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Friday, October 29, 2010

Retail Experience Basics: Bathroom Blogfest 2010

Bathroom Blogfest 2010
What I appreciate about Paco Underhill is how grounding his observations are.  In Back to Basics with Paco Underhill in the March 2010 issue of DDI Magazine he makes several points that we should all pay attention to particularly with respect to the retail experience and our very important woman consumer.

More specifically, he addresses safety and cleanliness and how much women consumers appreciate, expect and need these in their retail experiences.

Safety because for the most part "guys are physically stronger, not to mention bigger, than the average woman. Thus, females are conscious of their own personal security in ways most males really can't fathom, whether it's the lighting levels in the lobby, the burned-out bulb in the parking lot or hotel window that isn't locked... Women often feel vulnerable...."

Same goes for cleanliness.  "For a majority of the world's females, determining whether they are in a clean environment is an intuition, an undercurrent, a sixth sense, a vibe they puck up about every room in their house, every retail establishment they frequent, every dressing room they try on clothing in, every restaurant they dine in, every hotel they plunk their suitcase down in, ... and every bathroom they enter."

Safety and cleanliness represent necessities for women.

Interestingly, Back to Basics by Beth Freedman [same title!] in addressing the minimum requirements for travel refers too to the need for "a safe, clean and friendly environment."  In his article, Paco refers to travel and even a hotel where management consulted with its cleaning staff in anticipation of a redesign to make cleanliness easier to achieve.

Safety, cleanliness. Friendliness, too.  Important to the retail experience. Hmmm.

Consider Buc-ees with locations in Texas. I learned about them shortly after Bathroom Blogfest 2009 ended. Guess what?  They pride themselves on having the best and cleanest bathrooms in Texas. They believe in having bathrooms as destination and if you don't think their retail experience strategy experience is right on, they check out the Buc-ees Testimonials Blog, the Fan Photos, or their YouTube videos. By the way, close to 200,000 fans like them on Facebook.

Retail experience basics: safety, friendliness and cleanliness especially in bathrooms.

What are you waiting for?  Don't be stuck in the 60s!

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2010!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Toilet Paper, Advertising & Bathroom Blogfest 2010

Toilet Paper, Advertising & Bathroom Blogfest 2010
There's something about being involved in the Bathroom Blogfest on an ongoing basis [this is year #5] that has sensitized me to mentions of bathrooms, toilet paper and other related subjects. Here's what I've collected since the last Bathroom Blogfest.

Starting with Toilet Paper.

I encourage you to visit fellow Bathroom Blogfester Joseph Michelli whose Quality Toilet Paper post says it all about the retail experience. He is the author of The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary and about to address the Zappos experience.

By the way, I've just discovered ToiletPaperWorldBlog as well as Toilet Paper - no surprise, toilet paper is a relatively modern invention... perhaps not 'stuck in the 60s', but close.

In March 2010, I came across Cottonelle to Roll Over Tissue Results on Oscars which claims that the brand has started "a two-way dialogue with consumers -- something we haven't seen in this category for some time." Cottonelle has done so via a debate: do you load the toilet paper roll over or under?  Roll-orientation: Cottonelle to resolve the over-or-under toilet paper debate documents the results.  Over wins hands-down. Naturally.

The article refers to a product that the brand introduced during the Academy Awards, "an innovation that will give consumers a 'better toilet paper experience.'" I've searched, but I'm not sure what that is.

However, I did find The Tissue That Tanked from 2002.

Personal Care Products

Next, from May, I came across Kim-Clark Veep Talks Turkey About Personal Care. The interview makes interesting points about the marketing of products that are intensely functional yet have also evolved into personal care products.  These categories have traditionally had "some taboo or stigma associated with them" and were "really born out of institutional roots....And the consumer thinks of them as personal care..."

As it relates to Kotex marketing, VP Marketing Andrew Meurer states "if you pull up any current TV ads, both ours and competitors', they hearken back to the 1960s; they aren't addressing today's woman at all. You see companies talking to women in a very paternalistic fashion; you see euphemisms used to try to communicate."

Sounds like an amazing opportunity to better meet consumer needs.


