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/

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

conversion, demand, marketing, merchandising, story telling

Creating Demand

Bicycles

As an economics major, the very first lessons involve supply and demand.  When demand increases, supply should rise to meet the demand without flooding the market with excess.  If that happens, the product becomes ordinary and the price lever is utilized in an effort to reduce the supply before demand evaporates altogether.

Designers begin demand creation by developing inspiring products, often working with merchandising and marketing teams for input.  Flattering silhouettes.  Appealing colors.  Uniquely useful items.  Faster, smarter, better.  Items that make a statement about the person consuming them.  Without exposing those things to an audience, the creation has no purpose.  Merchants are constantly searching for the fresh, new “stuff” with a target audience, price tolerance, profit margin and end use in mind, often guided by details in financial plans and working with merchandise planning teams.  Marketers are critical in getting the story of those products in front of the key audiences using both visual and analytical components for the best ROI.  All together, they create demand while walking the razor’s edge of the right amount of supply as well as product expansion opportunities.  When the demand for the supply has begun to downtrend, price reduction can be used responsibly to liquidate the excess quantities.

This all leads to the right product, at the right price, in the right quantities at the right time.  The ultimate endgame for creating demand and maximizing profit.  Otherwise, why bother.  Driving demand with the hi/lo pricing game may drive short term results, but will ultimately reduce profitability and shorten the life of a product prematurely.