Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Has Design reached its sell by date?

This is the question discussed in David Reports new 20-page paper just released. "The diagnosis is not making Design better, but making
Design matter!" It is available for download here.o

NYC Shopping Windows

A gallery of this springs visual merchandising trends, fresh from the street, from DDI Magazine, is available here.o

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Take a shower at the Adidas Runbase Store

In the new Tokyo Store, visitors can design their own shoes and rent running gear. The store even offers locker room and showers, making it a truly trustworthy runner destination.

Here is a report from Freshness Magazine.o

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Does small scale retail still stand a chance?

Have Independent Retailers seen their best days or will post recession, the increasing sameness of malls and the search for an individual solution spark a new dawning?

Jack Stanyon has written The Rebirth of Small Independent Retail in America, with support from NRF Federation and Independent Retail Merchants Association available for downlowad here.o

Retailer uses smartphones to track customer movements

Best Buy senior director of Best Buy U.S. marketing, Tracy Benson, says that the company has started a trial in a few stores, to use geolocation technology in order to track customer movements in stores. This was revealed at Wharton’s 2010 Interactive Retailing conference at March 23 in New York City.

The technology uses ultrasonic waves “as a fingerprint to say exactly where you are within the store,” according to a Best Buy marketing exec.

This is of course a very intresting tool in order to define potentials of store productivity.o

Eco friendly drives entrepreneurial development

Three new entrepreneurs are making money on the eco-issue:

The Laundry Company of Buenos Aires uses oedal ower to deliver laundry back to it´s owners. Reuseable fabric bags instead of the normal plastic ones associated woth dry cleaners and low temperature washing machines make the concept trustworthy.

Reknit is a italian setup where the owner lets his mother reknit a sweater or anything else into a new product. Apparently the service is popular and the person behind reknit says "because i only have one mom, we've decided to limit orders to the first 30 each month"

Natures Papers uses left over wheat straw to make copying papers. Made on green energy powered productions plants it really is an environmentally friendly product.o

Monday, March 22, 2010

Be Extraordinary

Tom Peters on strategy:


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Even more trends of 2010

The trends covered in this report from Richard Watson are the following:

1. The global financial system will not collapse any time soon
2. Shifts in consumer behaviour will turn out to be temporary and superficial
3. The global economy is about to return to its default growth setting
4. A fault line will open up between developed and developing economies
5. Economies will run on a two-speed setting dependent on geography and sector
6. We have not addressed any of the fundamental causes of the GFC
7. There will eventually be another global crash and this time it will be a humdinger
8. There will be a growing sense of anger in developed countries
9. Food inflation will return and it will cause trouble in some countries
10. The middle classes in the US and Europe are about to get squeezed

Intriguing huh!? The complete report can be downloaded here.

Another great resource from the same author is the Trends and Technology Timeline.o

Most wanted of the web

BBC published a great infographics, fed by Superpower information, showing which sites that get the most traffic on the net.o

Suppliers should build their brand portfolio from the retailers point of wiew

What will the role of the particular brand/product be in the assortment? What effect will be the consequence when adding it to the offer from a total branding perspective? Ingvar Kamprad demanded that the hot dogs in the snack bar at the end of an IKEA store should be priced at levels of 50% lower than expected in order to project a breathtaking offer, contributing to the low price image of the company. The economy staff screamed at the unresponsible action, meaning that this would take away any possibility of making the snack bar operation profitable. Needless to say, Kamprad won the discussion and the profits went sky high as volumes went the same way. This led to the definition of a "hot dog product" at IKEA. A product that the customer has a clear idea of what it should cost, and then priced at 50% of the expected price. Today, there should be a hot dog in each category to enforce the price position of IKEA. This is a great example of hoe product/price mix is translated into a branding tool.

Beeing a brand owner, it sometimes is hard to keep ones head cold when it comes to kill low performing brands, as well as seeing the potential of limited distribution for the real premium ones. An effective way is to categorize the brands and SKU according to brand strength, sales potential and the role in marketing, from a perspective where the brand fits in the retailers assortment. Borrowing the idea of Kamprads sausage, one could easily create other tactical tools by defining the role of the product brand, and then take appropriate actions.

- Category Icon

Description: This brand is a staple of the local/international market. Its history and reputation makes it a definition of the category itself. The category icon is a top level both in terms of brand strength and high volume and could sustain rough handling of its brand, since it defines the market.

Role: The category icons are the main weapon for any company with aspirations in being market lead-ing.

Actions: Defend/develop at all costs. Should be treated with care, but could due to its cult status be used with some force, also in terms of price aggres-siveness. This is possible as the market uses the brands as a definition of the category itself and would not disregard it at any time.

- Category Driver

Description: The category driver is a healthy and innovative newcomer, which brings vitality and new interest into the category, usually from a premium or top premium position. It attracts attention to the category from new target audiences and makes them stronger with the fans of today.

