The Politics of Purchases, Grocery Chain Rebuilds, and More – Boston News

grocery chain rebuilds

Let’s explore some of the most interesting stories that have emerged from Boston business schools this week.

Why U.S. Grocery Chains Need More (and Better) Store-Brand ProductsHarvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review recently revealed new insights into how store-brand products enable grocers to carve out a niche for themselves among more established competitors.

According to writers Marcel Corstjens and Rajiv Lal, “private-label products are essential to the profit margins of hard discounters,” like Wal-Mart, which typically sell 90 percent private-label goods compared to 15-51 percent of ordinary grocery stores, depending on where you are in the world. “Hard discounters win by only stocking products with a very high rotation.”

The two point to the miraculous feat of French supermarkets, which regained a significant market share after stores began “offering affordable goods of reasonable quality.”

In order for U.S. grocers to compete with hard discounters, the article notes that they “will have to offer private-label goods of the “right” quality at the “right” price. No easy feat, indeed.

You can read more from Corstjens and Lal here.

How Going Out Can Spur Outside-the-Box ThinkingMIT Sloan Newsroom

New research from MIT Sloan Assistant Professor of Work and Organization Studies Jackson Lu finds that people who have “had a close friendship or romantic relationship with a person from a culture drastically different from [their] own tend to exhibit higher creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.”

“‘Going Out’ of the Box: Close Intercultural Friendships and Romantic Relationships Spark Creativity, Workplace Innovation, and Entrepreneurship” suggests that “people cannot simply ‘collect’ intercultural relationships at a superficial level, but instead must engage in cultural learning at a deep level.”

Lu writes:

“When in an intercultural relationship, an individual should not eschew cultural differences but rather embrace them, because such differences enable one to discern and learn the underlying assumptions and values of both the foreign culture and the home culture. Without close social interactions, it can be difficult for individuals to juxtapose and synthesize different cultural perspectives to achieve cultural learning and produce creative insights.”

You can check out the rest of the article here.

How We Play Politics in the Store AislesCarroll School News

In a new Journal of Consumer Research study, Carroll Assistant Professor of Marketing Nailya Ordabayeva finds that “conservatives buy products they believe will signal their own superiority (big-name brands, high price tags) while liberals buy products they hope will show their uniqueness (unconventional colors or design).”

Ordabayeva’s research has “startling implications regarding the extent of our national polarization,” suggesting that people are paying very close attention to taglines like Mercedes’ “A Class Ahead” and Apple’s “Think Different.”

commerce, crown, group

Professor Ordabayeva’s research finds that conservative and liberal Americans have decidedly different buying patterns, with conservatives favoring well-known brands and liberals opting for more creative choices.

“Better or Different? How Political Ideology Shapes Preferences for Differentiation in the Social Hierarchy,” can be found here and check out the rest of the entry on Carroll School News here.


About the Author

Jonathan Pfeffer

Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as contributing writer at MetroMBA and contributing editor at Clear Admit, he is co-founder and lead producer of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.

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