Future of Retail (as seen in 1992)

In 1992, I was part of a team at Blockbuster Entertainment that imagined what the future of entertainment retail might look like.  We believed that consumers wanted "Songs" rather than albums, and that long before video on demand was a reality in 300 million homes, it would be practical in 4,000 retail stores.  We were naive enough to build the proof of concept. This was 9 years before iTunes was launched and the content owners weren’t ready to give up their inefficient distribution model. This is the promotional video we developed for the concept… at least I got to meet Dennis Miller.

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Mobile is the Future of In-Store Marketing

Mobile is the Future of In-Store Marketing

Imagine a shopper walking into a retail store, and holding their phone in front of the aisle.  The phone’s camera instantly photographs all the products on the shelf, performs image recognition on the boxes, looks up competitive prices online, and color codes the image with the products that are a good deal.

Do you think that sounds like science fiction?  It’s not.

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We Can Eliminate Vampire Power at Retail

Vampire Power is the electricity that consumer electronics waste when they are plugged in and not turned on.  In the case of handheld consumer electronics (such as phones and digital cameras), the wall chargers waste power, even when the actual device isn’t connected to them.

Recently AT&T began selling the Zero Charger that shuts itself off when a device is not connected.  This made me wonder how significant vampire power is, so I did some quick math…

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Walmart Update: Re-thinking Project Impact?

Moments after I blogged about Walmart’s Project Impact and it’s effect on digital merchandising… it appears that Walmart may be re-thinking Project Imapact.

Bloomberg reports, that in the face of declining financial performance, Walmart’s new COO, Bill Simon, is bringing back promotional displays at the front of store and returning more items that were removed.  Overall inventory is coming back up and pallets are returning to action ally. (more)

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Walmart Digital Merchandising Statistics (don’t trust an ad man)

Retail Customer Experience.com has a new article by Graeme Spicer entitled “Digital Displays in Retail Environments Coming of Age”.  The article talks about Walmarts recently refreshed in-store video network (aka Smart Network) and shares some data on the success of advertisements on the network.

I’ve seen similar Walmart data before, but always in private meetings, so now that the data is public I can comment… Here is why you shouldn’t believe it. (more)

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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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