Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Retail signage idea

Recently I saw a promotion signage put up by a small stand alone apparel store. The signage grabbed my attention and would like to share it as it can be easily replicated by other Retailers.
The rough and ready look and feel stands out amidst the digital printed signs one sees everywhere nowadays. My guess is that this store has used some old flex material and spray painted the message. It is a great idea as the urgency comes across very well. Especially when the "Hurry" seems to have been added on in a hurry (pun intended). 
A few suggestions to make this even more effective –
  • Use red paint for some of the key words like shown in the edited picture below.
  • Reduce the text. Use “3” and “1” instead of words.
  • Make the font size of “conditions apply” smaller. I do not mean make it miniscule, just smaller!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Indian Retail - Point & Counterpoint: Great ideas are a waste of time without execution focus

A few days ago I woke up to see a half page advertisement of a national Retail chain which was trying something new and interesting. They had affixed a scratch card to the advertisement and I am guessing that they were hoping that this would trigger curiosity and drive walk ins.

Sadly, the scratch card had been already scratched out and the offer was visible which completely defeated the very purpose of a scratch card. The other evident lack of execution focus was that the scratch card had been affixed upside down as you can see in the picture. (Retailer’s name has been masked)

A good idea and this is in line with the basic Retail focus of generating customer footfalls and then focusing on conversion inside the store.

However this good idea did not factor in some basic ground realities. Namely, that a scratch card which has already been defaced will have absolutely no impact on any potential customer. The other reality is that anyone will be tempted to scratch and see what is in such a card, very similar to the universal fixation of breaking the bubbles of a bubble wrap sheet.

So, another great idea which sounded fabulous when being presented seems to have fallen by the way side.

How could this great idea become very effective?

Very simple, factor in the reality that news paper agents will have access to these and if they can insert pamphlets in a paper, they can definitely scratch and see what is hidden.

Just print a random number sequence on a card which is stuck on the advertisement. This card can be shown while billing and the offer pertaining to that random number can be accessed from a data table which is uploaded in the billing software. The curiosity value is retained and the idea becomes effective.

Lastly, there could be one more perspective. In Tamil Nadu there is a ban on lottery or what is called as game of chance. This is one reason why coupons always have a slogan and then gets defined as a game of skill and not chance. (A leading ice cream brand had to withdraw a national promotion only in TN, a few years ago due to this reason). Maybe, the scratch cards were defaced deliberately. In which case why spend so much of money in making these cards and getting them fixed onto the news paper advertisement.

A distinct lack of execution focus seems to be coming through and that is a big NO, NO in Retail.

CLICK HERE to join the discussion about “Execution Focus” on my page and share your perspectives and examples.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Indian Retail - Point & Counterpoint: What is Customer Orientation?

Change has always been an issue for any Retailer and this is about the change in terms of currency. As shoppers we all tend to hand over large denomination currency and expect the Retailer to give us change. Smaller, stand alone stores handle this by giving small toffees in lieu of change and if we do not want that, it is either give the exact change or live with it!
Larger stores especially the chain stores cannot afford the indulgence of handing out toffees or sweets instead of change. It is expected that they give the correct change to the customer. Therefore these chains try and get adequate amount of change from a variety of sources apart from the banks that even include the groups of beggars. Read more about this in my earlier post.
This is both a business need which is painful as also a sensitive point with regard to customers.
That is the context, when I saw the following poster in a shop and I was very impressed by this initiative and also astute step. In a single stroke this Retailer has combined his business need with a shopper issue and has managed to create value all around.
  • Value to the customer because they will benefit for no significant extra effort.
  • Value to the business because, for no incremental cost, the Retailer is resolving an issue without having to run around for it.

This is what I call as a true customer orientation: a solution to a business need that clearly benefits the customer directly or indirectly.
So, customer orientation is not a separate, independent activity or department’s responsibility. It is about ensuring that every business activity of the Retailer delivers an end customer benefit and conversely, that also helps the business.
CLICK HERE to join the discussion about “Customer Orientation” on my page and share your perspectives and examples.