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: 07/21/2017

    Will customers use an Amazon app to chat?

    Conversational commerce via an Amazon Prime app has appeal to me, but the context is less about commerce and more about service and delivery. I have had at least three recent experiences with Prime delivery being at least a day or two later than the delivery promised in the confirmation e-mail. I'd welcome a text giving me an update versus having to track it down myself. Come on Amazon, bring it! My order, that is.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2017

    How much Big Data do retailers really need?

    Retailers looking to get more value from Big Data may want to re-consider the effort by putting the shoppers and their pain points at the center of a Big Data project. Resolving pain points usually gets shoppers to what they want and need sooner, leading to more sales and shoppers who are happy to be return customers. It's not simple, but if customers help define the value they're looking for, it's not rocket science for retailers to figure out how to deliver it.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2017

    Will more customer rewards lift J.C. Penney’s sales?

    Rewards that translate to price reduction should do well for J.C. Penney's, since almost 80 percent of regular J.C. Penney shoppers choose price as their primary reason to go there. (Prosper Insights & Analytics, April 2017). But since 25 percent of its shoppers have been loyal for 25+ years, it's clear they have an aging base.I like to see what reasons other department store shoppers select as their primary reasons for visiting a store, just to get a sense of what J.C. Penney might think about as it tries to bring in new shoppers. The Prosper data reveals that where Macy's gets the edge from shoppers is in quality, newest styles, fashion ideas and brands. Common sense says J.C. Penney might add some style to the overall mix.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2017

    Will online games fuel mobile engagement for and other retailers?

    Frankly, I fail to see how asking shoppers to spend even more time with their faces in their phones playing games is engaging the shopper in any meaningful manner. Another tactic to "win free stuff" is just that, a tactic.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2017

    Is QVC’s acquisition of HSN more about TV shopping or e-commerce?

    Discovery-based shopping is exciting to consumers. QVC has to translate this to new content and experiences online in order to maximize the potential that younger shoppers offer. They will need new talent, new offerings and a sense of humor. Let the current TV platforms pay the bills of investing in innovation for the future.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2017

    What should Staples do differently now that it is going private?

    Staples should embark upon a segmentation study of the B2B customers it intends to focus on, in order to learn how to best serve the stated and unmet needs of these customers. They should worry less about the average consumer journey and take a "hedgehog" approach to serving business. The differentiation allows for fewer stores, a well thought-out online journey and fewer employees trying to stack shelves in aisles that matter less to the business buyer.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2017

    Will its newest small store format make Meijer a downtown destination?

    Meijer could put this kind of store in the city of Detroit and give Whole Foods a run for their money!
  • Posted on: 06/26/2017

    Will putting a spotlight on associates help boost Kroger’s business?

    Kroger has had employees and their stories as part of its strategic pillars for years. How is this different? It could be if I see "Kroger-branded" employees out in the community doing good and helping feed those many hunger-challenged families. But that's been the job of other types of organizations for so long that shoppers may not even notice Kroger people being involved directly. BOPIS offers a more direct opportunity for employee-customer interaction but moves the long-term needle in the online direction, potentially defeating the purpose. I'm not sure I "get" the strategy.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2017

    What happens now that Amazon is acquiring Whole Foods?

    The ultimate disrupter has done it again! And just in time to set a new path for shoppers to get what they want, fresh foods, when they want and how they want!
  • Posted on: 06/09/2017

    Is IKEA really going to start selling on Amazon’s Marketplace?

    Data tells the story here. According to Prosper Insights & Analytics data from March 2017, there are two e-retailers taking share from the specialty channel of trade in furniture sales. One is Amazon and the other is Wayfair. IKEA still has a big share but it's slipping a bit. It makes sense that they'd at least want to test selling on a marketplace!
  • Posted on: 06/06/2017

    Is UNTUCKit the next big thing in apparel retailing?

    Do guys who would wear an untucked shirt really like shopping? I think UNTUCKit could encourage shoppers to sign up in stores or via pop-up retail for "the box at your door" -- follow the Stitch Fix model and eventually phase back out of the unproductive physical stores.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2017

    Will virtual reality become the ultimate retail training tool?

    This is what I admire about Walmart! They are not afraid to borrow a great insight from anywhere and apply it to their business! Kudos!
  • Posted on: 05/31/2017

    Will personalized pricing only lead to more discounting?

    If all shoppers ever get from personalization efforts is a discount, shame on all of us in the retail and marketing disciplines. Consumers, believe it or not, still not only want but respond to other messaging on topics besides price -- that can include the brand story, the value and/or the meaning and benefits of products. If we never serve them messaging like this, we'll continue the race to the bottom!
  • Posted on: 05/24/2017

    What does it take to thrive in an over-stored marketplace?

    Customer growth that can be tracked back to improved engagement, consistent purchases, referrals to others and true affinity for the brand will be the measures of sustained success for each and every retail store. Even those with a highly-curated selection of merchandise can succeed in the new "right-sized" retail landscape.
  • Posted on: 05/23/2017

    Can offline word-of-mouth be used to drive business results?

    Giving in-store employees some topics and conversation starters on a daily/weekly basis can work really well. For example, a locally-owned garden center I visited last week had the employees (even the watering guys) talking about what plants need feeding over the Memorial Day holiday. In the south it's time to feed double-blooming azaleas and camellias! And all the veggies we planted a month ago need food again.Can that scale to Lowe's? I say yes. On Facebook, on Pinterest and in the garden center. All it takes is a calendar, an easy script, a method of circulation and a culture of offering people something useful with a smile. It's really not that hard to give people something to talk about.

Contact Anne