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Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays! Happy New Year 2011!

Happy Holidays from Flooring The Consumer
I wish you and your family very
Happy Holidays!

May 2011 bring you marvelous success and happiness.

Thank you for subscribing, reading and commenting. You make this great fun and ever so interesting.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year 2011!



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bibliotheek Almere For an Unforgettable Retail Experience

Bibliotheek Almere For an Unforgettable Retail Experience
Imagine a Library with an unforgettable retail experience. More specifically Bibliotheek Almere in the Netherlands.

I first learned about Bibliotheek Almere in the August 2010 issue of DDI Magazine. Finally, I thought, a public space that not only recreates the Barnes & Noble vibe, but goes beyond it to create a shoppable public environment where I could see myself spending considerable time!

The DDI article, titled "A shoppable library. A retail approach puts the customer at the forefront of this Dutch public library", highlights the following:

Books are presented to customers with covers displayed rather than the traditional book spine in bookshelves format.

The library space is designed for lingering in and offers a "meandering landscape" where seating, lighting, information terminals and workspaces have been integrated into bookshelves.

Imagine five levels ranging from bookshelves, Internet areas, a read cafe, study areas and a multimedia area that is so dynamic that monitors project games as they happen and animate the building's exterior facade.

Books are arranged not by Dewey Decimal System, but rather by topics relevant to 'customers' and more similar to shops than to traditional libraries.

A curvilinear layout means an engaging adventure of discovery that draws visitors in.

Here are more details in Almere Library by Concrete Architectural Associates in the Contemporist - hat tip to the Indie Librarian.

I think I need a dose of Bibliotheek Almere. In fact, not only would public spaces benefit, but many retail spaces might, too.

I'm curious. How might you integrate some of these 'shoppable library' elements into your retail experience?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Retail Experience in the News - 12/17/10

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 12/17/10 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

This issue may qualify as the 'customer service' focused one given how many interesting & related stories I came across!

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.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Retail Experience Issues & Paco Underhill

Retail Experience Issues & Paco UnderhillAs you can tell from this picture, I have met Paco Underhill, founder of Envirosell, author of What Women Want: The Global Market Turns Female Friendly and accomplished retail experience anthropologist. This wasn't the first time, but it was the first time I had the presence of mind to ask for a photo!

Time spent with Paco Underhill is grounding. He reminds you of what matters in the retail experience and does so based on extensive observation. This most recent meeting took place in NYC in March 2010 as he discussed with Rich Relevance "Respect the Shopper. Harmonizing the Cross-Channel Experience." [White paper available for download via this link.]

In this meeting, Paco noted three levels of consumer convergence:

1. Mobile phones and the online world create a multi-channel world for consumers.

2.The economic crisis has acted as an accelerant for customers who are scrabbling to use technology tools to get more out of the money they have available, especially since the fixed costs in our lives - housing and healthcare - are out of our control and continue to increase.

3. Customers see one brand regardless of whether they seek us online or offline. This means that we must be consistent and unified regarless of the medium.

Paco Underhill brought up additional retail experience issues.
  • We live in a world designed by men, but intended for women.
  • We face intense time poverty and look for efficiencies online.
  • What is global vs. local? What drives customers globally to a brand? Is it online or is it brick-and-mortar?
Given that customers see one brand regardless of the medium through which they interact with retail, it's really important to consistently spend time walking in their shoes offline and online. At the same time, it helps to actively listen to customers - offline and in-store - to understand their world and how they use mobile and digital tools to interact with us.

Ideally, as we do this, we are keeping track of the information in some manner that tracks the range of options that customers have for interacting with us... and integrates - or harmonizes - all of those conversations.  Check out Time to Harmonize Your Cross-Channel Customer Experience for added perspective.

What's your take on this matter? How do you address these customer retail experience issues in your business? How do you track these conversations across different media?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Retail Experience in the News - 12/10/10

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 12/10/10 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

I was particularly pleased to find several links to consumer trends and women in the marketplace. Note, too, the Twitter & Facebook stats for national retailers.

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.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Retailers Doing Social Media Right

Starbucks does social media right
Have you read the NRF Retail's BIG Blog post titled Trendspotting: 11 retailers who do social media right?

