Saturday, December 18, 2004

Internet Retailer's Best of the Web

Internet Retailer has selected the 6th annual 50 Best of the Web. All excel in some way, most in many ways. The Top 50 sites represent a range of retailers from big, well-known brands to small, niche sites and manufacturers' sites. It includes online pure-plays, retail chains and catalogers. The descriptions of each of the online retailers on the linked pages are particularly informative. They even list who handles the company's email list, affiliate marketing program, and other inside information.

Fair trade markets

Fair trade markets are cause marketing in a pure form. They are part of a global effort to link struggling farmers and producers in developing countries with consumers in wealthier nations like the United States. Your choice of inventory for your retail store has a real impact on the world ... think before you buy.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Little retailer on the web

A basic website sells 500 to 600 lamps a month for K&T the Lamp Store in Green Hills, Tennessee. Online sales account for half of the retailer's total sales. Read about the store and other small niche retailers online in an article from the Tennessean. Extend your retail marketing reach with a website this year!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ikea: values and values of retail management

At the huge international furniture and housewares retailer Ikea, community outreach and philanthrophy are the values ... and so are the fair prices on well-designed products. The company wide code of conduct systemizes the management values. Cool products, fair (low) prices, and a responsible public image ... not a bad combination for successful retail marketing. No wonder Ikea had sales of $17 billion in the 12 months ending August 31. The story from AFP.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Costco Way

Warehouse retailer Costco has a long-term business strategy based on treating employees and customers right. Employee wages average $16 per hour and 83% of the company's workers get health care benefits. The wage scale starts at $10 per hour and goes to $18 per hour. And the employees at the top of the wage scale get twice a year bonuses of $2,000 to $3,000. Yet the company may be the "lowest cost provider". 98% of top positions are filled internally; there's a retail career path at Costco. More cashiers were hired to speed checkouts. Result: Costco whips Sam's Club in the marketplace. Read a good long profile in the Seattle Weekly.

ZAP retail store

Just in time to lower your gas bill and help save the environment ... ZAP opens a retail store in downtown Santa Rosa. Electric bikes, trikes, scooters and the 60-mpg 2-seater Smart Cars imported from Europe are in stock. The store has unique products with advanced technology, environmental awareness and cost efficiency. 25% to 75% discounts for the holiday shopping season too. Sounds like a receipe for retail marketing success.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Imagination in retail marketing

George Suarez promotes New England Comics on a shoestring budget. His creative ideas included coupon giveaways at comics-related movies, presentations to clubs, intenet columns, and selling on eBay.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Retail success story - Playthings

A toy store in Madison, Wisconsin, is prospering and expanding. Cut-throat toy price-cutting by Wal-Mart and Target have giant Toys R Us ready to get out of the business, but this little store has found its niche. Playthings sells classic toys that appeal to parents and grandparents as much as kids. The business is built on carrying products from many smaller, high quality manufacturers who don't sell to the big chains. The store design helps too - sculptural trees and tree borders create a "magical garden" for shoppers in this retail store. And they have a website that expands their market by offering a large selection of toys online. Well done!

Even the big guys worry about Wal-Mart

More about surviving Wal-Mart, this time from the perspective of the big chain retailers. Everyone agrees ... stay out of Wal-Mart's way. Which isn't hard to do, because there are millions of products in the world, and Wal-Mart stocks only a tiny fraction of them.