Harvard Business Review

A CEO’s Guide to Managing Strategic Decisions
January 4, 2017 at 4:54 pm

As the leaders of organizations, chief executives wear many hats — influencer, inspirer, consultant, arbiter, among many others. Perhaps none is more important than strategic decision maker. When tough decisions need to be made, the CEO is ultimately the person making the call — and the one who gets the glory or blame depending on…

Getting In-Store Labor Just Right: What Retailers and Goldilocks Have in Common
February 10, 2014

When store labor is heavy, payroll expenses go up and operations run hot. When store labor is light, conversions go down and operations run cold. However, when store labor is perfectly aligned with defined plans, then operations run just right. And when operations run just right, consumers receive the right amount of help from store associates, conversions go up, important tasks are completed on time, margins improve and everyone wins.

Employ Big Data to Make the Holiday Retail Season Merry and Bright
November 26, 2013

While leveraging big data by using software, apps and point-of-sale technology can help retailers handle everything from holiday hiring to inventory management in the days leading up to and following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, one of the most useful applications for big data technology this holiday season is in countering showrooming, a phenomenon that's been on every brick-and-mortar retailer's mind as they make preparations for their busiest season of the year.

Pinterest Drives ‘Reverse Showrooming’ Phenomenon, Where Shoppers Browse Online But Buy In-Store
September 17, 2013

Pinterest, and specifically the act of "pinning," is driving people into stores and influencing purchase decisions. Recent data distributed by Vision Critical and highlighted in the Harvard Business Review found that 21 percent of Pinterest users had bought an item in a store after pinning, repinning or liking the item on the site. Vision Critical describes this as part of a wider phenomenon it calls "reverse showrooming," in which consumers search or browse products online and then enter the physical shop to make a final purchase.

Steps to Developing an Omnichannel Retail Business
October 10, 2012

The growth of online/mobile information and commerce has many retailers finding challenges when maintaining a physical presence. The in-store experience is still an integral part of the buying process however, and is one of the most important elements in a customer engagement strategy. Success requires brands to embrace various channels — both high-tech and no-tech — as part of what's commonly referred to as an omnichannel experience.

Nordstrom Rack Boasts Most Successful Groupon Ever
July 1, 2011

Ever wonder what Groupon’s all-time, best-selling promotion was? Research conducted shows that the most successful Groupon ever was a voucher offering “$25 for $50 worth of shoes, apparel, and more at Nordstrom Rack.”

How to Get Uncommonly Loyal Customers
June 1, 2011

A report by Forrester Research titled Customer Experience Boosts Revenue shows a strong correlation between customer experience and three keys to loyal behavior: intent to buy again, reluctance to switch and likelihood to recommend. The fundamental idea here is that as a customer's relationship with a company deepens and extends, profits increase — and not just by a little. 

Beyond a USP: The Secrets to Competitive Advantage
July 22, 2008

The concept of competitive advantage has evolved over the past 60 years. Some companies have attempted to apply advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves’ concept of the unique selling proposition (USP) as a way to maintain competitive advantage in their markets. Reeves’ brilliant conception of the USP was simple: “Buy this product, get this specific benefit.” It remains a powerful technique for marketing individual products. However, when applied to an entire company, it has an inherent weakness. I discussed this concept during a session I led at the recent MeritDirect Business Mailer’s Co-op in White Plains, N.Y. When FedEx began overnight delivery to all 50 states

J. Peterman Redux
January 1, 2002

This month, we begin a new column devoted to introducing you to your colleagues in cataloging. Enjoy! Who did not love J. Peterman’s catalogs—dubbed “Owner’s Manuals”—and his wonderfully wafty copy that turned every SKU into an award-winning short story? But in the late 1990s, Peterman lived every cataloger’s worst nightmare: investors squeezing him to grow and be profitable, forcing him to spend his time chasing capital rather than chasing great product and making deals. In the end, he tried to open 70 retail stores, succeeded in opening 10, but then went bust, turning over the detritus of a magnificent dream to a