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)

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)

What’s Wrong with Apple Stores?

In a recent post about Microsoft’s new retail initiative, I suggested that that there are aspects of Apples customer experience that could be improved.  Several readers responded, asked for more specifics thoughts.

Let me start by saying that Apple has the best dollars per square foot metrics in all of retail.  They don’t need to apologize about their stores to anyone.  Further, there are many elements of their experience that I love,  including their signature architecture, genius bar, useful fact tags, category signage with decision tree suggestions, window displays and wireless CRM.

That being said, here are some areas that could be improved. (more)

Microsoft returns to retail. Blogosphere already assumes it will fail.

Last week Microsoft announced plans to open its own retail stores to "transform the PC and Microsoft buying experience," the company said Wednesday as it hired David Porter as corporate vice president of Retail Stores.

Although Microsoft hasn’t publicized the scope or mission of this new retail initiative.  Many reporters and bloggers responded by immediately assuming the stores will directly complete with Apple and that Microsoft’s efforts will fall short of the Apple experience. (more)

Context Sensitive Advertising

In a world in which most of us are exposed to over 3000 advertisements today, and are enticed to read/listen/watch almost 300 of them, you have to take your shoes hat off to advertisers that can rise above the noise. (more)

I was recently traveling through the security checkpoint at the San Diego airport, and found this tray provided to pass my luggage through the X-Ray machine.

MS Surface goes live in AT&T Wireless Stores (a first hand account)

The PR folks at Microsoft have to be feeling pretty good. On March 26th Fortune Magazine and others reported that Microsoft’s often hyped multi-touch user interface product, Surface, would not be ready for consumers until 2011. Less than a week later, AT&T Wireless stores and Microsoft announced that Surface would be going live in select AT&T Wireless stores on April 17th (via Engadget, CNET, and BoyGenius). (more)

Microsoft Surface in 2011

In my 2008 CES recap post, I mentioned that while Microsoft had some great demos, and did a terrific job of brainstorming customer experiences for a multi-touch interface, I didn’t expect them to be able to get the Surface hardware to market.

According to Fortune Magazine, Microsoft now doesn’t expect to make Surface available until 2011.  I’m guessing we’ll see multi-touch implementations from others long before that.

Retail’s Big Show (National Retail Federation)

January 13-16, 2008, New York City. The Big Show is the trade show put on by the National Retail Federation (NRF). It’s a great trade organization that does a lot of useful work for different functional areas in the retail industry (IT, Marketing, Supply Chain, etc…).

Because NRF’s show is so close to CES, I rarely get the chance to attend NRF, but I did make the trek to New York for this years. Frankly, I was disappointed to see that the overwhelming majority of exhibitors were focused on IT. I like a good POS system as much as the next guy, but I expected to see more variety of exhibitors than I found. (more)