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.

  • Posted on: 10/16/2018

    ‘Frictionless’ is the annoying word of the year

    I do not believe most retailers understand consumers' definition of frictionless when shopping. What consumers do understand is value. The old definition of value was quality divided by price. My definition of quality, and that of most consumers, is the benefits received divided by the burdens endured. To the extent retailers can enhance the benefits received (convenient, pleasant shopping environment, friendly/engaging staff, etc.) and reduce the burdens endured (standing in line for checkout, self-bagging, putting products into your car, price checking, etc.) then the shopping experience could be characterized as a delight versus a disappointment.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2018

    Will anything change for Sears after Chapter 11?

    Sears and Kmart will disappear from the retail landscape. Sadly, Sears will be where America used to shop. The situation is somewhat analogous to Toys "R" Us. A retailer that failed to change in the face of disruptive competitors. The only difference may be that Eddie Lampert will make out quite well financially -- thank you very much!
  • Posted on: 10/08/2018

    Giant Food expects big things from a new, mini-grocery store concept

    C-stores are moving more toward foodservice to the exclusion or minimization of grocery items. The Giant Heirloom market represents a real opportunity for c-store differentiation. At the same time, Giant is recognizing that more meals are being consumed at home (80 percent today vs. 75 percent 10 years ago). In addition, how people prepare meals is changing. Consumers are looking for enhanced convenience, not just in shopping but also in preparation. Consumers are developing shortcuts by purchasing, for example, an already cooked rotisserie chicken, a pre-made side of potatoes from the deli, and adding a homemade fresh tossed salad. This combination equals a tasty, blended, time-saving meal, that the consumer gets credit for its preparation. So while Giant is looking for some differentiation in this new format, its success will depend on winning the foodservice battle. I also believe that Giant and other more traditional retailers are attempting to preempt Amazon's plans to expand Amazon Go.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2018

    Will the Kroger/Walgreens pilot lead to something really big?

    Although only a test, I view this as part of a continuous effort by Kroger to increase its online presence in a manner that is both customer friendly and cost effective. The ultimate winner here may be Walgreens, particularly if it drives additional customers into its stores. Going forward, this could be something bigger along the lines of Target/CVS. The aging of America underscores the potential impact of CVS and Walgreens. This is a great way to begin the dating process.
  • Posted on: 10/02/2018

    Why do retailers practically ignore existing customers to go after new ones?

    Totally. Focusing on the first time customer to the exclusion of the repeat customer is like a fisherman who catches a trophy fish, throwing it back in search of something bigger. Makes no sense in fishing, makes no sense in retail. Retailers should emulate the Amazon model. Repeat customers are revered.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2018

    Walmart expands test of pickup-only grocery store concept

    As noted, this is an expanded test which should allow Walmart the opportunity to gauge customer feedback as well as fine tune the logistics issues. I am still a fan of pickup at a store in which customers can access additional products, often impulse and high=margin perishable goods. However, if the customers prefer this delivery mechanism and Walmart can do so in an efficient and profitable manner, then bring it on.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2018

    Is BOPIS best when it’s done outside the store?

    In a perfect world, from the retailer's perspective pick up inside the store has the capability of generating additional and in some cases high margin revenue. Research has shown that online shopping when combined with in-store shopping generates a higher basket than either option considered separately. If you can get customers into the store with an empty shopping cart (often a surrogate of spending), they tend to pick up the higher margin perimeter and impulse items. Having said this, the definition of shopping quality is benefits received divided by burdens endured. If drive-thru and other more out of the store convenient options are offered, the burdens endured in BOPIS shopping may be significantly reduced. Follow the customer!
  • Posted on: 09/26/2018

    What’s Dunkin’ without Donuts in its name?

    I like the rebranding segue. In the words of Charles Revlon, “In the factory we make cosmetics, at the counter we sell hope." For a long term DD made coffee & donuts. However, at the counter it sold start-the-day or pick-me-up "treats." Now the treat options have been expanded with little pushback or consumer confusion. The name change is a great vehicle to expand its umbrella & keep on running.
  • Posted on: 09/24/2018

    Are big box retailers going too small with new store concepts?

    The challenges are not significantly different from other size stores. Retailers need to customize offerings to the target market and use technology to make up for the reduced inventory. Also, the customer interaction needs to be better managed. Factors going forward that will have the greatest impact include: enhanced technology: continued rebirth of inner cities and urban areas, aging of America and on the other hand the emergence of Generations Y and Z.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2018

    What would 3,000 AmazonGo stores do to the U.S. retail landscape?

    I see the biggest competitors as C-Stores & limited service restaurants. Its focus on urban markets with consumers who are looking for meal solutions makes sense given the size, convenience & planned assortments. The market reactions to the more traditional food retailers is a reflection of the first mover advantages enjoyed by Amazon. However, it is also a warning to the more traditional players of the role of meal solutions & that technology in the form of speed & convenience are now considered the ante by customers.
  • Posted on: 09/05/2018

    Nike campaign tests ‘all publicity is good publicity’ adage

    Obviously the campaign has created a buzz. The overarching questions are 1.) Can and should a for-profit organization take a stand on issues it believes in, even if it has a potential negative impact on its bottom line? 2.) Beyond the social justice question, how does this campaign resonate with its target market -- does it address the profitability question?
  • Posted on: 09/04/2018

    Walmart’s two-day shipping pledge comes with a caveat

    While Walmart has made some tremendous strides recently in its battle to compete with Amazon, this move raises some real ethical questions. In essence, Walmart appears to making a promise to its customers that it is unwilling to keep. Plus, lying to customers is never a good idea in the short or long run. Mr. Sam would not be happy with these actions.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2018

    The Rock rules celebrity endorsements

    I must admit I was a fan of the Rock from his early days in the WWF. In fact, at one time I was a "Hulkamaniac," courtesy of my fascination with professional wrestling. I thought it was real, which says something about university professors (LOL). However, the questions of fit & the attendant risks, makes me one who would not recommend engaging celebrities. There are other more efficient & effective uses of marketing resources.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2018

    Shoppers may finally be using retail apps

    Technology has made it easier than ever for shoppers to consume information, find products or services and easily share their experiences. This has resulted in new customer expectations that have created a new retail world. In the grocery world, these apps need to conveniently (quickly and easily) communicate pricing, nutritional information, matching of consumer's dietary information, coupons, etc. as these needs are reflected on their shopping list. Kroger recently launched such an app, called Kroger Edge, in 200 stores. It will be interesting to see the results. The customers are ready, now the technology needs to deliver on their expectations.
  • Posted on: 08/24/2018

    Will Kroger’s ban mean the end of plastic bags in grocery stores?

    Kroger’s move in both areas should be applauded and emulated by others. Why wait for the government to mandate behavior? Ironically, Feargal Quinn of SuperQuinns in Ireland introduced colorful, reusable grocery shopping bags over 25 years ago. He offered different colors for different products, e.g., red for meat, green for fruit and veg, etc. While teaching in Ireland during this time period, I witnessed an interaction between Feargal and a customer regarding bag colors. She asked him why he didn’t offer more than the above noted traditional colors. He explained the link between the colors offered and the related products. She responded, “I’m looking for colors to coordinate with my outfits.” (LOL) I guess we’ll have to wait and see if Kroger and others get such requests.

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