Chris Petersen, PhD.

President, Integrated Marketing Solutions

President of Integrated Marketing Solutions

Chris Petersen is a founding partner of Integrated Marketing Solutions (IMS). He currently serves as President, and Senior Partner focused on building strategic relationships that produce measurable results. Dr. Petersen has over 30 years’ experience consulting in business analytics, retail metrics, scorecards and measurement. After measuring hundreds of retail pilots around the world, Dr. Petersen has a very simple and fundamental retail change management philosophy – Results Count … everything else is conversation.

Founder of IMS Retail University

Dr. Petersen is the founder of IMS Retail University. He drew upon his training in psychology and measurement to develop pragmatic processes, tools and analytics that can be applied to improve retail performance. The IMS Retail University curriculum has evolved from foundational courses, to strategic briefings on best practices attended by top Executives. Over 15,000 “graduates” from 43 countries have attended an IMS Retail University workshop.

Speaker, Writer and Photographer

Dr. Petersen has extensive international experience working with both retailers and manufacturers. He shares his experiences, knowledge, with and wisdom through his weekly retail blog, Results Count ( He is also a regular blog and feature article contributor to RCE ( Dr. Petersen is worldwide speaker on retail trends, best practices, and critical success factors.

As a function of his extensive worldwide travel, Chris has become an avid photographer. He shares retail photos on and posts his personal photo favorites on

Other Links from Chris Petersen, PhD.:

IMS Results Count Blog

IMS Results Count Pinterest

  • Posted on: 12/15/2017

    Is real-time processing a must-have for retailers?

    For me the intriguing question is in the title of the discussion -- "is real-time processing a must-have"? For some smaller, independent retailers, the answer may be no, or no, not yet. A real tipping point is the customer demand for services like click and collect which require real-time inventory. For small and medium businesses facing a must-have scenario, the challenge becomes capital investment.While rip-and-replace might yield the greatest long term ROI, the practical solution for most is strategic implementation of APIs that solve greatest pain points.
  • Posted on: 12/14/2017

    Will chatbots replace customer service reps?

    The operative words are "efficiency" and "specific." Customers value quick answers to their questions, when and where they need them. If a customer knows what they need to know, it doesn't matter whether the answer comes from AI or a human via a text.If customer service is only viewed through the lens of answering questions to prevent returns, then AI wins on the basis of efficiency and coverage during "after hours." However, if customer service is also viewed as brand and relationship building, it is very hard for AI to replace humans. While AI will be smarter and quicker with technical support, only humans can engage at an emotional personal level that builds relationships.Great customer service will be a blend, offering the kinds of support at the level the customer chooses.
  • Posted on: 12/13/2017

    The next logical step for category management

    There was a time in the not-too-distant past that retailers re-set stores based upon a category management plan-o-gram. In today's omnichannel world retailers must modify plans monthly, if not weekly. The best of online retailers modify daily and even hourly in peak periods.Mark's point about re-organizing assortments based upon how customers acquire products is particularly salient for brick-and-mortar retailers. Category management has been historically focused on how to optimize categories that will fit in the "box" (the store). Increasingly customers begin their shopping journey from the virtual shelf online, even if they make a purchase in a store. Category management has to span both virtual and physical space.The reality is that category management has become increasingly complex based upon omnichannel consumer expectations. Customers purchasing click and collect expect to pick up within hours. Category management must ensure that these products are in-stock locally. To capture and retain customers, retailers also need to expand category breadth by curating assortments online. Many long tail SKUs only become profitable through drop shipments from vendors and distributors.
  • Posted on: 12/11/2017

    Will last-minute pickup payoff for Walmart?

    When doing battle in the land of giants, leverage your strengths. Smart move by Walmart to leverage the convenience of the proximity of their store base to reach core customers. What's so different about Walmart is that more than 100 million customers visit their stores every week. Same-day click and collect has high value for core customers making routine trips to stores for essentials.While many Amazon and Walmart innovations get introduced during holidays and peak periods, they have the effect of ratcheting up consumer expectations of what is possible, and "normal."Consumers no longer separate physical from digital retail, they expect speed (within hours) and convenience on their terms.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2017

    Will shoppers pay services to do returns for them?

    If time is money, ReturnRunners could be a winner for consumers. The $10 charge seems like a bargain when you calculate your time to pack up the items, drive to the store, stand in line and then complete the paperwork. Of course the value of the service depends on the price of the item returned.But if it seems too good to be true, then there are probably business challenges. How will the modest charge pay for all the runner's time and transportation costs? How will the runner accommodate packages that are larger than will fit in their vehicle?The new Walmart app enabling fast, convenient returns seems like a better path for retailers to take the pain out of returns and get them to personally return to stores.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2017

    Subscription services are moving beyond just being surprise boxes

    The success of subscription boxes is personalized service. To be able to do that requires state-of-the-art CRM and data mining to make relevant selections that customers will not return. But at the end of the day subscription boxes are curated, personal assortments of products that the customer deems valuable. Subscription boxes must provide quality, novelty/uniqueness and/or save the consumer time in some way. If not, customers will find almost every item in their subscription box just a click away, delivered to their door in a box with a big curved arrow.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2017

    Will a combo of data and personal stylists drive online apparel sales?

