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: 07/20/2016

    Is retail’s 800-pound gorilla or a crafty coyote?

    The retail adage is "location, location, location." If people go to Amazon first for anything, they are the big gorilla.The magnitude of it struck me this week. I love Skippy Super Crunch. I buy it in the largest container I can. I was running out. So I simply went to my computer, to Amazon and bought a two-pack of a container of the largest size. Good price, also. I had it in two days. No big purchase ($14). No multiple items. Just peanut butter, that's all.But that didn't seal the deal in my mind right away. A couple of days later my wife did the same thing with BonAmi. No big purchase ($5.49). No multiple items. Just BonAmi.This is where "location, location, location" turns into "convenience, convenience, convenience."
  • Posted on: 07/11/2016

    Are self-checkouts dooming impulse purchases?

    Impulse items at the check out have always been about the retailer. Self-checkout is all about the customer (meaning their speed and convenience). While there will be some opportunities, as long as there are no waiting lines, impulse purchases will decline.The worse thing the retailer could do is inhibit the speed and convenience of self-checkout to sell a few more candy bars. (But, I am confident that some will try.)
  • Posted on: 07/11/2016

    Will drop-off points boost online sales?

    Convenience! Convenience! Convenience! Convenience! Nobody is home. If you don't want something left on your porch or don't want to retrieve a non-delivery, but there is a locker not far from the route home from work or among daily errands, then there is no hesitation to purchase.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2016

    Barnes & Noble to sell beer & wine in new concept stores

    It is always hard to find a seat at a Barnes & Noble Cafe. People go there for social purposes as much as anything else. Beer and wine just encourages that more and adds margin to a bottom line that is challenged. And what better way to replace square footage that is not producing the return it used to?This is not dissimilar to Staples converting areas of their stores to shared office space ala Regus. The challenge is to utilize committed square footage in the best possible way that fits with your business. Both these ideas make sense.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2016

    Sears extends iconic brands in surprising ways

    Brands have positions in people's minds. don't mess it up with extensions beyond the pigeonhole that works. DieHard is automotive and long-lasting. Don't move it from the garage into the house. Craftsman is for the shop. Kenmore is appliances. Within those areas there is plenty of room for extension or accessories. Outside those areas, it just muddles what has already become weak.Branding is not just putting a name on something. It is putting a meaning on something.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2016

    The independent retailer lives on

    ... and they should see themselves as completely different business models. Despite what larger retailers say, they are not about person-to-person connections. Certainly not with 67 percent turnover at the brick-and-mortar level. The KPI for independents should be the antithesis of those large retailers. Measure person-to-person connections with the customers and the revenues will come.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2016

    Amazon Dash gets a smart button rival

    Shopping today is about speed and convenience. What is more perfect than a button?
  • Posted on: 06/27/2016

    Once e-tail only, ThinkGeek expands brick-and-mortar presence

    Perfect -- "The DNA of many e-tailers actually fits running modern physical stores much better than the DNA of old-fashioned, pure brick-and-mortar retailers."
  • Posted on: 06/23/2016

    How important is ‘place’ among the P’s of retail marketing?

    Great comment by Mary Dillon, “Our growth and development team is now in the process of performing a detailed analysis to refresh our estimates of the store potential in the U.S.” The comment about co-space also focuses on the efficiency of the real estate.The word I like is "refresh." Too many retailers use old models when thinking about brick-and-mortar. By the way, old models may be no older than a few years, but the marketplace is changing that quickly.But what retailers have to remember about this "P, place, of the famous four Ps," is that it is not where you locate a store. but where, anywhere, the customer interacts with you.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2016

    Why aren’t retailers closing more stores?

    The class says the problems are:
    • Exit barriers (leases, et. al.);
    • The impact of the P&L;
    • The perception of a failed reputation;
    • "Closing stores looks likes failure."
    Those who don't close their stores will follow:
    • Western Union who did not react to the telephone;
    • Kodak who did not react to digital photography;
    • Blockbuster who did not react to DVDs in the mail.
    I will add: management hubris.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2016

    Why aren’t retailers closing more stores?

    This will be topic in class today. I will report back. In the meantime, enjoy this short video. It explains the challenge the CEOs face.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2016

    Millennials with money go shopping in dollar stores

    The big issue is not affluent Millennials shopping in dollar stores. It is the rejection of traditional brands and accoutrements that previous generations were attracted to. Millennials would rather spend their money differently. They are putting off traditional purchases (homes/cars) or avoiding them entirely.I have written previously that I know a real estate developer that focuses on building apartments in the NYC suburbs. These buildings are withing walking distance of the train stations. The apartments are simple. The renters don't generally own cars. But a gym in the building is essential as is a Starbucks or the like.Oh, this target is not lower-income by any means, they just spend as little as possible on essentials and use it for experience, as small as a coffee or as big as traveling the world.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2016

    IRCE recap: Retailers claim ship-from-store successes

    One of the great advantages online retailing has over brick-and-mortar is to be able to support the same level of sales with considerably lower levels of inventory. Balancing inventory to demand across hundreds of stores has always been a challenge, not only in the cost of extensive inventory, but in the price reductions executed to clean out the inventory. Ship-from-store would only increase that challenge.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2016

    Will an online dollar store work?

    Tony, When we look at online, why do we focus on shipping cost and ignore the costs of running a brick-and-mortar store? No property, no walls, no roof, no heating, no air conditioning, no fixtures, no labor, no rent. I think I could ship a whole lot of goods for the cost of operating 300, 1,000 or 5,000 stores.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2016

    Will an online dollar store work?

    Let's see ... "Of course, had they asked many retail veterans, they would have been given plenty of reasons why hollar would never work. To start, there are the low margins and penny profits associated with the sale of typical dollar store goods." But given the same margins, online is a better business model."Dollar chains also count on frequent store visits from customers purchasing cheap consumables. Would this pattern repeat itself online?" Of course it would, in fact the online visits would be even more frequent."Dollar General has an e-commerce option, but the chain’s website is never talked about as a growth vehicle. Family Dollar uses its site to promote the sale of goods in its stores." Online is where all retail growth will be. If the brick-and-mortar dollar retailers ignore it, they will suffer.

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