PROFILE

Gene Detroyer

Professor, European School of Economics
Most simply, Gene Detroyer makes things happen. He has been a business builder his entire career. He started two companies which were later sold. Today he is advising, consulting and motivating a range of clients both in the U.S. and internationally. Unable to stay away from start-ups, he is currently involved in building and launching an innovative experiential executive education program for US-based enterprises entering global markets, the G2 Experience, with support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Commerce.
His traditional experience includes 17 years marketing consumer products through food, mass and drug channels. He is credited with building new businesses now worth over $400 million. A traditional career went out the window with his first start-up; putting TVs in supermarket aisles and putting advertising on them, which was merged into NBC. He has had consulting gigs with Coca Cola, companies like HSN wishing to bring their products to retail and start-ups. His second entrepreneurial venture brought the Today® Contraceptive Sponge back to market in the U.S.  That company was sold in 2007.
Beyond consumer products, he is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Business Strategy at The European School of Economics.  He also teaches at the Weller International Business School in Paris, France.
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  • Posted on: 04/05/2018

    Target succeeds by going big on convenience in small stores

    I am not a big fan of Target's silver bullet initiatives, but I like this one a lot for exactly the reasons that Art highlights.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2018

    Retailers push to onboard tech talent

    My fear is that even if they succeed in finding the talent that they really won't know what to do with it. In retail there is a legacy mindset that ignores the connection between technology and customers. And, when your customers are way ahead of you on the technology curve, you are probably in trouble.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2018

    Retailers push to onboard tech talent

    "If retailers can meet tech giants in terms of competitive salaries and benefits, they should have no issues attracting great talent." But will they? I believe there is a huge lack of appreciation by many retailers for how technology is necessary to connect with customers today.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2018

    Will Amazon or Walmart win the clash of the retail titans?

    This isn't a battle for retail. It is a battle for the people's mind. Whichever becomes more ubiquitous in people's thinking will be the more successful. Note: I chose the word "people" not "shoppers." At this point in time, it has to be Amazon. Walmart is trying to catch up, but it doesn't have enough bullets in their guns to attain the same mind presence. For Walmart's sake, they have stopped thinking about themselves as retailers and are trying to build the more encompassing connection to the people. While we initially thought about Amazon as a retailer selling books, I doubt that was ever the end game in Bezos' mind. I think we know the end game now and Amazon may only be half way there.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

    Walmart is focused on expanding its digital brand portfolio

    Walmart recognizes, and has recognized for years, that there is no growth in their brick-and-mortar business and that online is the future. While the specifics of that future are hard to predict, Walmart's strategy to move in several directions at once makes ultimate sense. They will find some nuggets and grow them. They will find some failures and discard them. But they will learn much and the Walmart we see in five years will be very different from the Walmart of the past and very different than what we are seeing in these acquisitions.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

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

    The labor in the store isn't the issue. With any dramatically new concept one needs to make the customer aware and comfortable. Once the shoppers get used to the concept the extra labor will disappear. I can't say if this this first of many Amazon Go stores (will Amazon's next acquisition be a large c-store chain?) or if it is a showcase for technology that Amazon will sell to other retailers, or both. Both strategies seem logical to me. If successful, other retailers will move in that direction with the choice to develop their own technology or simply buy Amazon's.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Can gamification solve fashion’s mix and match challenges?

    I have been watching the gamification ideas for years. They are focused on the customer or potential customer interaction and they all boast how they will propel sales. I have seen some game successes in terms of the game itself, but I haven't seen any sales propelled. (The successes I have seen generally have to do with behavior change.) But the one thing that seems to be consistent is that they are short lived. If the game is interesting there is a spike in use, but after a period of time it wanes. I see this as exactly the same phenomenon.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2018

    Where is the shopping opportunity with voice commerce?

    I am writing this response with voice response. I use voice response for my emails, my text messages and my notes. It's quicker and easier. I'm not tuned into Echo or Google Home yet, but it will come. There is no doubt that voice will replace touch and keyboard. I don't know if it is going to be three years, but it will be soon.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2018

    IKEA asks, will virtual inventory be key to the new urban showroom?

    Maybe I should say "see my comments about the store as media"? We are really talking about the same thing and it isn't just for the urban environment. In 10 years or so, successful retailers will be using interactive tools. And more important than that, investing in interactive engagement with the shoppers rather than inventory using the "stack them up and sell them" philosophy. It will not be critical for a retailer to have the exact right product in a store. It will be critical to give the customer access to the exact right product.
  • Posted on: 03/23/2018

    In this digital revolution, stores are media

    A couple of years ago I wrote of a store on Corso Como in Milan. On this fashion street, this small store was designed to engage the shopper with a limited inventory (sizes, colors, styles). They would sell to the shopper, but their preference was that the shopper would find what they want and ultimately buy it online and continue to be a customer. This week we had a Smart Cities delegation from Finland and took them to two stores that have taken the next step in interactive selling. Essentially, turning their stores into interactive media. Sonos and Rebecca Minkoff. (If you are ever in NYC in SoHo, both are worth visiting.) Even the technologically-advanced Finns were very impressed by these outlets. This is the future of brick-and-mortar retailing; limited inventory and maximum engagement.
  • Posted on: 03/16/2018

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

    I gave Mohamed kudos for his excellent comment. I must do the same here. Ryan nails the entire Amazon strategy. Is this what Bezos was thinking on Day One!?
  • Posted on: 03/16/2018

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

    This is a triple-"thumbs up" comment. Nothing more to add!
  • Posted on: 03/16/2018

    Survey says ‘retail is retail’ no matter where the sale is made

    Companies are understanding this better and those that understand it better are more successful. As many of my colleagues noted, the consumer has understood this for years. How many times have we had discussions in this venue about retailers' offerings being different in-store and online? Or the inability to return? Or compensation for store associates when the sale ends up online? Or if same-store sales are the right measure of success? Once a retailer understands they are in the business of selling goods and not operating stores, they change the entire way they think about their business. Those retailers who care where they sell the goods will lose badly in the long run.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2018

    No more playing around – Toys ‘R’ Us is out of the retail game

    Exactly. The key word is "relevant."
  • Posted on: 03/15/2018

    No more playing around – Toys ‘R’ Us is out of the retail game

    While the company started in the late '40s, the concept we all know took hold in the '60s. That is a millennium for a retail concept. In fact, few companies, including big ones last that long. The Toys "R" Us concept ran its course while new ideas and new competition (online, Walmart) grabbed the the consumer's changing behavior and tastes. And yes, the LBO didn't help and probably accelerated the decline. LBOs are a very dangerous game and just one hiccup can destroy the debt service projections.

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