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Mark Heckman

Principal
Mark Heckman Consulting

It's difficult to respond to survey results like these unless you have access to the cross-tabs and see how responses vary among socio-economic groups. With that caveat, my sense is that there is little affirmation of an economic recovery for MANY consumers as they have seen their wages stagnate...

Innovation for the sake of innovation is similar to brand line extensions for the sake of growing brand sales and space allocation. Neither prosper in the long run.

As physical stores now appear to be trending smaller, there will be a need for the utmost discretion on what SKUs and...

If retailers find value in how many happy faces they receive or what the latest statistically insignificant variation of a satisfaction rating, then have at it. However, ultimately we want our shoppers to be satisfied because we believe that a satisfied shopper spends more and is unlikely to defect.

But...

Most retail channels have their hands full just getting mass pricing correct without adding the complexities of pricing at the individual level. Certainly technology is enabling different levels of "investment" in various customers via coupons, special discounts and other cost containment vehicles.

However, retailers are reliant upon pricing being the...

With the aggressive growth of the dollar store channel, it does not surprise me that the channel has reached some level of market saturation and has prompted consolidation. With that, Walmart and other "price" retailers have worked to defend their turf.

Lowering prices or offering "basket-building" coupons in a dollar...

It remains to be seen if 365 has the pulling power of the mother ship, given the reduction in size, SKUs and scope of fresh offerings. My experience tells me that they will not be the magnet that Whole Foods has become. That said, it would appear that 365...

Relevant content is the key to any successful one-to-one engagement with a shopper whether it be direct mail, proximity marketing, SMS or other. Accordingly, shoppers have demonstrated their willingness to be interrupted during their shopping trip if the message helps them find what they are looking for, adds value...

One of the biggest mistakes early loyalty programs made was not using the resulting customer data in such a way as to increasingly customize offers and messages. Simply adding coalition or reward partners and offering their content to the entire membership hoping the something sticks is a dangerous strategy.

Complexity,...

Having done so, I can attest that working at retail in a reasonably high volume environment is very demanding on retail associates. Couple that with working nights, weekends and holidays and you have a recipe for attrition.

Certainly wage increases may stem the migration to other, less physically-demanding industries, but...

A lower-price image is certainly not earned overnight. My experience tells me that lowering prices, even on popular items, is often seen initially as a gimmick from longstanding shoppers who will look for prices to go up on other items or for promotions to weaken to offset the investment.

If...

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