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: 02/28/2017

    Has J.C. Penney pulled off ‘one of the greatest financial turnarounds in retail history’?

    In the short-term, cutting costs and closing stores can increase the bottom line. This is not a long-term strategy and is hardly sustainable. You can't cut to ZERO. As long as revenues are moving in the wrong direction, the bottom line is is not the critical issue, the critical issue is a sustainable business model.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2017

    Did Walmart’s short films win Oscar night?

    By the time the second one came on everybody stopped to pay attention and see what the creators would do with the idea. By the last one, there was considerable conversation about how much fun these were.Just a comment on the ads overall. Better than the Super Bowl!
  • Posted on: 02/27/2017

    Will irrational shipping prices doom brick and mortar stores?

    Ben, your explanation nailed it. Of course shipping is not free, but it replaces the various in-store costs the retailer experiences. When a customer goes into a brick-and-mortar store they don't see charges for rent and labor added to the price of the product. Shipping is a substitute for those store elements.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2017

    Is McDonald’s backpedaling on fast casual with a low-price strategy?

    McDonald's has done a great job over the years of establishing their brand. They have a unique place in everyone's mind. But the reality is that they are what they are. They can not go upscale operationally nor figuratively. By not being the McDonald's that we know, McDonald's the brand will be meaningless. They will lose all that remains and gain nothing.It is a hard position to be in. Trends are going in the wrong direction for them. Perhaps they should spend a little time with the old BCG model and treat the current business as a "cow" (before it becomes a "dog,") and look for "stars" to invest in.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2017

    Is Amazon’s Alexa a threat to rival retailers?

    This isn't an issue of retailers and Alexa (or any voice ordering device). Bob Amster said it very well, "Retailers need to be part of this evolution or they will be left out of that the piece of the retail pie." And that evolution isn't about Alexa. It is about what comes after that -- and after that. Technology will continue to provide greater ease and convenience for the consumer.Retailers must start thinking about how to interact with a customer not in 2018, but in 2030. Historically, retailers have not only been behind reading trends in consumer habits and behaviors, but have fought them to death. Death for the retailer that is!
  • Posted on: 02/21/2017

    Will acquisition of a mom and pop shop pay off big for Kroger?

    From an acquisition point of view, the seller always benefits more than the buyer.From a strategic point of view, this is the way the large grocery chains must operate to expand their business. In a mature market where population growth is 0.7 percent, buying another grocery chain does not expand business. Opening more supermarkets does not expand business ... it's just rearranging the deck chairs.Ultimately the key to success will be understanding that they did not buy cheese, they bought a brand. How will they handle the brand?
  • Posted on: 02/21/2017

    Third-party e-commerce fulfillers: Friend or foe to the grocers?

    Online grocers' strength is in delivery. Brick-and-mortar grocers' strength is in the store. They cannot be expected to efficiently become a delivery company.Unless they are going to change their business model, they should be using the experts on delivery. Vet them well and take your chances.
  • Posted on: 02/21/2017

    Are Boomers being ignored by retailers?

    The simple answer is if you want longevity in your business, pay attention to the customers who are going to be around awhile and have money to spend. That doesn't include Boomers. Even the most well off Boomers don't spend at the same rate as they did a decade ago.On the other side of it, retailers and CPG companies' marketing mindset is still very much in the mass market, which was successful when Boomers were young. They have to change that mindset to get out of the mass marketing. It no longer works. Today's maturing consumer looks at shopping in a very different way than my generation did.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2017

    What does it take to drive a top-down plan for customer-centricity?

    The key is to measure the results, not the activities. Are we meeting the KPIs, which are very different than revenues, margin and profits? For Continental it was such things as on-time performance and lost luggage. Things that were critical to the customers' decision to choose one airline over another -- or one retailer over another.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2017

    What will Walmart gain from its Moosejaw acquisition?

    When it comes to M&A, the key is strategy first.To simplify the equation, Walmart could pick one of two strategies for the future:
    1. Expand their current business, or;
    2. Find areas outside their current business in which they could apply thier corporate strengths and grow the scope of company.
    The answer is pretty clear. The former gets them nowhere is a highly saturated America. The latter, whether applied internationally or domestically, assures profitable and sustainable growth (sustainability being the key). Moosejaw fits this position. We will see more Moosejaws from Walmart.
  • Posted on: 02/16/2017

    What does it take to drive a top-down plan for customer-centricity?

    Gordon Bethune, former CEO of Continental Airlines wrote "From Worst to First." It is this story precisely. How to make a company with tens of thousands of employees customer-centric. I recommend it to any CEO who is serious about implementing customer-centricity. I use it for my leadership students.The steps:
    1. Be serious about it. It isn't words, it is action.
    2. Measure, measure, measure the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They aren't what you think.
    3. Give people at the lowest rung independence to make customer-oriented decisions.
    4. Reward to organization for any increased standings in KPIs.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Is Amazon the most innovative company in retailing?

    While the question is about Amazon being the most innovative company in U.S. retailing, I agree with Fast Company -- Amazon is the most innovative company in the world. As a professor, they provide me with numerous examples of how a company should look towards the future and how they should handle experimentation and failure. Amazon plays dominoes in developing strategies to connect with customers and uses technology to extend their reach.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Will having the same buyers for online and stores work for Walmart?

    From an organizational point of view, this is no big deal. One wonders why it was ever different.Too often we have read and heard about "omnichannel" retailers that looked like two separate stores, one brick-and-mortar and the other online. What could be more frustrating for the customer? The face of the retailer must be the same no matter what the channel of distribution is. The customer doesn't think in silos and neither should the retailer.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Zappos takes to the road to connect with consumers

    If I am a brick-and-mortar retailer with a substantive online presence, I want new customers to come to my store ... just once. Come, see me, know me. Then go home and buy online forever. The online connection is ultimately easier and more convenient for a customer to buy my products. Try more, buy more.So if it is good for that brick-and-mortar retailer, it is doubly good for Amazon and Zappos. If Zappos is reaching people who don't totally know how they operate, this will be an introduction. Then the customer's conclusion will be, "Gee, why do I ever have to go to a store again?"
  • Posted on: 02/07/2017

    What will lower Valentine’s Day sales mean for retail?

    The one sentence that screams loudly for every retailer is, "As a reflection on an ongoing trend, 40 percent of consumers said they would like a gift of experience for the holiday, such as a ticket to an entertainment event, gym membership or outdoor activity." I imagine the reference is not just related to Valentine's Day, but to all gift occasions. This trend was highlighted during the holiday season.The only reason more discounting will be generated is if the retailers overstock against a declining demand. By putting more merchandise out on the shelf, they are not going to change the desires or new habits of the shoppers. They are only going to create further need to cut the price to clear the unwanted inventory.

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