Uncategorized

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.

 

Uncategorized

Embedded

jeans-pants-blue-shop-52518When was the last time you were on the front lines?  In the trenches.  Receiving and processing shipments, setting up merchandise at midnight to meet visual standards, following along behind the customer who demolishes piles and reconstructing them…it can be pretty thankless at times.  Add to that the questions and challenges from customers who are confused by the mixed marketing messages on their phones and in the store.  What about the multiples of sizes returned by customers buying three sizes online to determine which fits best and returning to the store to get return credit more quickly?  Why do it?

For three months in the holiday season, I went back to my roots on the selling floor to experience the life of a sales associate in this multi channel world.  Corporate communication is handled through on floor devices with multiple apps.  Price look up is a win.  Gone are the regular cleaning services and stock associates.  In their place are cleaning supplies, scanning devices, multiple trips to the dumpster and recycling bins, and lots of ladders.

There is a special kind of person who is genuinely invested in helping the customer find the best answer, feel valued with a complete experience and leave satisfied.   Successful companies invest in recruiting, supporting and developing those people.  What have you done for these people lately?  As an employer or a consumer?

 

 

 

 

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.

customer-experience, marketing

Underwater Stick Waving

Lake Winnipesaukee cloaked in her early morning mists in Meredith, NH.

Who knows what is going on beneath the surface of a murky body of water? If we can’t see it, is it really happening? With so many moving parts in the business of retail’s multiple selling and marketing channels, how does one get the customer’s confidence? More is not more. It’s simply overwhelming. Multiple daily emails with different deals in different channels and mixed messages in social media can be mind numbing. Yes, we need to be available to the customer wherever the customer wants to be reached, but we need to do it with consistency, offering non conflicting deals and stories in all channels at the same time. Otherwise, that effort is frustrating or invisible to the customer and might as well be underwater stick waving.

customer-experience

The “Check Out”

antique banking blur business
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If we’re honest with ourselves, we know that we go to great expense to energize customers to interact with us every day. Rarely does one decide to browse through websites or visit a physical location without a desired outcome in mind. As the NRF points out in its path to purchase, the decision to purchase is vast and varied. https://nrf.com/resources/consumer-research-and-data/consumer-behavior/consumer-path-purchase. Direct mail, digital marketing, and content in any channel will pique interest in many products which may otherwise have limited views/attention.  Illustrating the why behind the what drives the impulse to purchase. Those inspired consumers will take immediate action, looking to place their order to acquire their desired “stuff”. Believing that once the impulsive customer arrives, they will be satisfied with an inefficient and unattractive process is naive. The time, energy and funds  spent to direct the customer may end up in the virtual or physical equivalent of a junk yard.   The customer simply leaves. It’s equivalent to a hunt for a sales associate, or being on hold with a phone call. Unless the order form is seamless customer experience, you have no sale. Simplify the process. Eliminate steps. Seal the deal with your customer by making it easy to say yes.