• "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...
  • 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"...
  • Making Lidl Progress

    There was much fanfare when the German grocery giant entered the U.S. market, opening a headquarters in Virginia and challenging long-held turf in that state, Georgia, Delaware, and the Carolinas. The plan is to gain a nice following and expand outward...
  • New Owner, Old Prices?

    Much has been written of late about the lack of progress Whole Foods has made thus far in its efforts to lower prices, but this writing has been penned primarily by journalists rather than professional marketers, the latter of whom must understand that...
  • Natural Pricing's New Paradigm: Part Three

    (Continued from Part One) In short, the lazy days of pricing in the natural products industry are probably on the wane. Just as marketers had to step up their collective game in the 1990’s to make products more palatable to a market that was rapidly...
  • Natural Pricing's New Paradigm: Part Two

    (Continued from Part One) The fact that they all begin with the letter “C” makes them easier to remember as a framework for pricing strategy, but although easy to remember, "The Five C’s of Pricing" are nonetheless challenging...
  • Natural Pricing's New Paradigm: Part One

    Over the past 50 years, marketers of natural and organic products up and down the supply chain have enjoyed a distinct luxury that most marketers only dream of -- a constantly expanding market consisting of consumers who are willing to pay a premium for...
  • Toys "R" Bust?

    Long-ago, Toys "R" Us joined the ever-growing list of retailers struggling against the forces of Wal-Mart and Amazon, unable to beat prices and losing relevance to an increasingly fickle culture. Once a mainstay of the national retail scene...
  • One Thousand For A "Ten"

    The Apple Marketing Machine is in full swing with the announcement that a new iteration of the iPhone is pending. Just when it will be released is still a bit of a mystery, but it will indeed be released eventually, and to much media attention, both social...
  • Hold the Guacamole?

    While a significant part of the U.S. grapples with the widespread consumer panic, crop destruction, and supply chain disruption caused by multiple events in the natural environment, it is an appropriate time to remind marketers of the role that changes...
  • The Sushi-Style Burrito

    In a new product development twist we would expect from the always-creative marketers at Taco Bell, coffee drink-retailer Starbucks has decided introduce a food-fusion product that is part burrito and part sushi. If you are confused as to why they would...
  • A River Runs Through It

    Apparently Amazon's proposed acquisition of Whole Foods Markets will face no opposition from the Federal Trade Commission, and so the deal will close on Monday. In earlier posts we have explored many reasons for this interesting acquisition, the biggest...
  • Overtaxed in Philly

    Over the past six-plus years, this column has warned repeatedly against the practice of over-taxing a good or service, because as something becomes more expensive, people tend to use less of it, ultimately turning to substitutes or forgoing the product...
  • A Lesson in Pricing

    There aren't too many iron-clad rules in economics, but indeed there are a few, and one of them concerns pricing. In regards to products that are considered "elastic", an increase in the price of a product results in lowered demand for the...
  • The True Cost of a Room

    By now, those of us who don't fly Southwest Airlines have become accustomed to the "a la cart" model of pricing, one that a formerly unprofitable airline industry has been successfully implementing for the past decade. Indeed Southwest stands...
  • A New Naming Rights Revolution

    The price of attaching a brand name to a major spectator sport facility just keeps on rising. This isn't exactly big news to the average sports fan, but even the most casual observer is probably aware that stadiums and arenas are fetching sums that...
  • Getting What You Pay For

    I am about to embark on a 10 day trip, and I'm always reminded of how tempting it is to purchase tickets from one of the low-cost carriers like Frontier or Spirit. But I remind myself of the old adage that involves getting what you pay for. In other...
  • Need More Blades? Shoot Us A Text

    2017 might be remembered as the year that branded product manufacturers finally unshackled themselves from the retailers that have been bullying them for so long. You see, it is the retailer that holds the lion's share of power in the vast majority...
  • Electric Dreams: Part Two

    There has been so much hype in the media lately about electric vehicles, one would think that there has been some sort of new innovation to bring the cost of these vehicles down far enough to become marketable without heavily government intervention....
  • The Mighty Amazon

    Last week, Amazon purchased Whole Foods Markets, a pioneering, upscale natural products retailer that has been under pressure to regain it's mojo. But, having failed to reverse its downward trend in the allotted period of time, Whole Foods and its...
  • German Retailer Invades America

    The Germans are coming! Indeed there is a nefarious plan to seize territory here in the U.S. by a rather large German discount grocer in an attempt to hone in on market share seized by Wal-Mart through decades of excellent marketing and hard-nosed business...
  • Balking at Better Burgers

    Just as our collective appetite for sit-down lunches has peaked, apparently so too has our appetite for pricey burgers. With price points reaching $13 and beyond, the basic burger has been over-engineered to the point where costs have exceeded benefits...
  • The "Best" Turnaround

    Just a few years back, smart phone-enabled consumers invented a practice called "show-rooming", wherein items are viewed, sampled, and sometimes questions asked of store personnel in places like Best Buy; but the consumer then proceeds to purchase...