A Follow-up on Pop-ups- Popping Up in Interesting Ways

In early 2015, I wrote “The Evolution of Marketing & the Future Retail Model.”  It’s held up pretty well.  In describing that retail model, I hypothesized about how pop-ups might be used.

“Retail presence might be in pop up tents, in vans or trucks, on blankets at beaches, in a lift at a ski resort, in stores, in people’s houses. No location would be permanent. You might end up with 400 stores, but none of them would be in the same place for more than, maybe, a week. Your “stores” would be wherever your customers wanted them to be.  Maybe you announce where the stores are going to be. Maybe not. Maybe there are clues online.”

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“You Just Have to Get Traffic”

Specialty beauty retailer Sephora (2,300 stores worldwide) seems to be a bit ahead of the curve when it comes to brick and mortar retail.  As this article describes, they are using technology to give control to the consumer and create a “fun” experience for them.  They are reducing the role of the sales person and giving the customer the power to interact with them or not.  They note that their customers tend to know more about the product than the sales person anyway.

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What Keeps Jeff Bezos Up at Night- And Why What He’s Doing Should Keep You Up.

To my mind, Amazon’s biggest strategic advantage is that they started without brick and mortar retail.  The business was built for ecommerce and then, using the systems and data they’ve developed, they could look at brick and mortar making sure to have the right number of stores in the right places configured in the right way.  To put it another way, their brick and mortar business, whatever it turns out to be, supports their ecommerce.  With existing brick and mortar retailers, it’s the other way around.

As regular readers know, I’ve called the “omnichannel” the word that legacy brick and mortar retailers use to put a positive spin on the fact that, unlike Amazon, they have the wrong number of stores in some of the wrong places configured the wrong way.

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Projected Retail Closings and Job losses for the Year

People don’t like people who make them uncomfortable.  And when I do it, like now, I’m pretty sure it makes it less likely I get calls for consulting.  But I’m all about trying to help you to run your businesses better and think you need the bad news as well as the good.  Probably you need the bad news more.  But, in a sense, this news about retailers closing isn’t completely bad news.  I say that because, first, it’s old news (though the acceleration of the trend this year seems significant) and, second, because it needs to happen.

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Amazon’s Retail Plans

It’s all the Lydians’ fault.  The Lydians were a people who lived in what’s now Eastern Turkey in the second millennium BC.  Herodotus, writing around 450 BC, tells us this about them:

“…the Lydians lived their lives in a way not dissimilar to the Greeks.  So far as we know they were the first people ever to strike gold and silver coins, and to use them: the result was the invention of shopping.”

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Here It Comes; 3D Printing for Apparel

It was, I think, a couple of years ago when I said, 3D printing of various products is on its way.  I suggested maybe getting a 3D printer for a few thousand bucks and experimenting with it.  Maybe print some key chains or stuff like that.  The responses were along the lines of “Oh, sure, someday.”

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Nordstrom is Struggling with the Same Issues All Retailers Have

Last week was spent in Arizona on an annual excursion with old friends playing golf.  In my case, bad golf.  There may also have been a cocktail or two involved.  Anyway, as I left, GoPro came out with its 10K annual report and, while I was gone, Billabong reported its half yearly numbers.  So I’m behind.

But before I dig into those many pages of small print, my research department has sent me an article on Nordstrom that is worth a few words.

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An Analysis of Free Trade


I’ve been sitting on this for a while trying to figure out whether or not offer it up.  It’s certainly not action sports or active outdoor focused.  And, in our current environment, it’s inevitably going to be perceived as having a particular bias.  I’d say it reaches a solid conclusion based on the data it utilizes.  If that’s a bias, so be it.

It’s a defense of free trade from the Fabius Maximus web site which I follow and highly recommend.  It’s conclusion, however, is based on actual data; not anecdotal evidence, not a one minute story on the nightly news, and certainly not a tweet.

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Trade Shows, the Buy/Sell Cycle, and Changing Consumer Habits

Over the last months or maybe a year, I’ve watched the trade show discussion as dates have changed, unchanged, and we’ve all tried to figure out the role of trade shows.

We agree, I think, on the following:

  1. We need some trade shows
  2. Right now, there are too many
  3. Face time is a primary benefit
  4. It’s become harder to justify and time and expense of exhibiting or attending
  5. It’s been a long time since the shows were critical to order writing

The people at Emerald Expositions, who “…operate more than 50 trade shows, including 30 of the top 250 trade shows in the country…” and who bring us Outdoor Retailer, Interbike, and Surf Expo, are trying to adapt.  So is Reed Exhibitions, the owner of Agenda, that has “…a growing portfolio of over 500 events in 30 countries…” and SIA, whose show many of us will be off to next week.

I’ve been thinking that all the discussion about when the trade shows should be held was kind of missing the point- changing behavior from our consumers, who are pretty much in charge now, means an internal industry focus on trade show dates that match our production cycle requirements isn’t, well, completely in touch with reality.

I was going to write a really great article on trade shows, the buy sell cycle, and changing consumer habits.  But then somebody I know sent somebody else I know a just excellent article and he sent it to me.  It’s called “The Big Shift” by David Clucas.

On the one hand I was kind of disappointed because I was gearing up to say cogent, insightful things.  On the other hand, now I don’t have to write it, and I can still bask in the glow of David’s smartness by pointing you to it.

Two of my takeaways from David’s article are the changes that are going to have to happen (and are happening) in production and inventory management and the advantages that big companies have.  Those advantages include having less need to exhibit at trade show, though that doesn’t mean trade shows in some form aren’t important to them for other reasons.

Meanwhile, here’s a shorter article on a large mall in in the Pittsburgh area that just sold for $100.00  No, I didn’t leave out any zero.  The buyer, Wells Fargo, already owns the dirt under it.  It opened in 2005 (not great timing) and is about half occupied.  Expect to see more of this.

Some Waypoints in the Evolution of Retail

During the last couple of weeks, I’ve come across a number of articles that speak to the evolution of retail.  Here they are for your consideration in no particular order.

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