Anne Howe

Principal, Anne Howe Associates
Anne Howe has recently returned to independent consulting work through Anne Howe Associates, which she formed in 2010. Her focus will be on applying the principles of human influence in the retail and shopper marketplace.

Howe has many years of marketing and management experience ranging across diverse business sectors, including Retail, CPG, Home, Apparel, Appliances and service industries across north America. She has been a bold, industry-involved leader in retail and shopper marketing, serving on groups, panels and commissions to further the discipline with a keen eye on enhancing the shopper experience. She is a member of the Path to Purchase Institute and has been a co-chair of its annual Expo event.

Anne's overall business experience includes two years of consulting for and two subsequent  years as SVP for Acosta Mosaic Group, the marketing services division of Acosta Sales & Marketing, and 18 years as an executive at The MARS Agency. She also served as Regional VP of Sales for Hanes Hosiery, directed a retail-focused public relations firm and spent time in sales/marketing management with Hilton Hotels Corporation.
Among her many career highlights:

Introduction of storied brands such as Wonderbra, Barely There Intimates, Champion Underwear, Levi Signature, Whirlpool Duet and Clorox Green Works into the US retail marketplace.

See Anne's blog:
  • Posted on: 08/07/2018

    Fred’s amps up the treasure hunt

    I'm not a fan of retailers gaming the consumer on daily pricing, especially when it may cost the retailer precious points of margin. Are they really providing any lasting value or just buying up and re-selling old inventory to their low-income shopper base?
  • Posted on: 08/07/2018

    Starbucks prepares for a Bitcoin future

    Beyond Starbucks, payment technology is a frontier that many leading retailers should be exploring. Given its history in testing and learning, I would expect to see Walmart getting involved here too. Shoppers want options and retailers that lead the way will reap the benefits.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2018

    Are outsiders required to tackle disruption?

    External hires can bring a ton of value to a retail organization, but they need to have the ear of the entire C-suite so they can be effective disruptors. Additionally, I believe there are many effective ways to facilitate great input from current employees, given a safe and open environment in which to offer disruptive and innovative ideas.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2018

    Is Target making the right move in dumping C9 Champion?

    I wonder if Target is getting ahead of their shoppers? Champion is a great brand, offering well-made products at very accessible price points. It doesn't make sense to cancel the partnership in 2020. HanesBrands should explore shopper-involved innovation in the category to get a jump on where and how the Champion brand can grow and thrive beyond private-label obsessed Target.
  • Posted on: 08/03/2018

    Empty malls spelled the end for Brookstone stores

    I agree that lack of mall traffic has to have impacted Brookstone. But the allure of shopping Brookstone for "cool" gadgets has been diminished by an economic reality -- more than 50 percent of shoppers just don't have the income to splurge on gadget "wants" versus household needs. Online and in airports, Brookstone should make a big push for holiday gifting!
  • Posted on: 08/02/2018

    Who in retailing’s c-suites should drive customer experience?

    It seems like it's finally time to address the out-of-date org chart models retailers use to manage their businesses. If the model is not aligned to the shopper, it's just not going to be optimal over the long term. CX (across all of its dimensions) should be recognized and respected as the center of the wheel. The lack thereof is what keeps many smart people out of what could be fantastic change management careers in retail's future.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2018

    Wayfair to open its first brick & mortar store

    Wayfair is finally starting to understand that "butts on chairs" is still an important part of furniture shopping. The in-home trial model, while appealing to shoppers, is just not a sustainable path to profitability. Their brick-and-mortar store sounds like it should be called a clearance center. I'm doubtful the experience will model a typical furnishings retailer.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2018

    Walmart still trying to figure out home delivery

    Shoppers already expect free delivery on any purchase made, thanks to Amazon and others, That said, why wouldn't Walmart test a membership fee that covers some of the cost of deliveries in high-density areas? Someone's gotta pay something -- there really is no such thing as a free lunch!
  • Posted on: 07/31/2018

    Can Tesco beat Aldi and Lidl at their own game?

    I'm not sure Tesco has much to gain in opening stores to compete at the bottom. Rather, why not set up a "value aisle" in current stores and test with lower-end private brands? They'll learn more about current shopper preferences at way less of a cost to the overall business model. Additionally, research to understand why shoppers are selecting alternative stores is certainly needed.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2018

    Retail’s new cobbling economy

    I agree that this is truly happening to consumers, and it's a scary place to be. For retailers, the biggest obstacle (and the greatest need) will be the skill to discern the multiple small but important opportunities they will have to evaluate and quickly act on to stay relevant to shoppers and be profitable for investors.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2018

    Does Five Below make sense for 5th Ave?

    The higher-end retailers are smart to be concerned. More so about the future arrivals of discounters like TJX, though, since Five Below doesn't challenge fashion. Retailers understand that shoppers can get hooked quickly on the discounts! Once that takes hold; "there goes the neighborhood" becomes the upscale retailers' biggest threat!
  • Posted on: 07/27/2018

    Can store associates do anything about rude customers?

    Basic training in human behavior and a playbook that depicts various ways to handle common customer interactions can go a long way to make these interactions less stressful for both customers and associates. It's a shame retailers haven't been consistent in this type of training. And frankly, customers that are deliberately rude should be gently but firmly asked to find another store. My response would be something like this: "Since it's clear that you're not at all satisfied with our sincere attempts to resolve your issue, I'm going to suggest that another store might be a better long-term choice for you."
  • Posted on: 07/25/2018

    Lululemon goes shopping and finds its new CEO at Sephora

    Any new CEO who has the luxury of taking over a growing retail operation should begin the initial review process with an "even better if" mindset. Tweaks will emerge, there's no need to turn it all upside down just to satisfy an ego!
  • Posted on: 07/19/2018

    Petco pilots experiential store concept for fur babies

    I like the idea of PetCoach, but I'd like to add actual per-owner coaching to the services. New pet owners, especially those who adopt strays, could use the help to keep the pets and the owners healthy and happy. It can be really stressful to add a puppy, mix cats and dogs, and figure out all the behavior training. Not everyone can afford DIFM doggy camps these days!
  • Posted on: 07/16/2018

    Can Papa John’s recover from its founder’s racial slur?

    Despite the fact that one man isn't the whole brand, John Schnatter misrepresented the company brand to thousands of dedicated employees and customers in a most offensive way. He should be accountable for business losses over the next five years while the so-called "forgive and forget" period happens. I, for one, am finished with the company.

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