SMITH BRAIN TRUST – RIP, Toys “R” Us. The iconic (and recently liquidated) toy seller has left a giant toy-shaped void in the retail landscape ahead of the holiday season. And as shoppers begin to ponder where their go-to spot for toys will be this year, several retailers are looking to provide an answer. Marketing professor Jie Zhang says that already the competition is getting interesting.
Jie Zhang is a Professor of Marketing and the Harvey Sanders Fellow of Retail Management at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. She received her Ph.D. in marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at NorthwesternUniversity. She was a faculty member at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan prior to joining the Smith School. Her general research interest is to apply advanced econometric and statistical models to study consumer purchase behaviors and retail strategies.
SMITH BRAIN TRUST – Maryland Smith branding experts describe the decision by Dunkin’ Donuts to drop the "Donuts" from its name as overdue, fitting, and in tune with its customers' tastes. Starting in January, the “Donuts” will disappear from ads, social media accounts and signage at new and remodeled stores, according to the quick-serve coffee chain. Marketing professors at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business say the formal rebranding to just Dunkin' has been a long time coming.
SMITH BRAIN TRUST – Back-to-school shoppers want discounts. Manufacturers want high profit margins. The tension feeds a paradox of sorts at retail outlets where buyers and sellers meet: Stores increasingly emphasize pricey, innovative and fun products in a bargain-shopping season.
SMITH BRAIN TRUST – The fog of perfume and clatter of cosmetics samples for generations have greeted shoppers as they walk through the doors at the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in Manhattan. But that’s changed this week.
Women Leading Research: Jie Zhang
SMITH BRAIN TRUST – Amazon and Walmart both have plans to let unattended delivery people into your home to drop off parcels or restock your fridge.
Retailer Can Emerge from Bankruptcy a Winner
It's not "game over" for Toys 'R' Us. Its filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week is more of a "timeout." And the Smith School's Jie Zhang, says that if the iconic toy retailer plays its cards right, it could end up a winner. Zhang explains what the country's last remaining toy specialty retailer must do now. Read more...
Soon, it might be that your favorite place to shop is in your mailbox. At least, that's the idea behind the growing crop of online styling and fashion subscription services. The services – Stitch Fix, MM.LaFleur and LeTote are among the most popular – are offering up a tiny-store-in-a-box each month and hoping to gain devoted customers. They're banking on the convenience of shopping at home and the appeal of receiving an assortment of products selected to match a customer's tastes. The idea is catching on. The Smith School's Jie Zhang explains. Read more...
J.Crew is battling some choppy seas. It's had 10 consecutive quarterly sales declines, two straight years of losses, and now the iconic, classic clothier is swimming in more than $2 billion in debt. Its longtime style maven and creative director Jenna Lyons is out, as is its once-celebrated CEO Mickey Drexler. It's paddling against unprecedented challenges from fast-fashion retailers and e-commerce competitors. And now as J.Crew looks to right its course, it's facing another crisis: an identity crisis. Read more...