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.

<b>See Anne's blog: <a href=""></a></b>
  • Posted on: 02/23/2017

    Will a new TJX concept put more hurt on department stores?

    This is big news here in the southeast, home to many furnishings stores and even home improvement giants Lowe's and Home Depot. Department stores are not going to be the only victims of this new TJX strategy. I can't tell you how many people I know who make HomeGoods their first stop for all home-oriented needs, and who browse weekly just to see what treasure may be lurking within. These shoppers (including "ShoppperAnnie" herself) are loyal to a fault!
  • Posted on: 02/21/2017

    Third-party e-commerce fulfillers: Friend or foe to the grocers?

    I wonder if there is room for a "white label" delivery service option. For example, Publix is using Instacart, but why can't that supplier give them a branded version? White labeling is done in so many industries, so why do grocers so willingly walk away from their brand names?
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Zappos takes to the road to connect with consumers

    Zappos has a great authentic sensibility. "Come hang out" is what they really want people to do, and they don't mind spending against a core value that's part of the DNA of the brand. I may buy something from them today just because over the last ten or so years they have NEVER let me down. Truly a great company.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2017

    Is third-party content more effective in generating online sales?

    Manufacturers still need to own product spec info, and I'm not opposed to descriptive adjectives either. What's missing from branded content is authentic storytelling, so consumers providing ratings and reviews have filled in those blanks. In general there is a nice balance, with personal experiences tipping the balance toward honest evaluations that are seen as trustworthy. I believe a less prescriptive approach is best, as long as brands are being vigilant about keeping an eye on what's out there and what customers are asking for.
  • Posted on: 02/13/2017

    How price competitive does Whole Foods need to be?

    Whole Foods has pretty much lost its meaning. I find it hard to define what it stands for these days. There's plenty of competition in the healthy, natural, organic retail market in the Charlotte area, including Earth Fare and even Aldi. Perhaps in addition to new technology, this is a company that can benefit from a re-do of brand architecture and positioning that includes points of parity as well as points of distinction. Right now they seem to have a cloudy vision and are therefore talking from both sides of the mouth.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2017

    Is personalization better appreciated online or in stores?

    How close is too close? Shoppers used to say "I need more help in-store" and now they say "never mind, I know more about what's in your store than the sales associates." The digital aura of anonymity has become the new personal shopper. The information may be the same but within the digital world personalization feels safer and doesn't require anyone to look each other in the eye and build trust.No wonder the fun is gone from physical retail. But here's the rub. Even Amazon, with scads of shopping history, still sends me offers on bathroom faucets and fixtures I bought three years ago when we built our home. That doesn't feel helpful or personal to me. It's frankly annoying.
  • Posted on: 02/09/2017

    Did President Trump go too far with his Nordstrom tweet?

    This issue should have been addressed ONLY by the business team that is now running the Ivanka brand and the retailer team responsible for the business decision. If I were Ivanka I'd be mad at Dad for butting in. This family is supposed to be business savvy, after all.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2017

    Will consumers buy a new vision for Abercrombie & Fitch?

    Despite the obvious upgrade of the fitting room experience, I don't understand why it took 15 years for any significant change to happen in the A&F store itself! An integrated omnichannel focus is table stakes, so they'd better be ready to spend significantly on store remodels all over the country.I also wonder if management knows what the brand used to mean and what it means now to lapsed and current shoppers. Does A&F know what it may take to get consumers to re-try a brand that's been fading for years?And I hate to bring this up, knowing how impactful smell can be at retail, but the incredibly awful "sneeze factor" of too much and too many fragrances in the stores was a real turn off for even those of us who love innovative retail experiences!
  • Posted on: 01/27/2017

    Will Whole Foods stay fresh using outside suppliers?

    My first impression is "eww." I don't need to pay Whole Foods prices for GFS food. But I would be more likely to visit the Whole Foods food bar if I knew the produce was organic and GMO free. And I do like the idea of more local and regional fare being available. But overall, my best option here in the Lake Norman region is Earth Fare. They're already delivering what Whole Foods seems to be aiming for.
  • Posted on: 01/26/2017

    Do retailers need to work on making more emotional connections?

    Research has shown that when shoppers feel nothing, they tend to do nothing. They go into a "don't care" mode and default to price, convenience and a distaste for the entire experience. I recently read a Salesforce study that indicates shoppers (who used to crave more human service) now feel they know more than most associates and don't care to engage with them on many types of trips. Sad.I believe many retailers need to rethink their brand architecture from the ground up in order to discover the emotional essence of what the brand can mean to shoppers. Costco means treasure hunt, but can shoppers easily name what a list of 10 retail brands stand for anymore?There are more than enough qualified consultants and vendors on this forum alone who would jump at the chance to help retailers work on finding emotional resonance and bringing it to life in stores. The real question is why the CEOs are just watching the demise of their businesses.
  • Posted on: 01/25/2017

    How soon before digital technologies reinvent food shopping?

    What I like about this solution is the retailer's commitment to interact with the shoppers and learn more about what they like and respond to. In most cases, retailers assume the shopper with a smartphone will "create" their own experiences in the store, but the reality is most shoppers don't have or don't take time to do so. The mission gets in the way of exploration.Offering product information, pairings and promotions to the shopper with just a "hand wave" makes the enhanced experience really easy and productive for the busy shopper.Smart tech put to good use with shoppers at the heart of the effort.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2017

    Target gets creative help from Gen Z in new apparel line

    This is Target at its best, being right on point with the shopper base and the products. It was easier to do without the crowd-sourcing years ago, but today's culture shift screams for inclusion and involvement, experience and stories. Target is delivering on those things again.When I go, I'm intrigued enough to spend extra time exploring apparel. This time around I buy more in the 3T/4T sizes for Miss M (granddaughter) versus the former teen that is now her mother!
  • Posted on: 01/18/2017

    Is there a retail marketing opportunity in unwanted gifts?

    I love, love, love the Skittles Pawn Shop idea and the Burger King exchange a gift for a Whopper. Clever thinking with the gifts donated to charity is a win, win, win. And the third win is because it give people a story to tell. I would love to see more brands get clever and bold enough to get on board this train!
  • Posted on: 01/18/2017

    Why does Gen Z like brick-and-mortar stores but not malls?

    I suspect part of Generation Z's attraction to real-life shopping is that it's inherently social and gets them out of the house. Plus, at the younger ages, they rarely make a move or a decision that isn't part of a "group think" conversation. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that they are gravitating to physical retail, but two things should be understood: 1.) they may well migrate to the web once they get more comfortable making decisions on their own and can get the credit cards, and 2.) retailers had better work very diligently on creating experiences in the stores that satisfy their need for entertainment, education and fun. Without more effort to cultivate relationships, these fickle and mobile shoppers will just move on to price and convenience, just like so many other generations of shoppers have done.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2017

    What made Wendy’s Twitter zing a win?

    I love when brands use humor to try to get readers/fans to feel something. But they really need to stay true to what they stand for in the mind of the audience. It's a fine line, but nudging it forward is part of the marketer's job. Nudge on! We can all use more humor and more "feel something, do something" in this crazy world.I support Cheerios for the Prince effort as well. There are a TON of '80s moms making cereal decisions, and the humans who wrote that were likely authentically feeling sad.

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