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: 06/03/2021

    Have flagships become obsolete?

    The objective of a flagship store is to generate awareness and exposure to a brand in an area of high traffic. Those stores rarely pay out per se -- their impact is spread across markets and channels as consumers make their purchases later on. Many of those stores are located where tourist traffic is strong, which spreads brand exposure to other markets without going to them (e.g. NYC). As tourist traffic grows again post COVID, flagship stores will regain some of their importance.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2021

    Best Buy puts multi-taskers to work

    To the extent that this initiative is perceived as a way to reduce headcount and simply work the store associates harder, it will be doomed to failure, regardless of the improvement in and customer experience. Ultimately, unhappy employees lead to unhappy customers. Best Buy must carefully identify employees who are willing and able to add additional tasks to their day, and not make those tasks mandatory across the organization. Post Covid, workers are very sensitive to management loading additional tasks for their own profit at the expense of employee satisfaction. Good strategy, but tread carefully.
  • Posted on: 05/06/2021

    Will a new subscription program make Circle K a daily stop for members?

    This program is one of the first loyalty reward programs in the convenient store industry. Since customers who come into the stores frequently tend to be customers who are using the store for drinks, this program seems to be having the anticipated response of increasing frequency and increasing market basket. Frequency is the biggest factor in increasing the customer value in the analysis we have done for retailers. Since this program is designed to simplify the decision making around getting another drink, it will increase frequency as a result. The challenge for these loyalty programs is to differentiate beyond the initial offer, as competitors come in and quickly match. The key is to deliver some sort of brand value and innovative rewards to maintain interest over time.
  • Posted on: 05/05/2021

    Remote work is rough on big retail districts

    The rapid shifts of consumer behavior due to the pandemic have left certain segments of retailers behind -- particularly the retailers that cater to commuter traffic. Many consumers will return to offices sporadically, but will likely not return with the consistency of the pre-COVID-19 days. As a result, revenue that came from the impulse-driven customer segment is unlikely to return. The alternative approach facing retailers in this situation is to drive more revenue from the best customers, who will come to their locations for a specific purchase, and also to find new customers. Leveraging customer email and text, retailers can identify when customers will be coming to the office and put aside products specifically for them, as well as suggest custom orders. For new customers, retailers should target consumers who live in the urban market, with special events and promotional marketing. In both cases, digital "connections" to these customers will be critical to survival and success.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2021

    Will CVS make a breakthrough as it expands in-store mental health services?

    It is clear that this country is facing a mental health crisis coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Accessibility is one of the big issues, as well as cost. CVS seems to be addressing both of those issues within their clinics. The one drawback is that the pharmacy is not exactly a place where you would expect to receive thoughtful counseling. However quick assessments and the ability to access a nurse practitioner on-site to receive medication could be a breakthrough for a range of patients. I think this is an excellent move and I wish them the best of success.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2021

    Do retailers have to catch up to Amazon’s logistics powerhouse?

    The factors of cost, speed and control are all driven by the improved access to suply chain data. This data permits Amazon to delivery a differentiated customer experience and at the same time improve efficiencies and identify potential supply chain failures in advance. Ultimately, Amazon is striving for same-day delivery across a broad array of products, which will be a substantial competitive advantage.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2021

    Will Americans open their garages and homes to Amazon and Walmart?

    In the past year, as delivery service has expanded dramatically, theft of packages from front doors has also increased. Not only do consumers have concerns about their packages being stolen, but there is also additional risk associated with weather, particularly freezing. Convenience oriented consumers are looking for a safe way to guarantee the security of their packages, and services such as these fit the bill. The critical pieces will be managing staff and ensuring security.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2021

    Is Levi’s poised to become a consumer-direct powerhouse?