It's a fascinating glimpse into how eleven retailers - more specifically, Best Buy, Amazon, Zappos, Dell, Nordstrom, Threadless, Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Burberry, Walmart and Loblaw - have not only "embraced ratings and reviews as a proven (online) moneymaker, but ... have taken social applications and outreach further" per Empowered's Josh Bernoff.

I wasn't surprised to see most of the retailers listed. I was curious, though, to see how each promoted its social media activity on its website.

Several retailer websites share a similar format - with social media presence listed via a link in a footer reference section sometimes above the fold - see Nordstrom, Best Buy, Dell - but also below the fold - see Zappos, Walmart and Threadless.

Starbucks prominently features its social media presence, including its last 3 blogposts, on its home page, as you can see from the screen shot above - the only one from this list to do so.

Nordstrom "Connect With Us"
Threadless displays its Facebook icon at the top of the page [it now uses Facebook for customer service] as well as in a footer below the fold with Twitter and RSS feeds. A link to its blog is listed under "Info".

It took me some effort to locate Dunkin' Donuts' social links.  Nothing on the home page. I had to go to "About Us" and then to "Press Room" to finally find sign of Twitter, Facebook and news. [By the way, same goes for Baskin Robbins.]

Burberry offers no sign of its very engaging flash-based Art of the Trench on its website [Note that music plays on both sites.]  You'll enjoy spending time there exploring, learning all about the trench and sharing it all with your Facebook friends.

I was surprised to discover that Nordstrom has so many Twitter and Facebook accounts and delighted to notice YouTube videos. To reach this page, you need to click on a cryptic 'connect with us' on the home page. I found no mention of the "popular blog 'threads' referred to in the Trendspotting post, although I did come across a broken RSS feed. Perhaps the missing blog? See Nordstrom: Connect With Us.

Walmart's social media icons all connect to a page "Values, Tips & Tidbits" listing several Twitter, Facebook and RSS options focused on saving. I was surprised, though, not to see the elevenmoms.com site featured anywhere on the Walmart site despite being an official Walmart Moms' site.

Amazon and Loblaw are included in the list because of their ratings and reviews.

I applaud what these 11 retailers are doing right with social media.

At the same time, I'd love to understand why all retailers - especially those doing social media right - don't visibly flaunt their social media presence. Don't you like what Starbucks does?

After all, "if you got it, flaunt it!" - even with discrete placements of those recognizable social media icons...

Don't you think?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Retail Experience in the News - 12/3/10

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 12/3/10 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Consider this the Economy/Consumer edition given how many articles I came across about the state of the marketplace!

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • Music in-store is content & should B managed carefully: Shoppers don't want 2 hear Xmas music b4 Dec. http://bit.ly/dbdBtr #retailexp
  •  CMO Council study: go-to-market process has blind spots http://bit.ly/gGxdb6 #RetailEXP

The Economy/Consumers

  • US economy showing signs of improvement per Beige Book. What R U noticing? http://bit.ly/fWPrlN #retailEXP
  • Delicious! Women more frugal then men this holiday season http://bit.ly/brULu8 Agree? disagree? #retailexp
  • How were your Black Friday/Cyber Monday? Per NYT, online sales remain strong http://nyti.ms/hCLYAg Good #retailexp news?
  • Good info here: 5 major trends in consumer spending from Amex http://bit.ly/hVLcDw #retailexp - Agree?
  • And top 4 trends in social commerce... http://bit.ly/fwjsdE #retailexp

Retail Experience Ideas

  • RT @BeckyMcCray: Taking some of the mystery out of setting retail prices and markups: http://goo.gl/fb/rHeRb #RetailExp
  • How do you apply 'active retailing' to your business? http://su.pr/4hQgNB #retailexp
  • How stores are making consumers smarter. Note retailers can B Bettr EDITORS http://bit.ly/fMa0Zh #retailexp
  • Intangibles of touch combined with uniqueness of locality make4 winning brick-mortar #retailexp http://bit.ly/eLbELH
  • How local differentiates an apparel manufacturer http://bit.ly/g48AlQ How do U use 'local' to differentiate yr #Retailexp?

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.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Simple Marketing Now - November 2010 Update

Simplify Your Marketing!


Welcome back from the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.

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

[If you are 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 November 2010

I hope you all spent a lovely Holiday last week - for those of you in the U.S.: Happy Thanksgiving 2010!

Did you have a chance to check out my latest eNewsletter? Here is the link: Simple News & Insights - Fall 2010. If you like what you see, perhaps you would consider subscribing?

