Gap, J. Crew, Hudson’s Bay and the Unrelenting Collapse of the Middle

It finally seems that most people have caught up to the fact that reports of retail’s death are greatly exaggerated. There is no retail apocalypse. Software is not eating retail. Brick-and-mortar stores are not going away. Traditional retailers are not all doomed. And Mexico is never paying for that wall.  In the United States it’s … Continue reading Gap, J. Crew, Hudson’s Bay and the Unrelenting Collapse of the Middle

The de-schlepping of retail

Millard "Mickey" Drexler, the former CEO of J. Crew Group and Gap, is many things. Shy and retiring is not among them. To be sure, Drexler's had his ups and downs, his victories and defeats. But he's always interesting. In my only conversation with him (by phone when I was a responsible for strategy and … Continue reading The de-schlepping of retail

Discount Nation and the sucker price

When was the last time you went to Macy's or Bed, Bath & Beyond or any furniture store and paid full-price?  Did you actually pay for shipping on any e-commerce purchases during the holiday? At most retailers, regular price is the sucker price. You only pay it out of desperation or ignorance. Walk through any … Continue reading Discount Nation and the sucker price

Defying gravity: The customer isn’t always right

GAP abandoned its new logo after just one week, caving into a sea of complaints on its Facebook page. Whatever you think of the new logo--I think it's pretty weak--or the way they handled the launch--in a word, poorly--the notion that customers get to vote on key strategy elements is fraught with danger. As someone … Continue reading Defying gravity: The customer isn’t always right

Prospects, Not Suspects

The notion that a smart sales and marketing strategy distinguishes between suspects--consumers who MIGHT turn out to become profitable customers--and prospects--consumers who are highly likely to turn into valuable clients--is an old idea. Great sales people possess this intuition.  Great marketers use customer insight, robust analytics and customer segmentation to do this more scientifically. If … Continue reading Prospects, Not Suspects