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: 08/23/2016

    Why is Apple dropping ‘Store’ from the name of its stores?

    Think about the origins of retail: community, experience, trade and gathering. These are the foundational elements of physical retail that the human mind has desire for. The idea of the word "store" is indeed becoming obsolete. The idea of an experience-based hub that serves as a community marketplace is exactly akin to the feeling one gets from being a part of the Apple franchise. A smart and timely move that is sure to be copied by other retailers as time goes on. Kudos to Apple for being brave and ahead of the pack.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2016

    Is brick & mortar ready to leverage in-store shopper data?

    Research data shows that shoppers want two things desperately while in stores. One is helpful assistance and the other is compelling experiences. Delivering on these doesn't take mountains of data, but it does take an understanding of the gaps shoppers feel and the specific categories where shoppers need help.If brick-and-mortar retailers are not focusing in this area, they only have themselves to blame for the future. Shoppers will seek out what they want and leave slow-moving retailers in the dust. Look at Macy's as they close stores and try to deliver better via digital. If shoppers decide Amazon is better online, they're in trouble. If shoppers decide Nordstrom delivers better in real-life situations, they're in trouble.Hmmmmm.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2016

    Is it OK for brands to have emotions?

    People make most of their decisions in the subconscious mind, primarily based on emotional triggers. So if any brand — retailer or otherwise — doesn't have a story with strong emotional resonance, it has little or nothing to offer besides the functional product. Today, that's not enough. In the words of great company called BrainJuicer: "Feel nothing = do nothing" — and that is the kiss of death for any brand.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2016

    Why is Target making nice with Amazon?

    Target likely shares a vast number of customers with Amazon, so why not give them what they want, when they want, and how they want. That is the definition of retail for shoppers.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2016

    Is Grocery Outlet on its way to becoming the TJX of grocers?

    To me, this is a perception issue. When shopping T.J. Maxx, I know I'll find new items and a plethora of past season staples. And I rely on lower prices so I can shop more often for fashion. But in apparel and home furnishings, products don't expire.In food, while I get the business side of "opportunistic" buying, I feel like I'd have to be super vigilant on expiration dates. How, as a shopper, am I supposed to know what I have to be "on watch" for as I browse the store on a week to week basis? The idea of that makes me feel wary. Especially when my food trips rarely involve things in boxes anymore.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2016

    Is online a bigger threat to independent merchants than big boxes?

    I love the small retailers, but I have to say that what Amazon and Apple have enabled (free delivery from the store in your pocket) is just too convenient to pass up for most shoppers. Including me. Buy Nearby is a good concept and I applaud the effort but it's not gonna stop the train.
  • Posted on: 07/27/2016

    Will meal kit delivery services move beyond niche status?

    If meal services can find a way to profitably serve the demand for people who eat alone, versus two people or four, I think the market can grow. It's also really difficult to "gift" the service to others given many of the services offer subscriptions for three meals per week for multiple weeks. Perhaps they should consider an easier way to gain trial.
  • Posted on: 07/25/2016

    Will discount student loans work as a Prime incentive?

    This makes me wish my kids were still students, especially as two of them are still paying off loans! Amazon clearly understands the value of being known as being helpful to young consumers, despite the fact that what they are offering addresses only 10 percent or less of the loan market for students. Gotta give them both credit for taking a bold step. Wells Fargo gets a shot at holding on to young customers as well.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2016

    Has social advertising broken through as a purchase driver?

    Oh those social ads that refer to stuff I've already bought drive me crazy. I did a ton of online searching and buying while building a new home and the incessant ads haunted me for over a year! Ugh.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2016

    Has social advertising broken through as a purchase driver?

    Survey research is really not accurate on purchase influence because the majority of purchase decisions are centered in the subconscious, which has no "voice box." So when people are asked what influenced them, their rational brain makes a choice of what to say. Not really connected to the emotional trigger.Media (ads or otherwise) can and does trigger emotions which do trigger purchases, so I'm not saying ads have no influence. But to rely on just survey stats to say social is more influential than other types of media is not a reliable measure.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2016

    How can retailers gain something useful from employee surveys?

    Are these response rates and engagement rates national averages? They are so low, it seems there is a big opportunity to reinvent the practice and make it much more relevant, especially to younger employees.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2016

    How can retailers gain something useful from employee surveys?

    This sounds like a best-practice scenario. The only thing I would add is the opportunity for employees to learn more about human behavior and influence while on the shopper's journey, in order to add empathy and effectiveness to the employee's opportunity to better serve the customers.Dr. Needel is right on with "show you care and follow up" being the most important elements. It's human nature to want to do better. When both sides commit and participate, magic can happen and customers are the beneficiaries.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2016

    What does it take to compete in an off-price retail world?

    Several years ago, my husband's luggage failed to show for a golf trip on the Southeast coast. Try finding shorts at Kohl's, Macy's or even Saks in August. It's 94 in Charleston, SC and the stores were showing corduroy and jackets. On sale. Duh.So off to TJMaxx we went. Oh, and to Tanger's outlet mall as well. Bingo. Everything we need in 90 minutes. On sale.Our brains have been trained this way by the very retailers who now suffer from lack of shoppers. Is it any wonder why the tide is shifting?
  • Posted on: 07/11/2016

    Target launches $1 billion kids line

    This is Target going back to what made Target great. My prediction last week was to watch for a surge in babies named Cat and Jack. This week I'll predict Brian Cornell will soon author a book on being brave in retail. He gets it and is not afraid to make the hard calls. Kudos.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2016

    Are self-checkouts dooming impulse purchases?

    What if the grocery retailers let the shoppers have input to help curate a set of products they might find useful to be at checkout, in regular lines as well as self-checkout lanes?What an interesting experiment in keeping shoppers tuned in to what might really help them. It would be great insight to see what various segments of shoppers might select.I find most checkout lanes a bore. Same assortment that blends into a visual that your brain can completely ignore. The time is right for change.

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