Social Media Marketing Resources:

I have many good resources for you to consider starting with Meetups and Tweetups: Building Community

From a Content Marketing perspective, here are the latest posts in the series:

Getting Started In Content Marketing
The Value of Content Marketing: How Do You Explain It?
Measuring & Presenting Effectiveness of Content Marketing

Perhaps you'll find interesting my Bathroom Blogfest Social Media Marketing Analysis: Why Participate?

If you're intrigued with LinkedIn, I have a few resources for you:

Finally, here are the latest links to articles and news about practical marketing on Twitter, coded #PracticalMktr: Practical Simple Marketing In The News 11/2/10

As always, Thank You for reading.

Have a wonderful December.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Zappos Uses Social To Share Culture

CB Whittemore's 2010 Visit to Zappos
Imagine social tools being about sharing culture rather than for pushing deals. That's how Zappos uses them - be they the telephone, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, videos and more [see Zappos gets savvy with social media].

Zappos is intensely passionate and single-minded about its culture.  In fact, Zappos places a premium on employee fit with its unique customer service focused culture. "Our whole belief is that if we get the culture right, then most of the other stuff, like delivering great customer service or building a long term enduring brand, will happen naturally on its own," says CEO Tony Hsieh in 840 million reasons to celebrate. What's most intriguing is how Zappos shares its culture, using social tools. Rather than use then as selling tools, Zappos deliberately uses them to "...connect on a more personal level with both employees and customers. It gives people a glimpse into our company culture, which is ultimately what our brand is all about," explains Hsieh.

Mind you, this is the company that considers the telephone to be the best social media; "it's ... easier to build a personal and emotional connection with someone remotely than by email," says Hsieh in Happy @ Zappos.

In Delivering Happiness the Zappos Way, Hsieh advises would-be presenters to not sell a product, but rather to inspire the audience because "ultimately, it causes people to be more attached to the brand and the company. You'd much rather support a company that inspires you than one that doesn't."

As a result,as described in the March 2, 2009 issue of PRWeek in an article titled "A perfect fit", "all staffers are introduced to Twitter in their training, and more than 400 are active on the site, interacting with each other and customers."

The number is closer to 500 now and Zappos has integrated all of the Twitter streams into a single site [see below].

Hsieh explains in the article "the best way to provide customer service is to form relationships - with each other and with customers."  In At Zappos, Culture Pays, you get a feel for how Zappos "corporate culture is more than a set of values, and it is maintained by a complex web of human interactions. At Zappos the liberal use of social media facilitates the network that links employees with one another and with the company's customers..."

How many of you operate the same way?

As this Mashable interview with Hsieh titled Zappos CEO on How to Deliver Happiness with Social Media asks "Many companies view staff time spent on social media as a waste, and some are even blocking these sites. What is Zappos' approach to this? Do you think time on social media sites can increase well-being of staff or is this best left to their personal time?"

Hsieh responds, "we don't have a specific social media policy. In fact, we try to avoid policies about anything as much as possible, because usually policies are used to address the 1% of people causing a problem at the expense and inconvenience of the 99% of people that are not.

Our philosophy is to hire the right employees (employees whose personal values match our corporate core values), make sure everyone understands the long-terms vision, provide ongoing training and development opportunities, and then trust our employees to do the right thing."

It all comes back to culture and cultural fit and then using social tools to share [or "project that culture out into the world" - see 5 case studies on companies that win at Social Media and eCommerce] Zappos' uniquely warm, welcoming and other-focused culture that is known for decisions such as Zappos takes the high road again and bites $1.6million bullet...

Zappos exudes culture!
If you'd like to experience firsthand how Zappos uses social to share culture, check out these following links:
Or, you might consider Zappos' bootcamp - see Paid Content Profile: How Zappos became expert on customer service culture and a publisher.

I recommend, if you are headed to Las Vegas, that you simply schedule your very own Zappos tour to experience Zappos Culture firsthand. [Visit Zappos Insights for more information...]

Regardless, would you let me know how Zappos' example inspires you to use social to share your culture?

Previous posts in this series inspired by my 2010 Zappos tour include:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!



