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

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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Amazon Derangement Syndrome And The End of Retail

by Robert Hetu  |  January 5, 2018

The retail apocalypse is so overblown by the media and analysts my head wants to explode.  Lazy articles from CNBC and other news outlets clump together store closings from long dying retailers like Sears and Kmart with those announced by Macy’s.  I have many concerns about Macy’s but there is no connection between these companies […]

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Product is No Longer King

by Robert Hetu  |  January 3, 2018

The old saying “product is king” is no longer true for retail. Experience is king, and product is a critical component of experience, but consumers increasingly determine the value provided by the associated experience. This is seen by the transition toward click and collect, home delivery, autoreplenishment, in-store entertainment and the growing use of subscription […]

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Will People or Machines Rule Algorithmic Retailing?

by Robert Hetu  |  January 2, 2018

Business leaders are understandably overwhelmed by artificial intelligence due to its complexity and disruptive workplace implications. My latest research “Will People or Machines Rule Algorithmic Retailing?” explores the topic in a practical way, building framework for retail CIOs to enable active leadership in setting the course for this critical technology as part of an overall retail digital […]

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Leveraging the Retail Associate as a Platform for Digital Transformation

by Robert Hetu  |  December 4, 2017

Retail CIOs’ digital business transformation objectives must include development of associates’ digital dexterity to increase their engagement. This is necessary to create a digital workplace in which associates can create successful customer experiences, leading to long-term growth and stability. In her recent research Industry Vision: Leveraging the Retail Associate as a Platform for In-Store Transformation, Gartner […]

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Advanced analytics are critical for modern and effective retail assortment planning

by Robert Hetu  |  December 1, 2017

Having just completed publication of the 2017 Critical Capabilities For Retail Assortment Management Applications it’s a great time to reinforce the importance of using new advanced analytic capabilities. Advanced analytics and big data from sources like the Internet of Things (IoT) are enablers of customer-centric assortments as well as effective category planning and management. This […]

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