Lee Peterson

EVP Brand, Strategy & Design, WD Partners

After over 30 years as a merchant at Limited Brands, a retailer and a retail consultant, Lee brings an innovative approach to strategic assessment and brand development across diverse industries. He is particularly in tune with cultural trends, consumer demographics, and buying behavior. This experience gives Lee a well-rounded and informed approach to brand development and designing customer-focused retail and restaurant experiences. Lee wholeheartedly believes that stores must perform for the retailers, as well as consumers.

At WD Partners, he leads an experienced group of creative retail designers and strategists working on brand and prototype development for such clients as Wal-Mart, The North Face, Starbucks, Gatorade, Red Bull, Best Buy, New Balance, Safeway, Home Depot, Culver’s, Bob Evans, Whole Foods Market, eMart, Co-op Mart, Mimi’s Cafe and LensCrafters. Lee also leads WD’s marketing team which produces their web site, white papers and all marketing communications.

His comments have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, and on American Public Media’s Marketplace, as well as in industry magazines such as VM+SD, Brandweek, Chain Leader, QSR, Restaurants & Institutions, Nation’s Restaurant News, and Chain Store Age. Lee is also a frequent speaker on retail issues and trends. He is currently serving on the editorial board of VM+SD, a retail design trade magazine.  He is also an avid cyclist, outdoor enthusiast and lover of Nantucket Island.

Other Links from lee Peterson:

Chicago born, globally educated, 30+ years as a retailer and retail consultant, hammerhead cyclist
  • Posted on: 11/20/2017

    How open are consumers to AI-driven shopping?

    In our own study on AI, 41% of over 3000 consumers tested gave AI the top two boxes for "increased chance of purchase with use of AI" -- so, they're ready.It's clearly shopping of the future, so incredibly convenient. It reminds me a lot of "one click" and the first time I used that: wow! Once you just start telling a box to buy you something or to get you the best price or where something is, you just can't stop using it. It also makes the old method of shopping (you know, ecom, ha) seem ancient and clumsy. Look it up myself? Are you kidding?Funny related side bar: heard a comedian tell a story about driving and missing the exit he was supposed to get off on. His GPS politely/calmly told him, "you missed your exit, re-calculating." To which the comedian thought, "when you ride with people, could you imagine them politely/calmly telling you that?" Good point. Same with AI buying; there are no mistakes, you're the boss.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2017

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge Global Edition – M&S vs. Sainsbury’s

    Boy, both are great. I like the overall strategic direction taken in terms of "all people enjoy, have a good time!" -- and a little less on specific product. We could use some of that here in the U.S., attitude-wise. It's been a very divisive year, so let's take a break from the battle and just enjoy the season, no matter who you are. It would work for any retailer, but you could see both Target and Walmart taking that route on a large scale.Having said all that, if I had to vote for one, it'd be Sainsbury's. I just love the shots of all the different kinds of people digging in for a good time. Inspiring and fun.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2017

    Amazon Go still plans to transform convenience in retail stores

    Alibaba has opened several Bingo Box stores in China (50?) that are essentially the same thing as Amazon Go, maybe even a little better (scan and go with app, no check out) so something along these lines is definitely in the future of convenience stores. It's just a matter of time. An overlooked factor is that it was very smart of Amazon to beta test with employees as they're much less likely to get upset about small things and give honest feedback. So you'd think this is going to be good!Makes you wonder why someone like 7-11 hasn't tried a scan and go store, doesn't it? Maybe they're just waiting for Amazon to get the bugs out then test it themselves, but boy, this is not the age of "wait and see." It's the age of fail fast. Let's go! (pun intended.)
  • Posted on: 11/15/2017

    Yes, retailers can also reward non-transactional behaviors

    Rapha, one of the best brands out there (cycling), invites folks to "just ride with us." They call their stores "clubs" and serve coffee, organize rides and provide a great place to hang out, chat and check out the latest products. They also produce world class videos of people riding in exotic places and conditions that NOT ONCE ask you to check out product or buy something. This is the future of branding: join us, be with us, be in our "club" -- let the purchase come later. Because if you feel like you belong in their club, you will definitely buy something -- it goes without saying. Brilliant.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2017

    Are these the best or worst of times for consumer brands?

    Given the fact that a consumer can say, "Alexa, show me some toothpaste," vs that consumer looking at a Colgate ad, I'd say it's leaning towards the worst. The adjustment huge CG brands will have to make in terms of DTC could potentially be catastrophic. Especially considering the fact that they don't really know how to do that at all right now.The other factor facing brands is that private label from their biggest clients is getting better and better. The PL in Target, Kroger Walmart, etc, is top notch and in some cases better than what's been offered for years from CG companies.All the above adds up to a time of incredible challenge and change in the CG industry. Just as in retail, these challenges are going to bring about great change at all levels.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2017

    Will 24/7 curbside service help Nordstrom pick up late Christmas sales?

