Tom Dougherty

President and CEO, Stealing Share
Tom Dougherty is President and CEO of brand company Stealing Share. He has developed brands across all industries positioning them to grow and steal market share. Tom's unique perspective and opinions are often sought and quoted by The New York Times, FOX Business and CNN as well as many industry journals.
  • Posted on: 04/24/2017

    What customer service lessons can be learned from United Airlines?

    It's not a customer service problem with retail today. It is a question of transparency. Shoppers would prefer to have little interaction with retail employees -- not a different experience (a transparent interaction).How does retail respond to the trend of retail shopping (online) that demands minimal to non-existent contact with the retailer itself?Thinking we can fix this problem by better training the customer service staff is navel gazing. I wish it weren't so. But retail HAS changed and the winners will adapt.
  • Posted on: 04/20/2017

    Has CVS crafted a promising new drugstore shopping journey?

    It is about time the pharmacy category woke up. They MUST mean more than a prescription destination or another convenience store.There is a difference between the high road and the high ground however. I'm not sure that CVS is claiming they've created anything that matters enough to shop at a different pharmacy than the one closest to my home. Wait and see.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2017

    How should retailers use social listening tools?

    It's all interesting qualitative research. Cheap, easy and readily available. But it is always self-selecting because it is not randomized and blinded.It's as important to a restaurant as a maître d' soliciting satisfaction from diners. But it provides NO strategic direction. None.This is an industry fumbling about to find better ways to anticipate changing habits. We NEED both types of research. Social media listening, to my thinking, is a best practice. It's not research. Pity those that think it is.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2017

    What will retailers gain from HHGregg’s loss?

    Frankly, I don't see this as having many ripples in the retail market.HHGregg went belly-up for a reason. Their market was fragmented and between all the other options for that self-same merchandise, I doubt if there is much any surviving retailer can do to grab the slack.I'm sure Sears wishes this was otherwise.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2017

    Should the same-store sales metric be retired?

    Do we ignore bad news? Napoleon once cautioned his generals never to wake him over good news.Same-store sales are bad news. But same-as comparisons are a realistic metric. One that retailers should use to measure growth and predict opportunity. One thing is certain -- same-store sales is a downward trend. It points to new horizons or shuttered windows. It's a choice.
  • Posted on: 04/07/2017

    Is Fred’s up to acquiring 1,200 Rite Aid stores?

    This is an odd one. The question seems to focus on Fred's financial ability to pull off the deal. I believe there is more to consider here: The pharmacy business. When I lecture about branding failures, I generally focus on three categories -- banking, airlines and pharmacies.The purpose of investing in a brand is to build preference. The desire is to make the brand sticky. Meaning, to foster loyalty that transcends location and simple convenience. (Think how far shoppers will drive to an IKEA as an example).The pharmacy category has totally failed in persuasive brand building. Based upon the overwhelming evidence, shoppers will choose one brand over another simply because of the traffic pattern. How often do you see an intersection with three competing pharmacies on different corners of the same traffic light? What does that tell you?What do the brands own? What do they mean? How sticky are the brands themselves? CVS is trying. I give them an A for effort. But this is a category lost in a definition of the category itself. Are they a convenience store? A prescription filler? An off-license? What are they and where in importance does the shopper place the brand?So if Fred's pulls this off they will be as successful as the traffic pattern dictates.The important question here is NOT about deep financial pockets. It's about BRAND.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2017

    Will Panera Bread be more successful as a private company?

    Private companies have many advantages. They can take the long view and build a brand that has the ability to adapt to market changes. Public companies are often held hostage to shareholders who only care about today.The QSR segment is in the throes of change and evolution. Panera has the opportunity to lead the pack and set the bar for competitors.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2017

    BrainTrust throwdown: Is it inevitable that tech companies will dominate retail?