Without the category drivers a category could degenerate as a whole.

Role: The category icon is a tool that identifies the companies that is developing icons of tomorrow and drives the market in a forward direction.

Actions: Use with selected channels to build a premium image.

-Portfolio backbone

Description: B and C type of brands which brings width & depth to a portfolio.

Role: Creates volume as a whole and also show that their owner aspires to be a complete suppliers and a market leader.

Actions: Activate whenever possible in retailer campaigns. For certain brands it could be considered that it should be converted into a PL.

-After burners

Description: B or C brands that suffers from decreasing profit/volumes and are considered having a hard time to recover, despite moderate/high knowledge in the market.

Role: To add to total volumes as long as listed in the portfolio by harvesting any brand value in the public.

Example: Various sub brands in all categories.

Actions: Activate in discount segments if possible, without any considerations taken to future branding issues or traditions. The only consideration whatsoever is volume today.o

Friday, March 19, 2010

Luxury after the recession

Luxury has always been associated with high prices. But who is to define what luxury really is? Several signs suggests that the post-recession definition of luxury isn´t necessary the premium goods but a much more individualized perspective on the subject.

Scott McClasson of Woodsport business is one of entrepreneurs trying to define it otherways, according to Startribune.

This perspective has been discussed on Trend Watching that labels this phenomenon (F)luxury: "Anything commissioned? Providing 'access'? Secrets? Stories? Time with one's loved ones? Time for oneself? All things local? Peace and quiet, if not escape? Eco-friendly? Human-friendly? Animal-friendly? Caring? Empathy? Perks? Craft? Friends? Having a larger-than-life perspective? Households of six or more? An audience? Eccentricity? Appointment-only? Relevant information? Extreme personalization? Not having or wanting to consume? Being opinionated? Anything premium? Fuck-you money? Curation if not the absence of any kind of choice? Philanthropy? Bespoke goods and services? Knowledge? Skills? Frugality? Health? Etiquette & manners? Or a mix of any of these?"

Are your own definition the same as before the crisis of 2008-2010?o

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Execution is everyhting...

...and keeping it simple is crucial in order to get it done fast. Here is another great conversation with Dan Heath.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This new report on the 2010 Most Valuable U.S. Retail Brands was just relieved from Interbrand Design Forum.

The effect of the recession in the U.S. is shown in the divergence of value growth in the top half compared to the bottom half: "This year, the most striking shift in the 50 Most Valuable Retail Brands is the overall increase in the value of the top 25, and the descent of the bottom 25. Proof that you can't just manage a brand. You have to defend it."

Cutting prices as the only tool to win over customers clearly wasn´t a solution. Companies investing in brand equity has clearly benefited from this according to the report, available here.o

Did the Lynx guy have a better spray or what...?

Specsaver recently made a spoof of the Lynx body spray ad - showing that a sympathetic retailer can be re-use ads by another company and still get away with it...

The copy:

The original:

Monday, March 15, 2010

The environmental issue in communication

Some inspiration from the field:

1. Buy a bottle of wine and Cellar Thief donates 100 days worth of free water to the needing.

2. Frito-lay, the U.S. snack gigant has an impressive program to project it´s enviromental concern. Read about it in this article from Fast Company here.

3. Everything is recycable-in Norway


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Creating buyer engagement


Friday, March 12, 2010

The crystal ball is not always clear...

What People Thought the Future Would Look Like...100 Years Agoo

Shopping at the other side of recession

The U.S. market has been the engine of retail development for long, but will it continue to be. Several think tanks are releasing studies predicting remarkable changes in the way the americans will shop the years to come.

WSL Strategic Retail just released the preview of the 2010 How America Shops MegaTrends study.

"This recession wasn’t the beginning of a behavioral shift it was the end. After eight years of living through calamitous change that transformed the way Americans live and shop, the recession was the final curtain call," Candace Corlett President of WSL Strategic Retail continued.

As a result, according to WSL Strategic Retail, there are several guideposts that mark the future of shoppers' attitudes:

The End Is not Near: While some economists claim the recession is over, shoppers don’t believe it.The majority of those we surveyed believe their own personal recession will not end for at least one to two years.Discounting, lower-priced options, private label, smaller sizes, better value sizes, coupons, price-checking—anything that helps shoppers manage their weekly spending more effectively—will remain on their list.

Fear Is the Emotional Driver: Fear of the future is now a very powerful influence on how Americans live and shop. The optimism that defined Americans for decades is no longer embedded in the shoppers’ psyche.

Less Is More and It's OK: Having had to make do with less, shoppers realize they don’t need many of the things they used to buy, and many of the cheaper brands they’ve tried are just as good as the pricier ones they once bought.Shoppers went from regretting what they couldn’t afford to accepting what they could, and feeling smart about it.

