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: 08/29/2016

    Target holds first storewide sale

    This is the first step to teaching Target customers to wait for the next storewide sale.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2016

    How much will POS malware attack cost Eddie Bauer?

    So the customer forgives a retailer the first time. Then another retailer gets hit and the customer forgives them. Then to another. At some point the customer will not understand why the retailer does not take the precautions to not get hacked. How many times does this have to happen before the retailer gets serious? The conclusion by the customer at this point is if the retailer gets hacked, the retailer cares more about saving money than protecting their customers. Each progressive hack, even if it is the retailer's first, will create a stronger and stronger reaction by the customers.
  • Posted on: 08/22/2016

    Will drop shipments become a major online fulfillment tool?

    Zappos went through this many years ago. It just plain did not work. They lost control of the inventory and the customer. That is what drove them to become what they are today. Any disconnect between the retailer and the supplier simply means a lost customer and more cost.
  • Posted on: 08/22/2016

    Will Amazon drive-up grocery stores disrupt food retailing?

    More and more it is all about time and convenience. Ordering groceries online and picking them up when one is out and about goes a long way to eliminating the time it takes to navigate the grocery store. I don't know if it is going to be the ubiquitous Amazon that makes this successful, but from a business point of view, not dealing with the brick-and-mortar store gives them a great economic advantage.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2016

    Does Millennials’ credit card wariness spell trouble for retail?

    If retailers are concerned about credit card use by Millennials, they are looking at the wrong metric. If they should be concerned about anything, it should be the shopping habits and behaviors of Millennials.Wringing your hands about credit card use only takes the retailer away from "how do I do business with Millennials?"
  • Posted on: 08/15/2016

    Does Nordstrom’s growth depend on Nordstrom Rack?

    The traditional department store business is and will continue to be a no-growth (or declining) business. When a company finds itself in that position it must make some changes. Too often in this situation companies have said, "Gee, if we go in this direction we will kill our current business." The results have always been that if they didn't kill their current business, someone else would.If you have success with a flat or even declining business model, use the assets generated by it to start new and more promising business models.Nordstrom has a choice. They can serve the customer and the market that wants the Rack business model or they can let someone else do it. The impact on the basic Nordstrom business will be the same either way. You choose.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2016

    Are store closings a positive sign for Macy’s?

    Companies historically have a problem with "sustainability," meaning longevity. In the last 100 years over 90 percent of the "best" companies no longer exist. The problem is always the same. They do not change. They do not recognize that the markets and customers and technologies are changing. I should amend that -- they often do recognize the changes but they refuse to change. They get locked into their assets, even if they are under-performing.Apparently Macy's is recognizing this now (oh, it has taken so long). But they are probably ahead of their competitors. While the chance of the customers of the closed stores going to the remaining ones is slim (but nice PR), they will be a more profitable company in the short-term.The real question is, what should they look like in the long-term? What are their REAL assets and how do they deploy them? Do they really have any?
  • Posted on: 08/11/2016

    Will happy hour deals bring Chipotle’s customers back?

    One more incident probably kills Chipotle, but short of that they will be back on track. While they struggle right now, their concept matches the times. It is a matter of attaining that tipping point when confidence returns. When that happens, and it will, they are home free, unless they mess up again.
  • Posted on: 08/11/2016

    Did Amazon bring down and

    The Retail TouchPoints headline -- "Is Amazon To Blame For The Demise Of And" -- is kind of silly. Assuming blame isn't pejorative, the one to blame is the consumer. With today's online consumers it is all about time and convenience. Why would I have a stable of websites to go to for each category I shop when I can go to just one and find exactly what I need?In the last couple of weeks, my wife and I made a number of single purchases from Amazon. Each purchase was made independently and only one item was purchased. They included a part for the dishwasher, ink for the printer, a book, lipstick, a skin care item, another skin care item, an umbrella, a streaming movie and a birthday present for my granddaughter. Neither of us went to the umbrella site, nor the beauty site, nor the ink site, nor the movie site. Everything that we wanted could be accessed in one place. As my granddaughter says, "easy-peasy."
  • Posted on: 08/11/2016

    Can (should) brands do without department stores?

    The story is not about the brands, it is about the department stores. The decline in the department store business model has been evident not just in the last year, but in the last two decades. If the department store traffic no longer matches the brand's profile, it makes no sense to continue the retail relationship. I don't know what changes Coach or Michael Kors are making, but I would guess that if Coach drops Macy's, they will not drop Bloomingdale's.Similarly, if we look downscale the Under Armour/Kohl's example makes sense.
  • Posted on: 08/08/2016

    Is retail being hurt by its tech gender gap?

    This may be a bit off subject, but I am reading a book called "Ashley's War." It is about the experience of women who were part of Special Forces, Green Berets and Navy Seals 10 years before women were approved for combat in regular infantry. These women were full combat participants in their units and were strongly supported by the very top of the military hierarchy. The reason was that they often saw things differently than men saw them. Essentially, men were missing obvious clues on combat operations that the women perceived. Note, I am not saying the women were better at it, just different, like having a second set of eyes.Perhaps this should apply to women in IT in the retail sector. Sometimes you just need a second set of eyes with a different perspective.
  • Posted on: 08/04/2016

    Would Walmart + be an Amazon killer?

    If you are going to compete with Amazon you have to be as ubiquitous as Amazon and this doesn't do it. Will it add some scope to the business? Yes. Will it add some, I emphasize "some" customers? Yes. Will it challenge Amazon? Probably no more than already does from a marketing or market position.So why are they doing it? I am guessing it is for the systems that has developed. is a bit clunky, though getting better. They have to be smoother online and always more efficient in logistics. Perhaps helps them there.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2016

    Russell Athletic champions high school underdogs

    It will be successful, but not to the degree of Nike or Under Armour. It is the old Avis "We try harder."However, despite what they say, "the brand purports to be defending team sports from the 'ego, hype and selfishness' of the modern era," it is further commercialization and hype for sports in what should be extracurricular activities at a place where education should be the primary goal.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2016

    Is Grocery Outlet on its way to becoming the TJX of grocers?

    One question ... How many items will a shopper return when they are disappointed because the sticks on the corn dogs are crooked, the zip-top package won’t reseal after opening or a flavor doesn’t meet strict manufacturer specifications? Especially when a flavor doesn't meet strict manufacturer specifications.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2016

    Are retailers missing marketing opportunities with gift cards?

    You bet I would promote the use of gift cards if I am a retailer. What is not to like?
    1. It brings recipients into the store (or maybe online).
    2. They spend more than is the face value of the gift card.
    3. There are no returns of gifts.
    I like them so much, I would give every customer who makes a purchase of substance a gift card when they check out.

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