Anne Howe

Principal, Anne Howe Associates
Anne Howe has recently returned to independent consulting work through Anne Howe Associates, which she formed in 2010. Her focus will be on applying the principles of human influence in the retail and shopper marketplace.

Howe has many years of marketing and management experience ranging across diverse business sectors, including Retail, CPG, Home, Apparel, Appliances and service industries across north America. She has been a bold, industry-involved leader in retail and shopper marketing, serving on groups, panels and commissions to further the discipline with a keen eye on enhancing the shopper experience. She is a member of the Path to Purchase Institute and has been a co-chair of its annual Expo event.

Anne's overall business experience includes two years of consulting for and two subsequent  years as SVP for Acosta Mosaic Group, the marketing services division of Acosta Sales & Marketing, and 18 years as an executive at The MARS Agency. She also served as Regional VP of Sales for Hanes Hosiery, directed a retail-focused public relations firm and spent time in sales/marketing management with Hilton Hotels Corporation.
Among her many career highlights:

Introduction of storied brands such as Wonderbra, Barely There Intimates, Champion Underwear, Levi Signature, Whirlpool Duet and Clorox Green Works into the US retail marketplace.

See Anne's blog:
  • Posted on: 10/19/2017

    E-commerce chief expects Walmart to ‘crush it’ over next two years

    I'm always impressed by Walmart for its ability to invest in trying and its willingness to fail. I think Mr. Lore is wise to stay out in front of voice tech because it's so natural for consumers to ask for what they want. If Walmart can deliver, they will remain a solid player in retail for years to come.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2017

    Consumers don’t trust what CEOs are saying

    As humans, we are hardwired to identify with, and therefore trust, people that we perceive to be "like us." CEOs are so far removed from that perception, so we don't trust them. Companies can and should have employees at all levels ready and able to share what the company is about and what it stands for. In this age of peer influence, CEOs who ignore this opportunity are unwise.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2017

    Rent the Runway sees new program leading to a ‘closetless’ future

    Great idea for so many young women. RTR has really improved their "fit" comments area, which, to me, is the Holy Grail. Starting with everyday wardrobe options is a great lead-in to future orders for the fancier dresses. Jenn Hyman and her partner are smartly listening to what their next generation of customers find valuable.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2017

    Should Coach Inc. have changed its name?

    The logic for the name change to a corporate conglomerate name makes perfect sense. The company should not develop Tapestry as a consumer-facing brand. It's a financial umbrella. In this case the consumer brands are loved and have great meaning, so focus the brands toward the shoppers and Tapestry, Inc. to the investors. Perhaps more effort to be clear about the strategy could have been part of the announcement.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2017

    Are store brands a ‘fundamental defining piece’ of the retail experience?

    Many retailers have private brands that exist but that don't offer a real point of differentiation.One of the best examples of a private brand with a category-wide claim is the Earth Fare brand, which re-launched about six months ago with a non-GMO claim backed by a commitment from the chain's CEO. Every product from the private brand meets a standard that many shoppers want to live by. That assurance makes it easy to understand what you're NOT getting in the product, which ultimately drive the why behind the buy. Retailers should indeed pay attention and take advantage of distinct opportunities like this.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2017

    Are retailers confusing customer service with the customer experience?

    If more retailers could work on the experience, the service aspect would still be a critical element but would fold into a more integrated whole. Making it easier is key; making it perfect is not the goal. And the opportunity to design the process around the right type of shopper really helps to crystallize a strategic approach.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2017

    Office Depot to transform into IT service giant after $1B deal

    Services have been a large part of the retail growth story for many years now. This is a marriage made in heaven!
  • Posted on: 10/05/2017

    Retailers lack of trust undermines predictive personalization’s potential

    Tech vendors can help retailers adopt personalization systems by helping them survey the shoppers. If shoppers are interested and trust the retailer, the rest is easy!
  • Posted on: 10/02/2017

    IKEA buys TaskRabbit to give consumers relief with furniture assembly

    Some retailers in the home space are afraid to invest in services because they can't absorb the costs of unused labor. But for IKEA the model works well, given the built-in need for product assembly. The upside here is that TaskRabbit is already a built and operational network and IKEA can "fill-up" some of the gaps in work load. Good match here.
  • Posted on: 09/29/2017 is stepping out of Walmart’s shadow has a lot of upside and should differentiate from Walmart as fast as it can. There is more room at the top of the online retail model than at the bottom, and the shopper perception of branding does not need to be encumbered by Walmart's lower-end image. Regardless of category, can experiment with many brands that can help them create a more curated feel/experience for the shopper.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2017

    Will customers let Walmart deliver in-fridge?

    In-fridge delivery requires a new mindset from consumers. I can see why testing in Silicon Valley makes sense, but mainstream America is quite different. This could be a very specific market opportunity, but I see wider success across more markets when Amazon/Whole Foods gives it a go.
  • Posted on: 09/26/2017

    Will centralized buying make Whole Foods a more formidable competitor?

    Personally, I am a big fan of more localized sourcing, which many big grocers manage to do well by aggregating local foods in a special fixture. My biggest issue is the decision to eliminate brand ambassadors in stores. Humans can always be effective at retail, especially if they have training in the art of influence and understand how we make decisions to purchase. Whole Foods seems like it may be losing some of its charm.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2017

    Target guides customers through the aisles with beacons

    I like the idea of beacons to help busy shoppers. But the wandering in a Target store is part of the compelling customer experience. And most store formats are quite alike, so the app feature may be designed to attract new shoppers. Either way, the option for beacon assistance is a plus for the shopper.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2017

    Pirch: Is it a first mover case study or a flawed model?

    Pirch is likely the victim of classic shopper behavior in furnishings. The purchase journey now tends to run four to eight weeks, with most shoppers only willing to wait two to four weeks for delivery for custom-made goods after orders are placed. Most suppliers are very challenged by this expectation. And many shoppers (even Millennials) don't have the cash flow to be repeat buyers and engage in "furnish the whole room" behavior like they did at IKEA.Furthermore, the shoppers today like to peruse second-hand and consignment stores too. It's the second largest "channel" in furnishings for two reasons; cost and a willingness to re-use great quality.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2017

    Will a new lunch menu make Starbucks a food giant?

    I don't like the coffee but, for a quick sandwich and iced green tea, Starbucks could gain my business for lunch because: location, location, location!

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