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…


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


Tough times for regional retailers

It’s been a tough quarter for regional retailers based here in the Pacific Northwest. They’ve all suffered from the same soft sales that the economy has imposed on national retailers, and we had a sever winter storm that knocked out a lot of the traditional holiday shopping days this season. Now we’re starting to see the fall out.

Many great independent retailers are closing their stores. In my neighborhood, a wonderful local store called Cheeky B had to call it quits and liquidate their inventory. In an all to common scenario, their out of state landlord wasn’t interested in working with them, and instead will try to find new tenants looking to risk opening a store in this economy.

Worse, the regional chains are taking a beating. (more)


Miller Zell study is Great, but is it True?

Miller Zell is one of the top firms in the retail marketing and design industry.  In the first half of the 90’s they were a terrific vendor of mine at Blockbuster.  Among the clever things they do is conduct their own research.  It both gives them a competitive advantage versus firms that either don’t base their work on research or are limited to publically available sources of research; more importantly the research some extra credibility for Miller Zell in the space.

Last week they published a new study, Gone in 2.3 seconds.   This study, surveyed 1000 consumers about the influences on their purchase decisions, and concluded amongst other things that in-store marketing is very effective, and that more than 60% of purchase decisions are still made in the store.  The study is certainly interesting, and I frankly agree with many of it’s conclusions.  You can read more about the study at Ad Week or at the Experiate blog. (more)


Clear Spot from Clear not so great

Here in Portland Oregon  we are lucky enough to be one of the first two markets in the country to get 4G wireless service (WiMax from ClearWire aka Clear).

It’s interesting, that they have opened a number of retail stores with a distinct consumer feel (and certainly with expensive high foot traffic rent), despite the fact that WiMax is probably more of a Business to Business solution at the moment.   WiMax claims download speeds of 6Mbps and upload speeds of up to 1Mbps, although like most wireless technologies your actual speed is highly dependant on coverage.  At my office out in the suburbs of Portland, I get good coverage and 5Mbps downloads, but in my 4th floor condo in the heart of the downtown Pearl district, I barely get coverage at all, and when I do it’s slower than my AT&T 3G broadband card.  Clear promises that they are adding more access points in my neighborhood, and that the dense, tall buildings are a challenge for the relatively directional WiMax signals.  They have a variety of rate plans ranging from pay as you go, to $50/mo for unlimited mobile usage, which is the plan I have. (more)