in other "family friendly" areas like amusement parks and sports arenas, but it is also true that some folks tend to get out of hand and need to be controlled so time will tell. Northern Virginia is a very family oriented area with many wineries, breweries and distilleries that families go to so why not try it at shopping areas? Are there more pros than cons? I think with the current state of retail, it is certainly worth a shot, no pun intended.
  • Posted on: 01/03/2020

    Which retailer will rule in 2020?

    On the price value side of the equation, I absolutely agree with you Cathy. Love their stores in NY and the bargains are too good to resist. I wish I had bought their stock years ago as well!
  • Posted on: 01/03/2020

    Which retailer will rule in 2020?

    I say Nordstrom for their bold moves into NYC the past few years. Time will tell as many analysts thought the Nordstrom family was crazy to open new department stores when so many like Barney's were closing up shop, but so far it seems to be working and I hope they make it a success. No risk, no reward.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2020

    Are return rates out of control?

    Yes, return rates are out of control and will get worse unless the industry makes it a little more painful for the consumer which many will shy away from doing. There will always be a market for goods that are returned and then resold at a fraction of the original cost, but those add up to bad business when you consider the amount of money lost. Perhaps the consumer needs to be reminded of the fact that 5 billion pounds of returns end up as waste in landfills each and every year. Like the reminders in hotel bathrooms to reuse your towels, maybe it will prompt consumers to think about this in unselfish terms.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2019

    Andy Dunn’s departure from Walmart indicative of a broader problem

    Unfortunately, this remains true in so many cases, and yes, I also have personal experience in this situation. Those who acquire and those that are acquired must find a balance between monitoring how things are going and being left alone to be able to do the things and take the risks that made you successful in the first place. Too many reporting layers and corporate BS tends to slow down innovation and vision.
  • Posted on: 12/12/2019

    Kroger and Walgreens are in a purchasing alliance and seeking more partners

    Good news for Kroger and Walgreens. Not so good for their suppliers. I understand that they need to partner to compete with Walmart which makes sense, but it will create challenges for suppliers to stay competitive.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2019

    One of the best Christmas commercials ever cost almost nothing to make

    The magic of kids/family, good music and a simple idea brings it home in this spot. It proves that you don't need expensive productions of reindeer with their noses lighting up in every expensive car commercial during the holidays. I think many people yearn for the days of being close to your family and talking about memories of when you were a kid with your own kids and grandkids. Kudos to the Jones family. They nailed it.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2019

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

    So well said Andrew, you summed this up perfectly!
  • Posted on: 12/06/2019

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

    Yes and no. Look at what the folks from Fixer Upper have accomplished with their Magnolia brand. It is local and national at the same time. They remain true to their brand while also creating a destination in Waco which was a place very few people wanted to visit before. Their look/brand seems to work in many diverse areas of the country. We had dinner with friends in one of the four restaurants that have opened inside of the brand new Nordstrom's women's store in NYC. The experience was unique, but the layout and the merchandise was also very unique. My point here is that what works in NYC may not work in Peoria. In fact, what works in NYC may not even work in Yonkers or White Plains or New Jersey. Politics are local and so is retail. Amaro has become very popular in NY. Try finding it in some liquor stores just outside of the metro area and the answer will be, "what's that?"
  • Posted on: 12/05/2019

    Will Kroger’s dark kitchens cook up something good?

    Seems like a winning idea and the shared facilities makes it more economical to operate. I think the time frame sounds somewhat unrealistic but if the delivery speed is close to the times that they tout, then more power to them. I think the challenge will be the plastic containers that all this food is delivered in. Yes some people recycle, but it will become an issue in the long run unless Kroger and others start to deal with the paper and plastic waste.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2019

    Do independent liquor stores need a rehab?

    As in most retail situations, it's all about the experience. A good independent wine and liquor retailer has the knowledge and expertise to recommend exactly what you may be looking for as well as the appropriate pairing with foods. One only need to visit Astor Wines in NYC to understand that there will always be a place for those that make the extra effort. Shoppers will reward you for it.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2019

    Why did Jet.com’s fresh delivery service go stale in NYC?

    NYC is a very difficult place to navigate and deliver on the promise of same-day or next-day fresh foods, especially fish. When you consider that the fish needed to be picked up in Manhattan then delivered to the Jet fulfillment center in the Bronx and then most likely delivered to customers back in Manhattan, it was a costly and time consuming endeavor no matter how you cut it. Construction, grid-locked intersections, street closures for parades and politicians, water main breaks, and street paving make it all the more difficult to deliver on the promise, and at some point you have to cut your losses. Perhaps this works well in suburban areas, although I bet the fish is not as good.
  • Posted on: 11/25/2019

    Private label foods need work

    Those retailers that are not focusing on private label are missing a great opportunity to make their stores more profitable but, more importantly, providing reasons why the customer looks to make their store a destination. It may only be for the chicken at Costco or the Gnocchi at Trader Joe's, but it may also be THE reason to shop there as opposed to a retailer that is not a player in private label. There's a reason why Costco sells their chickens for $4.99.

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