    Every study we've done about digital retail integration places BOPIS as the number one element customers want to see from retailers. It is always stunning to me, but this is the age of the customer, so why fight it? And of course, they want to pull up and have it put in their trunks. So depending on execution (of course), this should be a big plus for Nordstrom.Another element that would help would be same-day delivery. Even if it were only tested and/or not immediately profitable, the positive buzz and brand perception hit would be worth it. Uber it over, no matter, the customer would be incredibly grateful this time of year and start rolling out the best marketing tool ever: word of mouth.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2017

    As Amazon looms, CVS rolls out next-day Rx deliveries nationwide

    This could be huge. In this case, you'd really have to watch out for porch pirates but, otherwise, if they can execute, it's a massive benefit for those who probably need the scripts the most. I don't think anyone would say that going to the store to pick up scripts is convenient, especially if someone's really sick. Good move.
  • Posted on: 11/07/2017

    Amazon scales back Fresh deliveries

    This seems like the embodiment of fail fast to me, which is the best philosophy to have today, especially for retailers. Just because they were not successful in certain markets doesn't mean they won't try again in a different manner (AmazonFresh BOPIS, for example) in the exact same markets. Regardless, home delivery or pick up is the future for grocery so, it appears they have enough information to change course in some fashion. But as usual with the 900-pound gorilla, it's hard to tell where they'll go from here. Drones?
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Can Kroger make a name for itself in fashion?

    That's a bad idea. I think some of the above comments are correct (I just needed to say something positive!). Every brand has something called "permission scope," and this is way out of Kroger's scope. I wonder how that c-store they just opened is doing? Perhaps some good results from that would be a better press release than this, eh?
  • Posted on: 10/30/2017

    American Eagle invites college kids to do their laundry

    It isn't the free laundry that makes this concept forward thinking, it's the fact that they are TRYING free laundry. Where are Abercrombie & Fitch or Gap or Old Navy with the new ideas? Surprisingly, specialty retail is extremely laggard in understanding the new dynamic of fail fast/innovation as a success metric. Perhaps that comes from years of fixing "problems" or challenges with nothing but better product or hitting hot trends. With the long tail of e-commerce, those days are over. Wake up, specialty! It's a new dawn out there!
  • Posted on: 10/26/2017

    Nike turns its back on ‘undifferentiated, mediocre’ retailers

    About time. The "enabler" of this strategy is a strong DTC platform: solid ecom, great stores of their own and of course, Amazon. All of the above sure makes it easier to stop denigrating your brand by being in marginal retailers. I'm sure you'll see more of this from the likes of their competitors, although I'm not sure Under Armour cares about that.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2017

    How will AI transform the online experience?

    "Alexa, show me some skinny jeans." What does Alexa show you? Whose brands? What styles? Etc. Think of that simple transaction. Given that, no longer do you have to market those jeans to only me. You'd better be marketing those jeans to Alexa (aka Amazon). To me, that's the biggest change with AI, otherwise, it's still an on-going consumer paradise, just at another level. Funny, we all used to say, "with the internet, you can shop in your underwear." Now we don't even do that. A robot will do it for us, anytime, anywhere.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2017

    How should independents prepare for Black Friday?

    I think the indies should take the opposite tack and go regular price. They're right; the whole madness is about special deals, so who better to end it? Your local "cool" store, that's who. Put your best foot forward and feature all the products and people that make you better than your standard big box behemoth. Go for it. Bring back the "black" in Black Friday.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2017

    Apple opens invisible hangout in Chicago

    IMO, Apple is doing everything right on the physical retail front; creating amazing gathering areas that showcase (rather than sell) product and service. These places are the physical embodiment of where what we now call stores should evolve to in the near future. And yeah, even the semi-gimmick of taking the word "store" out of what they're called works for me. It gets everyone in tune with the idea right from the get-go. Bravo on all levels.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2017

    Walmart to open web mall with Lord & Taylor as an anchor

    Boy, Walmart's PR machine is getting as good as Amazon's. Good PR but, in the end, who cares? If we really wanted to shop Lord & Taylor, which is questionable in the first place, who cares how we do it? In Walmart's mall or a physical one -- it doesn't matter. What matters is, do we want to shop at Lord & Taylor at all?

Contact Lee

  • Apply to be a BrainTrust Panelist

  • Please briefly describe your qualifications — specifically, your expertise and experience in the retail industry.