PROFILE

Richard J. George, Ph.D.

Professor of Food Marketing, Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph's University

Dr. Richard J. George is Professor Emeritus of Food Marketing at the Haub School of Business, St. Joseph’s University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in economics. He holds an MBA from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from Temple University. He has authored or co-authored eleven books including Winning Customer Rules and Winning Marketing Strategy: The Rules.  He has also been recognized with several awards for teaching and research excellence, including the prestigious Lindback and Tengelmann Awards.   As an entrepreneur he has learned the need to “walk the walk” and not simply “talk the talk.” He was one of nineteen professors nationwide named as their favorite undergrad business professor and profiled by Business Week in a feature titled “Class Acts.”  In 2014 he was voted by students as the “Top Prof” in the Haub School of Business.  He has lived and taught in England at the University of London and in Ireland at the University College Cork.

As an expert on food marketing strategy, brand strategy, business ethics, marketing strategy, customer delight, marketing trends, and servant leadership, he has been quoted by major news organizations and industry publications worldwide. He has spoken on these topics in the Americas, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Pacific Rim.  Articles on these topics have appeared in the European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Journal of Food Products Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Adweek, Grocery Headquarters, Marketing News, the International Review of Retail Distribution and Consumer Research, the Journal of Negro Education, and the Journal of Business Ethics.

Dr. George has spent his entire professional career in the development of people.  Over the course of his career, with his speeches in the U.S. and internationally, he has reached tens of thousands of students and food marketing industry leaders.  He is the previous holder of the Gerald E. Peck Fellowship, working on a project for the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA).  The objective of the IFDA research project was to enhance collaboration between foodservice manufacturers and distributors.  Previously, he held the fellowship sponsored by FMI during which he produced three published research reports focusing on the future of food wholesaling.

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  • Posted on: 02/14/2019

    America has too many retail stores

    Darwin is often misquoted. People attribute the saying, "Only the strong survive," to Darwin. In fact, what he said was "In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.” Neither the economy or competitors are often the reason for a store's demise. It is customers that retain or remove retailers from the market. Too many stores? Perhaps. Too many inefficient or irrelevant retailers. Certainly.
  • Posted on: 02/13/2019

    Can Whole Foods’ business afford higher prices?

    As noted, Whole Foods, with its acquisition by Amazon, has tended to mitigate its high price image. Given the plans of the noted CPG manufacturers to attempt to raise prices (all prices are on trial), the impact may be more noticeable in other more price driven supermarkets. In addition, the relationship with Amazon, has given Whole Foods an advantage over other retailers still trying to figure out and fund online food shopping. I don't perceive that consumer spending on the noted staples will decrease. The biggest potential impact on higher branded CPG pricing is the substitution of private label or store brands for national brands.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2019

    J.C. Penney dumps appliances

    This move represents the latest effort by J. C. Penney to understand "what is under its umbrella" that will give consumers a reason to shop at its stores or online. Appliances did not seem to fit or reinforce any competitive advantage. Going forward, the question is what is next? Perhaps this decision will allow J. C. Penney to return to what once made them a great retailer. However, I would recommend that any resources freed up from this move be allocated to improving its online experience.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2019

    Which commercial won Super Bowl LIII?

    The NFL's "the 100 Year Game," Verizon's "the Coach Who Wouldn't be Here," and the Washington Post's "Democracy Dies in Darkness." Three ads that engaged the viewers, made you think and weren't simply touting product benefits.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2019

    Did Trader Joe’s make the right decision to end grocery deliveries?

    One cannot argue with the fact that Trader Joe's built its brand on what happens in its stores. Plus despite the meteoric growth of online food shopping, research shows that 87 percent of consumers prefer to shop for groceries in stores (Vixxo, 2019). Further, 60 percent said they simply favor the atmosphere and experience of shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. The proof is in the pudding for Trader Joe's, as it has been recognized as the favorite American grocery store. Having said this, I still think Trader Joe's need to consider delivery options for its customers seeking enhanced convenience. It doe not necessarily mean it should resurrect its seemingly costly delivery service. Instead, it needs to continue researching other delivery options, e.g., third parties, that could solve this problem.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2019

    Social media responsiveness builds Millennial loyalty

    I have conducted three research projects on Millennials and their marketing and media habits relative to their food retail and foodservice behaviors. My research underscores the role of social media in developing a strong customer relationship. Among my findings relative to the information in this article:
    1. Facebook and YouTube are waning;
    2. Twitter and LinkedIn are growing;
    3. These sites are being used to research your companies;
    4. The “wired” food marketer who monitors these sites is in the position to strengthen and in many cases, to develop a relationship as a caring, responsive marketer;
    5. In essence, the Internet in general and these social networks in particular have allowed every user to engage in “best practices sharing” when it comes to buying goods and/or services.
    6. The Millennials’ sheer numbers represent untapped potential if we can get them to use social media to perceive “your” brand, supermarket or restaurant as “their” brand, supermarket or restaurant!
  • Posted on: 01/25/2019

    Are NanoStores the new ultra-convenience stores?

