Gartner Blog Network

Robert Hetu
VP, Analyst Retail
7 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

Walmart Drops Savings Catcher, Really?

by Robert Hetu  |  March 18, 2019

Walmart has been getting a lot of credit from me lately for some really smart decisions. Then they do this?  I am trying hard to figure out the motivation behind ending Savings Catcher, but it seems so out of touch. Small refunds may seem like they have negligible impact, but for many consumers these represent […]

Read more »

Amazon Dash Was Marketing Genius

by Robert Hetu  |  March 1, 2019

Amazon announced that it is discontinuing Amazon Dash after four years. Reading a few articles on this today that seem to imply this is some kind of failure. What was the purpose of Amazon Dash? When Amazon Dash launched, the intent was clear to me.  In a blog from April 2015, Target and Amazon: Scarcity, Innovation […]

Read more »

When Digital Business Strategies Go Wrong, Go Back To Basics

by Robert Hetu  |  February 27, 2019

Recent visits to three different AMC movie theaters highlighted for me a clear success factor for building a great digital business strategy. Customers must be the primary beneficiaries of digital business strategies, certainly before the organization attempts to reap substantive benefits. The single most important aspect of a digital business strategy must be to enhance […]

Read more »

Walmart, The Empire Strikes Back Through Unified Retail Commerce

by Robert Hetu  |  February 23, 2019

Walmart may have been a sleeping giant, but it finally woke up. Its reported 4Q18 sales revenue was $138.8B with 4.3% comp store sales growth, and 43% ecommerce growth.  By embracing its core strengths, investing in its stores and people, Walmart added new services and technologies that demonstrate the power of unified retail commerce. In […]

Read more »

Retail Digital Investments Pay Off

by Robert Hetu  |  November 27, 2018

The improving economy, low unemployment, tax cuts and lower gas prices finally proved that there is not a retail apocalypse. Pent up demand is driving a great start to the holiday shopping period. According to Adobe Analytics on Thanksgiving Day, shoppers spend $3.7 billion online and on Black Friday, shoppers spent $6.2 billion. Cyber Monday […]

Read more »

Is Technology Winning Retail Customers?

by Robert Hetu  |  November 14, 2018

In a NYC neighborhood becoming synonymous with experimental retail installations, Soho provides a living laboratory for observation of human shopping behavior. During my recent visit, UNIQLO was a clear winner, sporting lines of shoppers making purchases from a store that had very little in the way of overt technology on display. While nearby two different H&M storefronts were […]

Read more »

Amazon’s 4-Star Store a 1-Star Experience

by Robert Hetu  |  November 13, 2018

Much has been written about the merchandising, or lack thereof in Amazon’s 4-Star stores, but my visit to it’s Spring Street location in NYC was disappointing. Curiosity was clearly the driver for customers, and to be fair its interesting to see what locals are purchasing. However that is where the interesting part ends. The store does nothing […]

Read more »

RPA as Part of a Retail Automation Strategy

by Robert Hetu  |  August 22, 2018

Robotic process automation (RPA) can help automate existing manual processes, but is only a step on the path toward transformational automation and algorithmic retailing. For modern retail, speed kills or, more accurately, the lack of speed in decision making is deadly for the business. Simultaneously, the need to use more data, and make more detailed […]

Read more »

Without Advanced Behavioral Segmentation Retailers Will Fail

by Robert Hetu  |  August 2, 2018

Providing every existing or potential customer with one view of the retailer, where the customer has a consistently good experience in and among the retailer’s physical and digital channels, is foundational for success in unified retail commerce. However, doing so within the context of digital business means delivering consistently excellent operations in each channel, as […]

Read more »

Retail Pricing In Stores Must Become Real Time

by Robert Hetu  |  June 21, 2018

Retailers, particularly those with stores, face a difficult challenge in supporting consistent pricing across all channels, since digital commerce pricing can be easily changed multiple times per week, day or hour. In contrast, changing in-store pricing of products during the sales day can cause considerable confusion and frustration for customers and associates. Keeping the price […]

Read more »