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: 02/22/2017

    Can Walmart grow its online business profitably?

    The whole is far greater than the sum of the parts, especially for Walmart.Yes, Walmart was late to the online party. But the recent numbers show some steady progress for both online sales and growing their marketplace.But Walmart's success will require growing more than online sales. Omnichannel is the new normal for customers. To succeed, Walmart must create an integrated seamless ecosystem that adds value to customers across time and place.Walmart's success hinges on customers NOT thinking of ... but thinking of Walmart as the value place where you can shop, purchase and take delivery "your way."
  • Posted on: 02/17/2017

    Do consumers want to follow grocers on social media?

    The question of following grocers is essentially the same question for most retailers -- why would a customer want to follow any single retailer?There have been numerous studies on mobile phone apps. While consumers download dozens, they only use five to seven apps on a weekly basis. Banking apps fall in this top tier, as well as social media like Facebook and Instagram.If a grocer's app is to break into the top tier of apps that consumers actually use, then it must provide a value-add for the consumer in terms of: loyalty offers/discounts, rich content that is relevant or some kind of engagement that is valued by the customer (e.g. related to a cause or event).Most grocers simply do not spend enough time and resources to be able create enough value-add that consumers will use the app on a regular basis. Would you rather go to a grocer's app to look at a couple of recipes, or go to Instagram and look at thousands of recipes as well as photos of how to present and serve?
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Is Amazon the most innovative company in retailing?

    What many retailers have yet to discover and fully appreciate is that omnichannel is the new normal. What the "new normal" means in practice is that customers EXPECT to be able to control their own experience and VALUE it.Amazon may not be the most innovative in every aspect of retail. John Lewis in the UK is perhaps a better example of a fully integrated experience across all physical and digital channels of retail. But hands down, Amazon is one of the world's most innovative at putting the customer first and in control of their own experience.The other driving part of Amazon's innovation culture is their mantra: "Tomorrow is day one." They are a driving force of innovation because they are always stretching the envelope and testing ways to put the customer first.
  • Posted on: 02/13/2017

    What goes into productive sales calls at retail?

    "Listening improves your vision" ... and ability to reach consensus that creates wins on both sides.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2017

    Is personalization better appreciated online or in stores?

    Omnichannel is the new normal for consumers. For them, it is an experience which transcends time and place. Appropriate personalization that does not invade privacy is welcome across the entire customer journey.The challenge for most retailers is that they still operate digital and physical in silos. Without accessible CRM, the customers' data required for personalization in-store is simply not available.There is one more very important thing that is often overlooked. The staff on the retail floor have been providing the ultimate personalization for decades. Retailer stores are throwing away their most powerful differentiator if they they only define personalization in terms product recommendations based on history or mobile offers on phones.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2017

    Will in-home consults give Amazon the keys to the smart home market?

    In a word, yes ... at least for right now. Consumers need help to overcome the barriers of Wi-Fi connectivity and device compatibility.There are two major issues for smart home adoption right now. The first is that the consumer literally needs to "see" the value of the devices in their home and lifestyle. The second is being able to make it work. YouTube is rampant with consumers showing the horrors of incompatibility between devices.Amazon is not testing this out of pure altruism for the consumer. They clearly want to "assist" consumers in making Echo their hub. After all, the bigger win for Amazon is that Alexa is Amazon's portal to Prime and the overall ecosystem.So the question is ... will Amazon's "consultation" help consumers solve problems of adoption in their home, and who are they going to call if doesn't work?
  • Posted on: 02/09/2017

    What makes Americans such fans of IKEA?

    IKEA wins on differentiated good value plus consumer-centricity.As far as "flat furniture" goes, the quality is generally consistent and it's a good value. IKEA customers know what to expect, so they trust the brand for products in these categories. What IKEA does a great job of in their large store space is creating displays so that the consumer can visualize what their room can look like with IKEA.As George describes in his post, IKEA has designed stores in ways that allow shoppers to choose how they want to shop and purchase -- including click and collect options. Consumers can choose the experience of wandering through 2 KM of displays to get to the meatballs in the cafeteria, or they can use their phone to narrow their choices to find what they want. Customers are in charge of their experience ... they can "have it their way."
  • Posted on: 02/08/2017

    How good is ‘close enough’ when it comes to in-store inventory?

    Retailers can spend millions on marketing and omnichannel only to have it all blow up when a customer arrives for click and collect, and then has to wait longer in line than at the cashier, or worse yet, leave without the exact item! Nikki Baird's Circuit City story is still happening far too often today!Buy online and collect in store is projected to grow exponentially -- as much as 300 percent in the next five years for many retailers. It is a great opportunity to capture sales and generate store traffic. Yet, it is this hybrid omnichannel strategy that places the greatest stress on accurate inventory to execute a seamless experience.Perpetual quarterly inventory was sufficient for store management. It is woefully inadequate for today's real-time omnichannel demands. If there was ever a time for RFID inventory management of SKUs on the shelf ... it is now!
  • Posted on: 02/06/2017

    Can augmented reality solve the virtual dressing room problem?

