customer experience, discounting, merchandising, omnichannel, story telling

Damn, This Traffic Jam

Is it ever easy to identify the source of customers?  More sales channels + more marketing channels=less clarity. Where should we invest? How should we invest? What is the route to a unique location with a clear benefit for the customer. The journey will be multifaceted, but each aspect needs to clearly direct the traveler. All methods of transportation (print, digital and physical) need to send the same signals to reaffirm the story of the brand.  The clear message is the customer wants to be reached how they want to be reached…which can be different every day.  Something in the mail, a tease in social media, inspiration from a visual presentation online or in person…all of these play into decision making.

street lights
Photo by Jose Francisco Fernandez Saura on Pexels.com

Digital sign posts are the newest tools in driving traffic.  Much is to be learned there. Flashing an image of an item viewed on a site in future content feeds for weeks is not effective.  If a product was researched more than a week ago, the selection has been made, the transaction has been completed, and the customer has moved on.  Boring customers with redundancy does not maximize the fluidity of digital, print or physical marketing and merchandising.  The challenge is the combination of logic and magic.  Always has been…catching the eye of the very busy consumer in the best way for them.  Collisions of billboards(pop up ads in content), horns (social media ads) and vehicles (emails)  based on redundant images and price wars are not getting it done.  Refresh and delight.

Thank you, James Taylor!  https://www.streetdirectory.com/lyricadvisor/song/ppwlpw/traffic_jam/

 

 

 

 

 

brand loyalty, customer experience, demand, exclusive product

It’s About the Merchandise, Stupid.

Like the proverbial exploding cuckoo clock sending springs and gears across the room, my original AppleWatch came off my wrist undone/sprung last week.   Horrors.  A major dependency in pieces!  Of course I was out of town.  Nothing to do but to hope it charged and strap it on as best as possible in the morning.  Of course I researched the problem.  Yes, it was a known issue.  No problem then.  A simple trip to my local Apple Store would provide the solution.  Meanwhile, I could still see the time, but no alerts or activity tracking.  It did provide a pathetic haptic tapping while using apple maps, but no visual sooo not so successful.

Made it home with a plan to head to a store mid week to avoid a long wait at the genius bar.  That part worked as expected. I was told I would be notified when someone would be available for me.  Hmmm.  That meant I actually had to keep an eye on my phone for a text because my kerflewy watch couldn’t do that anymore.  Reinforcement that it had to be fixed!   But then the genius sat me down and told me that my watch was old and past the point of free repair for the known issue.  If I wanted to send it out for repair at $249, it might work better but there was no guarantee of success.  The recommendation was that I purchase the newest version.  Now, I am a merchant by choice and by profession, so I knew there had to be a negotiation point in there somewhere…some kind of discount as I would not be in the market for a new watch if the old one hadn’t physically failed.  Summon the manager.  Who calmly sat down and reinforced the message of the genius.  The technology on the watch was dated and they were no longer supporting it.  My choice was repair or new, no trade in value of any sort.  😦  Guess who walked out with a new watch in hand.

That is the power of the merchandise.  The brand.  Being hopelessly addicted to Apple’s value proposition since the early 80s, I was unwilling to take a chance on a less costly brand’s replacement.  I knew no amount of waiting would change the price…I would only suffer from the disconnection.  The secret.  Provide the best product for your customer base.  Invest in constant improvements. Don’t yank prices around. And be consistent.  You will always win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

customer experience, data, logic, magic, story telling, treasure hunt

Data Dump

boxes-britain-city-461830

There is some sense to this pile of whimsical stuff, but other than the fact that it screams “Circus” it would take a determined treasure hunter to walk away with anything desirable here.  If the story is wooden and battered metal signs and containers, that is obvious.  If there is a clearer intention, meant to drive business with the display, it is lost in the confusion.

The same can be said for data.  A dump of data, with several varieties of calculations, all derived without a clear point of view or principle, is meaningless.   It distracts the viewer, and arrives at no clear conclusion.  Data dependency, without understanding the why behind its existence, is worthless.  Mathematicians prove a theory: a collection of propositions to illustrate the principles of a subject.  Merchants/marketers/ data scientists should be doing the same for the business of selling stuff.  What are the assumptions, and how can they be proven, or not?  That is the way forward in this changing environment.

 

customer experience, demand, discounting, marketing, profit margin

The Price is Right or Is It?

notebook with dollar sign outline
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

With easy access to comparable prices frequently in one’s pocket, the sport of paying as little as possible for products has become all consuming.  Add to that the constant inundation of email with coupon discounts, direct mail with coupon discounts, sites dedicated to accumulating discount coupons (and tracking behavior) and there is a free for all on the selling floor, a real FOMO on the rock bottom price. The marketing tool box is centered around wrenching prices vs. building and reinforcing a brand.

While this was in full swing during the holiday season, retail businesses were reaching the finish line in that race to the bottom.  Stores simply packed up and disappeared between Christmas and New Years leaving gaping holes in malls throughout the US.  The disappearing continues.

You get what you pay for.  And you pay for what you value.  If your customer doesn’t want to pay enough for a product to keep a business viable, natural selection goes to work and the business is “Darwined” out of existence.   Produce something unique.  Tell a compelling story.  Do your homework and find your audience.  And make sure the price is right to produce a sustainable profit or don’t get into business.

https://gfycat.com/gifs/detail/assuredspottedcats

customer experience, data, logic

Spaghetti on the Wall

pasta with vegetable dish on gray plate beside tomato fruit on white table
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

How do you test to see if your pasta is done? Are you an advocate for throwing it against the wall until it sticks or do you prefer a more systematic approach to create a tasty dish?  Why don’t we start with a practice that we learned in grade school:

sci·en·tif·ic meth·od
noun
  1. a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.
conversion, customer experience, data, ecommerce, four-wall, merchandising, omnichannel

What’s Up with Pop Ups?

1. What is a pop-up shop?

  • According to BigCommerce, a pop up shop is a temporary storefront space operated by an online merchant.
  • The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as : a store that opens suddenly and usually exist for a short amount of time: A temporary pop-up store often appears when retailers take advantage of empty retail space.
  • Shopify.com describes a “pop-up shop” as is a short-term, temporary retail event that is ‘here today, gone tomorrow”. Pop-up retail is the temporary use of physical space to create a long term, lasting impression with potential customers.

2. How does one impress potential customers with a pop-up shop?

A customer needs to make some connection with the location. To connect, there must be an experience. As a physical space with human guides, how does an online business make that three dimensional visit memorable when EQ comes into play?

We know that online businesses greatly value data, as do four wall businesses. Both measure conversion, average transaction value, units per transactions, bestselling merchandise, slow selling merchandise, etc, etc. Both have financial plans and staffing models as well as visual presentations. The skills required in getting the customer over the proverbial threshold, engaged with the product, and serviced to best fulfill their needs require eye contact and conversation in a physical space. As we develop in this omnichannel environment, the expertise of the physical environments needs to be valued to the same degree that the digital expertise is respected. Unless the goal of the pop-up shop is to serve as a glorified billboard with minimal exchange and engagement, it would behoove the online businesses to welcome some four wall experts into their midst when concepting and executing. Best practices in both channels will only enhance the total business with greatly improved customer experience.