For someone who is new to the retail and eCommerce landscape, it is essential to pay attention to the leading experts in the industry. Personally, I follow many different experts who help me gain a better understanding of the industry and stay up-to-date with the latest news. This is why I want to share the following list with you, which includes US-based retail and eCommerce experts that you’ll need to keep an eye out for in 2024 and beyond.
Shelley E. Kohan
Having been recognized as one of the Top 100 Global Retail Influencers various times, Shelley E. Kohan is a senior retail executive and consultant with more than 25 years of success in the retail industry. She has spoken about her expertise at various retail conferences, such as NRF Retail’s Big Show, RIS Retail Executive Summit, and WWD Digital. Shelley has been featured in various newspapers and magazines, including the Washington Post, Reuters, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, and more. Moreover, she is an associate professor for the Fashion Institute of Technology at the State University of New York and an adjunct instructor at Syracuse University in Whitman School of Management. Her courses focus on retail management, marketing strategies, leadership development, analytics and insights, store operations, and fashion business practices.
Nicole Leinbach is the founder of Retail Minded and the co-founder of the Independent Retailer Conference. Their work focuses on independent retailers, small businesses, technology, and how various touchpoints of commerce affect modern merchants. Nicole has contributed to several reputable media outlets like The Today Show, Forbes, and Entrepreneur.com, in addition to numerous B2B publications.
With an MBA from Harvard University and a BA from Tufts University, Steve Dennis is a recognized keynote speaker, strategic advisor, and bestselling author of “Remarkable Retail,” which concentrates on growth, innovation, and the impact of digital disruption. He is the president and founder of SageBerry Consulting, a retail, fashion, and luxury business consultancy firm. Steve’s opinions on the future of shopping and consumer behavior have been featured in the top-rated Remarkable Retail podcast and Forbes.
Ricardo Belmar is a marketing strategist and digital transformation specialist who currently works at Microsoft as the Director Partner Marketing Advisor for Retail & Consumer Goods. He has been recognized as a top retail industry influencer by RETHINK Retail and RIS News. He founded Retail Razor and hosts The Retail Razor Show Podcast to advise retail tech organizations on marketing strategies and omnichannel customer experience. Ricardo has been named Social Media Mayor by RIS News four times during past retail conferences. Additionally, he contributes to Retail Customer Experience, Mobile Payments Today, and The Robin Report.
Matthew Shay is the president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association. He is a key industry leader that frames the narrative of the current condition of retail and the future trends; including the digital revolution and the multichannel future. Shay is also a frequent guest on CNBC, Fox Business Network, and Bloomberg Television.
Anne Mezzenga has over 20 years of experience in the retail, marketing, and experience design industries and has been recognized as one of the top 100 retail influencers in 2022. She is the co-CEO of Omni Talk, a fast-growing blog in retail. Hosting popular retail podcasts like Omni Talk Fast Five and the Omni Talk Spotlight Series to provide commentary on the future of retail and current trends.
Chris Walton is a leading expert and influencer in omnichannel retail with over 20 years of success in the retail and retail technologies industries. He is the co-CEO of Omni Talk, together with Anne Mezzenga. He is also a regular keynote speaker and a senior contributor for Forbes. Chris has high-level executive experience in the retail sector. He previously worked at Target as the leader of the Store of the Future project and as the Vice President of Merchandising for Home Furnishings on target.com.
As a top retail influencer, Carol Spieckerman launched Spieckerman Retail in 2000 in order to help increase retail thought leadership. Some of her areas of expertise particularly involve retail positioning, retail targeting strategy, and retail content and thought leadership. Carol’s thought leadership has been featured in business publications such as Reuters, Forbes, Marketwatch, Grocery Dive, Business Insider, Retail Wire, RethinkRetail, and in her podcast, Spieckerman Speaks Retail.
Neil Saunders is the managing director of GlobalData Retail, a retail research agency and consulting firm that focuses on all aspects of retail and consumer behavior. Neil helps retailers understand the retail and shopper landscape, make informed decisions, and be prepared for the future of retail.
Hana Ben-Shabat is the founder of the Gen Z Planet, which helps business leaders be prepared for the next generation and better understand Gen Z behaviors. Hana is also the author of the book Gen Z 360: Preparing for the Inevitable Change in Culture, Work and Commerce. The guide is about understanding the next generation of content creators, employees, and consumers.
Michael Zakkour is the founder of 5 New Digital, a consulting organization that advises clients on the “5 New” things: New Retail, New Technology, New Finance, New Supply Chain, and New Consumption. Michael provided research, strategy, and execution services on retail evolution, B2C, D2C, B2B digital commerce, and eCommerce. Michael is also the author of two Amazon bestsellers: China’s Super Consumers and The New Retail Revolution.
