Gartner Blog Network

Robert Hetu
Research Director
6 years at Gartner
29 years IT Industry

Bob Hetu is a Research Director with the Gartner Retail Industry Services team. His responsibilities involve tracking the technology markets and trends impacting the broad-based retail merchandising and planning areas. Mr. Hetu is an expert in the areas of brand, vendor and assortment management, merchandise planning, allocation, and replenishment. Read Full Bio

Past is Prologue for Digital Business in Retail

by Robert Hetu  |  April 2, 2018

A visit to Riordan Mansion, built in 1904 in Flagstaff, Arizona, reminded me that in retail what’s old is new again.  I am talking about home delivery.  As I entered the rear porch of the home there it was – a complex door system that had refrigerated and dry goods compartments. Delivery companies could then access […]

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2018 Gartner/RIS NEWS Retail Tech Survey is Out

by Robert Hetu  |  March 29, 2018

I have provided the executive summary here, the full report can be accessed by all through a link at the end of this blog. Not an apocalypse, but an evolutionary event In 2017, a healthy holiday season provided great relief for weary retailers. A strong economy lifted all, proving that traditional retail is not dead. […]

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Out Of Destruction Comes Opportunity

by Robert Hetu  |  March 15, 2018

Are you prepared to reap the benefits provided by the demise of Toys”R”Us (TRU)? It still held 13.6 percent of the toy market in 2016, and the spoils will go to those who move quickly enough to capture the consumer. Enough of the sad tales of childhood lost, I am not going to go there […]

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Walmart’s Freshness Algorithm; A Great Example of Algorithmic Retailing

by Robert Hetu  |  March 13, 2018

When I introduced the concept of algorithmic retailing two years ago my definition was simple. The application of big data through advanced analytics across an increasingly complex and detailed retail structure to deliver an efficient, flexible, yet unified customer experience. In a recent blog post, Walmart announced Eden, a solution that “leverages sophisticated technologies such […]

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A Retail CIO’s Role in Driving Digital Business Success

by Robert Hetu  |  March 9, 2018

In my latest research, 2018 CIO Agenda: A Retail CIO’s Role in Driving Digital Business Success, I found that culture is not only a business problem. The change readiness of the retail IT organization and CIO leadership of non-IT functions lag in our 2018 Gartner CIO Survey. Most retail CIOs have a seat at the table, […]

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The Right Disruptive Technologies Will Delight Customers

by Robert Hetu  |  February 28, 2018

Customers are using emerging technologies to transform the ways in which they interact with retailers. Retail CIOs must help the business understand how the convergence of these technologies can be used to deliver delightfully disruptive customer experiences.  My recent research highlights an approach for discovery that we call “delightfully disruptive”. What does a “delightfully disruptive” use […]

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Did Walmart Unintentionally Prove The Supremacy of Consistent Cross-Channel Pricing?

by Robert Hetu  |  February 22, 2018

Walmart’s rate of ecommerce sales growth dropped to just 23% in Q4 after achieving nearly 50% for the first 3 quarters of the year.  While it indicated that out of stocks due to operational issues were partially to blame, I believe that much of the blame falls on an attempt to raise online pricing.  In […]

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Transforming From Multichannel to Unified Retail Commerce

by Robert Hetu  |  January 18, 2018

Multichannel retailers face an existential crisis. Customers’ buying behaviors and lifestyle choices are changing. Competitive pressures from disruptive, pure-play e-commerce players and new physical retailing models are causing radical changes to antiquated business models, driving down prices and driving up costs. Gartner’s retail clients are rightfully concerned about how to accomplish the herculean task of […]

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Implementing Customer-Centric Merchandising and Marketing in Retail

by Robert Hetu  |  January 18, 2018

Merchandising and marketing are core retail processes where technology must be deployed to leverage advanced analytics, algorithms, intelligent automation services and artificial intelligence to enable unified retail commerce. Retailers of all types must facilitate a unified retail commerce experience by engaging in digital business transformation built on a foundational view of customer shopping processes including: […]

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Retail’s Cost Dilemma – Replacing All That Free Customer Labor

by Robert Hetu  |  January 11, 2018

If you don’t think robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent automation services (IAS) are going to impact retail labor consider this, as digital commerce grows so does the need to replace all that free labor and transportation. The new customer experience paradigm moves hours of customer time spent gathering products, and transporting them home, from […]

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