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

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Retail Has the Highest Perception of Risk for Disruption From New Market Entrants

by Robert Hetu  |  June 4, 2018

As Amazon and Alibaba continue to gain market share in several geographies, retail’s existential threat is not going to wane. Other disruptive models are emerging such as the combination of insurance giant Aetna with CVS, and the planned merger of Asda and Sainsbury’s in the U.K. Target’s purchase of Shipt, and Walmart rising as the […]

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Gartner Features 9 Cool Vendors Serving Retail

by Robert Hetu  |  May 2, 2018

Now more than ever retailers must look outside of their normal sphere of technology vendors to find ways to differentiate their customer experience through cool vendors.  This year our retail team has split our cool vendor reporting into 3 different groups focused on critical needs in retail. Cool Vendors in Transforming Multichannel to Unified Retail Commerce, […]

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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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