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.

  • 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’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.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Kroger brings the farm closer to the table

    At first glance, this seems like a good idea as good quality produce is the reason shoppers will make a farmer's market a destination on a Saturday as opposed to completing their weekly shopping at the grocery store. The issue here is that if retailers like Kroger and others start to adopt in-store produce operations, what happens to the local farmers who are currently supplying retailers? Their situation is already very fragile. Could in-store produce operations be the trend that threatens the local small farmer even more and could it possibly be the end of the small local farmer?
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Will a hack ruin Macy’s Christmas?

    Unfortunately this is a reality of online commerce. It is also a reality that it is the responsibility of the merchant to make sure that their systems remain safe at all times. That this has happened again at Macy's is proof that either not enough was done to prevent this from happening again or that, no matter what is done, it seems it is never enough to keep one step ahead of the bad people that want to do harm to Macy's. Macy's and all merchants need to do more but cybersecurity is a moving target and it will always be very challenging to stop this 100 percent of the time.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2019

    What will happen now that Five Below has gone above $5?

    It is not realistic for shoppers, even those that are die-hard bargain hunters, to expect that tech and electronics/toys can be below $5. The fact that they are trying to keep these to below $10 should be a price point that will be palatable for most. No retailer can absorb the higher cost on all items, all the time.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    Is the environment Amazon’s Achilles heel or opportunity?

    Amazon must put its deep pockets to work to solve this problem. If it does not, we, the shoppers, must take action and stop using Amazon. If we do not, then all the talk about saving our planet for our children and grandchildren is just plain B.S. Do we really want to put convenience over our health and the health of the planet?
  • Posted on: 11/14/2019

    Shoptalk makes a statement with a conference featuring only women speakers

    I think this is great and smart of Shoptalk to do this. I don't necessarily agree that it is the "right thing to do" to "balance" what was traditionally done in the past, namely mostly men speaking. It is the right thing to do because it is good for business. Women in my humble opinion are just as, if not more, qualified to be in senior positions in our industry and it's about time the industry realizes this.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2019

    Kroger to make fresh marketing start with a new logo, tagline and ‘Krojis’

    This allows Kroger to maintain its leadership position in grocery and with its commitment to using data analytics to stay close to its shoppers. It is my hope that Kroger will lead other progressive grocers to understand ways in which to stay aggressive and thrive as the channel competes with Amazon.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2019

    Food halls drive mall traffic, not clothing sales

    It was the point I wanted to make before being called into a meeting this morning. What if malls were designed to be more open - meaning you walk through the store to get to the food court? It has to be open and free flowing in order to be more engaging. Think outside the box, or should I say outside the four walls.

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