PROFILE

Mark Price

Managing Partner, LiftPoint Consulting, Inc.

Mark Price is founder and managing partner and founder of LiftPoint Consulting Group, which he has led for over 14 years.  He is a frequent speaker at conferences as an expert on data-driven marketing and authors articles on the same topic. Mark has a podcast called The Lift Point and also blogs regularly.  He is responsible for leading client engagements, e-commerce and database marketing and talent acquisition for his firm.

Prior to founding LiftPoint Consulting in 2002, Mark was the Practice Leader for Zamba Solutions, focusing on data warehousing, marketing automation and data mining. Mark’s business experience also includes brand management at General Mills and Ralston Purina.

Mark has an MBA from the Darden School of the University of Virginia and a BA from Haverford College. He lives in Eden Prairie, Minn., with his wife,  poodle and Great Dane.

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LiftPoint Consulting Blog

 

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  • Posted on: 01/20/2017

    Will online sales redeem struggling brick and mortar retailers?

    Physical retailers hold an advantage over online stores -- consumers can pick up their product on the very same day, even in the same hour. However, "bricks and clicks" retailers will only enjoy the business benefit of this strategy when they can seamlessly integrate online and offline experiences. Buy online, pickup in-store is a compelling program, but prices, products, support and branding must be unified into a true omnichannel experience. Then these retailers can begin to see gains to help offset the in-store only declines.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2017

    Will Walmart’s Scan & Go catch on this time around?

    While the Walmart shopper has a high penetration of smartphones (as do most customer segments these days), I am not sure that their heavy customer fits the "early adopter" psychographic necessary to pioneer new technology. Just like Walmart's difficult initial forays into e-commerce, their customer base tends to be late adopters. As a result, Walmart would be better advised to improve the store experience and hold off on new technologies until they are widely accepted.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2017

    Is Net Promoter Score flawed?

    NPS has some real strengths — it is easily understood and can provide some good diagnostics when used well. A couple of caveats:
    1. NPS may not actually represent the likelihood of recommending — some people just don't while others do — but saying they are comfortable recommending suggests a level of brand engagement
    2. Voluntary completion of NPS must be supplemented with phone interviews to balance the pro-bias
    3. NPS can identify product and service issues, like a "canary in the coal mine" — providing early identification of problems for resolution
    4. Management engagement personally with customers with low NPS scores can convert problem customers into happy, repeat customers
    Total NPS trends are not as valuable as taking action and learning from the individual scores.
  • Posted on: 01/18/2017

    Why does Gen Z like brick-and-mortar stores but not malls?

    Generation Z appears to crave strong customer experience and products that feel unique. Mall stores must move from a labor cost focus to a customer experience focus, while encouraging their merchants to experiment with limited-run unique items.As this generation ages, it is inevitable that e-commerce will increase while the social value of shopping declines. How much is based on how ready retailers are to embrace this new paradigm.
  • Posted on: 12/30/2016

    How can the retail job market survive the AI revolution?

    AI at retail is heavy on promise, light on delivery. Ultimately, retailers will be faced with a mix of consumer segments that desire the most expedited service possible along with segments that desire high touch/high support. Those segments are less category-specific than you would think. High-touch customers tend to be high-touch customers across categories and even channels.The most immediate opportunity and the largest savings for retailers will be the use of AI in the supply chain -- making sure that the right product is delivered to the right store at the right time, combining dynamic forecasting of sales with an optimization model for inventory. The in-store component is more complex than it looks and is a bit farther off.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2016

    Will online grocery gain traction in 2017?

    Online grocery seems to be lagging almost every other category of e-commerce, potentially driven by the high frequency rate. But since most consumers purchase mostly the same products at the grocery store, the category seems right for digital disruption. Perhaps auto-replenishment, where consumers receive products on a regular schedule, or even more likely, some combination of Amazon Echo or Alexa, where consumers can simply order grocery products as they are running out, and those products simply appear at their door, will be the answer.But e-commerce as a simple one for one replacement for grocery shopping is unlikely to fill the bill.
  • Posted on: 12/28/2016

    Will data-driven checkout get shoppers through the line faster?