The Joy of Shopping Is Still Real (for some): A good number of shoppers (4 in 10) still enjoy shopping – or at least the thought of it in principle.The connection, the emotion, the experience of shopping is still valued by many who have been forced in recent years to cut back spending, avoid places they may be tempted to overspend, and not browse at all.

The value factor is strong in the U.S. right now. The expected growth in private label at Wal-Mart is one example of this. In 2009 Wal-Mart made a realaunch of the Great Value brand and within three years PL percentage of sales could be up to 40 % as opposed to 16 % in 2009.

Another report on the same subject as the WSL Strategic Retail report, published by PWC is available by clicking here.o

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mission statement that sucks

Why does mission statements often sucks? Dan Heath has the answer in this clip made by Fast Company.


Best Buy to compete with eBay

American Home Electronics gigant, Best Buy is going for the consumer-to-consumer market, by offering customers to trade their used DVDs and other home electronics. Best But made an acquisition of DealTree in 2008 in which Cow Boom was a part, and it is this company that Best Buy is going to use, in order to provide the service.

Larissa Hall, general manager of Best Buy says:“The product now doesn’t disappear from your mind after it’s sold. It actually just begins a different lifecycle. Why let eBay have all the fun? You don’t throw away a car when you’re done with it. Even a broken DVD player is worth something.”

With more than 4,000 Best Buy stores globally (about 1,200 in the U.S.) the likelyhood of having a Best Buy close i relatively high for a U.S resident. Walking into a store and having your good inspected and evaluated, and beeing given an on-the-spot offer, could be an appealing way to get your old junk sold, compared to packing, shipping and handling payment issues in a normal C2C-seller/buyer relationship.

CRM could then be used to track potential buyers.

Best Buy is thereby going for yet another market. Magnolia is the home entertainment specialist, Geek Squad the troubleshooter with their Geekmobiles, alltogether making Best Buy a truly innovative player in the retail arena.o

Monday, March 8, 2010

Starring: Apple

The Awl reports that of "44 films in 2009 that topped the box office for at least one weekend, an Apple logo or device could be seen in at least 18 of them. (That's almost 41%.)" And note, this was un-paid space, ie no paid product placement.

The list includes:

Drag Me to Hell, Orphan, I Love You, Man, Duplicity, Crank 2: High Voltage, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Imagine That, Sorority Row, Answer Man, Post Grad, I Love You Beth Cooper, All About Steve, Hurt Locker, New York, I Love You, It’s Complicated, Road Trip: Beer Pong, Law Abiding Citizen, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Funny People and Couples Retreat.

Apple's Greatest Cinematic Achievements from The Awl on Vimeo.

The Awl continues: "Apple’s product placement pace will remain strong in 2010, with Apple placements already confirmed in the films Book of Eli, When in Rome, Kick Ass, Chloe, The Killers, Wall Street 2, City Island, She’s Out of My League, The Joneses, The Spy Next Door, Percy Jackson: Lightning Thief, Valentine’s Day, The Bounty Hunter and Toy Story 3.o

Everything you always wanted to know about range presentation, but were to a afraid to ask.

Range presentation is a crucial tool of visual communication and often a missing piece in the communication strategy. The visual experience and interaction with the product is the brand come true in a very practical way.

Range presentation can be used to solve the following tasks:

1. Create interest, engage and inspire the visitors
2. Induce impulse sales
3. Support mechanical or personal sales
4. Project the relevant brand values
5. Lay the foundation for future sales
6. Bring knowledge and advice
7. Create the impression of an innovative store
8. Help customers in choosing the right product

Needless to say, this does not happen by accident, but through careful analysis, positioning decisions and hard work.

Visual communication means getting involved in very basic functions of the brain, often below the concious level, for exampel by using lightning to steer the attention to lightened areas, thereby bypassing any logical filter. The interpretation of the store´s brand promise goes beyond reason when using visual communication at it´s best.

Example of messages to project through range presentation is listed below:

"There are a lot of options here" - an open store layout gives an overview of the range an the offerings and makes it possible to digest a major part of the range in a single eyeglance. The more the customer is able to watch at once the wider will the range seem. The experienced width of the range is easily increased by 25% by means of correct merchandising, thereby easing purchasing and inventory management, keeping down costs.

"There are a lot of offers here" - large merchandise density implies a low price image.

"There is a range that fits together here, I get a coordinated offer" - Well selected and coordinated products, shown together in a way that invite the customer to pick a whole bunch of products that fits.

"They really seem to have the latest in my favourite category" - New products on display early and frequently all around in the store.

"This store really communicates expertise" - the customers should be shown a well structured assortment with an idea for whom/what the different items are targeted to. Structure in merchandising also helps building an expert image.

"This store is for the whole family" - everything is children safe and if needed, parents can change diapers or have a snack without having to end the shopping tour.