    Wherever hunger and convenience collide there is a profit opportunity. The vending machine business taught us this years ago. Traditional c-stores learned from the vending business as well. This hybrid vending machine/c-store fills a current void noted in the article. In addition, if the the NanoStore fits in a parking lot, instead of dropping them into the parking lots of shopping malls, office complexes and college campuses, why not make them totally mobile (a trailer with wheels) and roll them into sporting events, community events, etc. as the events dictate?
  • Posted on: 01/24/2019

    Can BOPIS keep up with its own success?

    BOPIS will continue to grow and address the dreaded final mile. I still believe that retailers need to figure out a way to get a BOPIS customer to come into the store at the time of pickup. Research has shown that the combination of online and in-store purchasing is greater than either method separately. People tend to spend based on the viewed number of items in their shopping carts. With an online order about to be safely loaded into the trunk of the car, the BOPIS customer could enter the store with an empty shopping cart. Even a brief visit highlighted by higher margin impulse items would have a significant impact on the grocer's bottom line.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2019

    Which retailers deliver the best customer service?

    I'm not surprised by the inclusion of Shoprite near the top of the results. As the largest retailers' cooperative groups of supermarkets in the U.S., these individually family-owned markets have been able to positively differentiate themselves from the large chains in their marketplace. From inner city/food desert stores pioneered by Jeff Brown, through to the latest state-of-the-art Shoprite in Monmouth County, New Jersey, Shoprite has personalized its locally owned home town market to the delight of its customers. Also, Shoprite has demonstrated its community focus when it recently teamed up with Huggies to donate 500,000 diapers to the National Diaper Bank Network. Its investment in Shoprite from Home is another example of containing high tech with high touch. Speaking of high touch, Shoprite clearly spends time and effort to delight each and every customer from the time they enter the store until their bags are in the trunk of their cars.
  • Posted on: 01/22/2019

    Can grocers sell produce without plastic bags and boxes?

    Marks & Spencer (M&S) should be applauded for taking steps to reduce plastic in our environment. Everyone talks about reducing waste and increasing recyclables, but often the rhetoric is not followed by any meaningful action. Alternatives like compostable baskets and other containers made from paper pulp represent viable alternatives. Despite the fact that the goods for sale are perishable, I believe M&S still needs to address the issue of "best before" dates. Kudos to M&S!
  • Posted on: 01/11/2019

    Will content help Publix and Whole Foods cook up online engagement?

    At first glance it appears that Publix's online cooking class will resonate well with consumers. After all, we are the YouTube generation and Publix has developed a customized YouTube cooking class experience. Given that viewers have the option to watch later or share the cooking class video, this is a huge step up from standing in the store and observing an Aprons' prepared meal. On the other hand, kudos to Whole Foods for the development of a digital product catalog. This technology appears to solve a different set of problems from the Publix online class. Both of these technologies will set the bar for future online content.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2019

    Is it now or never for J.C. Penney?

    J.C. Penney need look no further than the demise of Sears to see its future if nothing changes. The key question is what is or could be a significant differential advantage or positioning that J.C. Penney could develop that would give customers a reason to shop there. Closing stores is a necessary course of action to stop the bleeding. However, in the long run it is difficult to save your way to prosperity. Sears, Toys "R" Us and others demonstrated the failure of this strategy. J.C. Penney needs a major overhaul of its positioning, brands, store format, etc. if it is to survive.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2019

    Should Dollar Tree sell Family Dollar?

    A sale at this time would not command any premium price. Instead, I recommend investing in Family Dollar to make it more competitive with Dollar General. Another alternative is to rebrand Family Dollar as Dollar Tree with the above noted investment, combined with exiting Family Dollar sites that compete with Dollar Tree locations.
  • Posted on: 01/08/2019

    Sears likely headed for liquidation

    Unfortunately, long before Lampert arrived, Sears was where “America used to shop.” However, that does not excuse Lampert from failing to make appropriate investments versus selling off or diluting its flagship brands. Lessons learned: 1.) When there is a paradigm shift everyone goes back to zero. 2.) Investments in technology, retailing and marketing are the necessary “ante” to stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing environment.
  • Posted on: 12/28/2018

    Are dollar stores bad for cities?

    A story which is much ado about nothing. The focus should be on the impact to customers, not competitors. This is analogous to viewing Uber and Lyft in terms of their impact on taxis and limos. Their collective success suggests overwhelming acceptance by the ride sharing market. End of story.

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