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: 06/27/2022

    Kellogg thinks it makes more sense apart than together

    Kellogg will likely be successful with their snacking business but it's too early to understand the effect of spinning off their cereal business which is what most consumers think of when they think of Kellogg. No one has a crystal ball that can see what will happen to the cereal category but if I were a betting man, I would say the cereal category will bounce back, especially if prices start to come down. A family size box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes costs more than $9 at my local CVS!
  • Posted on: 06/20/2022

    Kroger CEO says customers are ‘rethinking their shopping’ habits

    Good quality private label will be the winners as well as Costco overall and their private label brands. Go to Costco on a weekend or even on a Tuesday to see for yourself how inflation has impacted shoppers.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2022

    Ultra-fast delivery may burn out or fade away

    Unless it is an emergency, there really is no need for 15-minute deliveries. In NYC it is causing chaos. Battery-powered delivery bikes are absolutely everywhere -- going diagonal across intersections, through red lights, on sidewalks, going the wrong way on bike lanes and on streets. Do we really want more and more people to be hurt and sometimes killed because you may be dying to eat Thai food tonight?
  • Posted on: 05/10/2022

    Is inflation the true cause of recent supermarket closures?

    This is one of the main reasons major retailers are increasingly focused on retail media. It may be one of the only ways to keep their heads above water and attempt to improve their margins. Retailers also need to negotiate better better prices with their suppliers, at least until inflation starts to level out. Another area of opportunity is to focus on their private label brands which some have been doing very successfully for some time. It's good for them and good for the consumer.
  • Posted on: 05/06/2022

    Will consumers go for Robomart and Unilever’s ‘new spin on the ice cream truck’?

    I can see this as an occasional treat but I doubt that this will replace a half gallon or pint in your freezer. Ice cream prices range widely depending on market and retailer - a half gallon of most brands costs less than $5 in many grocery stores so this novelty will co-exist with the regular weekly shopping trip where ice cream is generally included.
  • Posted on: 05/05/2022

    How should retail companies best navigate the abortion controversy?

    I have found that discussing politics in business is never a good idea, but how can businesses navigate this issue without speaking out? They are forced to jump in because it has such a direct effect on staff. Staff that most companies are desperately trying to hold on to. This issue has such profound consequences that we have not even scratched the surface of the consequences that will result. Businesses that are taking a stand to help their employees should be rewarded and appreciated.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2022

    Will ‘shrinkflation’ grow into a big problem for CPG brands?

    Not cool. I understand they want to keep prices where they are in many cases, but come on - a bag of plantains I purchased the other day for $6 was less than one-third full! Yes, it's NYC, but it was a small bag and I felt cheated and would never buy the brand again. When will manufacturers give consumers a break, at least until inflation starts to level out?
  • Posted on: 05/04/2022

    L.L.Bean is taking a month-long mental health break from social media

    I say kudos to L.L.Bean. We should all take a break from social media. We all know that so many aspects of social media are not healthy for anyone. The message here is very brand appropriate for L.L.Bean and will absolutely resonate well with their target customer base.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2022

    Will Amazon’s Pet Day take a bite out of Chewy?

    If anyone has a shot at competing with Amazon in the pet care category, it is Chewy. Service and support is at the heart of their strategy and should be the point of difference against Amazon. Amazon will continue to expand this category as it makes sense given the household penetration, but Chewy will keep up. Just like activewear in yesterday's discussion, the pet care category is big enough for the top players to compete and continue to grow the category.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2022

    Has Barnes & Noble turned the page?

    I love bookstores and am so glad that B&N is recovering nicely. My kids bought me a Kindle for my birthday and I love it but it does not replace the feel of holding a book and hopefully never will. The ability for managers to make their own decisions and that empower them to tailor their selections to local tastes makes total sense, just as it does for grocery and many other retailers. Publishers need to do more, however, to add the human touch to the experience in the way of author talks and other in-store experiences as was done before COVID-19. The time to take advantage of the pent-up demand is now!
  • Posted on: 04/12/2022

    Should dietitians patrol Kroger’s supermarket aisles?

    Why not? It's a great idea and one that delivers the right information at the moment of truth - in the grocery aisle. It also delivers a powerful message that the retailer truly cares about you, the shopper, and is using the data collected for a great purpose.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2022

    What are the hurdles to becoming data-driven?

    The hurdle is both cultural and technical. Many organizations think that BI tools can be used by all and for all use cases. The reality is that many struggle to use the typical BI tools like Tableau and Power BI. They are powerful tools in the hands of those that have been fully trained. They are not, however, for most employees and certainly not for all use cases. The culture changes more effectively when you provide the majority of the organization tools that are easy to use - that work with the skill sets most business users have and in a format that they feel comfortable using, to create data-driven content that can be used to make decisions without having to wait for the BI team to get to it. Our industry moves too fast to have to wait for another team to go through the data-to-insights process. You can indeed change the culture of the organization to be more data driven but you have to provide solutions that will be adopted by the majority of users in the organization instead of just a few. In other words, you need both the sophisticated BI tools and the ones that users are already comfortable with. Most business users have decent skill sets in PowerPoint and Excel, especially in CPG and retail. Provide an easy way to access the right data for each use case, and business user-friendly tools to prep the data for presentations and reports and you'll have an organization that is much more data savvy and more comfortable generating insights from the data. That will be the game changer, and it's been proven time and again.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2022

    When should a retailer work with Amazon Web Services?

    The most important criteria is service and support -- they are all on a pretty level playing field where some win some battles here and there, but the big three are certainly not going to let themselves fall too far behind each other. The spaghetti architecture comes when the applications running on the cloud are not compatible. A good application needs to be able to work with any of the big three for the best chance of success.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2022

    Did Howard Schultz make a wise course correction on his first day back at Starbucks?

    I recently attended the Food Marketing Conference at Western Michigan University and one of the keynote speakers was the CEO of Spartan Nash. He presented a very convincing argument on the importance of a "People First" strategy. The only way to be successful in business, especially now that employees have so many options, is to provide a workplace, whether face-to-face or virtually, is to treat your employees as your most valuable asset and that includes making them more important than even your shareholders.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2022

    Five Below’s merchandising ‘worlds’ make it ‘resilient’ during tough times

    My concern with the Five Below concept is that kids today are incredibly sophisticated and the low quality of most of their merchandise will have them yelling foul well before their teens.

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