Personal Note: Big changes for the man behind the blog

After 15 consecutive years making my living as a principal for well established retail merchandising firms… I’m finally hanging out my own shingle.

Effective this week, I’m now an independent consultant available for hire. (more)

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Powell’s Books launches “MissYou” Retail Marketing Program

Ownership is one of the most powerful psychological concepts in consumer marketing.  Once a consumer “owns” a product, they become a zealous advocate and defender of their purchase decisions (listen to a MAC vs. Windows debate some time).  Retail Designers go to great lengths to trigger this “Endowment Effect” in shoppers even before they buy.

So I thought Powell’s Books offer to create a digital photo of visitors in front of the landmark book retailer, with their own name on the marquee, is a brilliant way to make visitors feel like the own the brand. (more)

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Just say no to insincere greetings.

Psychologists tell us that the best remembered and most influential parts of a shopping visit are the very first and last experiences. (it has to do with the theta oscillations and the coordination of spike timing of neurons, for you neuromarketing geeks).

That’s exactly why companies like Walmart employ “greeters” to welcome you to their store.  But too many retailers delegate the role of store greeter to an employee without retaining the spirit and the results are tragic. (more)

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IPad: Impressions after one week

How do you like it?

That’s certainly the most popular question, and a surprisingly difficult one to answer.

When someone asks how you like the new lawnmower you just bought, there is an implied context to the answer (the questioner has a lawn that needs mowing).

The challenge with the iPad is that it doesn’t have a single purpose, so you need to answer how you like it for a particular use-case.

So here are my early impressions…

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The dilemma of the digital in-store marketing industry

The Digital In-Store Marketing industry is confronted with a dizzying array of trade orgs, websites, and events to support.  What’s a well intentioned marketer to do?

An old boxing axiom starts with the advice “You gotta have a good nickname.”    But my own profession struggles to find a universally recognized label.  The lack of a universally understanding manifests itself in a variety of challenges.

My work is at the interesting intersection of a two industries, In-Store Marketing and Digital Marketing.  Both industries are the logical evolutions of earlier disciplines, and both suffer from a confusing variety of labels.  It  makes it all the more difficult to define what happens when the two industries converge. (more)

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Globalshop 2010 Day 1 Recap

Globalshop is the annual Trade Show for retailers and brand managers to find retail design, in-store marketing, and in-store technology solutions.  The show runs March 10 – 12 in Las Vegas.  It’s one of my favorite events of the year, because it’s a great opportunity to see what’s new in the in-store marketing industry, and share the latest ideas and best practices with my peers.  #globalshop if you’re following on twitter. (more)

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CES 2010 Recap: through the eyes of a shopper marketer

I’ve spent the past couple of months visiting clients and talking about key takeaways from CES this year, and I’ve promised to blog a quick recap.  So, belatedly, here it is.

CES is the largest trade show in the US, it’s hosted in Las Vegas every January and it focuses on the Consumer Electronics industry.  A number of blogs do a great job covering the products introduced at the show.  Engadget is a great place to start.  Here is a nicely organized photo library from the show.

My interests at CES are more about what retail designers and in-store marketers can learn from the show. (more)

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Retailers service actually gets worse in response to On-line competition!?!?

On a recent visit to my local Nordstrom, I found a style I liked but they didn’t have my size in stock.  “No problem,” I thought, “Can you have the proper size transferred from another store, so I can try them on and get them marked for alternations if I choose to buy them?”

Imagine my surprise when the Nordstrom salesperson told me “No.” (more)

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Please DO NOT have fun in our store!

I have a huge pet peeve with retailers that still ban photography in their stores.  Shopping needs to be a fun and engaging experience.  If I’m so attached to your brand that I want to take photo’s for my social network or blog, you should encourage me to do so. (more)

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2009 Retail Year in Review

2009 was a tumultuous year for US Retailers.  We entered the year in the throws of a recession that resulted in the bankruptcy of Circuit City.  The ongoing economic challenges kept the likes of Gordon Brothers Group busy as they helped numerous retails close stores and liquidate assets.

While it wasn’t fun, we’ve clearly been over retailed in the US for some time.  The economic climate created a unique opportunity for many retailers to slow their expansion plans, trim underperforming stores, and generally get more healthy without raising the ire of their public markets.

And there is some reason for optimism as well, many retailers continued to innovate. (more)

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