I've always been partial to silly potty dances. I'll have you know that Kimberly-Clark Pull-Ups Reinvents 'Potty Dance' and I have the video to prove it.  What do you think? Will your toddler go for it? How 'bout you?

[Subscribers, click on this link to Do The Potty Dance on YouTube.]

Kitty Bathroom aka KittyLitter

Have you heard of "Double Duty" from Church & Dwight 's Arm & Hammer specifically developed to help you with your kitty's solid waste?  Read all about it in Addressing Your Cat's... Ahem ... Solid Waste where, to communicate the product's value, "the brand decided there was no room for euphemism."

Same as for personal care products.

What I observe from these various product introductions and interviews is that toilet paper, bathrooms and bathroom related products are no longer 'stuck in the 60s.' Product marketers have started paying attention to conversations taking place among consumers who aren't willing to be ignored, patronized or made uncomfortable. They are responding and focusing more on what matters.

What about in your world: what have you observed? What is 'stuck in the 60s?'

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2010!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Water Matters. Bathroom Blogfest 2010

Water Matters. Bathroom Blogfest 2010
Kicking off Bathroom Blogfest 2010 has me thinking about water and the critical role it plays in our lives. Water matters.

Perhaps it's that Blog Action Day which took place 10/15/10 addressed Water.

Or maybe that sales of Age of Conversation 3 will benefit Charity:Water. [Disclaimer: I am a contributor to Age of Conversation 3.]

I wrote about both in Blog Action Day: Water & AOC3.

I've also just taken part in a local CROP Hunger Walk where water plays as important a role as food.

In any case, water matters and Bathroom Blogfest 2010 has begun and I'm thinking about water.

Did you know that World Toilet Day takes place November 19?  It's sponsored by the World Toilet Organization which invests in sanitation around the world to help ensure a better world. I learned about that from fellow Bathroom Blogfester Bethany Richmond who writes the Carpet and Rug Institute Blog.  Did you know that poor sanitation conditions prevents girls from getting an education? Shameful when you think that the more educated girls are, the more likely you are to have stable living conditions which in turn leads to more stable economic environments.

Talk about 'Stuck in the 60s'! Isn't that something you want to change?

I started researching better sanitation and came across intriguing solutions available literally for pennies!  For Pennies, a Disposable Toilet That Could Help Grow Crops and A Path to Financial Equality in Malaysia. It certainly gets your attention!

As you read through the various Bathroom Blogfest posts this week, keep in the back of your mind how lucky we are to have water and what we might do to help others enjoy the water and sanitation we do.  Let's prevent sanitation from being 'Stuck in the 60s'. Let's truly make clean water available to all.

Check out the World Toilet Organization.

Consider purchasing Age of Conversation 3: It's Time to Get Busy!

Let me know what you think about water and how it matters to others.

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2010!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Retail Experience In The News - 10/22/10

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 10/22/10 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

My personal favorite is the AdAge article about the ramifications of the decline in the US car culture. I refer to those ideas repeatedly as I think about the consumer of the future.

Also interesting are the global/local considerations.

Let me know what resonates most with you.  By the way, since Bathroom Blogfest 2010 will be happening next week, I'll be holding off on Retail Experience in the News... which means lots more goodies for you when things resume in early November!

Retail Experience and Customer Service

The Economy/Consumers

Retail Experience Ideas

Integrating Online with Offline

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Graphic Created Via Wordle.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

UX, Bathrooms, And Mad Men: Bathroom Blogfest 2010

UX, Bathrooms, And Mad Men: Bathroom Blogfest 2010
I've alluded to this momentous event. Now, it's time to share some details with you!  Bathroom Blogfest 2010 is happening next week and you can learn more about it on UX Magazine!

That's right. Check out UX, Bathrooms, and Mad Men.  It describes the details about this year's Bathroom Blogfest.

More specifically, from October 25 through 29, 2010, with marvelous perspectives from 33 bloggers writing 41 blogs. Details below. The theme, "Stuck in the 60s?" is Mad Men inspired.

Overall, it's guaranteed to be an eye-opening blast and I hope you'll join in on the fun.

Visit BathroomBlogfest.com.
Like Bathroom Blogfest on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
Read the official press release!
Be part of the fun!

