Chris Petersen, PhD.

President, Integrated Marketing Solutions

President of Integrated Marketing Solutions

Chris Petersen is a founding partner of Integrated Marketing Solutions (IMS). He currently serves as President, and Senior Partner focused on building strategic relationships that produce measurable results. Dr. Petersen has over 30 years’ experience consulting in business analytics, retail metrics, scorecards and measurement. After measuring hundreds of retail pilots around the world, Dr. Petersen has a very simple and fundamental retail change management philosophy – Results Count … everything else is conversation.

Founder of IMS Retail University

Dr. Petersen is the founder of IMS Retail University. He drew upon his training in psychology and measurement to develop pragmatic processes, tools and analytics that can be applied to improve retail performance. The IMS Retail University curriculum has evolved from foundational courses, to strategic briefings on best practices attended by top Executives. Over 15,000 “graduates” from 43 countries have attended an IMS Retail University workshop.

Speaker, Writer and Photographer

Dr. Petersen has extensive international experience working with both retailers and manufacturers. He shares his experiences, knowledge, with and wisdom through his weekly retail blog, Results Count ( He is also a regular blog and feature article contributor to RCE ( Dr. Petersen is worldwide speaker on retail trends, best practices, and critical success factors.

As a function of his extensive worldwide travel, Chris has become an avid photographer. He shares retail photos on and posts his personal photo favorites on

Other Links from Chris Petersen, PhD.:

IMS Results Count Blog

IMS Results Count Pinterest

  • Posted on: 04/13/2018

    Backstage shops star inside Macy’s

    In the age of omnichannel, there is an important question of whether retailers can drive traffic to department stores. There is an even more critical question of conversion -- if customers come looking for off-price value, can Macy's convert higher-end sales from department store lines? Same-store sales volume gains mean little if there is not a corresponding increase in gross margin profitability.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

    Walmart slows push to add third-party sellers to its online marketplace

    Amazon and Alibaba have become the defacto marketplace ecosystems with millions of SKUs. Even with the concept of long tail, there is a law of diminishing returns in terms of overwhelming customers with too many options. Walmart needs to find the right balance between curating SKUs and adding breadth required to attract new customers. As with everything in today's marketplace, this is a process of constant iteration and analytics.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2018

    Is Walmart building a tower of power with its expanding in-store pickup network?

    Kudos to Walmart for leveraging one of their biggest assets -- thousands of store locations. A huge advantage Walmart has right now over Amazon is click and collect. However, to be successful, the experience has to be more than just efficient automation. Towers have the potential to automate and streamline the experience if properly placed in the store and/or the parking lot. The best sign yet from the Towers is that Walmart is continuing to test and iterate as they roll them out. Walmart seems to finally understand that innovation is a process and not an event.
  • Posted on: 04/06/2018

    Can MoviePass help revive America’s malls?

    It will be very hard to beat the comfort and convenience of streaming movies in your own home. And there is the additional factor of original content. Netflix excels at original content and access to great series beyond movies. The question is, will consumers pay for another monthly subscription and will they have the time to consume all of the content? MoviePass has the advantage of first run movies, and there is nothing quite like a movie experience in the theater with fresh popcorn. Theaters make most of their money on concessions, so the financials for them are not a stretch. Other partner deals could sweeten the opportunity, especially for the mall itself. At the end of the day, it's all about the behavior of the customer and what they value. Tom starts his article with a big IF -- "if movie theaters turn into traffic drivers." MoviePass becomes relevant if customers still want to go see movies in theaters. The verdict is still out on that one given the recent declines in attendance at the box office.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2018

    Should retailers lower expectations around last-mile delivery?

    Retailers don't set expectations, customers do. And their expectations have evolved to be more than just price. In a recent study, ability to schedule shipping within a specific time slot ranked nearly as high as speed of delivery. A high percentage of customer will order elsewhere if they do not receive tracking reports for their shipments. Shipping costs for the last mile are killing everyone, including Amazon. Amazon is doing exactly what the study concluded and is researching all types of options for price elasticity, including rebates for Prime members who are willing to opt for more than the standard two day window. Delivering on the last mile is not optional. Doing it profitability requires learning what your customers value as important. What is important is situational depending on category, season and reason for purchase. There is no one-size-fits-all.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

    Why are there so many employees in a cashier-less store?

    It's far too early to analyze the staffing model in Amazon's first Go stores. Everyone of those early customers visiting Go for the first time becomes an "experience ambassador." Staffing models will change with more stores. As pointed out, Amazon is overcompensating by educating customers about the store and how to "use it." There are already highly efficient robots that will be quickly adapted to stock shelves. Lest anyone forget, Amazon's "Day One" always starts with the customer. They are not worried about lean staffing right now. They are currently focused on changing customer expectations about ever having to wait in line for a cashier. That's how you lead disruption and make the rest scramble to catch up.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2018

    Starbucks shifts happy hour to invite-only

    It would seem that Starbucks would want to recruit new customers who might not like Frappuccino to be loyalty members. It would also seem that Starbucks would want to recruit customers that would continue to order things like Frappuccinos, especially in later hours of the day. There should be some strategic potential on how to use and leverage the invitation process. Starbucks has been a master of the "Secret Menu" to market exclusivity. A segment of customers value being "in the know" and part of something exclusive so maybe invite-only will work for that segment. The best part of this is that it is all highly measurable and adjustable. It can be iterated week-to-week based on results and cumulative learnings (an Amazon-like strategy).
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Can gamification solve fashion’s mix and match challenges?