Image credit: Thanksgiving 2010 by C.B.Whittemore via Wordle.net

Monday, November 22, 2010

Active vs. Passive Retailing and Improving the Customer Experience

Active vs. Passive Retailing and Improving the Customer Experience
"Minding the customer" by Janet Groeber from DDI Magazine's March 2010 issue with perspectives from Herb Sorenson, Paco Underhill, Vince Guzzi and Marcie Merriman has inspired two posts so far: The Changing Customer Retail Experience. Data Vs. Insights and Reinventing Retail.

This post explores active vs. passive retailing and improving the customer experience.

I'm particularly taken with the notion of "active" retailing which implies thoughtful consideration of customers and how products meets their needs. Think Trader Joe's deliberately adhering to a set number of SKUs while encouraging new product introductions.

Active retailing also opens the door to the possibility of meaningful relationships. Lulu lemon athletica comes to mind.

From "Minding the customer", I found these quotes intriguing [note: bolding is mine]:

Underhill: "Retailers can either super-size or specialize - become all things to all people and manage it that way, or focus on who they want to serve."

"Over the past six months, we've found an astonishing number of customers - particularly those shopping for durable goods - pre-shop a Web site before arriving at the store. That's a fundamental reordering of how retailers take products to market and a completely different way of connecting."

Merriman: "Planned interruptions in the shoppers' path, ... in-store displays and disruption packaging, are current tactics to stop shoppers and make them pick up something they hadn't planned to purchase. Often, these tactics result in more mind clutter and a less enjoyable shopping experience..."

Guzzi:  "The physical environment is still the theater to stimulate ideas... Shoppers are in constant search of being surprised and delighted. Beyond this, understanding underlying customers needs has inspired retailers to incorporate new service offerings..."

Sorenson: "It is really quite simple, moving from the passive warehouse mentality to actually selling to shoppers, not just waiting for them to buy...  What do shoppers want to buy? ... That's what a shopper-centric retailer will focus on selling."

What's your take on active vs. passive retailing? How would you apply it to your business? How do you see it improving the customer experience?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Retail Experience in the News - 11/19/10

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 11/19/10 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Have you noticed that the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Holiday shopping frenzy is building to an unbelievable crescendo? Should be interesting to watch the next week + unfold. I'd love to hear your observations: what worked, what didn't, what you might adapt to your business...

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.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Have You Adapted Your Retail Experience?

Have You Adapted Your Retail Experience? by Christine B. Whittemore
This article about the retail experience and adapting it to a changed consumer appeared in the January 25-February 1, 2010 issue of Floor Covering Weekly.

Have you adapted your retail experience?

By Christine B. Whittemore

Have you noticed that our flooring consumer has changed?  It’s a change both subtle and obvious - subtle because it’s a natural evolution of forces that have been building over time and obvious because it’s now fully operational.  The end result is that our consumer has a new definition of value.  Unless you adapt the retail experience you offer your customer, you will lose her completely.

I see three major fronts of opportunity, each interconnected, based on three categories of influence.

Let’s start with the influences.

The era of frugality.
Our consumer has embraced the era of frugality in reaction to the economic turmoil we’re in.  If she hasn’t been directly affected by job loss, someone in her family or neighborhood has and she’s being cautious.  It doesn’t mean that she won’t purchase. But it does mean that she needs good reasons to do so.

She doesn’t trust what marketers tell her.
She’s been lied to, disrespected, taken advantage of and she’s tired of it.  She has access to information 24/7 via the Internet and will make sure she knows all that she needs to know before entering a floor covering store. Furthermore, she will tap into her social networks – online and off – to obtain additional guidance, perspective and context.  She wants to maintain control over her interactions and transactions with retail salespeople.  If you are not careful, she won’t trust you, either.

Her definition of value includes wanting to improve the world with her purchase decisions.
Women are concerned about the greater good and the environment they and their families live in.  They expect you to care, too, and be involved. If you aren’t involved in finding solutions to problems in your community, they will vote for others who are.

Furthermore, given a woman’s role of chief purchasing officer, chief moral promoter and chief home coordinator, you can be sure that she has generated discussion about these influences with each of her constituents.  She can help shape her children’s future by ensuring they don’t repeat our past excesses.

As dismal as you may consider the influences, they actually offer many opportunities – assuming you’re willing to adapt to our new consumer.

