Gene Detroyer

Professor, European School of Economics
Most simply, Gene Detroyer makes things happen. He has been a business builder his entire career. He started two companies which were later sold. Today he is advising, consulting and motivating a range of clients both in the U.S. and internationally. Unable to stay away from start-ups, he is currently involved in building and launching an innovative experiential executive education program for US-based enterprises entering global markets, the G2 Experience, with support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Commerce.
His traditional experience includes 17 years marketing consumer products through food, mass and drug channels. He is credited with building new businesses now worth over $400 million. A traditional career went out the window with his first start-up; putting TVs in supermarket aisles and putting advertising on them, which was merged into NBC. He has had consulting gigs with Coca Cola, companies like HSN wishing to bring their products to retail and start-ups. His second entrepreneurial venture brought the Today® Contraceptive Sponge back to market in the U.S.  That company was sold in 2007.
Beyond consumer products, he is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Business Strategy at The European School of Economics.  He also teaches at the Weller International Business School in Paris, France.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2017

    Kitchen 1883 may be a new platform for Kroger’s growth

    Let's start by defining our business. Business definition is among the biggest barriers to a company moving forward. Once upon a time Paramount was a DJI 30 company. They defined themselves as "making movies." At the same time a little cartoon maker named Disney defined themselves as in the "entertainment" business. Would Kodak still be here today if they defined themselves as in the "picture" business versus the "film" business?So let's define the business today's supermarkets are in. Is their business to operate supermarkets or is to provide something greater to the customers who walk in their stores? Especially when more and more of the products they sell can be bought without ever walking into the store?
  • Posted on: 09/15/2017

    Do retailers need teen consultants to really understand Gen Z?

    Oh, how we love to categorize. As we look at consumer behavior keep in mind that there is no wall between these two generations. Relative to the behaviors mentioned, it is a spectrum rather than a lump. The oldest of Gen Z may be a lot closer to a younger Millennial than the youngest of Gen Z.Commonly these behaviors are technologically-driven and technology is moving faster and faster. I often think about my grandchildren (four of them, ages nine to 13) and the things we experience as "wow" and they experience as "everyday."Net-net, a company better look at these folks and look at them hard. And rather than approaching them because they are current customers, study them because they are future customers.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2017

    Will Postmates’ on-demand delivery work better as a subscription model?

    The value of a subscription service is that it makes you the "go to" place for for those who buy one. Prime boasts "free shipping" but, in reality, it is a subscription service with the clear objective to make customers click on Amazon first.Today there are multiple delivery options. Postmates is offering "don't bother thinking about who to click on, just come here ... after all, you paid for it."
  • Posted on: 08/28/2017

    Should Starbucks close its online store?

    I spend a lot of time in Starbucks around the city and have been doing so since they opened their first store down the street about 15 years ago. My grandkids give me Starbucks gift cards for Christmas. Yet until I read this discussion I didn't even know they had an online store.Simply put, there is no need for it. Anything you can get in a Starbucks online store you can get at Amazon and other retail sites.While I find Starbucks' mission statement a bit hokey -- "Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit -- one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time" -- I am not sure having an online store fits.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2017

    Will Amazon become a dominant force in grocery after acquiring Whole Foods?

    Amazon is already a force in the grocery industry and is likely to become a dominant force, but not because of the Whole Foods acquisition. Amazon is already a major competitor to supermarkets, with Amazon Pantry (a day doesn't go by that I don't see multiple Amazon Pantry boxes in my building) but also with regular Amazon. (Are there any traditional CPG brands you can't get on Amazon?)The Whole Foods acquisition gives Amazon access to a unique niche and access to a different customer than those who buy the traditional CPG brands on Amazon and Amazon Pantry. The acquisition just extends Amazon's reach.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2017

    Will the Walmart/Google voice deal give Amazon’s Alexa a run for its money?

    There is a phrase in retail we all know: location, location, location. Amazon owes the most valuable location in retail with their "mall." While we should praise Walmart and Google for this alliance, it is hardly a challenge to Amazon.If Walmart and Google can take the next step and become that mall as well, then they may have chance. Until then, they are just a store. Yes, a great store, but just a store on the internet.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2017

    Why are Target’s small stores much more productive than its big boxes?

    I am not sure what they use as the definition of productivity here. But I am sure on many fronts, labor, rent, traffic, inventory, a smaller store can be more productive.My colleagues here have hit on all the reasons. But I will refer to a comment made on another discussion today by Jackie Breen, "Regardless of the channel being shopped: convenience + happy customers = increased sales."
  • Posted on: 08/21/2017

    Where did Applebee’s go wrong with Millennials?

    This is a difficult issue for any company that interacts with customers. How do you attract new and growing demographics without alienating current customers? What makes it all the harder today is that the tastes of the Millennial generation are greater than the taste gaps of previous generations.For Applebee's and others, the business model is not working. One might consider taking the restaurants targeted for closing and trying completely different concepts. If one is successful, roll it out. Over time use the successful concept to replace the dying business model.Of course that means less profit in the short-term, but it means the business will continue in the long-term.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2017

    Should all retailers offer subscription services?

    I sure like Jackie Breen's equation. Every retailer, especially the CEOs, should hang it on their wall: "Regardless of the channel being shopped: convenience + happy customers = increased sales."There used to be a subscription model, way back when. Remember the milkman?The real answer of course is, why not? For those out there who have their life together this makes huge sense. I wish I had my life together.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2017

    Is Walmart on an unstoppable run?

    No surprise here. I have given big bravos to Walmart for all the things they are trying. Who knows which of their acquisitions will prove out to be beneficial but if you don't try them, you never know. Walmart has understood for a long time that the basic retail business has matured and their Supercenter business model has matured along with it. Now they are trying, trying, trying in the Bezos mode. There will be payouts down the road.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2017

    Will military tech give Amazon an edge delivering packaged meals?

    This doesn't sound very appealing to me and a bit counter to the fresh and natural trend. But I have learned not to bet against Amazon.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2017

    Will more promos fix Dick’s Sporting Goods pricing challenge?

    Consumer perception, no matter what the subject, is a long-term issue plus or minus. In this case, unfortunately, it is a minus. So to solve a long-term issue, you need a long-term solution.Promotion is a short-term solution. If pricing perception is a real problem, then everyday prices must be dropped. If pricing is a perceived problem, then added value must be shouted. Pricing is part of overall strategy, promotion is a tactic that doesn't solve this strategic issue.
  • Posted on: 08/14/2017

    Will Aldi upset the grocery home delivery cart?

    I am not sure I agree with the word "upset." The only thing that is going to "upset" grocery home delivery is if something stops it. Home delivery of groceries will continue to grow and grow and if a grocer is not seeing it, they will be left holding their grocery sack.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2017

    Will Amazon’s new return policy help or hurt its marketplace sellers?

    Unfortunately, some marketplace retailers tend to think of returns as something coming from the enemy. And I have found some of their policies a bit convoluted.As a result I avoid buying from all marketplace retailers, period. I don't even give them a chance. To their credit, however, I have never had a problem -- but why make it harder for me than it has to be?The marketplace retailers should join the 21st century.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2017

    Are the four Ps of marketing irrelevant for retailers?

    The four Ps are far from dead. They may be more relevant today than ever.Start with place -- instead of the store its my laptop and instead of going to the store to buy, the product is delivered to my home.Product is about delivering the unique selling features that a certain customer wants. How can that ever go away?Price is the dollars and cents of an item, it is the value of the item to the buyer.Promotion isn't just cents off, it is communication.To me it is impossible to operate in any selling world without dealing with the four Ps.

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