Saturday, February 12, 2005

Lucky or smart?

There's a formula for creating good fortune in business. Bo Peabody says "lucky" things happen to entrepreneurs who start fundamentally innovative, morally compelling, and philosophically positive companies.

This is similar to what Buckminster Fuller found in his life years ago. In the book Critical Path he wrote:
I assumed that nature would "evaluate" my work as I went along. If I was doing what nature wanted done, and if I was doing it in promising ways, permitted by nature's principles, I would find my work being economically sustained - and vice versa, in which latter negative case I must quickly cease doing what I had been doing and seek logically alternative courses until I found the new course that nature signified her approval of by providing for its physical support.
He paid no attention to earning a living and found his life's needs "being unsolicitedly provided for by seemingly pure happenstance and always only 'in the nick of time'".

Do good work and you'll be rewarded.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Retail marketing: food porn

Whole Foods Market founder John Mackey built a retail powerhouse peddling food as sensual, succulent succor. His stores preach organic virtue and profit from culinary vice. The article from Forbes.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

An RFID primer

RFID tags would replace the bar code - the little 28-digit strip of stock-keeping unit numbers read by laser scanners. Smaller than a pinhead and thinner than a greeting card, the more sophisticated 128-bit computer chips come attached to a small antenna. Glued to a product, the transmitter broadcasts a signal that identifies each item plus its color, size, maker and date of manufacture. That means its path can be traced in real time from manufacturer to truck, warehouse and store down to the exact shelf until a customer takes it out the door.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Retail marketing: little shop and big chain happy together

How a little bait and tackle shop prospers when a big sports and outdoors chain moves in down the street. Traffic generated by the larger retailer actually resulted in increased sales for the more specialized inventory and repair services at the smaller store. Fishing seminars and simple direct mail newsletters promote the shop.
"The key is you don't take them on at all. There's no good reason to fight. You complement what they offer, and you stick to your strengths."

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Retail store success: Rice Epicurean Market

Rice Epicurean Market is a third-generation family-owned grocery store in the Houston area. Founded in 1937, Rice Boulevard Food Market changed its name to Rice Epicurean Market in 1988 and began focusing more on upscale specialty foods, like dry-aged prime beef; Aunt Fanny's Granola, produced by famed chef Alice Waters; and Fungusamungus, a line of exotic mushroom soup mixes from Snohomish, Wash. Currently, there are five stores. Here's an interview with the owner about their success and their niche market.

The lesson once again for independent retailers -- there are plenty of products at the upscale end of the market that the big discounters don't sell. That's your niche; that's where the profit margins and customer loyalty are.

Call of the Mall: the geography of shopping

A look at retail expert Paco Underhill's most recent book Call of the Mall. In less than 50 years the mall spread throughout America and went international.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Retail Marketing: not enough customers?

From the Making Ads Work blog: why aren't more customers coming into your retail store?
  1. Is it because they don't know about you?
  2. Is it because they do know about you?
  3. Is it because they think they know about you but don't really?
Craig Arthur provides suggestions for what to do in each case. "Top-line Sales Volume is merely the sum of Impact Quotient x Share of Voice x Personal Experience Factor x Market Potential. There’s nothing that can affect your business that doesn’t fit into one of these categories."

Red Envelope finds a way to make more money in e-tailing

The Internet Stock Blog has a interesting entry about the e-tailer Red Envelope. Look how well they're doing:
  • Orders rose 21% year over year.
  • Average order size rose to $87 versus $79 a year earlier.
  • Gross margin rose to 64.3% versus 49.5% a year earlier.
  • 84% of Red Envelope's top 50 sellers for the quarter were exclusive to RedEnvelope and 58% were designed in-house, versus 74% and 30% respectively last year.
  • Repeat customer traffic increased 38 percent versus a year ago.

The blog points out that Red Envelope has avoided commodity products in three ways:

  • Most of its products are exclusive to Red Envelope.
  • The majority of its products are designed in-house.
  • One third of the products it sold in Q4 were personalized.
Sounds like a formula for success for any gift retailer -- both online and "real world".

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Retail business: local arts shop

A store that successfully sells local art and other local products has a positive impact on the community ... and the unique inventory makes shoppers happy too. The Gift of Art store in Canada has sold "artistic stuff" -- paintings, wall decor items, soaps, pottery, painted glassware, carved bowls, metal and glass frames and wooden boxes -- for five years.