"This store sells products with high quality" - selected products are shown as jewelry on display and with information about the quality features. The lesser the merchandise density, the more quality appeal.

"This store helps me to find what I need" - Top 10-lists and displays of top sellers/most wanted products making buying decisions easy. Logical navigation is a must.

Branding, out of store communication, concept development must be done in coordination with range presentation in order to bring the brand alive.o

Friday, March 5, 2010

The other side of social media

Facebook updates or twitter could be a gold mine for burglars, and web sites such as pleaserobme.com and www.robmenow.com focus on the fact that social media updates could be a to-do list for burglars and the same goes for geotagging.

As one victim, Israel Hyman, told USA Today:

"Most people wouldn't leave a recording on a home answering machine telling callers they're on vacation for a week, and most people wouldn't let mail or newspapers pile up while they were away. But users of social media think nothing of posting real-time vacation photos on Facebook showing themselves on beaches hundreds of miles from home, or sending out automatic e-mail messages that say, 'I'm out of the country for a week."o

Thinking green

Designboom is covering Josselin Zaïgouche and his invention Swith me! light switch, designed to inflict pain to anyone trying to turn on the light. Maybe this could help you to think twice?o

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Local commercials...

In a world of global retail supersharks roaming the earth it could be comforting to learn that there are small companies that still manage to create there own identities will small means. Beeing a Butt doesn´t have to be a bad thing as shown i the commercial below for Butt Drugs pharmacy of Corydon, Indiana.

Also watch the behind the scenes video showing why and how the clip was made by Rhett & Link.


This too shall pass

This viral video managed to go from 0 to 1,7 million views, thereby defining the term viral video. One can imagine that the sponsorship somehow will be profitable in the long run for State Farm...o

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Virtual goods for billions

According to BusinessWeek digital belongings on games and social networks is a fast growing market, also for people outside the common "shoot-out game teenager" category. Virtual worlds like Farmville, Pet Society, Resturant City and their counterparts are selling digital goods like aquarium fish or plum trees for 25c or a dollar, now expect to double in 2010, to $1.6 billion only in the U.S. Analyst Atul Bagga of the research firm ThinkEquity says women 35 and older, are the "sweet spot.

Startups like Zynga, owner of Farmville, are focused on harvesting this growing market and has 240 million users per month "while social network games created by CrowdStar and Electronic Arts' Playfish each have more than 50 million."

Only 1-4 % of the users of the games are shopping for virtual goods and this calls for solutions on how to handle micro payments and payment methods for youngsters not having a credit card. Kwedit is one of them selling software that enables players to get currency to go shopping virtual good, if they promise to pay later. They print out a check and goes to pay for it in a nearby 7-Eleven. If there is no pay, the credit is withdrawn.

Online retailers have also begun to use digital coins for use in online worlds as a promotion item.o

Which brand do you love?

Consumers from the world share their crushes.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Indoor spending

Those unplanned grocery purchases may not be so unplanned after all. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, shoppers often expect to buy a certain number of unplanned items, and most have a pretty good idea of how much they’ll spend on them.

Authors Karen M. Stilley, Jeffrey Inman (both University of Pittsburgh), and Kirk L. Wakefield (Baylor University) say that consumers have spending expectations for grocery shopping trips, called mental budgets, and those budgets typically leave room for unplanned purchases. The authors call this “in-store slack.” The researchers conducted a field study at several grocery stores in Texas. They asked shoppers what items they planned to purchase, how much they expected to spend on the planned items, and how much they expected to spend on the total trip. After shopping, participants provided their receipts and answered questions about themselves and the experience. More than three-fourths of the participants included room for unplanned purchases.

“Shoppers in the study indicated that they employ this strategy both because they anticipate ‘forgotten needs’ as well as because they realize that they will encounter ‘unplanned wants’—with some respondents even explicitly indicating that they expected to make impulse purchases,” the authors write. Consistent with prior studies, the shoppers were remarkably accurate when predicting how much they would spend. The average budget deviation (actual spending minus planned spending) was only $0.47.

How does in-store slack affect household budgets? The impact of in-store slack on budget deviation depended on how many aisles the shopper visited and the shoppers’ level of impulsiveness. “Less-impulsive individuals who shop most aisles tend to spend the money available from in-store slack, but don’t exceed their overall budgets. In contrast, in-store slack leads to overspending for highly impulsive individuals who shop most aisles,” the authors explain. “For the majority of consumers, having in-store slack appears to be a rational way to use the store to cue needs and preserve self-control,” the authors write. “Highly impulsive individuals may want to consider planning as many purchases in advance as possible.”

Karen M. Stilley, J. Jeffrey Inman, and Kirk Wakefield. “Planning to Make Unplanned Purchases? The Role of In-store Slack in Budget Deviation.” Journal of Consumer Research: August 2010.o