PROFILE

Mark Price

Managing Partner, Smart Data Solutions, ThreeBridge

Mark Price is Solution Partner for Smart Data Solutions for ThreeBridge, a national technology consulting firm.  Prior to joining ThreeBridge in October of 2018, Mark was founder and managing partner and founder of LiftPoint Consulting Group, which he led for over 16 years.  He is a frequent speaker at conferences as an expert on data-driven marketing and authors articles on the same topic. Mark blogs regularly.  He is responsible for thought leadership, leading client engagements and solution development for ThreeBridge.

Prior to founding LiftPoint Consulting in 2002, Mark was the Practice Leader for Zamba Solutions, focusing on data warehousing, marketing automation and data mining. Mark’s business experience also includes brand management at General Mills and Ralston Purina.

Mark has an MBA from the Darden School of the University of Virginia and a BA from Haverford College. He lives in Eden Prairie, Minn., with his wife,  poodle and Great Dane.

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  • Posted on: 12/22/2020

    Is free at-home pick-up of online returns practicable?

    Given COVID-19 concerns and in general consumer desire for convenience and simplicity, at-home pickup of returns should hold a great appeal. FedEx has the benefit of a constant stream of household deliveries, which makes it more efficient for them to pick up at the same time. In effect, this strategy permits FedEx to avoid "dead-end" trucks (empty trucks on the way back to the warehouse). FedEx makes money both coming and going. As the volume of e-commerce shipments decline post-COVID-19, FedEx may have to focus returns on specific days to keep the efficiencies up.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2020

    It’s time for innovation or stagnation

    We have found that a WFH environment does not hamper innovation. The key is that WFH must take advantage of the benefits of at home instead of focusing on the liabilities. Companies must grant their key employees specific "focus" time at home in order for them to read, think and write. Then those employees must be able to form into work groups to tackle pressing issues and invent new solutions. The key questions to answer are:
    1. What restrictions did we face physically that we are now free of, in a digital world?
    2. How have our customers' needs changed in the past nine months? Which of those needs and behaviors will stick in the future?
    3. How can we repurpose existing resources/capabilities to meet those needs faster than we ever could?
  • Posted on: 12/15/2020

    Starbucks sees even more stores in its future

    The loyal Starbucks customer segment views the store as a "third place" -- a safe place to relax and congregate when not at work or home. Post-COVID-19 such locations will be in high demand, and the expansion of the stores to meet that need makes great sense. In addition, drive-thru increases incremental sales from convenience-minded customers as well as core customers who don't want to wait in line during peak hours. I think Starbucks is moving ahead with a visionary approach that will yield long-term success.
  • Posted on: 12/14/2020

    The North Face called out for ‘virtue signaling’

    The strategy of addressing climate change and making decisions supporting that strategy seems a wise one, especially in these days when Millennials and Gen Z feel so strongly about the issue. In addition to positioning, climate change is real, and we need more companies making such a commitment. At the same time, refusing an order based on the industry seems a little bit "one size fits all." I do not know what Innnovex is doing in terms of greenhouse gas management, but such considerations should be taken into account in a well-balanced decision process.
  • Posted on: 11/23/2020

    Big chains are raising pay and more retailers are likely to follow

    While I would like to believe that retailers are increasing wages for either retention or altruistic reasons, I believe that these retailers have seen the writing on the wall of a coming $15/hr mandate and are attempting to circumvent it or gain a PR benefit from moving in advance of such regulation. A $15 wage is closer to a living wage and will help retailers reduce worker no-shows and retention of best workers.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2020

    Can retailers get store brand growth back on track during the pandemic?

    Consumers have been purchasing more traditional packaged goods products during the pandemic, driven by more cooking at home and a desire for security and reassurance provided by the brands they used in their past. Given the economic insecurity present today, it is logical that store brands will also prosper. The barriers, as this article has described, are logistical -- both availability and presence on shopping applications. The key for retailers will be to promote their store brands on their apps. Otherwise consumers may not have the store brands at the top of their minds. Overall, this winter should be a good season for grocery retailers and for their brands as well.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2020

    Are CPG brands headed for a very merry Christmas?

