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James Tenser

Principal
VSN Strategies

Well if you put yourself out there, you must anticipate some criticism—justified or not. A high sugar dose is anathema to some consumers. So are artificial anything. Have you tried to keep up with the ever-changing controversy over which type of cooking oil is healthiest?

It is ironic (almost amusing)...

Surely this is the end of an era. Belk stood out as a singular success in an era where most family-owned department stores had vanished. The brand commands great loyalty in its southeastern stronghold, I think, and I imagine it is that brand equity that made the company attractive...

We grownups tend to impose gender traits on kids based on our past experiences—like being teased at school in the 1960s. The neutral signs at Target are not an instance of tyranny of a few complainers, I think, but a change whose time has come.

Children's toys are laden with...

CityTarget was an instance of an internal distinction without a difference to shoppers. Disposing of the brand is a no-brainer.

TargetExpress was just a signal that the store is small. Seems like anti-branding to me. Yes the assortment must be edited to fit, but shoppers don't need to be reminded...

Online shopping sites are at risk for the same type of error that often afflicts product advertisers: the assumption that our shoppers are very much like ourselves.

Since web developers (and their backers) tend to be technical/rational types, they tend to build technical/rational customer experiences. Even "relevant" merchandising is a...

I've always been that annoying guy who argues that training without tools is inadequate to ensure success. Well, it's also true that tools without training lead to suboptimal results.

It's not that employees need a lot of help to learn how to operate digital devices in the stores. They already...

Amazon has little choice but to pursue this brick and mortar option as a countermeasure versus Walmart's experimentation with pick-up stations. While both concepts lead with grocery, they also have the potential to co-mingle other products from their long-tail assortments.

I believe Amazon is playing catch-up in this instance. Then...

I lived in Converse All-Stars as a teen, replacing each pair only after the soles started peeling off and flapping with every step. The thin fabric inner liners stained my tube socks yellow.

At $75 bucks a pair, the new upgraded version sounds like a deal worth checking out. I...

High-end consignment selling is a very personalized business that seems unlikely to scale well. A $7,000 designer dress, size two, worn twice, on sale for $2,500, appeals to an exceedingly narrow audience.

A well-organized online platform might improve the odds by reaching a nation-wide market, but try-ons will be a...

Is there a sweet spot between low-price oriented stores and Whole Foods that a sharp supermarket company could profitably occupy? I've heard words to the effect of "organics-plus-center-store" uttered by folks familiar with Haggens (the WA-based chain that acquired 120 former Safeway, Vons and Albertsons earlier this year).

Cosmopolitan Market...

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