PROFILE

Richard J. George, Ph.D.

Professor of Food Marketing, Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph's University

Dr. Richard J. George is Professor Emeritus of Food Marketing at the Haub School of Business, St. Joseph’s University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in economics. He holds an MBA from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from Temple University. He has authored or co-authored eleven books including Winning Customer Rules and Winning Marketing Strategy: The Rules.  He has also been recognized with several awards for teaching and research excellence, including the prestigious Lindback and Tengelmann Awards.   As an entrepreneur he has learned the need to “walk the walk” and not simply “talk the talk.” He was one of nineteen professors nationwide named as their favorite undergrad business professor and profiled by Business Week in a feature titled “Class Acts.”  In 2014 he was voted by students as the “Top Prof” in the Haub School of Business.  He has lived and taught in England at the University of London and in Ireland at the University College Cork.

As an expert on food marketing strategy, brand strategy, business ethics, marketing strategy, customer delight, marketing trends, and servant leadership, he has been quoted by major news organizations and industry publications worldwide. He has spoken on these topics in the Americas, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Pacific Rim.  Articles on these topics have appeared in the European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Journal of Food Products Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Adweek, Grocery Headquarters, Marketing News, the International Review of Retail Distribution and Consumer Research, the Journal of Negro Education, and the Journal of Business Ethics.

Dr. George has spent his entire professional career in the development of people.  Over the course of his career, with his speeches in the U.S. and internationally, he has reached tens of thousands of students and food marketing industry leaders.  He is the previous holder of the Gerald E. Peck Fellowship, working on a project for the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA).  The objective of the IFDA research project was to enhance collaboration between foodservice manufacturers and distributors.  Previously, he held the fellowship sponsored by FMI during which he produced three published research reports focusing on the future of food wholesaling.

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  • Posted on: 10/18/2017

    Online and Amazon to grow more dominant over the next decade

    There is no reason why this Tsunami will not reach the shores of all brick-and-mortar retailers. As noted in the article, online is a disrupter or a paradigm shift. In such a scenario everyone, including the legacy retailers, go back to zero.As noted the one area of online underdevelopment is in grocery retailing. This will not stay small forever. I envision online capturing a significant portion of what I refer to as replenishment shopping or loading/reloading the pantry. Such a shift does not bode well for the center store of a traditional food retailer. Many of the center store products will be purchased online from the brick-and-mortar retailer and delivered to the store for direct placement into a consumer’s vehicle.However, there is no reason for the traditional retailers to throw in the towel. Besides replenishment, grocery consumers still love to shop. By that I mean experiencing a store's environment of new and delicious offerings. Replenishing online will free up consumers to shop enhanced and exciting perishable departments, then proceed to a designated area and have their online purchases placed into their vehicles.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2017

    Should Kroger sell its c-stores?

    The largest benefit may be in a renewed focus in its core business. The potential downside is that c-stores are increasing their share of the meals business, which is big opportunity for a company like Kroger. Not exactly certain how the jewelry stores fit Kroger's mission and portfolio.
  • Posted on: 10/16/2017

    Should Coach Inc. have changed its name?

    I understand the concerns about a potential loss of focus. However, by itself a corporate name change need not have any impact on its flagship brands. Consumers can still shop in a Coach or Kate Spade retailer.The bigger question is, what new fabrics will be woven into the company’s tapestry?
  • Posted on: 10/12/2017

    Are store brands a ‘fundamental defining piece’ of the retail experience?

    Own-label products are the key to positive differentiation today. Retailers, whether online or brick-and-mortar, need to think like a brand and act like a retailer. Not too long ago retailers viewed private or own-label as an opportunity to make margin by footballing the national brands. Fortunately, that perspective has changed. Recent data shared by Acosta shows that over half (53 percent) of shoppers will choose which store to shop for specific products based on how much they like their store brand. This number is up from 34 percent five years ago.Regarding Millennials, private label represents a real potential sweet spot. This segment of the market doesn't necessarily buy the brands of their parents, particularly when it comes to consumer packaged goods.
  • Posted on: 10/11/2017

    What marketing lessons can we learn from Amazon?

    Amazon is now a retailer, a cloud-services provider, a film studio, a device company, a parcel carrier and a technology giant. An estimated 40 percent of U.S. online spending goes to Amazon. Clearly the success of Amazon comes from its willingness to innovate and take risks in ways that are meaningful to its target markets.While the four Ps noted in the article are critical to the success of Amazon, I would argue that the one C, namely, the customer best explains the company's success. Amazon is probably the most customer-centric organization in today's economy. While other companies are more concerned about the competition or Wall Street, Amazon focuses on Main Street. This obsession with the customer drives every strategy and tactic the company executes. Clearly, Amazon's success has left many clues for competitors to emulate -- the primary one being that everything begins and ends with the customer.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2017

    Are retailers confusing customer service with the customer experience?