    The benefits of going direct to consumer for a manufacturer are clear - building a direct relationship with consumers, increased margins and ability to manage the pipeline of product all suggest a highly valuable business proposition. At the same time, the challenge will be for these manufacturers to create a product line broad enough and a customer experience distinctive enough to drive repeat traffic for consumers. One of the benefits of consolidating product lines at a larger retailer is that consumers frequent those retailers more often because of the breadth of product and the likelihood that they will find something that they like or need. A single product line store by definition will end up struggling to drive similar customer repetition. This could become a barrier to profitability and growth.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2021

    Is Harry’s on its way to joining the ranks of big CPG companies?

    It is unclear if Harry's will become as large as many of the largest consumer package goods companies are today. What is clear is that Harry's is bringing a nimble, entrepreneur–like behavior into an industry that traditionally has not had such competitors. As long as Harry's leverages that winning formula, they should see success in the direct-to-consumer market as well as using that market as a platform to enter traditional grocery and mass channels.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2021

    Will drop shipping become a major catalyst of online growth?

    Given the rapidly changing marketplace that we are facing today during and coming out of the pandemic, drop shipping makes more sense than ever. The big thing that retailers need is flexibility to change their assortment based on evolving consumer needs, and drop shipping permits those retailers to have that flexibility without incurring additional financial risk. The risk to the retailer is that drop shipping places the responsibility for the end customer experience of receiving the product in the hands of a third-party. When that is executed in a highly controlled and measured fashion, it is not an issue; when you deal with smaller manufacturers who may not have such systems in place, the risk is not to the manufacture but to the brand which will be damaged should the delivery experience go awry.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2021

    How much HQ space will disappear as hybrid work becomes a retailing thing?

    The greatest challenges facing retailers from the hybrid work model will be more in the mindset of senior management than actual results. What we have discovered over the past year is that our employees are just as engaged and just as productive working from home as they ever would've been working in the office. The key pieces to make hybrid models work involve extra efforts at communication and employee engagement, as well as a successful implementation of a series of tools designed to promote collaboration in design activities as well as planning and execution.
  • Posted on: 02/10/2021

    Clothing retailers are trying to cut their way to higher profits

    Retailers are learning lessons about a long fixed supply chain model that will change ordering over the long term. The new model will focus on being more nimble, ordering more frequently in smaller quantities and being able to pivot to reflect an uncertain and fast-changing retail environment. This approach will inevitably result in higher costs for the retailers on a per unit basis, but will benefit them by having greatly reduced overages. Consumers don't want to return products, especially in these COVID-19 days, so any digital assistance in improving accuracy will be greatly appreciated.
  • Posted on: 12/22/2020

    Is free at-home pick-up of online returns practicable?

    Given COVID-19 concerns and in general consumer desire for convenience and simplicity, at-home pickup of returns should hold a great appeal. FedEx has the benefit of a constant stream of household deliveries, which makes it more efficient for them to pick up at the same time. In effect, this strategy permits FedEx to avoid "dead-end" trucks (empty trucks on the way back to the warehouse). FedEx makes money both coming and going. As the volume of e-commerce shipments decline post-COVID-19, FedEx may have to focus returns on specific days to keep the efficiencies up.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2020

    It’s time for innovation or stagnation

    We have found that a WFH environment does not hamper innovation. The key is that WFH must take advantage of the benefits of at home instead of focusing on the liabilities. Companies must grant their key employees specific "focus" time at home in order for them to read, think and write. Then those employees must be able to form into work groups to tackle pressing issues and invent new solutions. The key questions to answer are:
    1. What restrictions did we face physically that we are now free of, in a digital world?
    2. How have our customers' needs changed in the past nine months? Which of those needs and behaviors will stick in the future?
    3. How can we repurpose existing resources/capabilities to meet those needs faster than we ever could?
  • Posted on: 12/15/2020

    Starbucks sees even more stores in its future

    The loyal Starbucks customer segment views the store as a "third place" -- a safe place to relax and congregate when not at work or home. Post-COVID-19 such locations will be in high demand, and the expansion of the stores to meet that need makes great sense. In addition, drive-thru increases incremental sales from convenience-minded customers as well as core customers who don't want to wait in line during peak hours. I think Starbucks is moving ahead with a visionary approach that will yield long-term success.

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