    This app appears to be primarily targeted for women. Men probably need it more, but would not easily give up their sports and other combatant games. We are in an age of connecting and engagement. If gamification adds value and customers play consistently, it may have potential. However, it is yet another app that must compete for space and time on consumers' phones. Unless the actual players are representative of the target segments, the trend data might not be as accurate as hoped. Women are the heaviest users of Pinterest and Instagram. Retailers such as Nordstrom have found that what women prefer and purchase can be found in their pins and posts.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2018

    Are Amazon lockers turning Whole Foods into a quick shop destination?

    If we have learned anything about Amazon, it is that they defy description and labels. Amazon is the master of building an ecosystem. They never do anything without testing it, and they continue to iterate based upon the data. Amazon does NOT want to build traditional grocery stores or convenience stores. Amazon will keep iterating Whole Foods until they get the balance right between lockers and shoppers. And they will do the whole process again when they acquire the next stores. If the next stores are some of Toys "R" Us locations, they will not be toy stores. The new stores will be morphed into locations that can improve overall speed and reduce inventory costs.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2018

    Where is the shopping opportunity with voice commerce?

    With more people turning to their mobile device, voice is a natural interface for search. On the back-end, as people increasingly purchase online there is a need for package tracking and scheduling delivery. The key to growing voice commerce lies in the quality of the AI. Voice recognition will continue to improve, but it is getting close enough. What kills the experience right now is connecting by voice only to be run through layers of menus, or being served information that is of little value. Voice commerce has to be both easy to use AND provide a streamlined, differentiated experience.
  • Posted on: 03/26/2018

    Should retailers emulate or differentiate from Amazon?

    If retailers emulate Amazon, they should copy their obsession with customer-centricity -- making it as easy as possible for customers to shop, purchase and choose how they want to execute. There are also ways that retailers can differentiate from Amazon via end-to-end services, especially after the sale.
  • Posted on: 03/22/2018

    Luxury brands are racing to embrace ecommerce

    Luxury online is finally taking off because of the extra services like Net-a-Porter provides. EIPs at any age expect concierge services along with the luxury products they purchase. Millennials are not all that different from Boomers -- they want more than luxury branded products, they want a differentiated, premium experience. Luxury brands are right to fear commodization of their products on sites like Amazon and eBay. Luxury brands that use social media to engage fans and provide a premier experience will increase sales to luxury customers of all ages.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2018

    Macy’s CEO discusses mobile checkouts and other planned changes

    Macy's has a critical choice: defend its heritage or invest in innovation. Every retailer today is faced with a question of relevancy for customers. This is particularly true for those with a department store heritage. Macy's appears to be investing in innovation for the future before it's too late. The good news is that they are trying more than one thing. The best news is that Macy's seems to be testing and measuring things like the impact of VR. Amazon was not built in a day, but through thousands of iterations. In engaging customers, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2018

    Amazon/Whole Foods planning store pickup service from third-party retailers

    The advantages to Amazon are clear. They get more physical points of distribution. Moving product closer to customers is more cost efficient, especially if you can consolidate shipments in the very last miles. This strategy enables Amazon to rapidly scale Whole Foods and fresh food volume. If they can deliver other brands and products to these collection points it is a huge win in lowering shipping costs which have been continually rising at Amazon. But wow ... what a challenge to find the right partners for click and collect lockers! While those retailers would potentially benefit from increased store traffic, would customers even stop to shop? Or would they simply move on to their next Amazon phone order? If Amazon will potentially deliver retailer products other than Whole Foods to these retailer points, that would seem to be a significant competitive threat to the retailers housing the pickup lockers. The challenges of finding the right balance with retailers hosting Amazon pickup sounds like pulling a rabbit out of the hat. But if there is a magician who can pull it off, it's probably Bezos the Magnificent.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2018

    Will return bans burn retailers that impose them?

    This is truly the time when retailers are caught between a rock and a hard place. In an era of razor-thin margins and escalating shipping costs, returns become a huge drag on profitability. Especially if the returns are fraudulent. Yet at the same time Walmart has an app to automate returns in-store and Amazon has return facilities in Kohl's stores. L.L.Bean did not suffer too much backlash when they took the time to explain their policy and the rationale to their customers. Returns remain a fact of life in retail. Whether retailers use third-party systems or better internal controls, they must reduce fraudulent returns to a bare minimum without alienating core customers.

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