    Looks like an insightful book that I plan on reading. Much of what the authors say resonates with my books on delightful customer service. In one text I identify "12 Steps to a Better Bottom Line":
    1. Decide on your core business;
    2. Create your vision;
    3. Evaluate your competitors;
    4. Benchmark everyone---borrow, borrow, borrow;
    5. Find out what it takes to delight customers;
    6. Find out what they think of you;
    7. Design the system and set the stage;
    8. Understand that people do make a difference;
    9. Deliver a delightful performance;
    10. Work on the next sale;
    11. Profit from complaints;
    12. Don’t become complacent.
    The key is customer delight not disappointment.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2017

    Have retailers killed off Black Friday?

    First, there will still continue to exist a small segment of consumers who shop Black Friday for the thrill of the hunt and being in a crowd environment. For this group some blockbuster offers would suffice. For the rest of the consumer market there is very little to be gained by shopping with the crush of people. Dialing back on Black Friday and closing on Thanksgiving may provide real cost savings as well as positive consumer preferences.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2017

    Can retailers be healthcare disruptors?

    I see a terrific opportunity for food retailers to position themselves as the "health & wellness" providers. Unfortunately, they allowed the chain drug stores to own this positioning. With renewed interest in convenient healthcare, food retailers may now have the opportunity as well as they have permission to become major players in this space. How? By delivering on the healthful aspects of food and diet to one’s health & lifestyle.Offering dietary advice, wellness screenings, healthy cooking classes, incentives for exercise, etc. would allow them to make inroads here without a lot of CAPEX spending.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2017

    Walmart deal shows it’s serious about same-day delivery

    The final mile battle and experiments continue. I'm not certain that this is so much of a test of another potential delivery option as it is an attempt to demonstrate to the market that Amazon is not the only logistics innovator.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2017

    Is the time right for Kroger to go hyper-local?

    I applaud Kroger for this move. Not only does it put the focus back into its stores and its relationships with local sources, it underscores Kroger's commitment to "ethical and sustainable practices." This approach has the potential to reduce risk and operating costs, as well as enhance its brand image. Besides the noted advantage of such initiatives, an additional competitive benefit may be found in the recruiting of young talent out of college. Local, ethical and sustainable business practices resonate strongly with this group.
  • Posted on: 09/26/2017

    Will centralized buying make Whole Foods a more formidable competitor?

    Whole Foods' point of differentiation has always been organic and local. Therefore the key to this strategy is to maintain this differential advantage while bringing greater efficiencies and effectiveness to the Whole Foods banner. This is the perennial challenge under such acquisitions. The most successful mergers result in the above noted efficiencies without changing what the customer sees or expects. Everyone can learn a lesson from the Safeway acquisition of an iconic regional supermarket, Genuardi's Family Markets in 2000. In a short period of time, Genuardi's was Safewayized in the form of a number of customer wrenching perspectives from changing the brand of meats and cheeses in the deli, to changing private label options, to even reducing the quality of the shopping bags. The net result is that Safeway sold the last Genuardi's less than 15 years after the acquisition.People often say "history repeats itself." In fact, the full quote is "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." The quote is most likely due to George Santayana, and in its original form it read, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." In the case of Whole Foods, Amazon should heed the insightful words of Santayana.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2017

    Hilton Honors members go shopping with points on Amazon

    Everyone wins here except the customer. Amazon gains access to potentially millions of new customers. Hilton drains customer loyalty points for mere pennies on the dollar. As for Hilton Honors customers, they get the opportunity to redeem their hard earned Hilton points for very little in return. I see other similar loyalty program/Amazon relationships happening in the not-too-distant future.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2017

    Will a new lunch menu make Starbucks a food giant?

    For Starbucks this represents a terrific potential opportunity to expand into this critical day part. Lunch is becoming an ever expanding meal battleground. With the rise of grocerants, convenience store meal service, removing the Donuts from Dunkin Donuts, etc. the battle for this share of stomach becomes more complicated and competitive. This is the fray in which Starbucks is stepping. Success is not guaranteed.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2017

    Kitchen 1883 may be a new platform for Kroger’s growth

    The battle for share of stomach continues to be complicated. This year one third of prepared meals do not come from a traditional or fast food restaurant. Restaurants in grocery stores significantly increase visits and therefore, the promise of more store sales. Plus, if done correctly, in store [sic] testaurants can enhance the store's positioning. The challenge as noted by others is to do it right. However, I think the concept will flourish.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2017

    Is BOPIS degrading the in-store experience?

    Unfortunately, most in-store experiences pre-BOPIS were nothing special. To blame BOPIS for the demise of the store is analogous to faulting icebergs for the Titanic disaster. Retailers need to step back and evaluate every customer touch point or moment of truth and then manage the hell out of each, including the BOPIS interaction. We need to give customers a reason to come into stores. If done properly, BOPIS can result in incremental business. Click-and-collect followed by high margin in-store shopping at the time of pickup.

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