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: 04/25/2017

    Can tailored digital video messaging transform grocery end-caps?

    Results count ... everything else is conversation.I'm a huge proponent of retail stores doing more controlled tests. Amazon's innovation is based upon "failing rapidly." Stores need to find out what gets noticed and what produces measurable sales results. Based upon this article there were sales and category uplifts across 250 stores which appears to be very significant.However, the article also mentions a "one month return on investment." The danger is that the results could be due to the "Hawthorne Effect" -- anything new in an environment will change behavior for a short period of time.The question is whether the results will be sustainable over time and what variables must change in order to sustain results.
  • Posted on: 04/19/2017

    Will Walmart reap dividends from training academies?

    One of the biggest hidden costs of retail is employee turnover.There is a very strong reason that Apple has one of the lowest turnover rates in retailing -- they invest in their people. Employees train for a week or more before they ever get on the floor. The other success factor is that training leads to an upward career path to different positions in the store.Yes there are a lot of jokes and stories about shopping at Walmart. When you are the world's largest retailer there will be quality issues. So kudos to Walmart taking a proactive approach to leverage their great asset you can't get online from Amazon ... trained staff who can deliver quality service.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2017

    Are outlet malls an outlier?

    Outlet malls are popular for all the reasons Tom Ryan mentions in his post. While the outlets do not offer the latest styles, they typically offer good values. The "treasure hunt" aspect is an added bonus for some shoppers.More of the same is not necessarily a recipe for future success.The innovative NEX Crossing Mall in Nebraska is geared to Millennials. Wi-Fi throughout, interactive directional displays and most importantly an app that connects shoppers with the mall and all stores. Even at outlet malls, the future lies in building relationships with customers before, during and after the sale.
  • Posted on: 03/24/2017

    Will smaller stores and omnichannel pay off for Kohl’s?

    The key to omnichannel success is the customer experience across the total ecosystem. More stores and smaller stores may work for Kohl's IF the online experience and mobile app are good enough. Stores and online are better together if they create an end-to-end seamless experience.
  • Posted on: 03/24/2017

    Will struggling retailers find new lives as pure play e-tailers?

    First off, struggling retailers are struggling for multiple reasons. Before jumping to pure-play online, brick-and-mortar retailers need to honestly assess what is wrong with their business. Rarely is physical location the only problem.The fundamental reality is that pure e-tailing is NOT in the DNA of physical retailers. Pure online takes incredible systems, technology and skill-sets to manage the business hourly and at the individual customer CRM level.And the bottom line as to why most brick-and-mortar teams would fail at pure online is that consumers will benchmark them against the world's best -- Amazon. It's not just about driving traffic and selling products online ... it is all about being competitive with a total experience before, during and after the sale. Amazon sets the golds standard that even Walmart is scrambling to meet.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2017

    Is social media influence the new key to building brand loyalty?

    The 4 Ps of Marketing were all about the "product." The 4Ps have been replaced by the 4Cs:
    • Choice;
    • Convenience;
    • Customized;
    • Connected.
    In order for brands to connect through social media, they need to address the 4Cs, when and where the customer wants to be engaged. The art of social media is not blasting out ads about products and the brand, but rather engaging customers in talking about the brand and how they use products.Social media = consistent content with communication that connects customers.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2017

    What do know-it-all shoppers want?

    Let's start with the number one premise: The customer is always right.The challenge for retailers today is that consumers have been empowered with the ability to shop anywhere anytime ... and have access to incredibly rich content. In many ways they are much more knowledgeable about products. They've also been "spoiled" by the Amazon experience of getting almost real-time information about their order, shipping, past orders etc.To be successful in the stores of the future, retailers need to empower the consumer with as much information as possible and provide access in the way the consumer wants to see/use it, whether it be by computer, phone, watch.At the end of the day however, all of this information does not replace what the store associate can provide -- first-hand experience with products and how the products connect with the consumer's lifestyle. In the new world of retail, retailers must equip associates beyond the facts and features ... they need to be the face of experience and have the skill set to engage customers on their terms.The customer is always right and they will vote on the quality of their experience.
  • Posted on: 03/21/2017

    How can sales associates successfully juggle customers?

    Working the retail sales floor is one of the toughest jobs out there if done well! Long hours, on your feet all day and having to be "always on."The Retail Doctor offers some very sound advice for retail sales associates. But there is also a key component that the store manager plays in recruiting the right talent with inherent people skills and then providing the coaching on critical relationship skills.The most important sale today is not the product transaction at the cash register ... it is the customer experience that creates a long-term relationship. That critical goal begins and ends with the store manager as the manager of customer experience in the store.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2017

    Can UPS fly past Amazon in drone delivery?

    It's too early to tell who will actually make drone delivery practical, but you have to admire the innovation of UPS to create a mobile drone base which capitalizes on its core strength.There is one certainty known about the omnichannel consumer ... they are increasingly demanding choice and personalized service on their terms.The best prediction for the last mile of delivery is that it will take many forms to meet consumer demands for choice and the logistical demands of urban environments. At this point drones, droids, Uber, Lyft and lockers are all in play for the final delivery solution the consumer chooses.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2017

    Has the retail industry’s real estate bubble burst?

    The mantra in retail used to be location, location, location ... it was all about prime real estate locations, especially for mega-stores and malls.In the age of omnichannel there has been a tipping point in terms of retail real estate requirements. Stores are still important! But as click and collect grows, the nature of the stores that are needed has changed. It's now more about the right size stores in the right locations.The age of "build it and they will come" is rapidly fading for U.S. retail real estate. The new keys for location success are providing accessibility and convenience. It will be a very interesting case study to watch the scramble for real estate in places where Amazon chooses to build out their stores.
  • Posted on: 03/10/2017

    Has proven that online sales are going to the dogs?

    Next to children, pets are one of the most important and beloved members of the family. People will go to incredible lengths to get the right food and products for their pets. Online is very appealing with all the choices and quality brands that may not be available at the local pet store.If it comes down to a question of products at a better price with the convenience of delivery to your doorstep, online wins hands down and will continue to grow rapidly.I agree with Bob Phibbs on this critical dimension. Pet stores MUST find ways to differentiate value to retain customer relationships -- AND they must also be able to deliver staples like food to the customer's home on a subscription-type basis.
  • Posted on: 02/28/2017

    Will Walmart’s price push pull customers away from Aldi?

    When "always" has focused your brand and competitive advantage on price, it is pretty hard to ignore the inroads made by Aldi based upon lower prices.Pricing today is a very slippery slope, even for the giants like Walmart. Consumers are not just shopping the store down the street, but for deals that they can get online, delivered to their door without the hassle of waiting in line.Omnichannel shoppers today are rapidly re-evaluating the four Ps (Place, Product, Price, Promotion) and replacing them with the four Cs (Custom, Choice, Convenience, Communication). Walmart's mobile app would seem to be much more aligned with the four Cs and offer consumers more value that would create a relationship beyond a product at a price.
  • 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.

Contact Chris