What a dreamy way to spend Valentine’s Day — or at least, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London thought so.
They placed a waxen George Clooney, complete with red rose, on a plush purple sofa outside the museum to encourage cuddling by passing women (and perhaps some men). But not just Clooney cuddling — there was hugging, squeezing, squealing and lots and lots of pictures.
Frankly, we think Clooney looks a tad bored by all the attention, but what a great way for Madame Tussauds to get free publicity!
We hinted in our last post about some really great promotions by an independent retailer we just discovered and are featuring in our latest The Art of Retail Marketing Newsletter. So we’d now like to introduce you to one of Long Island’s top appliance stores — Plessers, located in Babylon, NY. Here’s one of the coolest — literally — in-store promotions we’ve ever seen:
There’s fish in that there fridge! Plessers contacted the Animal Planet show “Tanked” to create a one-of-a-kind fish-tank within a refrigerator. The result not only gave the store national television coverage, but it also brought in curious crowds from all over Long Island. They held a viewing party and became the talk of the town!
(By the way, Plessers scores extra points for clever use of their merchandise during the festivities…)
In what appears to be a continuing saga, J.C. Penney once again tosses out its ‘no sales’ strategy, in hopes of bringing back customers. Last year the company employed a “no sale” policy, instead offering everyday low prices on merchandise. But now CEO Ron Johnson insists to The Associated Press that this is not a reversal nor a “deviation” from his strategy but rather an “evolution.”
Whatever he wants to call it, the point is that as we blogged previously here, then in this post and lastly here, it’s refreshing to hear that even the big players – large chain store retailers who have to account for their stock drops — sometimes make mistakes. And these sort of mistakes can be quite costly. According to this article in The Washington Post, “so far the experiment has served as a cautionary tale of how difficult it is to change shoppers’ habits: Penney next month is expected to report its fourth consecutive quarter of big sales drops and net losses. After losing more than half of its value, Penney’s stock is trading at about $19. And the company’s credit ratings are in junk status.”
The lesson here for independent retailers: don’t be afraid to experiment with your store promotions and events, as long as you acknowledge when something isn’t working and you set it right — quickly. On the flip side, when something works, keep doing it! For example, in our next newsletter, you’ll hear about a hugely successful retailer and the unique raffle drawing that they created last year. The raffle in and of itself wasn’t unique, but the prize certainly was… Stay tuned.
Are you ready for some football?
“Gathering with friends and family for the Super Bowl is an American tradition, and this year it seems consumers are in the mood to celebrate, which is good news for retailers who typically see slower online and foot traffic during these months,” said NRF Senior Vice President Bill Thorne. “As one of the biggest weekends of the year for sports fanatics, we expect to see a variety of promotions in the coming days surrounding appetizers and drinks at restaurants, football décor, athletic apparel and of course, new TVs.”
The promotional opportunities are limitless for savvy retailers. And some are targeting women. Here’s just one example: lululemon, which sells stylish athletic apparel for yoga, running, dancing and other activities. On Super Bowl weekend they’re holding a “Yogabowl,” a massive warehouse sale at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island (NY), which is expected to draw hundreds of women eager to score a bargain. They’ve been sharing news of the sale on social media and other venues, generating a good deal of buzz among their regular shoppers and those who’ve never visited any of their retail locations.
More than 179 million football fans are gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday, according to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association. So, we want to know — how are you prepping for the big game?
It’s an opportunity that comes just once every four years and we hope you’re taking advantage of it with a super-cool retail promotion, in-store event or special discount. We’re referring of course, to the presidential inauguration, which is taking place in Washington D.C. the week of Monday, January 21st.
If you don’t see this as an opportunity, consider what the big retailers are doing — according to this USA Today article, high end stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s are setting up pop-up stores in the lobbies of luxury hotels where social, political and showbiz VIPs will be staying.