    There is a big difference between the Pokemon Go experience and a woman trying on a dress. At this stage, the AR experience will not be sufficient to convert very many online sales. However, it may be much like Lowe's at home "visualization of your room" experience ... it may play a role in pre-store engagement and narrowing selection before the store visit.In an omnichannel world it is not about where the sales transaction takes place ... it is about the cumulative experiences that build engagement and trust to the levels where the consumer decides where, how and when to make a purchase.
  • Posted on: 02/02/2017

    Is omnichannel cannibalization retail’s biggest challenge?

    Omnichannel is the new normal for consumers. They don't see or even think in terms of channels. Unfortunately, many retailers still interpret "omnichannel" as gaining or regaining sales by beefing up "online."The number one challenge for retailers to transform to omni-retail is to transition from the heritage of selling things at places. Omnichannel customers are the new POS -- Point of Sale. They decide when, where and how they want to shop and make a purchase. The new hybrid models of click and collect are great examples of designing a seamless, customer-centric experience that transcends both time and place of purchase.The very successful omnichannel retailers like John Lewis in the UK have transformed their business ... and their metrics. It is not about where a sale was made today, but about acquiring and managing customer relationships that are loyal and generate substantially greater lifetime value and profitability.
  • Posted on: 02/01/2017

    Has Amazon fundamentally changed the way Americans shop?

    Amazon's key differentiator in a word is: ecosystem. Amazon's unique value proposition for consumers is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.Amazon excels at many individual facets of retailing: selection, rich content, reviews, shipping, ease of returns and customer service every step of the way. Many of those individual areas can be matched by a competitor in some way.The reason customers keep coming back is that the Amazon ecosystem creates a seamless experience with unmatched service BEFORE, during and AFTER the purchase.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2017

    Starbucks battles mobile pick-up congestion

    Given the declining traffic across many retailers, store congestion from too much traffic is a "high-class problem" for Starbucks.It should be comparatively easier to fix operations versus the brand-building required to get people to come to stores. As Tom Ryan points out, there are staffing changes, processes and even store designs which can address the consumer congestion at peak periods.However, a disappointing customer experience should not be underestimated and must be addressed with urgency. Every customer that walks away from the app and store becomes the worst brand advertising imaginable ... and they will tell everyone on their social media. There are too many alternative choices and Starbucks can ill afford to lose any sales or customer loyalty.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2017

    Are the days of pure play e-tail coming to an end?

    The question is not either/or, but one of how and where to engage the customer. With today's omnichannel consumer, it's all about THEIR experience. And that experience is situational. It depends upon the nature of the product and the context of the shopper's purchase path across virtual and physical.Yes, Bonobos is a great example of using "guide stores" to create a differentiated experience that builds the brand and acquires customers who purchase more online. Conversely, Lowe's online planning and "room envisioning" tools are an engaging experience that Lowe's uses to excite customers to visit stores.Consumers no longer think about "channels" or stores. We have entered the age of omni-retail which transcends time and place.
  • Posted on: 01/23/2017

    Is four-wall profitability still a relevant metric?

    The concept of measuring markets has been an integral part of the packaged goods industry for a long time. BDI (Brand Development Index) and CDI (Category Development Index) are useful bench marking for overall sales development relative to market growth, demographics, etc. Other categories would do well to incorporate these metrics as indices of potential, gaps and growth beyond just the store cash register.With omni-retail as the "new normal," retailers need to aggressively add metrics that include the new "hybrid dynamics" like click-and-collect that measure where the purchase was made and where the customer chose to take delivery. Online sales are now transcending market boundaries and even countries.The real challenge for retailers is not measuring the sales transaction today. The future and profitability is in the number and strength of customer relationships that can generate life time value for both product sales and services.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2017

    Is there a retail marketing opportunity in unwanted gifts?

    In the UK and Canada there is a specific day dedicated to customers returning unwanted gifts -- Boxing Day occurs the day after Christmas when customers are literally sorting things out they don't want after the biggest gift giving time of the year. The astute retailers plan promotions and staff for Boxing Day as a way to generate store traffic and create sales.There is however a growing challenge with returned gifts. With the increase of purchases online, many want to return those gifts in stores as a matter of convenience and to save return shipping. Single-item returns, especially open-box items, create unsalable inventory issues and great potential for price markdowns. Retailers must carefully weigh the cost of liquidating unwanted gift returns against any new sales or customer good will generated.

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