BloggerBlog NameBlog URL
Susan AbbottCustomer Experience Crossroadshttp://www.customercrossroads.com/customercrossroads/
Paul AnaterKitchen and Residential Designhttp://www.KitchenAndResidentialDesign.com
Shannon BilbyBig Bob's Outlethttp://blog.bigbobsoutlet.com/
Shannon BilbyCarpets N More Bloghttp://blog.carpetsnmore.com/
Shannon BilbyDolphin Carpet Bloghttp://blog.dolphincarpet.com/
Shannon BilbyFrom The Floors Uphttp://fromthefloorsup.com/
Shannon BilbyMy Big Bob's Bloghttp://blog.mybigbobs.com/
Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketinghttp://bloombergmarketing.blogs.com/bloomberg_marketing/
Laurence Borel Blog Till You Drophttp://www.laurenceborel.com/
Bill BuyokAvente Tile Talk Bloghttp://tiletalk.blogspot.com/
Jeanne Byington The Importance of Earnest Servicehttp://blog.jmbyington.com/
Becky CarrollCustomers Rock!http://customersrock.net/
Marianna Chapman Results Revolutionhttp://www.resultsrevolution.com
Katie Clark Practial Katiehttp://practicalkatie.blogspot.com/
Nora DePalma American Standard's Professor Toilethttp://www.professortoilet.com/
Nora DePalma O'Reilly DePalma: The Bloghttp://www.oreilly-depalma.com/blog/
Leigh Durst LivePath Experience Architect Webloghttp://livepath.blogspot.com/
Valerie FritzThe AwarepointBloghttp://www.awarepointblog.com/
Iris GarrottChecking In and Checking Outhttp://circulating.wordpress.com/
Tish GrierThe Constant Observerhttp://spap-oop.blogspot.com
Renee LeCroyYour Fifth Wallhttp://yourfifthwall.com/
Joseph MichelliDr. Joseph Michelli's Blogwww.josephmichelli.com/blog
Veronika MillerModenus Bloghttp://www.modenus.com/blog
Arpi NalbandianTILE Magazine Editor Bloghttp://www.tilemagonline.com/Articles/Blog_Nalbandian
Maria PalmaPeople 2 People Servicehttp://www.people2peopleservice.com/
Reshma Bachwani ParitoshThe Qualitative Research Bloghttp://www.onqualitativeresearch.blogspot.com/
David PolinchockPolinchock's Ponderingshttp://blog.polinchock.com/
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond Scarlet Opus Trends Bloghttp://trendsblog.co.uk/
David ReichMy 2 Centshttp://reichcomm.typepad.com/my_weblog/
Sandy Renshaw Around Des Moineshttp://www.arounddesmoines.com/
Sandy Renshaw Purple Wrenhttp://www.purplewren.com/
Bethany RichmondCarpet and Rug Institute Bloghttp://www.carpet-and-rug-institute-blog.com/
Bruce SandersRIMtailing Bloghttp://rimtailing.blogspot.com/
Steve TokarPlease Be Seatedhttp://stevetokar.wordpress.com/
Carolyn TownesBecoming a Woman of Purposehttp://spiritwomen.blogspot.com/
Stephanie WeaverExperienceologyhttp://experienceology.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreFlooring The Consumerhttp://flooringtheconsumer.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreSimple Marketing Bloghttp://www.simplemarketingblog.com/
Christine & Ted WhittemoreSmoke Rise & Kinnelon Bloghttp://smokerise-nj.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreThe Carpetology Bloghttp://carpetology.blogspot.com/
Linda WrightLindaLoo Build Business With Better Bathroomshttp://lindaloo.com/

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reinventing Retail

Reinventing RetailIn The Changing Customer Retail Experience. Data Vs. Insights, I mentioned an article titled "Minding the customer" by Janet Groeber with perspectives from Herb Sorenson,Paco Underhill,Vince GuzziMarcie Merriman. It's in DDI Magazine's March 2010 issue. From that article, comes another topic that I'd like to explore with you: reinventing retail or at least rethinking it.

