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Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy 2007 from Wear-Dated!

Don't you love the web? This really cool idea comes from Experience Curve in a post titled Say It With Buildings. Talk about having the whole world available at your fingertips! Try clicking on the image, and see what happens. Try your own message!
SayitwithbuildingsWith 2007 almost upon us, I thought I would share some observations of trends to be aware of for the new year.

I refer first to "Retail Trends 2006" from G.A. Wright which I learned about from an 8/25/2007 article in NationalJeweler.com where the following statements caught my attention: "retailers in all industries can remain competitive by focusing on 'value-added' strategies, such as loyalty programs that reward customers." It went on to say that price is quickly decreasing in importance for retail purchases. Furthermore, "consumers want experiences, not just purchase transactions. They want memorable events that make them feel appreciated and create a positive emotional experience while getting something of value." Wow!

Some points from the actual report include:
+ "Smaller stores especially stand at the threshold of an ideal opportunity. Because they are best equipped to communicate one-on-one with customers, they can more easily identify their niche opportunities than larger stores."
+ Pay attention to the hispanic population [it is "younger, has larger families, has higher income, and higher education and employment rates than ever before."]
+ "Loyalty is more than rewarding shoppers for the dollars they spend in your store. It is equally about building trust and a relationship... Establishing a lasting relationship between your customers and your store is tricky, but not impossible. It is worth the effort. The benefit: you will create an emotional bond that will result in a long-term relationship."

As it relates to the future, the report makes 21 points. The following strike me as particularly critical and also familiar given recent postings!
+ Know as much as possible about your customers. Which ones are less profitable and why? [i.e., should they be on the naughty or nice list?]
+ Develop strong relationships with the good ones.
+ Is your store easily accessible and safe? Is your store comfortable to shop in? Is it fun? Can you eliminate any customer irritants? Are you kid-friendly?
+ How can you build value through service to your customer? If your products aren't unique, can you make them unique via your services?
+ Provide her with information!
+ Consider the 'social environment' that your store creates. Does it encourage people to come back, to stay, to interact with other customers and your staff?
+ Does your retail environment appeal to all of the senses?
+ Promote your store name. As with the Santa brand, it is the "symbol of your unique selling proposition."

Next, consider the 10 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2007 by By Kim T. Gordon from the 11/24/2006 issue of MSNBC.com's Entrepreneur.com. Of the 10 trends, the most relevant to us include:

+ Affluent working women - they are becoming a larger and more critical group, and best reached online.
+ Asian population growth - it is growing fast and has higher than average household income and education.
+ Word-of-mouth - driven primarily by women, working women, and affluent working women.
+ Simultaneous media usage - we are all multi-tasking! making an integrated marketing approach that much more powerful and necessary.
+ Newspapers - particularly newspaper websites - attract young affluent readers. See Shelly Lazarus on the Future of Advertising and the article Hyper-Local Hero by Chuck Salter.
+ Online research - be honest, how do you do research? Don't you google? Or do you pefer Searching for Meaning the hakia Way? Either way, don't you go online first?
+ Local search - this goes back to the local/global conversation. Be relevant to your local community base.

Tami Anderson's andHow To Reach Women in her post titled Women Figure Strong Into Key Marketing Trends for 2007 builds on Gordon's article.

I hope these readings inspire you for the year ahead of us. On behalf of Flooring The Consumer and everyone at Wear-Dated, I wish you the very best and great success for 2007!

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