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: 12/12/2018

    Where will Amazon go with its cashier-free concept?

    As I noted in a similar article last week, the upside of Amazon Go is potentially unlimited. Look at the sales per square foot comparisons: Amazon Go’s retail productivity of at least $2,700 per square foot selling area and 50 inventory turns/year is unmatched in retailing. Consider that Tiffany averages $2,900 per square foot of selling area. I would expect the sales per square foot to be even higher in smaller footprints like office buildings and airports. My first choice would be airports for a couple of reasons: 1. huge upside traffic potential versus an office building, 2. a terrific opportunity to build awareness and generate trial in markets not yet served by Amazon Go.
  • Posted on: 12/10/2018

    Will Dollar General’s DGX concept be a hit with urban Millennials?

    A bold but logical move by Dollar General. Especially since the Family Dollar/Dollar Tree (FD/DT) merger has caused financial and other issues within the merged companies. Frederick the Great once said, “Do not attack the enemy when he adheres to the rules, but profit from his slightest mistakes without delay.” While FD/DT attempts to sort out its issues, the DGX concept benefits from an unfettered competitive response with its latest experiment.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2018

    IKEA assembles holiday messages to drive sales

    IKEA does a nice job in all three spots on focusing on its customers, not necessarily its products. However, there are enough product references to remind its customers of products that solve problems and help them as families.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2018

    What’s next for Small Business Saturday?

    Maybe not so much of a reinvention, since 70 percent of Americans are aware of it. Instead, a possible shifting of the date to an earlier or later Saturday might be in order. With all of the hype on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers are overwhelmed with offers that tend to distract them from seeking out a local business on the Saturday in between. Unfortunately, these bread components of the weekend sandwich tend to obscure the great tasting ingredients of the sandwich offered by Small Business Saturday. Shift the date and all components of the sandwich will belong to local businesses vying for holiday shopping sales.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2018

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Pier 1 Imports vs. TJX Companies

    Six great spots. However, my tie breaker is the specific gifts shown in the TJX spots which provide viable solutions to TJX holiday shoppers' dilemmas.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2018

    Drugstore/grocery pilot is two-thirds Walgreens and one-third Kroger

    For Walgreens, this deal allows it to expand the food and beverage assortments in its stores beyond what it could potentially do profitably on its own. On the other hand, Kroger gets to showcase its high-end private label, including the noted Simple Truth brand worth $2 billion. Going forward there is no doubt that drugstores are moving up on the competitive radar of traditional supermarkets as they offer more food and beverages, including prepared meals, fresh produce and bakery products. If this experiment works, I see Kroger developing similar formats for places of high consumer traffic, like hospitals, airports, office buildings, etc. The threat to traditional food retailers is real. According to research by McKinsey and Co., traditional grocers could lose as much as $700 billion globally to competing formats, with over half at risk of being forced to close if no preemptive or defensive action is taken.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2018

    Are subscriptions an untapped gifting opportunity for retailers?

    I do see limited growth. Much depends on the type of subscription. Consumers still are seeking flexibility and convenience in such options. Consider the difficulties with Blue Apron, who has witnessed significant cancellations or people never going past the free trial, due to the feeling of being locked into the service. I recommend retailers do what they do best - act as retailers and partner with existing players. This reduces the risk and capital necessary to go it alone. Find good subscription partners and go from there.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2018

    Has Amazon figured out how to scale its Go cashier-free tech to bigger stores?

    The challenges have been noted in the article. However, I caution voting against Amazon. It has shown the ability to test and innovate often beyond what is imaginable by current retailers. Amazon Go's retail productivity of at least $2700 per square foot selling area and 50 inventory turns/year, is unmatched in retailing. Consider that Tiffany averages $2900 per square foot of selling area, to get some perspective on the success of Amazon Go and the potential of exporting the Go technology to larger store environments. I predict Amazon will introduce the technology in a limited number of Whole Foods stores as a test, before rolling the concept to more Whole Foods stores and to other potential big box concepts.
  • Posted on: 11/30/2018

    Aldi gets creative for Christmas

    The U.K. spot was entertaining. However, I'm not sure what the intended message was or the point of differentiation relative to Aldi. I didn’t quite get the Australia commercial. Purpose? The U.S. spot appeared simple and direct with a clear message. It gets my vote.
  • Posted on: 11/27/2018

    Does Amazon’s record performance point to the growing importance of Cyber Monday?

    As noted in the article, Cyber Monday is the culmination of this holiday weekend shopping spree. While Cyber Monday broke all records, the rest of the weekend surpassed all previous sales levels as well. I think the process of shifting retail sales from more traditional shopping periods, e.g., Christmas shopping, will continue. Remember the very successful Christmas in July sales this past summer. Sales via smartphones will continue to grow as the cell phone continues to replace computers and land lines as the preferred way of shopping (and most other tasks). Likewise BOPIS will become more relevant as a mode of collecting products. BOPIS gives retailers the opportunity to encourage shoppers to visit the store during a related pickup of online orders. If done correctly, retailers could gain incremental sales of often high-margin merchandise.
  • Posted on: 11/26/2018

    Millennial brand loyalty comes into question

    As I have stated before in this forum, the concept of customers being loyal to a brand or retailer makes no sense. People can be loyal to their family, faith, country, Alma Mater, etc. but there is no need to be loyal to consumer packaged goods or retailers. Instead, brands and retailers need to be loyal to their customers, namely, by delivering on their promises. Continuity of purchases, not loyalty, is earned by offering a revised version of quality. How? Make sure the benefits provided to your customers are greater than the burdens your customers must endure in doing business with you.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2018

    Will 2018 be the last holiday season for long checkout lines?

    Sooner rather than later. There are a couple of universal retail shopping truths:
    1. The longer you keep customers in the store, the more they will buy;
    2. The quicker you get them out, the quicker they will come back.
    Show packed stores to emphasize the fun of the hunt, sans the long checkout lines. Get customers out seamlessly and quickly. Technology and imaginative ways to deal with this issue are already available. Use them both.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2018

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Big Lots vs. Dick’s Sporting Goods

    The Dick's Sporting Goods spot really connects with core customers, while inviting new customers to enjoy the gifts of Christmas and family throughout the year and their lives. I liked the Big Lots ad as well, however it's not a lot different from similar spots presented by a variety of retailers at this time of the year. My vote is Dick's.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2018

    Can Walmart turn its haters into lovers?

    I believe some of the haters go way back to Walmart's expansion into a variety of formats, including food, back in the mid-'90s. At that time Walmart was viewed as the destroyer of town centers as we know them. Ironically, it is customers who put retailers out of business, not retailers. Nonetheless, Walmart battled these perceptions. At the same time another group labeled Walmart as anti-union which brought on another boycott by pro-union factions. Still a third group, perhaps best described by demographics, perceived Walmart as not simply low price but also low quality in its stores and services. For a time, Target's "cheap chic" flourished in this environment. Going forward, the number of initiatives noted in the article, will ameliorate some of the "haters." However, Walmart needs to avoid trying to be all things to all people. While attempting to spread a more friendly net, the company should not ignore the slice of America who likes Walmart for what it stands for.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2018

    RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Best Buy

    Amazon's 90 second commercial is entertaining. However, there's nothing really new here to connect to core customers or attract new shoppers. On the other hand, the 30 second Best Buy commercial appears to solve customer problems in a unique and entertaining way. My vote: Best Buy.

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