PROFILE

Mark Price

Managing Partner, Smart Data Solutions, ThreeBridge

Mark Price is Solution Partner for Smart Data Solutions for ThreeBridge, a national technology consulting firm.  Prior to joining ThreeBridge in October of 2018, Mark was founder and managing partner and founder of LiftPoint Consulting Group, which he led for over 16 years.  He is a frequent speaker at conferences as an expert on data-driven marketing and authors articles on the same topic. Mark blogs regularly.  He is responsible for thought leadership, leading client engagements and solution development for ThreeBridge.

Prior to founding LiftPoint Consulting in 2002, Mark was the Practice Leader for Zamba Solutions, focusing on data warehousing, marketing automation and data mining. Mark’s business experience also includes brand management at General Mills and Ralston Purina.

Mark has an MBA from the Darden School of the University of Virginia and a BA from Haverford College. He lives in Eden Prairie, Minn., with his wife,  poodle and Great Dane.

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  • Posted on: 08/08/2019

    Has the starting point of customer journeys moved?

    I am not so sure that values resonance is a new-ish trend. Starbucks has become the "third place" for a specific consumer segment for some time, and Apple has been selling affiliation and attitude as much as electronics. But the point is still valid -- consumers do purchase more and more influenced by affiliation. A key point is that the affiliation is not just with the values and behaviors of the brand, but also of the consumers who purchase that brand. Word of mouth impact has been amplified by social media and increased 24x7 device usage (maybe 18x7 -- people do need to sleep!). Retailers must seek to cultivate word of mouth as much as brand values to succeed in this very fast changing retail environment.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2019

    CVS subscription program goes big to outdo Amazon Prime

    CVS seems to be acting to stem the bleeding of revenue and volume to heavy Amazon customers. One piece of research that would be useful to know is the percentage of the CVS program customers who had been utilizing Prime for similar products. In other words, does the CVS program steal share from Amazon or insulate a different set of customers from thinking about Prime for CVS products? The program looks expensive for CVS, but may pay out in terms of increased spending per order and frequency among specific customer segments. I expect the other pharmacy brands to offer similar benefits, probably by the end of the year. By going virtual, CVS could steal share where they lack physical presence and that is just too big a risk for the competitors to take.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2019

    Will outsourcing jobs help Lowe’s associates better serve customers in stores?

    This play is clearly a cost cutting move designed to shift costs to third party providers and off Lowe's P&L. If this effort had been designed to increase the number of associates that are dealing with customers, then the layoffs of assembly workers would have to some extent been offset by an increase in on-floor associates, which is not the case. Lowe's can increase short-term earnings through this maneuver, but long-term, growth is always driven by finding and filling customer needs through great in-store customer experience.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2019

    Has dynamic pricing hit a rut?

    As retailers improve their inventory tracking in order to be able to provide "boy online, pick up in store" (BOPIS) their ability to execute dynamic pricing improves. If a retailer can do dynamic pricing online, then they should be able to do at retail if the price tags are electronic. The cultural change is all about control. Merchants believe that they have some special insight into consumer needs and price sensitivity, when the only real way to gauge is to conduct price sensitivity analysis and test dynamic ranges.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2019

    The clock is ticking for J.C. Penney

    Operating under mountains of debt makes the timing critical for J.C. Penney's to succeed. I am also not sure if there is enough time for the new concepts to work. Ultimately, the only differentiation that a retailer can have if they do not want to go the "fast fashion" way is to provide a superior customer experience. In all the details provided, I did not see any training, retention programs, empowerment of staff -- they types of activities that are critical to the success needed by J.C. Penney. Lots of classes are well and good but, if the staff is not engaged, then it is all just talk...
  • Posted on: 07/29/2019

    Staples creates content to reposition and differentiate its brand

    The launch of Staples Worklife is a classic content marketing effort, focusing on adding value to the high-revenue business customer segment. The goal is to increase brand engagement and also to position Staples as a solution source beyond just a transaction. I would imagine that this effort will be very successful at expanding Staples' positioning as well as driving frequency, since Staples will be "front and center" in the minds of their best customers when needs come up. The most valuable content will be information about how to improve the lives of business customers and the least valuable will be focused on products and sales. As long as Staples stays away from "salesy" content, this effort will definitely be successful.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2019

    Are offline experiences becoming more important to online performance?

