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Mark Heckman

Principal
Mark Heckman Consulting

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...

The bigger the retailer and the more markets it operates within, the more difficult it becomes to leverage local suppliers. In general, however, it is almost always a good idea to favor and tout local suppliers. This is particularly true with perishable and specialty items.

As other panelists have suggested,...

I am a huge advocate of creating a single-view shopper platform. Inarguably it is the only real way to communicate intelligently with shoppers that engage a retailer through more than one channel or medium.

I also never said it would be easy. I have personally experienced the excruciating process of...

It is clear that the mindset of the consumer is changing with regard to digital-assisted shopping. While most retailers are not seeing dozens of shoppers down their aisles interacting with shopping apps and smartphones, it is high time that retailers stake their claim to a digital strategy and gain...

If delisting is indeed part of their strategy, it is very risky. While most retailers experience the 80-20 rule, wherein 20 percent of the SKUs drive a disproportionate amount of the business, significantly cutting off a major portion of slower-moving items can lead to a "variety" problem, especially if...

I mentioned the topic of out-of-stocks in response to yesterday's article on merchandising technical priorities. If I were back behind my desk at retail today, I would subordinate all other initiatives to the mitigation of out-of-stocks and (over-stocks to a lesser degree).

While there are several really good technology solutions...

Retailers pragmatically focus upon technologies that provide the biggest attainable, most immediate return. Thus web analytics and the consistently over-hyped market basket analysis are falling by the way-side as their financial benefits have proved to be neither significant or immediate.

What is not on the list, although tacitly included in...

I am a regular shopper at Publix and can say first hand that their store associates are a tremendous asset to the Publix brand. More to the point, it is how they are used and how many associates Publix uses that truly makes the difference. Unlike some of their...

Survey responses almost always overstate reality, but with that said, momentum is clear in the area of digitally-aided shopping and actual e-commerce in grocery. I think it is important to keep these two behavioral categories separate.

Digitally-aided shopping involves using websites and/or shopping apps for the purpose of making the...

It is always risky to expand out of a retailer's core competency into areas that are potentially at odds with their existing niche. The highway is littered with the carnage from retailers believing the best way to grow their business is to dilute their brand and go after shoppers...

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