    The benefit of sensor technology is most apparent when the data is combined across stores and correlated with marketing, sales and product assortment data to better forecast demand by hour by day by store. These applications of machine learning are revolutionizing retail today and will do more so in the future.
  • Posted on: 12/24/2016

    Should department stores talk less about Millennials and more about ‘heavy spenders’?

    In our experience, the best predictor of a customer's future behavior is the past behavior. Behavior is far more predictive than demographics, we find consistently. There are millennials who shop heavily with a retailer and those who do not. The ones who do may have behavior patterns similar to other best customers and should be treated similarly for data-driven marketing.Brand building may want to account for demographics more heavily, but data-driven marketing is about specific behavior change, and needs to focus on behavior as the key.
  • Posted on: 12/19/2016

    Did retailers doom their holidays with deep discounts?

    Every holiday season, it seems, we ask the same question, "When will this disease of excessive promotion before Xmas end?" and every season it gets a little worse. Retailers play a game of chicken with each other, seeing who will hold out longer and which retailers will succumb to anxiety about getting their fair share of the revenue pool out there. Revenue does not equal profits though, as we have seen.What's worse, by treating very customer the same and discounting like crazy, retailers are training customers to simply shop the best discount, brand be damned. A carefully crafted segmentation strategy might reduce sales slightly but afford both higher profits and increased brand engagement by best customers.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2016

    Here’s one way retailers can measure cross-channel influence

    We have successfully measured the impact of store openings and closings at the individual customer level, where you can clearly see the increase in total volume when a customer becomes multichannel and the decrease when that customer loses the retail channel option via a pre-post analysis (accounting for seasonality, of course). If you can track customers across both digital and physical channels, then the data speaks clearly.
  • Posted on: 11/14/2016

    Where are the omnichannel metrics?

    The greatest challenges for omnichannel metrics is the difficulty that retailers face in identifying customers who are engaging them digitally, but not purchasing using ecommerce. Those customers often lack IDs that can be connected to the customer who is making purchases in-store.As a result, retailers often fall back on "personas" of an online behavior pattern as the best they can do.
  • Posted on: 11/04/2016

    At Amazon Books, only Prime members get the best price

    This strategy is similar to the Barnes & Noble membership program, where customers must purchase the membership in exchange for discount percentages. I do not think this program will be a difficult sell and it will probably drive incremental memberships, albeit a small number given the limited footprint of their stores.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2016

    Can anyone fix Target’s grocery business?

    The challenge of the grocery business is the depth of the product assortment that is required by today's upscale customer segment. Target has attempted to replicate European grocery stores in creating a higher-end store brand, but American consumers are more attached to their own brands and do not see the value in the store brand to create a premium price.Target can be a small private label grocery provider or a larger branded grocery provider — there really are not any other choices.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2016

    Retailers’ top four omnichannel investments in 2017

    Given the uncertain nature of the retain environment, the best retailers will have to double down in investments that can drive customer retention and cost management. Inventory visibility will be critical for Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPIS) as well as ship from store and other initiatives. One important factor in inventory visibility is improved inventory forecasting that includes both the quantity of inventory available and where that inventory is located. Combining both factors will allow the best retailers to reduce stockouts, improve BOPIS performance and reduce costs at the same time.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2016

    It’s the Millennials’ world

    The attributes that Millennials are seeking in their e-commerce experience are the same as many other consumers. the difference is that Millennials are not willing to settle for sub-par inauthentic communications and behavior, while Boomers have learned to accept what they feel cannot be changed.With the increased transparency on the web, Millennials can move their patronage to companies that fit their needs more precisely. As a result, many of the marketing and sales techniques that retailers have honed their teeth on no longer work.The behavior required to succeed with Millennials benefit all of us at the same time, so if they raise the bar, more power to them. Boomers will happily patronize retailers who are transparent, authentic, interested in relationships and market with content as well.

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