    More and more, online brands are discovering that offline interaction with their customers is critical to their success. Whether it is catalogs from online retailers, pop-up physical locations or PR events, online brands are seeing incremental sales from physical interaction with their customers. As the article notes, online customers do not live online alone; a specific segment of online customers (usually those who are truly multi-channel) respond to a variety of engagement stimuli and are critical to a brand's success.
  • Posted on: 07/01/2019

    Will a new BOPIS option boost Amazon’s results?

    Specific segments of customers will desire the human interaction of Counter to assist with pickup, putting packages in their cars and addressing issues (such as product damage, incorrect SKU, etc.) immediately. This additional method of interaction helps put more of a face on Amazon and improves perception of customer service. Retailers should welcome Counter due to incremental traffic, a percent of which will make impulse purchases in the store. Clear win.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2019

    Toys ‘R’ Us prepares its American comeback

    Retail today, to survive, must have some combination of specialized merchandise and outstanding customer experience. I am not sure if TRU will be able to thrive on selling best-sellers to customers who need the product today, not with Amazon and Walmart moving into same day delivery. There is always a market for great customer experience, especially in retail locations with smaller footprints. I hope they focus on highly trained staff who can help specific customer segments find that perfect gift for children.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2019

    REI scraps mail order catalog to publish a magazine

    Since the goal of catalogs is more to drive engagement than actually to turn into the main driver of customer transactions, I think the magazine approach is spot-on. Catalogs usually lean 80-90% to product and only 10% or less to content; yet, what drives readership in a world where you can see all the products online is the content. This magazine will reinforce brand presence, drive increased engagement and also drive a fair amount of short and long term transactions. In addition, this magazine is likely to appeal to REI core customer segments which will have a great er effect than content driven at customers with a lower base engagement level. Well done.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2019

    Best Buy knows tech. What about fitness?

    Technology associated with fitness is a good business for Best Buy. The question is whether fitness equipment specifically is a reasonable adjacency to the BBY brand. Not sure consumers will make the connection or whether or not BBY is credible in this field. 50/50.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2019

    Does self-checkout make sense for Costco?

    Given that Costco does not do upsell at the register, there is no reason not to embrace self-scan checkout. The lines on the weekend are formidable and it is certain that Costco loses sales because customers choose to purchase items elsewhere rather than deal with the crowds. I believe this initiative will have higher customer satisfaction and increased traffic numbers over time.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2019

    Will Farmstead’s ‘Smart Shopping List’ give it an edge in online grocery competition?

    Outstanding application of predictive modeling. Suggesting products based on consumer behavior and seasonal specials permits customers to have the "fun" of impulse shopping along with expedited repeat purchasing. This approach will continue to show growth in revenue, as well as repeat and retention (the two metrics that are the most critical for online shopping). Well done.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2019

    Will Walmart’s new online pet pharmacy and vet clinics draw more pet parents?

    Given the scale that Walmart offers across all their businesses, it is inevitable that they will become the category killer for pet prescriptions as well. They offer a clear financial benefit and have the benefit of very frequent store shopping for their core customer segment as a base. I imagine they will offer store delivery of prescriptions as well as home delivery, further driving traffic, and expanding their offerings into higher margin categories of the pet business. Many people will spend more for their pets and I am sure this will prove a profitable venture for them.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2019

    H&M will cease printing its catalog after 39 years

    I have some concerns about this strategy, and none of them are about sustainability. Analysis I have conducted for several retailers has shown the catalogs drive incremental transactions, just not always through the catalog itself. Catalogs serve as a strong visual reminder of the depth and breadth of a retailer's offerings. Combined with direct mail and email, catalogs demonstrate clear incrementality. I fear H&M will pay for this decision....

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