Thursday, February 24, 2005

Catalog retailers survive, thrive

Contrary to predictions, catalog retailing has survived and thrived in the face of expansion of online retailing. Retailers are seeing growth through both channels.

I expect that the web sales will continue to grow and eventually dominate. It has so many advantages for both the shopper and the seller.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Call of the Mall - 1

Call of the Mall is the latest book from retail store design expert Paco Underhill. Like his earlier Why We Buy, the book is witty and entertaining while providing well-researched tips on successful store design. The new book focuses on the design of malls, but most of the content is directly applicable to individual stores too.

I'm going to provide a series of my favorite tips from Call of the Mall. I hope they will encourage you to go out and buy both of Underhill's books. Every retailer should own them.

Parking ... the design of mall parking lots is awful broad expanses of asphalt. Necessary evils in the eyes of developers. Why not make those huge lots more of an asset with open-air markets? "Peddler's wagons" are common at the similar huge parking areas outside NASCAR races. Are you making the most of your space outside your store?

A small hardware store in the middle of the tiny town where I live uses the sidewalk in front of their store very effectively. Every morning they put out a seasonal selection of lawnmowers, bicycles, tillers, sleds, and even fresh produce. The ever-changing displays attract attention and draw shoppers. It keeps the entire storefront fresh and promotes the hottest seasonal merchanise ... and they pay nothing for the extra square feet of selling space.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Retail store success: Blackberry Hollow

Nearly four years ago, a roadside shop in rural Virginia called Blackberry Hollow opened to sell barn-wood furniture, primitive housewares, candles, lamps, soaps, florals and framed prints. The red brick building with white trim and a big front porch sits next to U.S. 460 in Blue Ridge, only seven miles east of downtown Roanoke. Inside, the air is scented with potpourri, and bluegrass music plays. Kim Monsour and her handful of employees - all family or friends - greet customers with smiles and Southern accents.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Marketing with props

The Marketing eYe blog has an interesting entry about marketing with props. The examples of stores using props to lure shoppers are fun and instructive. This is an ultra-low-cost marketing technique with the potential for both instant returns and long-term effectiveness. What props could you create to bring passers-by into your store?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The power of women shoppers

Business Week on the power of women shoppers in the marketplace:
Who's the apple of marketers' eye? It's not free-spending teens or men 25-50. It's women, thanks to their one-two punch of purchasing power and decision-making authority. Working women ages of 24-54 -- of whom the U.S. has some 55 million -- have emerged as a potent force in the marketplace, changing the way companies design, position, and sell their products.

Women earn less money than their counterparts -- 78 cents for every dollar a man gets. But they make more than 80% of buying decisions in all homes. And women shop differently from the way men do: Females research more extensively and are less likely to be influenced by ads.
There's a lot of good stuff in this article. Don't miss it.