Now we’re not suggesting you do anything like this, but do acknowledge this special occasion by offering customers something special – Baracktails, anyone? Obamartinis? How about free red, white and blue cookies? Or distribute POTUS Peanuts, Pretzels or Potato Chips. Have a POTUS Party and offer Swearing in S’Mores. How about a specially priced item of $57 or $5.70, to mark this 57th inaugural celebration?
You get the idea — and let us know how it goes by leaving a comment here ….
Are you scheduled to attend NRF’s annual convention on January 13-16 in New York? If so, here are their ten tips for making the most out of the show:
1. Download the mobile app. Whether you’re looking for the precise location of an exhibitor, searching for sessions about global retailing, keeping up with the #nrf13 Twitter feed or planning your schedule, this app will be your most valuable resource. It’s free in the App Store and Google Play, and there’s a web-based version, too. Tip: Download the app before the show, check out these quick tips to get started, and plan your schedule beforehand to hit the ground running at the show.
2. Review the Quick Guide. Prefer a hard-copy guide to the show? Download the Quick Guide and get up to speed on all the happenings at the show. Don’t forget to pick up your full conference guide at the EXPO and session entrances.
3. Avoid lines at the Convention Center with satellite registration. Nobody likes to wait in line, so this year, we’re offering satellite registration at our two biggest hotels—the Marriott Marquis and the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers. If you’re staying nearby, get your badge there first and skip the lines at the show. Tip: Bring your registration confirmation email with your barcode to speed through the express lanes at both satellite and onsite registration.
4. Don’t miss the TWO EXPO Halls and the new EXPO Level 1 Preview Reception. The enormous EXPO is the heart of the action at Retail’s BIG Show, and this year we’re kicking it off early, celebrating the opening of our new EXPO Hall (EXPO Level 1) with a Preview Reception on Sunday night. Both EXPO Level 3 and Level 1 will be open for business Monday–Tuesday, featuring nearly 500 solution providers. Stop by EXPO Level 1 the night before to get your bearings, network with attendees, and enjoy a complimentary Happy Hour. Tip: EXPO-only attendees can go to all the educational programming in the EXPO, too. Check out sessions on the EXPO Stage (Level 1) and the Exhibitor BIG !deas sessions (Level 3).
5. Tweet with us! People are already buzzing about the show. Follow us on Twitter at @NRFnews, @RetailsBIGShow and with the hashtag #nrf13 for all the latest updates. We’ll also be updating our Facebook page, and we’ll have lots of coverage right here on Retail’s BIG Blog during and after the event. Also, be sure to check the Retail’s BIG Show event site for daily recaps, videos and more. Tip: To find out which of your LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter contacts are also attending Retail’s BIG Show, use this neat tool.
6. Tell your colleagues—we’re live-streaming three keynotes from the BIG Show. If they can’t join you at the show, tell your team back at the office to tune in for three outstanding keynotes on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The three sessions feature some truly remarkable retail leaders. A senior executive from Mango on Sunday; a Monday keynote with CEOs from Starbucks, The Container Store and Whole Foods Market; and the Walmart U.S. CEO on Tuesday. Tip: To see even more recorded presentations after the show, purchase the audio presentation package for access to session recordings (subject to speaker permission).
7. Relax in the NRF Members Coca-Cola Happiness Lounge. New this year, NRF, Shop.org, NCCR and ARTS members have a special place to relax, recharge their mobile devices, check in with the office or enjoy a bite to eat. You’ll find the NRF Members Coca-Cola Happiness Lounge on Level 4 of the Convention Center. Tip: Members, don’t forget the Members-Only Luncheon on Tuesday honoring Ohio Council of Retail Merchants President and CEO John C. “The Chief” Mahaney, Jr with the J. Thomas Weyant Lifetime Achievement Award, accompanied by guest speaker Neil Pasricha, author of The Book of Awesome.
8. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of some of New York’s coolest stores. The store tours at Retail’s BIG Show are now self-guided audio tours that you can do on your own schedule. Purchase the audio guide and map to get an inside look at innovative retail environments like Eataly, Nike Running Flatiron, Ralph Lauren and more. Tip: Store Tour quantities are limited, so update your registration now or ask first thing when you get on site.
9. Get first-hand insight from retailers on Main Street. New this year, the Main Street Retailing Forum is a full day of programming designed specifically for small-business retailers. The Forum is included in a full-conference retailer registration, and open to Retail EXPO Only attendees for a nominal fee.
10. Bookmark the Resource Center. Got a question? Check the Retail’s BIG Show Resource Center. You’ll find links to shuttle schedules, onsite registration hours, EXPO floor plans, registered companies, International Resource Center, and everything else you could need.
Just a little wish for you and yours — a prosperous, interesting and promotion-filled new year!
We’ll be back in 2013 with more industry news and information geared at helping you attract and retain valuable customers.
So as we ring in the new year, may your cash registers ring and ring in 2013!
Amazon will open retail stores. That’s one retailing prediction of Ben T. Smith IV, for the coming year. Smith, CEO of Wanderful Media, says that in an effort to become the world’s leading one-stop shop, Amazon’s next logical step will be to roll out retail locations.
Do you agree? What about his other predictions:
Same-day delivery from retail stores will become commonplace in major metros. In an effort to compete with physical retailers, e-commerce sites and the “bricks and clicks” retailers that offer both online and offline sales will provide same-day delivery. The thinking behind this same-day delivery strategy is to provide the best of both worlds for online shoppers, lower prices and bigger selection, and receiving their purchases the same day.
eBay will emerge as an important local retail company. This will come in multiple forms, one being eBay’s interest in regional shoppers. eBay Now, which boasts product shipments to customers about an hour after the online order, is currently only available in San Francisco but has plans to expand all over California and in New York City. In 2013, eBay will offer customers discounts to local merchants based on what is purchased online and will continue executing on the idea of delivering a local shopping experience.
For more, click on this IndependentRetailer.com article.
Do you blast annoying music in your store? Do you place merchandise you want to move in the most inconvenient places? How does your store smell?
According to a recent New York Times editorial, while these practices might be considered, shall we say, highly manipulative, they are tried and true methods to get people to purchase things. Consider the following excerpt:
Take those Christmas songs — the ones that begin to play in stores in November and last for what seems like eternity. Few of us would claim to love listening to “The Little Drummer Boy” over and over; just last month, customer complaints reached such heights in Canada that Shoppers Drug Mart, the country’s largest pharmacy chain, caved to consumer pressure and announced it would switch off Christmas music “until further notice.”
But what we love or don’t love isn’t really the point. (The Canadian chain’s ban lasted only a couple of weeks.) Music played at high volumes, for example, may be irritating, but researchers from Penn State and the National University of Singapore concluded it was one of several factors that leads to overstimulation and “a momentary loss of self-control, thus enhancing the likelihood of impulse purchase.”
(No wonder e-commerce is flourishing!)
Do you employ any of the methods mentioned in the article in your retail shop? What do you think about these tactics?
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are now long past us. And the holidays, which are just around the corner, will breeze by in no time. So have you come up with a full promotional calendar for your retail operation for 2013?
If you feel overwhelmed by the possibilities, take a look at our latest The Art of Retail Marketing newsletter, in which we highlight a highlight successful 1-800-Flowers.com franchise in Charlotte, NC.
Owner Shelly Boyd has put into play a number of easy yet highly effective efforts that bring in customers again and again. One of these is as simple as recognizing VIP clientele. For instance, because one of Boyd’s shops is located just outside a military base, she offers military personnel a steep discount on cash and carry items. Consider the good will that in and of itself generates!
Have questions for us as you plan your events and special contests, promotions and other marketing efforts? We’d be happy to help. So leave a comment here…