Michelle Evans is the Global Lead of Retail and Digital Consumer Insights at Euromonitor International, where they provide actionable insights into where and how consumers shop, along with insights on the evolving path to purchase. Michelle is also a retail contributor at Forbes and writes about how disruptive technologies are reshaping global commerce. They have been named one of the top retail influencers by RETHINK Retail three consecutive times.
Ron Thurston hosts the Retail in America Podcast and is the bestselling author of Retail Pride, an indispensable guide for every retail employee. As the host of Retail in America, Ron travels across the US to reveal retail success stories and the people behind them. He has extensive experience leading retail operations behind prominent American brands. Finally, he is on advisory boards for emerging retail technology brands such as Reflex Careers and IMMERSS.
Jason Goldberg is the chief commerce strategy officer at Publicis and chief strategist at Retailgeek Consulting, where he focuses on in-store and mobile shopping experiences. Jason is a regular contributor to Forbes and hosts a popular podcast, Jason & Scott Show, to help people keep up with the latest news and trends on eCommerce and digital shopper marketing. He is also on National Retail Federation’s list of people shaping the future of retail.
Devin Parker is the president and the head of retail summits at IC Summits. She brings retailers, brands, and decision-makers together at Retail Summits to discuss successful eCommerce strategies.
James (Jamie) Tenser
James Tenser is the president of VSN Media, a strategic consulting agency that delivers B2B content management, go-to-market strategies, and extensive research for the retail industry and technology providers. Some of his areas of expertise include retail technology, mobile marketing, shopper marketing, shopper media, and customer behavior. James has also contributed to over 2,000 published commentary and video reports on Retail Wire, a premier online discussion forum for retailing.
Bryan Gildenberg is the founder and CEO of Confluencer Commerce, a consulting service that is dedicated to helping brands and retailers navigate the confluence of retail, media, and content. He has over 20 years of experience in understanding the changing global retail landscape.
Julia Hare is the co-founder and editor of RETHINK Industries. She interviews retail executives, academics, and thought leaders to deliver the latest retail insights to professionals in this field. Julia mainly focuses on marketing management, building connections with others, analytics, and research, with a core focus on the retail industry. She is also the host of the award-winning RETHINK Retail podcast.
Mert Damlapinar has executive experience in various eCommerce-focused companies. He is currently the principal at EPAM Systems. He focuses on building high-performing eCommerce teams, integrated omnichannel marketing, and analytics with experience in the CPG and FMCG industries. Mert has written about retail media, social commerce, and the future of eCommerce Linkedin.
Paula Rosenblum is the managing partner and the co-founder of Retail Systems Research, which provides market intelligence on retailers’ adoption of technology. She is an established retail expert with a pragmatic approach to retail. Before she co-founded RSR, Paula worked at AMR, and initiated the retail search practices at RSAG and Aberdeen Group. She spent 20 years as a retail technology executive prior to her role at AMR Research. Paula also writes a blog about the retail industry for Forbes.
Rick Watson is the CEO and founder of RMW Commerce Consulting. He has over 20 years of experience as a technology entrepreneur and operator, exclusively in the eCommerce industry. Rick also hosts a podcast, The Watson Weekly, where he shares unbiased expert opinions on retail’s biggest news and players.
Priyank Sharma is a partner at Enalito and has previously worked with clients in technology, direct selling, and omnichannel customer service. He adopts a customer-centric approach and believes that creating a unique, high-quality shopping experience can be just as important as retaining customers.
Jon Ivanco is the co-founder of Boon Road and Formtoro. They help eCommerce brands understand the difference between customer and company journeys. Jon focuses on changing the future of eCommerce through quantitative and qualitative data.
Zia Daniell Wigder
Zia Daniell Wigder is the chief content officer at Insider Intelligence, where they oversee the company’s research team, providing insights about global digital trends in retail, eCommerce, advertising, and marketing. Prior to joining Insider Intelligence, Zia spent 7 years at Forrester Research managing omnichannel retail and global eCommerce research. Zia was also the chief global content officer at Shoptalk, overseeing and building their content team.
Carolyn McCall has over 30 years of experience in Specialty Retail & Global Lifestyle Brands, both in the USA & Europe. Her work mainly focuses on creating and executing product & business strategies for specialty retailers and lifestyle brands. She is the founder and CEO of McCall Brand Advisors, an advisory firm helping retailers grow and develop omnichannel strategic plans. Some of Carolyn’s specialties include merchandising, consumer & product market trends, sustainability, product lifecycle, and brand marketing.
*For the names I listed here, I used their preferred pronouns if they mentioned these in their social media profiles. If this information is not available, I preferred to continue with the gender-neutral singular "they" in order not to assign gender identities. You can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to make any changes.