Amazon finds Key To Rebecca…and Rita & Jake & Jamal &…

According to updates from RetailWire, Amazon ‘Key’ delivery service aims to offer:

  • more convenience than some other models eg BufferBox, or pickup/drivethru at Loblaws- and
  • more security  protocols than some other cheap & available home delivery models- a certain Mass Merch behemoth delivering via cheapest, no secuirty cleared driver- and
  • more gegraphic reach than the market-specific icons eg Longos.

Should be interesting to check in on its acceptance and return customer rate.

Amazon to begin making in-home deliveries in 37 cities

grocery channel- shopper trends

Worth reading: a fine article by Canadian Grocer on shopper trends:

http://www.canadiangrocer.com/top-stories/headlines/amazon-meal-kits-and-beer-sales-among-the-hot-topics-at-gic-conference-76357

 

Practical Progress: converting Eco Intent vs Action

If you view my upcoming videos or have had me as Instructor in Applied Marketing Research, you will know I warn ppl against putting too much faith in respondent survey data on topics that I refer to as Survey Sirens. One of those is ‘eco-intent’.

First- TRIVIA TEST! In what year did  a nationwide USA CPG brand first launch a national eco-responsible line extension? Was it2005? 1999? 1995?

Would you believe… 1990? John Cook, Mitch Gumma, John DePaolis, Marie Blomquist, Mike Ziemke- and  I- were on Kimberly-Clark’s brand team, with tons of logistics help to coordinate 5 manufacturing facilities to source, qualify, test, contract, QA verify and –  eventually – launch Hi-DriTM Recycled Paper Towels. It was an awesome adventure, and an awesome succcess. Consumers actually paid slightly MORE PER ROLL to do the right thing.

Until 1996.

Oh yes, the recession. When it hit, the same consumers would still claim to want to do the right thing- but they looked after the household first- and pennies were pennies! Hi-Dri Recycled retreated as mightily as it began.

The Moral: Don’t always believe Consumer Intent scores about eco-solutions. Intending is not the same as Acting. Intent does not always lead to Acting. Survey respondents may answer optimistically; it validates a more pleasing self-image. And the time gaps & psychological gaps between filling out an at-home survey, and when they see the options in store at shelf – can be vast! Lots of time for cognitive dissonance- ie to escape your own self-commitment!

So it’s delightful to see savvy USA Retailers tighten that time gap & psychologcal leeway. Ahold’s Giant and Stop & Shop banners have installed powerful ‘eco-ranking’ Point-Of-Sale signage- No, sorry, even better, not ‘point of sale’, but ‘place of decision’- ie at the store shelf! Putting those eco-flags in your face, leaves you less room to wiggle out of your own commitment.

 http://www.supermarketnews.com/sustainability/turning-ethical-shoppers-buyers

Ahold- you have earned my endless respect- and let me time travel a bit back to 1990 Wisconsin, to boot! Thanks!

Steven

Online Vs Store Shopping by Generation: Assume Less!

Cool article reveals some shifts in Boomers through their offspring Generation Y. While Boomers are shopping online more, Gen Y members are increasingly shopping multiple physical stores in parts of the USA.

It’s wise not to assume too much about shoppers by age: eg avoid the trap of “old people will do/want this, and younger ppl will do/want this”; there are far better predictors of most shopper behaviours, than age.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/21/retailers-dont-ditch-the-store-millennials-love-them-survey-finds.html

SL

 

The Strategy Behind Acquisitions

Acquisitions – why do they happen?  As an Industry guy involved in many takeovers (taking over, and taken over), I’ve seen many strategic reasons for an acquisition. Usually, there’s more than 1 reason in play. I’ve created a crude table (below) listing 17  key reasons.

This is another of those blog posts where I’d love it if industry colleagues would chip in some insights. Students eagerly await your wisdom!

Not shown here: a column describing ‘What Research Can Do’ in each scenario, so Acquisition decisions are made (and initial post-acquisition business moves are made) with greater wisdom. To see THAT column, you must be enrolled as a student at Seneca college – or be an industry partner to the college.

Membership – and paying it forward- has its privileges!

Steven

why acquire a company?

 

How many #trends can you spot?

A fine CSA article calls your attention to several trend-worthy #retail concepts.

http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/now-trending-eight-clicks-bricks-retailers-keep-eye

Feel free to make your own notes on which particular ‘macro’ trends are driving or supporting each of these retail concepts eg CSR (charitable or community involvement), transparency, authentication, customized, artisan or locally crafted, VIP treatment, etc.

If that challenge seems like too much work (or if you’re on a NoThinkingRequired sabbatical), then maybe this article will be less taxing; just two of the above listed trends are driving this new Roots foray:

http://business.financialpost.com/news/retail-marketing/cabin-chic-new-roots-concept-will-customize-your-jacket-and-monogram-your-purse

Steven

Customized Gyms a ‘fitting’ #trend for Millennials

cool L.A. Times article (link below); Millennials are resisting ‘mass targeted’ gyms & fitness activities. As per Chris Anderson’s astute and visionary The Long Tail, more customized fitness ‘experiences’ are imo going to be the fitness trend, beyond Millennials, too!

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-boutique-fitness-20170823-story.html

Enjoy!

Steven

 

Knockoff vs Homage

When is a copycat product ‘inspired’ by your proprietary design and trademarks a threat ? When is it a…. partnership opportunity????

Usually the news that your brand is being copied signals the entry of another ‘low-life copycat ripoff’.

Adidas’ actions show there’s room for distinction between types of copycats. imo that makes sense; low-cost options undercut the consumer & constitute a BIG VOLUME threat that must be met with hard, fast litigation.

