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A collection of featured Columns.

Jody Kalmbach was standing in a lunch line at Amazon 15 or so years ago when her boss, Jeff Bezos, challenged her with a question:  “Are we a technology company or are we a retailer?” 

It’s pretty clear that a dramatic transformation is underway when the industry’s largest company sells off its namesake brand. That’s exactly what happened to the consumer goods industry in 2018.

While browsing Reddit in early December I spotted a drone-taken photo of our little neighborhood. I thought it was pretty cool; a detailed, high-resolution image from a perspective attainable only via flying camera.

“Buy Now” buttons on digital display ads have become so commonplace that I rarely notice them anymore.

Sights and sounds from people I ran into at P2PX in October.

Great news, everyone: The “Retail Apocalypse” might not be happening after all. I don’t have a lot of information on which to base this bold declaration, just a headline I found in August suggesting that the industry might be experiencing a “Retail Renaissance.”

Sorry, fellow kids, but it’s back to school in this edition of your favorite marketing-to-shoppers journal. So, turn in your flip-flops, beach books and SPF 30.

How do you succeed in a marketplace where the rules of engagement – increasingly empowered consumers, an evolving retailer landscape and a new batch of more-nimble competitors – keep changing dramatically?

The opening lines from “The Divine Comedy” – which, to be honest, are about all I remember from my college Comp Lit class – somehow sprang to mind the other day while reading, of all things, a LinkedIn group discussion.

I’ve got an old friend from the neighborhood who’s in the retail business. He’s a franchisee for a national chain and a real old-fashioned store manager.

I didn’t shop at all on Amazon.com during the 2017 holiday season, which apparently puts me in the minority of U.S. shoppers – including within my own house, where my wife and teenage daughter made backdoor packages from Prime a near-daily occurrence in December.

I’m not much of a “holidays” guy. I think that’s because my late mother wasn’t much of a holidays gal. Back in the 1960s, my family’s Advent calendar tradition was watching her get progressively overwhelmed by the decorating and shopping and cooking and social obligations until she snapped.

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