    Personalization has become the fifth "P" of marketing. Shopping online is impersonal and often difficult, especially with apparel purchases. A "real human" stylist could make all the difference for many time-starved customers. It might be even more interesting if parts of the style interview could be done through interactive chat.While this service might be free to the customer, nothing is truly "free" in retail. Someone has to be subsidizing the staff component and infrastructure. However, results count. It should be very possible to measure conversion rates and have brands and retailers pay their fair share for value add sales. Allume will only survive if they produce value.
  • Posted on: 11/29/2017

    Tech tries to end the annoying search for mall parking spots

    Airport parking seems to be miles ahead of many malls. The best are now monitoring parking by individual stall, using digital signs to indicate how many stalls are available by floor and the using colored lights to direct you to open stalls. With IoT technology, every mall should be able to individually monitor stall availability in real time, and provide that information to customers via their phone. Yes it is an additional expense, but it might be the best investment they can make to make it as easy as possible for customers to come to stores. The alternatives are just a click away.
  • Posted on: 11/28/2017

    Encouraging signs for department stores as holiday season kicks off

    The very label "department stores" is an interesting artifact reflecting a heritage of traditional brick-and-mortar retailing. Many of the positive statistics quoted for Black Friday/Cyber Monday have more to do with significant gains in online and click and collect sales than store performance. The "department stores" that will do well and survive are the ones that provide a better experience when, where and how customers want to shop. Consumers consume products and services, not formats. And today's consumers want consumption to be on their terms -- in fact they demand it.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2017

    Amazon launches exclusive with Calvin Klein

    Increasingly, brands must go to where the customers are -- and increasingly that first stop of the customer journey is Amazon.Beyond the exclusive brand deals with Amazon, the list of bullet points of what is occurring in the Amazon pop-up stores should strike FEAR in the hearts of retailers with stores.As described, Amazon's popups are offering a more comprehensive, more creative and more engaging customer experience than you can find in any traditional store. Amazon's foray into reinventing stores for peak customer engagement and personalization is far more of a threat than exclusive offerings with brands.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2017

    Who will be left standing after the next retail shakeout?

    Given the escalating race between Amazon and Walmart, few others will have the infrastructure and resources required to compete on convenience factors now expected by customers for ordering, shipping and last-mile delivery.Discount is a slippery slope. It requires scale to achieve best prices. And cheaper prices are easily matched by someone with more scale. Discounts are a temporary strategy, not a differentiator.Lee Peterson's description of the Third Wave describes those things which differentiate CX at "local touch points" where the consumer shops -- whether it be online or in-store. More than 75 percent of customers begin their journey online, but that same percentage ends up purchasing in store -- IF the local retailer customizes their CX and services.At a recent Berkshire Hathaway meeting Warren Buffet stated that everything at the mall is online, and cheaper. The greatest survival skill for ALL retailers is to be able to offer experiences and services that customers can not get online.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2017

    Indie retailers can survive – even thrive – during the holidays

    I have no problem with Karen Herman's suggestions, all are sound advice. For those indies that are store-based, the key is getting customers to visit the store to experience outstanding customer service. There are a number of strategies that indies can test during the holiday season:
    • Special offers based upon a deal that requires a store visit;
    • Offers of a service with a purchase;
    • Potential home delivery and/or set up based on qualified purchase;
    • Offers that are online- or mobile-redeemable in-store;
    • Offer a special event that is unique with local talent that draws attention.
    However, the key to long-term indie success is not waiting for the holiday season to survive. To thrive, indies need to be adapting to changing customer patterns. Mobility is the portal for the future. Indies need to optimize websites and offers for mobile phones. Social media is a way to engage customers throughout the year. And social is not just Facebook. For some businesses, Instagram and Pinterest can be even more powerful, especially if they feature happy customers experiencing indie customer service and using products.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2017

    Yes, retailers can also reward non-transactional behaviors

    The best advice is: Loyalty is earned, not "driven."
  • Posted on: 11/14/2017

    Is workplace collaboration a drag for headquarters personnel?

    There is a reason Sam Walton went out and visited stores every weekend ... he found it invaluable to meet and collaborate with staff on the front lines. A key to Sam's success was "structured collaboration."A major challenge in the age of instant messaging is the phenomenon of being "always on." Messaging can become incredibly disruptive across many potential "collaborators" without purpose.Is it possible that we have reached an age where we need to train and mentor staff on "effective collaboration," and how to balance it with personal productivity.In an age when collective collaboration is the new normal, results still count.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2017

    Lowe’s and Macy’s join rivals chasing smart home opportunity

    The challenge with the smart home opportunity is that it is not a single product, it is IoT -- literally many things. The other challenge is that many of these things do not work together. Interoperability issues across different systems make it difficult for consumers to make them work together. As a result there are high rates of returns when customers can't make them work in their own home.In current smart home categories, price points are low and customer difficulty is high. Yes, retailers like Macy's can sell some light bulbs and switches. But to make money long-term requires the ability to both sell and support an ecosystem.Who you going to call when Alexa won't turn the lights off?

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