Some New (or Not) Retails Ideas

In my travels, I’ve come across a few articles describing some new retail ideas.  I don’t know which might turn out to be “right” or “wrong,” but it seems incumbent on us to be aware and consider whether any of the ideas might apply to our businesses.  I guess this is my way to help you whack yourselves on the side of your heads.

First, we have this short article on Nordstrom’s new store, or maybe non-store, concept.  These stores will have no inventory, but you can get a manicure and a beer.  I don’t think I can be manicured while drinking a beer.  Guess which I choose.  Here’s the link.  Not having a firm grasp on what the future looks like, I pretty much applaud any retail experiments.  But I am wondering who will go to a store with no inventory regardless of how much they are pampered when they get there.  People who like pampering I guess.

Here’s an article from early August where Uniqlo announces it will be selling apparel from vending machines in airports.  It’s not that I’m against the idea.  However, I’m a bit biased by the memory of a prebankruptcy Quiksilver announcing it was going to sell board shorts from vending machines at resorts.  I’m not aware it was implemented, and I never heard anything about it in future Quik conference calls.  This Uniqlo move feels more like an attempt to expand distribution, with a hopefully positive impact on the brand, while keeping costs down rather than a new retail concept.

And finally, there’s a report that designer clothing brands, who are for some reason finding fewer people willing to pay for their designer clothing, doing some interesting brand extensions.  You can now get a Chanel branded boomerang for 1,100 British Pounds.  That’s US$ 1,487.00.  If that’s a little pricey, you can get a Louis Vuitton teddy bear for the low price of 420 British Pounds.  This isn’t so much a new retail strategy as brand extensions based on what feels like desperation.

I’m not quite sure it will work out well.  Brand extensions tend to succeed when they come from a position of strength, not weakness.  Here’s the link.  Check out some of the other priced to move products.

Just thought you might be interested in these.  It’s hopefully thought provoking to see what’s going on in the broader market.