Here the quote that got me going on this topic:

From Paco Underhill, "...the basic design of the American supermarket has, for the most part remained unchanged since the 1930s. Much of that design was based on the weekly shopping trip, but also on construction and energy management costs. So, we understand why milk (historically) is in the left hand back corner, where it's more efficient to run power lines for refrigeration. But that has changed, so there are more possibilities now."

There may be more possibilities, but the retail store design hasn't changed all that much - be the store a supermarket or another type store - in the past few decades. Or has it?

We have seen retail salespeople emerge from behind a counter where they were gatekeepers between product and shopper. Product is now readily accessible in most stores. Self-service is common.

We've seen store windows change [see A. Alfred Taubman: Overcoming Threshold Resistance] becoming powerful means for drawing shoppers in [see Retail Window Displays Matter.]

I love the glimpse of the 1880s retail world that Emile Zola describes in  The Ladies' Paradise where a personal shopper escorts every shopper throughout the store. Nowadays, that's more of a high-end or specialty approach to retail.

Apple has used The Apple Store concept to address problems associated with its product category. Do other similar examples come to mind?

What changes have you noticed in retail? Which ones seem most effective? Which ones least?

If you weren't constrained by energy management or other paradigms, how would you go about reinventing retail?

I'd love to hear!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Retail Experience in the News - 10/15/10

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 10/15/10 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

This has to be customer service focused week! Notice the focus on local preferences and trends and successfully differentiating oneself as a result of intense focus on customers.  How would you apply that to your business?

Retail Experience and Customer Service

Retail Experience Ideas

Integrating Online with Offline

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Graphic Created Via Wordle.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Changing Customer Retail Experience. Data Vs. Insights

No surprise, the Customer Retail Experience is changing. It's due to technology, the economy and also the consumer. From what I can tell, the change is exciting. However, like all change, it's also disruptive and disconcerting. Will you join me as I explore some of these changes? I'd love to hear your perspectives.

First topic to explore: data.

More specifically customer retail data and how to glean customer retail insights from the data.

After all, there's a ton of data available nowadays.

How do you use all of that data?  How do you make consumer meaning from it? How do you interpret point-of-sale measures to determine how customers behave in-store?

It's a question asked of 4 retail experts in a discussion about retail trends and shopper marketing in DDI Magazine's March 2010 issue. The article is titled "Minding the customer" by Janet Groeber and includes perspectives from Herb Sorenson, Paco Underhill, Vince Guzzi and Marcie Merriman. The article includes a multitude of other gems worth addressing separately.

Back to data.

The question about retail data had me thinking intensely about data vs. information and insight. And about what sales data don't tell us, particularly about customer behavior in-store.

If I think through some of my shopping expeditions and the ones where I opt for self-service vs. live service, I guarantee that no retail executive can understand why I choose one over the other simply based on my sales data.  I bet it's the same for you.

Marcie Merriman explains "this data can't tell the retailer why things are working without elaborate testing, which still may not provide accurate or definitive feedback."

Paco Underhill says "Gathering data is easy, but figuring out what it means often requires going into the field." He should know. For perspective on that, read In Bid to Sway Sales, Cameras Track Shoppers from The New York Times.

What's your take on data vs. insights and the changing retail experience?

How often do you find yourselves going into the field and spending time in-store watching what actually happens so you have better context for interpreting the mounds of data? And, when you do, don't you emerge filled with ideas and insights?

[P.S.: This question also reminded me of my Surfaces 2008 Presentation: What Your Register Tape Doesn't Tell You.]

Friday, October 08, 2010

Retail Experience In the News - 10/8/10

Wordle: #retailexp It's Friday! Time for your dose of the latest in Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week ending 10/8/10.

By the way, quite a few mobile related stories here. Definitely a trend to watch. What are you seeing as customers come into your stores? What are they doing with their mobile devices that they weren't doing before?

Retail Experience and Customer Service

The Economy/Consumers

Retail Experience Ideas

Integrating Online with Offline

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Graphic Created Via Wordle.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Simple Marketing Now - September 2010 Update

Simplify Your Marketing!

September 2010 Simple Marketing Now Update

Happy Fall for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere and a brief [I'll got into more detail in a separate post] reminder that Bathroom Blogfest 2010 will be taking place at the end of October! If you have any retail experience stories you'd like me to include, just let me know! 

