• "No Cash" Catching On

    In Sweden only 20% of all transactions in the country are conducted in cash, but in the United States? No such luck. We, as a nation, are still struggling with using the chip card machine, which was about 10 years overdue, and soon we will have to grapple...
  • Tip Pooling To Threaten Servers?

    Tipping for food service isn't unique to the United States, but overall, the practice of shifting most of the cost of labor onto the customer in the form of a "gratuity" (expected, but not mandatory) is something that most people around...
  • The Big Spenders of 2017

    Although the holiday buying season isn't yet finished, the bulk of the shopping has been done. And it looks like the economic gains of 2017 (combined with the fact that Americans are saving less than in previous years) have enabled the best Christmas...
  • Bringing You The Gas

    It was just a matter of time before direct-to-consumer delivery reached the fueling industry, and with the widespread adoption of apps among the buying public, it appears that consumers will soon have the ability to order up just about anything. Gasoline...
  • If You Build It, Will They Come?

    In the movie Field of Dreams, t he protagonist puts a baseball field in the middle of a corn field and attracts a bunch of ghosts to play one final game. The famous line "If you build it, they will come" seems especially appropriate when it...
  • Back To Books

    After a decade of trying to sell lots of items outside of the "books" category, Barnes and Noble has decided to "unclutter" its stores to make room for what it considers to be an excellent opportunity for future revenue growth. For...
  • Cobalt Looms As Electric Threat

    Raw materials. They are used in the products we buy, and when demand outstrips supply, they get to become very expensive. But most business-to-business goods are inelastic, and thus when the price goes up demand tends to stay the same. Let's take...
  • Shiploads From The Supply Side

    When we talk about marketing, it is almost always about companies that operate further downstream in the supply chain suchas retailers and branded product manufacturers.These are the cool companies to talk about since we see them every day. Indeed the...
  • Email Missing Mark

    Now that long lines at retail stores are becoming a thing of the past, one would think that holiday shoppers would be a much happier bunch, but smart marketers know that is always something for customers to complain about. And to a smart marketer, an...
  • Online Retailers Give Thanks

    Holiday spending is expected in increase by almost 5% this year, which is a rather robust rate, and this is certainly great news for retailers. But almost all of that growth is expected to be online, and so brick-and-mortar brands have been busily building...
  • 100 Years Of "Gift Dressing"

    What do World War One and Christmas have in common? Gift wrapping was invented back in 1917, but back then it was called " gift dressing", which actually makes a whole bunch of sense. Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards Inc., a brand that is still...
  • Short On X-Mas Trees

    Although the Great Recession has been over for many years now, some aftereffects can still be felt in certain industries. Let's take Christmas trees as an example. Apparently there is a shortage this year, but what does that have to do with the recession...
  • Amazon's Clicks and Bricks

    Amazon is ready for the holidays. And as it stands today, the company has been both naughty and nice. It has been naughty to its competitors who are finding it increasingly hard to compete and it has been nice to its consumers who can now shop Amazon...
  • Facebook's Facts

    Facebook and Google handle about 80% of the advertising that exists online, and this duopoly certainly isn't good news for online advertisers. And Facebook became even more dominant this year with a 79% leap in third quarter profit. That's quite...
  • Clubs Seek Gen X For Growth

    As the oldest Millennials settle into middle age, growth in the $24 billion "club" industry has begun to slow down. And while most clubs are focusing on the youngest Millennials and the emerging age cohort just now entering college, some savvy...
  • Coffee vs. Tea

    In previous posts, we have established that the market for coffee retailers is absolutely saturated and that smaller stores are now experiencing declines while even the growth rate at Starbucks has slowed considerably. But even when there are too many...
  • Coffee Crunch?

    A quick look around any downtown area will tell you that coffee retailers, led by the far-too-ubiquitous Starbucks, have saturated the market with their shops. To say this market isn't crowded is to ignore the fact that "specialty coffee"...
  • The Magic Age? 26

    For marketers, young shoppers have always been a coveted demographic, and since this generation is the largest in history, targeting and attracting those in their 20's and 30's has become the key to the survival of many brands. According to an...
  • No New Malls?

    The age of the enclosed regional mall has long been over with construction peaking in the late 1980's, a trend that began well before the age of e-commerce. This is not to say that they will disappear altogether, but only six large malls were built...
  • Save Less, Spend More...For Now

    Saving less and spending more appears to be the preferred state of being for the average U.S. consumer in 2017, and this could be a large reason why recent economic growth has been better than in recent years. Big ticket items like automobiles and household...
  • Bridge? Not a Sport

    In my Sports Marketing class, we often have a brief debate as to what and what should not constitute a "sport". To what degree should competition be a factor? If it is a factor then what about Jogging? Should physical exertion be a factor? How...
  • The Truth About Innovation: Part Three

    Continued From Part Two By now, the point of this three-part article should be abundantly clear. We in industry have overused the term “innovation”, and are therefore somewhat desensitized to technological and product developments. Consumers...
  • The Truth About Innovation: Part Two

    Continued from Part One Product Development is one of my favorite university courses to teach, and this important class we learn that there are three forms of innovation. A continuous innovation describes a new product that requires almost no change...
  • The Truth About Innovation: Part One

    Natural ingredients come from everywhere, and many of them have multiple applications that meet a broad assortment of consumer needs. Every year there are a handful of popular ingredients that dominate new product development, and each year the list changes...
  • Gucci Grabs Young Shoppers

    With all of the talk about how the vast majority of traditional brands are struggling mightily to resonate with a massive cohort of fickle young consumers, it's nice to see one of your grandmother's classic brands emerge as a winner in bridging...