    Can traditional retailers make the transition? Certainly. Will they? Nah.They are too busy trying to make the old models profitable and interesting again. They won't change until it's too late and new shopping habits will already be formed.The winner? Tech. The loser? Everyone who is afraid to cannibalize their existing model.Many of the barriers for change are found in shareholders who notoriously hold onto quarterly profits and resist long-term investment. So how long would a Macy's C-suite survive if they closed and reduced the brick-and-mortar retail space in favor of a REAL and dominant online experience? That management would get bounced out on their ears. The current model MUST defend real estate investments.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2017

    Why haven’t customer surveys gone mobile?

    Research is only good if it is not self-selecting. The stuff gleaned from those that finish a survey from the bottom of a receipt is as good as dirt. You get what you pay for and that's what it's worth.If 90% of shoppers respond to this new methodology, it is an amazing opportunity. But, as soon as the incidence drops below 70%, the results will not be projectable.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2017

    Are consumers interested in Kroger’s stories?

    It is a loyalty strategy. NOT a conversion strategy. No one who is not published on the blog itself or employed by Kroger will ever read it.A nice idea to keep the most extreme enthusiasts loyal. But are extreme loyalists the group you need to influence?
  • Posted on: 03/21/2017

    Why is the U.S. so bad at airport retailing?

    There is a difference between international travelers and domestic travelers. (Note that I did not say airports -- I said travelers.)The U.S. domestic traveler has little time between domestic flights at hubs. Shopping is the last thing on their minds. The entire airline and airport experience is about hurry-up and get it over with.International travelers often have more time between connecting flights and are looking for different cultural offerings. So they shop. Americans just don't. Even duty free shops at U.S. airports are less busy than their OUS equivalents.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2017

    What could a new memes platform mean for retail?

    It's hard to see memes as threats. But they certainly add another, albeit inefficient, means of reaching customers and loyalists. Another social network to manage. Sounds like a nightmare to me.If the retailer's goal is to increase visibility by getting shoppers to create memes that support visitations then they need to rethink current old-school merchandising strategies.Controversial and outrageous merchandising to foster meme creation requires looking at our current models quite differently.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2017

    Will being more like Home Depot work for J.C. Penney?

    If you go see a surgeon they recommend surgery. Hire a home improvement guy and ... surprise! They suggest selling hardware and appliances.I'm hesitant to criticize any department store that is trying a new model. God knows they need a redefinition and a vision for the future. But selling major appliances is not the solution. These are destination purchases and are NOT something you discover you need while shopping.Sears hemorrhages market share because no one wants to shop for those things in malls. They want to buy them not look at them. It's a category that is driven by price, selection and installation. The convenience is in not having to go to a mall to buy them.
  • Posted on: 03/10/2017

    Has proven that online sales are going to the dogs?

    There is only upside potential to online EVERYTHING. Not just pet treats, food and supplies. This is still an immature market space but it is maturing at an incredible pace.Expect logistics to keep up with product offerings. When free delivery is augmented by same-day delivery most every category of goods will migrate to online sales. Traditional retailing will be the exception rather than the rule. Not even grocery stores will be exempt.This means that EVERYONE in traditional retail needs to be willing to redefine not only what they market but how they market.For many, it will be a bitter pill to swallow because the business operations must change. Shedding of real estate will be the news of the day. Until everyone does it.It is a sea change. No less pervasive than the shift from downtown shopping in the '40s and '50s to malls in the '70s and '80s. The downtown stores closed and malls replaced them. Online is doing the same to the market today.Those that make the transition will survive and they will be different. Those that try to stop the tidal change will drown. But markets inevitably seek economies and the genie will never go back into the bottle.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2017

    Can RadioShack come back from bankruptcy — again?

    RadioShack has a long history of putting lipstick on a pig. It's over.The chain lacked brand leadership and subsequent relevance. Ask them, they think they re-branded a few years back. A new logo mark and using the colloquial term "the Shack" is not re-branding.In my business (re-branding) we put the fear of God in clients by warning them to not become "the Shack."In brand terms, RadioShack is the movie equivalent of jumping the shark.

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