Gene Detroyer

Professor, International Business, Guizhou University of Finance & Economics; Executive Director, Global Commerce Education
Most simply, Gene Detroyer makes things happen. He has been a business builder his entire career. He started two companies which were later sold. Today he is advising, consulting and motivating a range of clients both in the U.S. and internationally. Unable to stay away from start-ups, he is currently involved in building and launching an innovative experiential executive education program for US-based enterprises entering global markets, the G2 Experience, with support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Commerce.
His traditional experience includes 17 years marketing consumer products through food, mass and drug channels. He is credited with building new businesses now worth over $400 million. A traditional career went out the window with his first start-up; putting TVs in supermarket aisles and putting advertising on them, which was merged into NBC. He has had consulting gigs with Coca Cola, companies like HSN wishing to bring their products to retail and start-ups. His second entrepreneurial venture brought the Today® Contraceptive Sponge back to market in the U.S.  That company was sold in 2007.
Beyond consumer products, he is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Business Strategy at The European School of Economics.  He also teaches at the Weller International Business School in Paris, France.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2019

    Will Kroger’s dark kitchens cook up something good?

    Unless you are Wegmans, why would a supermarket want to prepare meals for delivery in every store? That is far from their core competence. The "dark kitchen" solves that problem. Having someone else do what they do better than you is a basic business principle. The challenge is quality. Will the program get so big that Kroger can no longer control the quality of the product (if it matters)? The long term impact may be that these dark kitchens become consumer businesses themselves. But if they do, there really is no downside to Kroger or any others who use them.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2019

    Can Barnes & Noble afford to take it easy over the holidays?

    This holiday season is not going to make or break Barnes & Noble. Their challenge is much bigger than that. They are caught in "no man's land." Not cozy, not convenient. The question Barnes & Noble has to ask to determine a long term strategy is "Why should anyone go to Barnes & Noble?" And don't speculate. The answer lies with the customers who are actually going to the stores.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2019

    Why is Allbirds asking Amazon to do a better job ripping it off?

    The one thing I know now is that the $45 Amazon knock-off is not the same as the $95 Allbirds shoe.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2019

    Mobile jumps out as retailers get a mixed start to the holiday season

    It is still about "location, location, location." It wasn't that long ago that the location moved from the store to the desktop. Now it is moving from the desk to the hand. It is all about convenience. As smartphones become more and more of an extension of our lives, more and more ordering will move to mobile. In China, four out of five e-commerce dollars are generated through mobile purchases. It is worth repeating, "location, location, location." And you can't get a closer purchasing location than in one's hand.
  • Posted on: 12/02/2019

    Will its ‘culture of recognition’ be a game winner for Dick’s Sporting Goods?

    The key comment in the article is "momentum breeds momentum.” And it should should be noted that it works in both directions. When praise and rewards have a high profile, it not only affects those getting the recognition, but those who see that the company appreciates people and good contributions. Similarly, when a company ignores contributions, even by the lowest level employees, it sends a message to every employee that they are regarded only as robots here to do a job. Unfortunately, too many retail operations see those working in the stores as those robots and not as long term contributors to the success of the company.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2019

    Amazon wants to take the lead on regulating facial recognition tech

    I don't trust the American government. I don't trust corporate America. Maybe we can let the EU design the regulations.
  • Posted on: 09/26/2019

    Can grocery shopping make people less lonely?

    This is a nice idea with no downside. Our grocery store has a little corner that people share. There are always people there. The Whole Foods area for food isn't as much for visiting as for eating. Starbucks built a business on this concept, surely it will work in grocery stores.
  • Posted on: 09/26/2019

    Will selling online be the start of something big or bad for Marshalls?

    It is all about execution. Marshalls is a great brand that engenders a specific profile for shoppers. If they can execute online, it will be a boon. And I am just thinking about their current customers. Will online help new customers find them? Don't worry about market share. Worry about selling more. If you lose one sale in-store and gain two online, bravo!
  • Posted on: 09/26/2019

    Amazon tests program to take better care of employees’ health

    Everyone talks about the cost of healthcare being prohibitive to Americans. Nobody talks about health insurance being prohibitive to the companies. Depending on the size of the company, health insurance costs can be as much as 8 percent to 18 percent of a company's total costs and they are not even something core to their business. And they are rising at a rate of 6 percent per year. Amazon Care is basically a preventive program that fixes problems before they get out of hand. It is a savings for the employee and the company. The data is clear that private health insurance is exorbitantly priced. That is why Amazon, Walmart and JPChase are working on alternatives. The challenge of course is how to make this available to smaller companies that don't have the resources. To me that is easy. Copy and paste. License it out. Of course there is the bigger question. Why do companies in America pay for health insurance at all?
  • Posted on: 09/25/2019

    What makes consumers grumble most about returning online orders?

    I agree. For a shopper, a return is "found money." Why not spend it again?
  • Posted on: 09/25/2019

    Retailers must turn stores into ‘anything engines’

    This is one of the best commentaries I have read on RetailWire. Lee has a deep understanding of today's consumer and how to market. And, as Lee says, the metrics must change. A retailer should not care one iota what they sell in any given store. It is all about what they sell overall. If a visit to a store by a shopper sparks that shopper to like a product and the shopper goes home and in the ensuing 12 months makes six or so purchases online from that retailer, do we really care what each store sells? It is a matter of mindset. And that mindset can be expanded to almost any kind of retailer. It works for Apple and Amazon, two retailer extremes. Excuse me, I am going to Amazon to buy a new pair of jeans.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2019

    Are smart carts a smarter way to ‘Just Walk Out’?

    My gut tells me this is a better solution. But I am not sure it is the final one. There is no doubt in my mind that in 10 years or so all transactions will be cashier-less. I think what the Veeve development shows is that the technology is moving quickly and, more importantly, it is making it easier for the shopper and the retailer.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2019

    What makes consumers grumble most about returning online orders?

    Checking with my wife, who does most of the online shopping, the spread of retailers who make it easy and make it hard is pretty wide. And for her, it is all about who makes it easy. The best are Amazon, Zappos and Nordstrom. The worst are Macy's, Anthropology and Amazon Marketplace. Macy's has made it so difficult that she is no longer a Macy's shopper and has become a regular Nordstrom shopper, a retailer she had never used before. Just like purchasing online, returning is all about time and convenience. That is the mantra today and any retailer who doesn't recognize that will be a loser.
  • Posted on: 09/25/2019

    What makes consumers grumble most about returning online orders?

    "Many customers are just too lazy to return an item to a store" -- the purpose and success of online is that people don't want to go to the store.
  • Posted on: 09/24/2019

    What will Apple’s reinvented Fifth Avenue flagship mean for the brand?

    NYC has about 70 million visitors a year. Almost 14 million are international. Apple claimed the former cube attracted more tourists than the Statue of Liberty. With its hype, this new cube will attract even more. The cube was a tourist destination and will continue to be. I certainly don't know what percent of those standing in line outside the store this week were tourists, but my guess is 80 percent or more. This store is a boast for Apple and their products and it is generating word-of-mouth throughout the world. And the upside is that they might even sell some products.

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