PROFILE

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.

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Chicago born, globally educated, 30+ years as a retailer and retail consultant, hammerhead cyclist
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  • Posted on: 07/14/2017

    Will Walmart win back-to-school with click and collect services?

    We've done two studies three years apart on what digital retail integration tools consumers want to see the most. What came in number one both times? Buy online, pick up in-store. "Put it in my trunk" pickup, not "wander through the store looking for the pick up station" pickup. Walmart is the only retailer I've seen that's addressing that the right way with freestanding units you pull up to. It should help them tremendously (Target, where are you with this?) as they continue to roll them out.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2017

    Should the Amazon/Whole Foods merger worry national brands?

    Talk about a match made in heaven, especially for Whole Foods. It's actually very angel investor-like. Now Whole Foods' 365 can get the proliferation it needs without activist investors trying to denigrate the brand and turn over the reigns to former Kroger execs or some other crime for short-term profit.I think Bezos "gets" the mission of Whole Foods, which is to bring healthy food to everyone. And Amazon is the vehicle to help them attain that mission. Before it was through their limited amount of stores only. Now, forget about it!I love it. I can hardly wait to have a Whole Foods healthy dinner delivered to me within the hour by a drone.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2017

    Why do so many people love shopping at Ace Hardware?

    Simple answer: one-on-one customer service. At least at the Ace near me I walk in, someone greets me, I tell them what I need, they take me to the area where my products would be, ask me if I need anything else and say thank you. Can you imagine that? Compare that to the experience in a big box DIY store, where you walk in, wander around (at least I do) for 20 minutes lost, stumble on what you need then walk a mile back out to your car.Ace's big box competitors are set up for pros. Ace is for the little guy, especially dolts like me who don't know what they're doing. It's good that they're being rewarded for creating what was once commonplace: the neighborhood hardware store.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2017

    Will Prime Day give Amazon an insurmountable advantage online?

    It's funny to me to read so much here about profits. Haven't we all figured out the new Wall Street model? Growth and market domination at all costs, profits be damned. Profits? Who cares? Profit is sooooo 1990s!On the serious side, Prime Day, Alexa, Dash, drones, same-day delivery, Whole Foods, Prime membership ... it's not just one thing that makes Amazon great, it's all of the above.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2017

    Will Amazon’s Prime Day set a new sales record?

    What's most brilliant about Prime Day is the timing. Taking a time of year when shopping is generally NOT top of mind and bringing it to the forefront was a stroke of genius, whether they knew it or not. It's like the old "Blue Ocean" strategy idea: go where they're not. And in July, retailers are so focused on bringing in new fall goods and just dumping the old stuff that the notion of have a blow-out extravaganza across the board seemed to catch everyone off guard. Except the consumer.Should be their biggest day ever, hands down.
  • Posted on: 06/29/2017

    Has CVS gone too far with its health kick?

    CVS is definitely on the right track. What strategic avenue is there that is better than human health? Sure, the category is broad, but if it helps you make bold decisions like getting rid of tobacco it's absolutely working. Plus, "health" includes so many key factors that are important to all consumers now; fitness, healthy eating/living, health care, urgent care, pharmacy and on and on. This is the best thing CVS ever did in my opinion.PLUS, think of their competition. What do they stand for? Cigarettes, booze, Slurpees and the occasional flagship store? As they say in sports, no contest.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2017

    Will AI make better hiring decisions than humans?

    I think AI can get you part of the way there but, boy, it'd be a huge mistake to rely solely on it. There are so many human nuances involved in a discussion, I certainly hope those would be evaluated as well. How does a machine perceive friendliness? Or concern, or kindness or reliability?? What is it all coming to -- Blade Runner?
  • Posted on: 06/27/2017

    What happens when you put a c-store on wheels?

    Do you remember the touch screen c-store in the Seoul train station hype? Turns out that was just a mock up by an ad agency. I get that same feeling with Moby here. It's hard to imagine this beast wandering the streets of the suburbs or up and down North Ave. in Chicago. I'd stick with a human-operated version for about 1,000 reasons.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2017

    Will putting a spotlight on associates help boost Kroger’s business?

    I believe the "human" strategy is exactly right. If you get in a price war with Walmart, Aldi, AMZN and the like, it's not going to end well. But by focusing on an area the aforementioned do not excel at -like people - you've got a much better chance to succeed, long and short term.Problem for Kroger though is twofold. 1) As stated, they've been hitting the price factor for so long it's tough to think of them in any other light and 2) if they're going to focus on their humans, they need to check their hiring practices, as I would not call their in-store associates top notch, or even close. They should look at Whole Foods for the emulator there. That's best in class, IMO.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2017

    What will a Nike/Amazon deal mean for the brand and other retailers?

    Wow, that hurts, eh? But like Wall Street and so many others, Nike's betting on the lead horse. After all, it's their livelihood that's at stake, so it's hard to blame them. It is also further proof that being a middle man in the digital age rather than someone with original, branded product is NOT a good position to be in. If the "Everything Store" has your stuff too, it's time to re-think what you're doing.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2017

    Why did McDonald’s end its Olympic sponsorship?

    Uhm, because the terms "Olympics" and "McDonald's" are the antithesis of one another? Just guessing.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2017

    How did mobile become the ‘glue’ in the Sephora shopping experience?

    Emulate them now. Just do it. This is the future for all retailers, with or without stores, but in particular it's especially relevant for those with expensive physical assets out there (uh, stores).
  • Posted on: 06/20/2017

    Will UPS’s Black Friday delivery surcharge have retailers seeing red?

    Shipping fees always get passed on to the consumer. Even with Prime. It's just a matter of whether or not and/or how you tell them. Where this gets dodgy is when you're selling commodities, then you can't build the costs into the cost of goods without it being obvious. Further proof (as if you needed any) that private label is the only road to success in the future. And for commodity brands, it's DTC or Amazon.Also it seems to me that if you're FedEx, you might want to tout the fact that you DON'T charge extra and ride that to the volume bank. I definitely smell a bidding war coming up.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2017

    Will the Bonobos acquisition give Walmart a fashion edge?

    To me, this is all about understanding how showroom stores work. Think: if you didn't have to have huge inventory levels, you could have smaller customer space, and if you had smaller customer space, you would have more space to turn the rest of your store into a fulfillment center. Whether it's BOPIS or ship to home, stores will become half fulfillment, half experience, and this is one leaping step towards that end.The fashion element here is an ancillary benefit.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2017

    What happens now that Amazon is acquiring Whole Foods?

    As an avid user of both brands, I'm pretty excited! Whole Foods at my door? A dream come true -- although I do enjoy their physical customer experience. These are called "good problems."Aside from that, it's just a brilliant move IMO. Solve the grocery dilemma by going to the top. Biggest win-win of the century so far.

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