But an upscale ‘homage’ to your brand ? Not much of a volume threat certainly, and, in fact, kind of a respectful nod. Enjoy this soulful story.

SL

Why is Adidas partnering with a knockoff brand?

Oslo & Steady wins the race

3 new sources of insight on #Retail trends fyi!

10 new ideas or approaches to inspire readers to try new methods, service a different kind of customer, give a new kind of retail experience

http://www.chainstoreage.com/article/americas-top-10-retail-center-experiences

An upcoming ‘call for ideas’ summit on etail-retail- virtual shopping, sponsored by WalM…

http://www.massmarketretailers.com/store-no-8-thrive-global-launch-innov8-v-commerce/

Finally, an example of how to not REACT to trends, but get ahead of them by a Canadian-based retailer that’s imo a benchmark to admire.

http://www.csnews.com/product-categories/fuels/couche-tard-ceo-talks-electric-cars-fuels-future?cc=3

C-stores by definition are positioned based on “convenience” – consider how treacherous that is!  Examples:

  • when Grocery stores opened late, they lost an advantage;
  • when weed became legally available to millions of Canadian  “glaucoma sufferers” (cough cough…) C-stores Dorito & RollingPaper sales took a ‘hit’;
  • when tobacco smoking incidence fell, C-store visits fell

Again & again, C-stores adapted: seizing new opportunities to sell throwaway cellphones & phone cards, lottery tickets, decent coffee, fresh meals, last-minute gifts & cards, and more. Couche-tard is investing to test other ways to drive shoppers to C-stores in Norway, presumably a lead market for e-vehicles.

Consider: many C-stores have traditionally been linked to (located in conjunction with) gassing up a vehicle. If consumers instead charge up their e-vehicle at home at night, what’s to become of C-stores?

Couche-tard is too smart to wait & see; the savvy retailer is getting ahead by trying & measuring different approaches. As a marketer, I applaud this! As an R&D guy, I’ve mixed feelings about a country test market. The scale is terrific, however everything is oh-so-readable… to the competition. My bet is that this move hasn’t escaped the attention of Couch-tard’s global rival, 7-Eleven. Quite possible that right now, in Irving TX and Chiyoda, Japan, note-takers are busily tuning into “Lillehammer’ on Netflix- and managers are booking tickets for a prolonged stay in Norway. They simply can’t ‘affiord’ not to know what Couche-tard is trying.

SL

Ways to Grow

You can’t beat H&M or Zara at calling the trends right & getting right items to market FAST! That’s ‘Fast Fashion’: on-trend ‘durable enough’ apparel, made with ‘adequate’ construction quality. You wear it a few months, then it’s out of style AND worn out. Defacto Disposable clothing.  A trend that’s taking a toll on other fashion retailers:

https://www.thestar.com/business/2017/07/11/abercrombies-failed-deal-sign-of-retail-industry-woes.html

What’s a fashion retailer to do to compete? Well, for one thing, not everyone wants Fast Fashion. And not everyone wants ‘adequate’ durability. There are segments of consumers who are less interested in being ‘leading edge’. There are others who prefer SOME items to be ‘trending’, but others to be more lasting. eg buy a few casual seasonal clothing items in latest styles, textures & colours- but buy WorkWear that will look better, longer.

Some of you will read about A&F and wonder if they can cut staffing, cut promotion spending, possibly reduce their footprint, etc. Cost cutting is an option- one that keeps the ‘chainsaw’ firms & ‘transition Exec’s quite flush.

imo cost cutting is rarely adequate over the long term. Growth is.

the firm I’m with  http://www.spitfireglobal.com  prefers growth over cutting & hacking. Retail brands might do worse than consider their situation, resources & risk tolerance (‘fit factors’) for some ‘classic’ paths to growth via NewUsers &/or NewUses?

1. sell online.

2. umbrella several generation-specific sub-brands eg A&F for GenX; Hollister for GenY.

3. Product expansion (American Eagle into undergarments; Starbucks serving alcoholic beverages in prime ‘night life’ locations);

4. Control Label &/or Brand Exclusives (Caution: this approach is contractually tough & raises Competition Act (legal) risks!);

5. Sign an on-trend Spokesperson (Burberry w Emma Watson);

6. all-out chain-wide repositioning (new targets for J Crew, Old Spice, Harley Davidson and, more recently, McDonald’s and Axe);

7. ‘Place’/ Geographic Expansion (Buick to China, Caplansky’s Deli to food trucks, Lego & Fashion brands to Flash retail).

8 Offer Services -eg Petsmart makes good money and generates more store visits (& loyalty?) by offering pet grooming & boarding (although Sears’ expansion into Home Reno Services ages ago was poorly overseen & less than a stellar success)

9. Rethink the Business Model- retailers who followed the ‘paradigm’ to own costly real estate are reassessing. eg Banks & Department stores are leveraging REIT’s and/or (aghast!) selling off ‘essential’ downtown corners. WestElm & other upscale Retail brands are plying their brand in the CONDO market.

imo the ‘secret sauce’ is savvy objective Situation Assessment that lets a consultant recommend the right option or the right blend of these. eg Lululemon expanded its product line to Women’s ‘day-wear’ items for use outside yoga studios- it worked. They also started to target Men’s apparel- imo the verdict remains out on that.

Can A&F be saved? Despite their past unfortunate management comments & weak PR efforts? The competition is tough. Very tough. Segment leaders Zara and H&M are adept @ acquiring right items @ right time @ right cost ie predict the trends, then getting product to market fast!

One path to growth I’d NOT recommend, is to try to mimic that strategy and hit’em head on. A&F needs to be smarter than that.

SL