Jie Zhang

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.

Will Subscription Services Transform the Way We Shop?

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...

How J.Crew Can Weather the Rough Seas

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...

Amazon Deal Stirs Things Up for Blue Apron

For Blue Apron, Amazon's blockbuster deal to acquire Whole Foods couldn't have come at a worse time, says Smith School marketing professor Jie Zhang. The New York-based meal-kit delivery service was just beginning the marketing for its initial public offering, in which it hopes to raise more than $500 million, when Amazon.com Inc. announced the $13.7 billion deal that could upend the food-retail industry. Suddenly, all the talk among analysts and prospective investors has turned to Amazon, the 431 Whole Foods locations, the grocery chain's distribution network, and how CEO Jeff Bezos might reshape how Americans shop for food. Read more...

Are U.S. Grocers Headed for a Price War?

The U.S. grocery industry is bracing for a shakeup, and a potential price war, as one German supermarket chain seeks to make its debut and another looks to expand its reach. German grocery chain Aldi says it will invest $3.4 billion to broaden its U.S. footprint, adding 900 new stores by 2022. German rival Lidl, meanwhile, is opening its first U.S. stores this month, with plans to open 100 by next summer. The added competition in the low-margin world of grocery sales comes as food prices for the U.S. are under pressure, falling for 17 straight months. And it comes at a time of continued price-sensitivity for many Americans. Experts from the Smith School explain how Aldi and Lidl and their "no frills" hard-discount business model might impact American grocery getters. Read more...

Fearless Idea 29: Rethink Online Shopping Carts

Have you ever filled your virtual cart while shopping online only to leave it without completing the purchase? Retailers have long considered this a huge problem, figuring trillions of dollars are lost due to abandoned online shopping carts. Now new research co-authored by Smith School professor Jie Zhang shows that these numbers are substantially overblown. And she says many retailers are focusing on the wrong thing: They should be trying to get consumers to spend more at their stores instead of just recovering virtual carts left behind. Read more...

Victoria’s Secret Millennial Problem

Victoria's Secret models Stella Maxwell (L) and Romee StrijdCan Victoria's Secret get her groove back? Faced with fundamental shifts in customer preferences, rising online shopping and fading shopping-mall traffic, the queen of lingerie has reported a slowdown in sales and is cautioning that this year's revenues won't be among its perkiest. Now experts are wondering whether the brand will be able to bounce back. Smith School professors Jie Zhang and Yajin Wang say it won't be easy. Read more...


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