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Happy Holidays From VIPER

Happy Holidays from VIPER

From Johnny Custer, Chief Operating Officer


4 minute read


On behalf of the VIPER team and Board of Advisors, I want to thank our clients for your business and our partners for your collaboration. To our chairman and majority shareholder, Jeffrey Bogatin, thank you for your guidance and support. To the VIPER team, thank you for your commitment and ingenuity.

In 2021, VIPER’s proprietary data analytics and Machine Learning solutions have enabled national and global retailers to increase margin and profitability. We have added new client accounts, new retail verticals and new technology solutions.

“You are only as good as the company you keep.” I am honored to partner with an elite cadre of advisors who are board directors, CEOs and C-suite executives of pre-eminent retail companies. Along with the VIPER team, our Advisors help our clients bolster profitability and stay on top of macro and consumer trends. I am continuously learning from our Advisors on enterprise acceleration, and wish to share the gift of their wise insights.

ANTONIO COTO GUTIÉRREZ: To accelerate profit, a retailer must relentlessly detect profit leakages and operating inefficiencies, then take actions to eliminate productivity drains. Assess every function and touchpoint – all physical selling locations down to the store personnel level, digital selling channel, product SKUs, fulfillment and logistics functions, vendors and external partners. Such a comprehensive audit requires state-of-the-art data science combined with operating experience. This is exactly the value-add of VIPER’s Rapid Assessment solution. In just three months, with scaled data analytics and proprietary machine learning, VIPER can accurately pinpoint profit seepages and establish a commercially viable blueprint for profit improvement.

DIANE ELLIS: Having seen VIPER Rapid Assessment in action, I, too, am impressed. VIPER further helps retailers optimize inventory and in-store merchandising portfolio, and minimize out-of-stock. As we know, out-of-stock results in lost sales, margin reduction (caused by costly expedited inventory replenishment), shopper defection and tarnished brand reputation. Leveraging VIPER, retailers can track real-time consumer demand by SKU and selling channel. Review sales turnover against inventory in-store and in fulfillment locations and warehouses. Then act on VIPER’s pragmatic recommendations on how to optimize inventory of most productive SKUs and rationalize inventory of unproductive ones.

ACG: To implement what Diane described as the “track-review-act cadence” – real time, across multiple functions and at hyper-local level is a monumental task for most retailers with resource constraint. It is a no-brainer to outsource the task to VIPER which offers a powerful data analytics engine and machine learning prediction. Another no-brainer is to rely on VIPER to identify and eliminate root causes depleting the retailers’ penny profit. As a former CEO of global retailers, I know how the criticality of maximizing penny profit for retailers, especially the grocery trade.

MATTHEW GUTERMUTH: In the “want it now” economy, retailers are racing to fulfill orders not just same day but within thirty minutes. Many retailers contract third-party providers to fulfill and deliver their orders. Unfortunately, with outsourcing, retailers relinquish control of the customer experience and critical shopper data.  For sustained success, retailers must combine now with wow. In the immediate term, control/co-own the shopper data, merchandising and customer experience with third-party platforms like Instacart. In the medium term, invest in their native digital and fulfillment platforms.

MONICA WOO: Now with wow. It’s a balancing act, isn’t it? Another balancing act is to innovate profitably. This is so much new technology to consider, including automation, Artificial Intelligence, metaverse and more. Plus, the priority of selling via digital and omnichannel increases costs and reduces margin. Now, more than ever before, retailers need to increase penny profit and bolster liquidity in order to invest in innovations for long-term success. That’s why, even America’s most profitable retailer rely on VIPER to maximize revenue flow-through to the bottom line.

JOHNNY CUSTER: I am inspired by how VIPER’s clients relentlessly grow profit, sales and customer base every day. Our clients practice the win-win principle. They treat their associates with respect and improve hourly wage and benefits. They solve supply chain issues by collaborating with manufacturers and logistics providers.

Like our clients, the VIPER team embraces the win-win philosophy. Not only does VIPER amplify retailers’ profit, but also, guarantee $1 million in Profit Improvement. VIPER will deliver a minimum of $1 million in profit increase or pay the difference. When our clients win, we win!

Happy Sales and Profit! Happy Holidays!


Antonio Coto Gutiérrez was the CEO of Dia Group and led Dia to become a leading grocery chain in Argentina and Brazil. Previously, he served on the international management committees of Promodes and Carrefour. He is a business advisor and board member of listed and private companies, and is on University of Miami’s LACI Advisory Board. Antonio is a VIPER EA LLC Executive Board Advisor.


Johnny Custer, Chief Operating Officer of VIPER EA LLC, has extensive retail operations leadership experience and deep expertise in profit optimization and predictive analytics. A retail trend influencer, Johnny has been featured by Adweek, CNN, Fox News, New York Daily News, and NBC’s “The Today Show”.


Diane Ellis is a board director and CEO of DME Advisory Group LLC. She is a board member of iAnthus Capital LLC. Previously, she was Brand President of Chico’s at Chico’s FAS, Inc., CEO of The Limited, and President/COO of Brooks Brothers. Diane is a VIPER EA LLC Executive Board Advisor.


Matthew Gutermuth is the CEO of iControl Data Solutions, as well as Chairman of the Board at GroceryKey and TendedBar. Previously, he was President/CEO of and was a member of Winn-Dixie’s executive team who achieved their turnaround (2008-2012). Matt is a VIPER EA LLC Executive Board Advisor.


Monica Woo is the CEO of WooWorks, which propels growth, advises and invests in digital commerce, Artificial Intelligence and retail companies. Previously, she was President of and Bacardi Global Brands, and was FreshDirect’s (Ahold Delhaize) Chief Revenue & Strategy Officer. Monica is a VIPER EA LLC Executive Board Advisor.

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VIPER has created a proven, proprietary Enterprise Acceleration (EA) methodology - which gathers data from throughout the retailer client’s enterprise; then feeds this data into our NV® AI system, leveraging Machine Learning to identify leading performance indicators and predictive models. These models isolate and quantify systemic problems, operational deficiencies, breakdowns in training, and/or execution failures which lead to gaps between business expectations and actual outcomes. Throughout the engagement, VIPER does the heavy lifting; partnering with the client throughout the engagement to determine the root causes of these issues, and to implement best practice solutions. The result is a return of 1%-3% of yearly revenue delivered to bottom line of the P&L.  VIPER’s profit improvements are measurable and isolatable from other company initiatives.

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