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.

merchandising

Can an Algorithm Do This?

Creativity is key. Gotta have instinct!

Data+Instinct

Merriam Webster defines algorithm as:  a procedure for solving a mathematical problem (as of finding the greatest common divisor) in a finite number of steps that frequently involves repetition of an operation; broadly:  a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end especially by a computer.  ~a search algorithm.

Without the concept, who needs an algorithm.

“A procedure for solving a mathematical problem”.  That’s the challenge.  What are the elements of the mathematical problem?  That’s where instinct comes into play.   What price, what cost, is there seasonality, is there a life cycle?  On and on and on…  Where is the algorithm that determines that a consumer is looking for a chambray 3/4 sleeve tunic if there have been no like items in the assortment?  Merchandising instinct and marketing muscle.  Once the item is identified and exposed, the algorithm can go to town!  It’s a part of…

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marketing, merchandising

Blurred Lines

spider web in closeup photo
Photo by Phil Kallahar on Pexels.com

Marketing or merchandising?  Who gets to choose the focus? This tension has existed for as long as I can remember.  Marketers are the story tellers, determining and inspiring the targeted audience to make the purchase. Merchants comb the market place on a constant quest for the “right stuff” and always take into account the why and the who behind the choices. If you don’t know why you’re offering a product, you should not be acquiring it. Sometimes that stuff is exclusively developed with product managers and/or manufacturers to drive demand.  In others, the merchandise is inspired by instinct based on glimpses of trends from all types of media. Or simply part of someone’s product line. (My kids thought people read magazines by ripping the pages after experiencing my habits.) Product assortments are based on logic and magic…interpretations of what is on the horizon, has been successful in other forms, or is total shot in the dark based on gut and analysis.

If merchants don’t know why they are purchasing/developing product, don’t have a clear vision of the price and profit guidelines and have no vision of product positioning, they aren’t doing their job.  Same goes with marketers. If they aren’t asking the why behind the what in order to tell their story, they are not contributing to business growth in a collaborative partnership. It’s a team effort.  Both talents are necessary to grow a profitable customer base.  Embrace the blurring and create something great!

Now that you have an earworm, here’s some relief: http://bit.ly/2oQpiDO

 

demand, merchandising

Content + Commerce

In a prior life, my role was to guide the selection and presentation of very specific product to a passionate enthusiast base.  Their positive response would drive profit and revenue to the business. Content was aspirational photography and detailed instructions and supplies in the same category of product but vastly varied aesthetics, size and difficulty levels. The challenge was telling a compelling story to entice and convince the viewer that they needed multiple versions of the product category because they would be missing out on something great if they didn’t pounce on it. Whether the offerings be colorways, patterns, specific prints, techniques, or an exclusive deep black fabric, they needed to light a creative fire.

Another adventure was in the world of childbirth and early childhood education, combining that with the best “stuff” in the business.  Working with IBCLCs, nurse midwives, early childhood education experts, child safety experts, and many others, we not only conducted classes online and in our center communities, but we culled through all of the unnecessary and unsafe product offered in a vacuum to uninformed parents and their friends and families.  Content was king, but commerce sealed the deal.  You could see the shoulders relax in a father who had been sent on an emergency errand to pick up a breast pump part when he walked into one of our locations.  Or the groups of brand new mothers heading out of a classroom with their babies and new friends in the exact same boat.

What is your content for your commerce?  Do your merchants, marketers and planners know how to set that stage for the theater that is retail?  Think about your business and ask yourself where that happens.  How does each channel function?  Do the product pages on your site provide inspiration, as well as all of the details that a customer needs to pull the trigger?  Do your emails or direct mailings drive traffic to all of your channels?  How are they richer in content than your competition?  Is there a sense of urgency created ?  Limited quantities, unique product properties?  Something beyond price?  I hope so.  Without the perceived value of information and inspiration, who cares.