    As COVID infections ramp up during the winter months, households with children in particular are likely to increase home cooking and also seek out foods that provide them with emotional comfort. These traditional foods are often the brands that their parents served them, bringing back memories. This trend is likely to continue until a vaccine is widely available, sometime late spring or early summer. Retailers can better allocate products during this season and use this time to reinforce loyalty -- reserving products for best customers and loyalty program members. Grocers can then become the place that has "some of everything" and not face such extreme stockouts due to consumer loading.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2020

    Will Amazon’s new online pharmacy disrupt the U.S. drugstore business?

    Amazon has moved into a lucrative market -- mail order pharmacy, using their superior logistical capabilities and the stickiness they have with their Prime customers. This is a clear move to increase Prime profitability and also to move further into healthcare, which is a long-term plan for their organization, I believe. Given that heavy Prime customers use the service daily, companies such as CVS or Walgreens will struggle to keep up. This move into Pharmacy can also drive increased traffic at Whole Foods and further the strategy of Whole Foods also as a deposit location for Amazon deliveries.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2020

    Will pop-up e-commerce fulfillment centers help Walmart manage demand?

    The pop-up approach to e-commerce distribution is an excellent example of the agile planning and execution that is required in today's quickly changing business environment. The patterns of demand for the holidays and after are difficult to predict this year, and Walmart's approach permits them to quickly shift capacity as the demand patterns emerge (usually at the last minute). This approach allows Walmart to leverage their greatest strength, which is supply chain, to create a point of differentiation in service and delivery vs. competitors.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2020

    Will Lowe’s customers ‘gift’ their homes for the holidays?

    With the news about Covid continuing, it is inevitable that Americans will be spending more time at home these holidays. The increase in time at home gives consumers the chance to look at their home and develop a wish list of how they can improve it. That has been helping Lowe's in general. It is also reasonable to assume that decorations and home treatments will follow the pattern of home improvement. Free Christmas tree delivery is potentially a strong component of a broader tactic to bring high touch items into the home for consumers this season. Once you set up a home delivery, it is easy to add additional things to the basket. I think this is a strong strategy for Lowe's, as long as they do not stray too far away from their home design an improvement position.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2020

    Should local book stores be taking on Amazon?

    Given that consumers are facing data overload in much of their lives, reinforcing the importance of buying local is a good idea. Local bookstores must remind consumers that they are not sacrificing convenience and speed to buy local. Don't see it as guilt, rather as an important reminder of key benefits.
  • Posted on: 09/24/2020

    A successful diversity initiative led to an unintended consequence at Walmart

    I often speak to clients about the law of unexpected consequences -- "there are ALWAYS unexpected consequences." No matter how committed an organization is, change is bumpy, uneven and not always moving forward. But if an organization stays true to their mission and values, progress will be made nonetheless. The unexpected consequences that come from increased transparency is feedback and engagement -- both positive and negative. The benefits of increasing diversity are numerous -- with one of the greatest being bringing diversity of thought and perspectives. Something is always lost when a company does not look like their customers. Insight from a more diverse workforce will pay for years to come....
  • Posted on: 09/23/2020

    Will lockers help Lowe’s pick up more sales?

    The sharp increase in pickup orders have strained customer service in many retailers and led to long lines waiting for pickup. Lockers are a definite way to improve that experience by eliminating lines. More and more retailers will be adopting this approach for non-perishable smaller items. Pickup on demand, 24/7 appeals to convenience customers -- which is almost everyone these days!
  • Posted on: 09/22/2020

    Grocers are primed to compete with Amazon’s free grocery delivery

    Amazon currently has a limited number of dark locations and a small retail store footprint, compared to traditional grocers. To compete, grocers must build a multi-channel relationship with the customer segment that is most willing to shop online during the pandemic, and strengthen that relationship while the grocer still has a footprint advantage -- which means more two-hour delivery, more prepared foods and building a personal relationship with the customer.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2020

    Will 2020 be the year the holiday selling season changed forever?

    With consumer trends this year even more heavily digital than previously, the Prime event and the other October events will indeed serve to push holiday sales earlier than ever before. The balancing effect will come from additional consumer uncertainty about financial resources and the economy in general prior to the election and prior to the weeks immediately preceding Christmas. As a result, I believe that the holiday season will be highly bimodal, with an increased percentage of sales coming in October, a sharp dip in November and then a pick up in December among consumers who discover that they have sufficient resources to make their purchases for Christmas.

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