Here follows the September 2010 update from Simple Marketing Now with posts categorized into Social Media Marketing Resources and Simple Marketing News.

[For those of you new to Flooring The Consumer, I also write the Simple Marketing Blog where I discuss marketing strategy and creative, practical, simple marketing approaches and share best practices - many of which may be relevant to you and your business as you consider what's possible. The blog also acts as newsroom for Simple Marketing Now.]

Simple Marketing News for September 2010

Have you had a chance to listen to Dave Foster's interview series about LinkedIn? If not, here are links to the series: LinkedIn Advanced on TalkFloor Social Media Marketing Series.

I'm thrilled to pieces about Simple Marketing Blog: Junta42 #11 Top Content Marketing Blog.

Finally, we issued Press Release: Nufloors Turns Flooring Customers Into Advocates

Social Media Marketing Resources:

I have many resources to share with you:

Unleash the Power of Content: MarketingProfs B2B Forum

The New World Order Online: Floor Covering Institute

Social Flooring Index on TalkFloor.com

Another terrific resource is Toby Bloomberg's AMA Podcast Series: Social Media Marketing GPS. Thank you, Toby, for including me!

A few other updates:

On The Carpetology Blog, I'm not sure that I've brought you up to date!
And there's the Social Flooring Index, too:

Floor Focus: Social Media in Flooring - May 2010
Floor Covering News Social Media Guide 2010
BuildDirect's Co-Founder Rob Banks on Mashable
Social Flooring Blog Index - August 2010

Have you checked out The Floor Covering Institute Blog?  My latest post is Floor Covering's New World Order Online.

As always, Thank You for reading.

Have a wonderful October - and don't forget about Bathroom Blogfest 2010!


Monday, October 04, 2010

Broadway Fashion Mannequins: NYC Catwalk!

I had the experience of a lifetime this summer walking along Broadway in NYC's fashion district and interacting with each of the 32 marvelous mannequins between 32nd and 42nd streets. Did you see them? I was so enthralled with the overall effect [and dismayed to hear that they would disappear in September] that I scheduled time to take photos of each one so I could share them with you.

According to VMSD's Broadway mannequins:

Broadway has been transformed into an open-air fashion runway, as 32 custom-crafted mannequins, supplied by Ralph Pucci Intl. (New York), line the famous New York thoroughfare. The Fashion Center BID (Business Improvement District) launched the Sidewalk Catwalk at the end of June, as a celebration of art and industry. The event, which will run through the summer, is centered on the mannequin, an enduring icon of the fashion world.

 Thirty New York designers, using weather resistant materials from Materials ConneXion (New York), interpreted their vision of the quintessential industry standard. Students from FIT and Parsons also participated in the design of two mannequins, along with such industry notables as Tommy Hilfiger, Dianne von Furstenberg, Elie Tahari and Kenneth Cole.

My first encounter with this kind of public art display was in 2006 in Denver, Colorado, with a marvelous series of cows as public art [see Mooving On to Greatness]. I couldn't get enough of the experience.

The same goes for the Broadway Fashion Mannequins on the NYC Catwalk!

Here's a map of the Broadawy catwalk mannequins and the official website with copious details.

Here are other articles about the summer Broadway Designer Mannequins event on Broadway:

Starts Thursday: "Sidewalk Catwalk" Puts Designer Mannequins on Broadway
Artful Mannequins Strut Down Broadway: A Slide Show
About Maria Cornejo - a Squidoo Lens
From Edge Boston, a slideshow
Designer mannequins strut down Broadway

Bravo Broadway and the Fashion Mannequin Catwalk! I hope it returns next summer to inspire us again.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Retail Experience in the News - 10/1/10

Wordle: #retailexp Here, for your Friday reading pleasure, is the 10/1/10 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

I'm intrigued with the collaborative nature of several of the online/offline ideas as well as with mobile/barcoding concepts.  How do you see these ideas working in your retail environment?

Retail Experience and Customer Service

The Economy/Consumers

Retail Experience Ideas

Integrating Online with Offline

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Graphic Created Via Wordle.
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