Rajiv Lal

Stanley Roth, Sr. Professor of Retailing

Rajiv Lal, is the Stanley Roth, Sr. Professor of Retailing at Harvard Business School. He has also been responsible for the retailing curriculum and has served as the course head for Marketing, required study in the first year of the MBA program. Professor Lal also teaches in several Executive Education programs, has previously cserved as the Faculty Chair for the Global Management Program, and currently co-chairs the program on Building and Leading a Customer Centric Organization.

Lal was a Professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University since 1982. He was the Thomas Henry Carroll Ford Foundation Visiting Professor at Harvard Business School for 1997-98. He was the Visiting Professor of Marketing at INSEAD, France in 1986, 1988, 1992, and 1993. He did his undergraduate work in mechanical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur, India and received his PhD in Industrial Administration from Carnegie-Mellon University. Lal has served as an Area Editor for Marketing Science and is the Co-editor of Quantitative Marketing and Economics.

Lal's current research is concerned with the Future of Department Stores in America. In addition, he is studying how to build and sustain Customer Centric retail organizations. His most recent work explored successful retail strategies for global expansion. He has written extensively on the impact of using the Internet as a channel of distribution on a retailer's pricing, merchandising and branding strategy. A recent paper written on this area of research was published in Marketing Science and nominated for the award of the best paper in Marketing and Management Science. His earlier work in retailing studies the impact of competition between different retail formats, such as EDLP and Hi-Lo grocers. He has also studied the consequences of the increasing use of store brands by grocery retailers on store loyalty and its implications for packaged goods manufacturers.

Lal's earlier research has focused on pricing, trade promotions and salesforce compensation plans. The work on salesforce compensation plans originated with his dissertation research which won the award for the best paper published in Marketing Science and Management Science in 1985. A subsequent article, also developed from his thesis, received an honorable mention for the same award in 1986. He has continued to work in this area and has recently completed a study of compensation plans used by German salesforces.

His work in the area of pricing and promotions has been equally well recognized. Two of his articles were among the finalists for the John D. C. Little award for the best paper published in Management Science and Marketing Science in 1990. One of these articles, co-authored with Jagmohan Raju and V. Srinivasan, on the impact of brand loyalty on price promotions has been awarded the Frank Bass award for the best dissertation paper.

  1. Marketing Management

    A collection of marketing cases from Harvard Business School, including Coca-Cola, Tweeter, DHL Worldwide Express, Charles Schwab, Heineken, UNICEF, Steinway & Sons, and Harrah's Entertainment.
  2. Retail Doesn't Cross Borders: Here's Why and What to Do about It

    Most companies assume that the easiest way to grow is by investing overseas and that the developing world offers the best opportunities for boosting revenues and profits today. However, success abroad varies widely, and research shows that it's often tough to increase profits by investing abroad. A new study of the grocery retail industry reveals that with a few exceptions globalization's benefits have not accrued to retailers. Local retailers dominate most countries, and international players are absent from the largest retail markets. A few retailers have succeeded in going global by developing strategies that apply four retail-specific rules for globalization....
  3. Interview with Rajiv Lal

    Rajiv Lal talks to Mint about the challenges Indian retailers face, issues of profitability and impact of FDI on kirana stores.

  4. HBS Case: SANY — Going Global

    April 17, 2012, was a special day for SANY Group and for its founder Liang Wen'gen. Headquartered in Changsha, SANY Group had transformed itself in two decades from a small welding material factory in 1989 to a leading global construction equipment manufacturer with 5 industrial parks in China; 5 R&D and manufacturing bases in America, Germany, India, Brazil, and Indonesia; and 21 sales companies worldwide. SANY Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. (SANY), SANY Group's major subsidiary, engaged in the construction equipment business and was number six on International Construction's 2012 Yellow Table, a ranking of the world's largest construction equipment manufacturers.