Make it simpler.
As much as the era of frugality is in response to the unfortunate economic environment, it’s also a reaction to excess.  In the consumer marketplace, consumers face an onslaught of choices.  Through frugality they can justify walking away from the overwhelming choices available.  Think of a sea of 50 similar beige carpet styles to choose from; each looks identical.  Having to figure out differences and benefits wastes her time.  Make the retail experience simpler.  Simplify product selection, edit the choices and offer meaningful options.  And don’t forget to include product maintenance solutions to tide her over until she decides to purchase new product.

Don’t lie to her or waste her time.
Our consumer is far from stupid. She also has access to more information than most flooring retail salespeople have available. Don’t even bother lying to her, she’ll find you out.  Don’t push product on her without truly understanding what she needs: that wastes her time.  Focus on consultative selling, on establishing relationships and offering solutions.  With that mindset, you and your retail salespeople have the opportunity to better understand the marketplace you do business in by exploring the world outside your store.  Ditch the hard sell and spend time listening to potential customers offline and online to hear what matters. 

Don’t make her regret that she gave you her money.
Your reputation matters – with your employees, your customers, in the community, with the environment.  How committed are you to outstanding customer service? What about product quality? Is your pricing deliberately confusing? Are you doing your share to support your community? How serious are you about green? Do you truly and actively support causes or are you a fake? She’s looking for authenticity and transparency.

Change is painful.  Ask our consumer. She’s had many changes to deal with. You have a great opportunity to adapt the retail experience you offer and create a customer for life.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Retail Experience in the News - 11/12/10

Wordle: #retailexp Happy Friday! Here is the 11/12/10 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

By the way, the article about Linda Fargo reminds me that Holiday store windows in NYC are right around the corner...  What do you have planned for your store windows?

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.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Business Wisdom: Dennis Moseley, Flooring Xpress

Business Wisdom: Dennis Moseley, Flooring Xpress

Dennis Moseley, president of Illinois based Flooring Xpress, shares the following business wisdom in response to two questions I recently asked him:

How is your business doing? What are you having success with?

Dennis writes:

Thanks for asking Christine. I have come to accept/embrace several ideas.

1. Volatility is the new normal. As much as we would like more even business, volatility both motivates a person to be more careful and humble. It’s not going away anytime soon. Think like a farmer.

2. Deleverage where it counts. Figure what makes a difference to our customers. Everything else doesn’t matter.

3. I cannot expense my way to success. I need to take more calculated risks and make sure I have an exit strategy.

4. I must hire/retain employees who embrace the new age of conversation both analog and digital.

5. Our company must consistently under promise and over deliver.

The old saying goes something like this: “how’s business?”... “ I’m still here.”  Our company just celebrated our 32nd Anniversary.

Congratulations, Dennis, and thank you for sharing these ideas. I'm particularly struck with the "think like a farmer" comment combined with customer focus. I expect that careful, humble and under promise/over deliver make for a memorable retail customer experience.

How about you? How is your business going? What's your business wisdom? What are you having success with? We'd love to hear and learn from you.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Retail Experience In the News - 11/5/10

Wordle: #retailexp Time for the 11/5/10 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Retail Experience and Customer Service

The Economy/Consumers

Retail Experience Ideas

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Interesting perspectives on franchisee vs. franchise social media presence-fr Customer persp, which matters? http://bit.ly/bgrGGO #Retailexp
  • Lovely article about merging online/offline and surviving future of retail http://bit.ly/cMHlhn #retailexp TU Arthur Corbin
  • Retailers, hope you're paying attn to email and facebook to connect with customers http://bit.ly/cWIiHU fr @retexperience #retailexp
  • What to look forward to as technology affects customer loyalty and #retailexp http://bit.ly/bDgV09
  • Will Apple dominate location based marketing? http://bit.ly/ca3vlG fr @retexperience #retailexp

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

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

Graphic Created Via Wordle.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Working Computers Survey: You & Your Computer

I have a special request. Would you mind taking a minute to fill out this survey titled You and Your Computer?  It's for my husband, Ted Whittemore, author of Working Computers.

He wants to know more about you and your computer, what worries you about your computer and what matters to you in your computer.  Your responses will help him develop content for his blog, Working Computers.

It may even offer you valuable advice on how to make better use of your computer!

Subscribers, please click on Working Computers Survey: You & Your Computer - Perfect Together! to access the survey.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

And, if you'd like to subscribe to Working Computers, please don't be shy! I think the world of Ted Whittemore and am extremely grateful for his professional computer advice. Not that I'm biased in any way ;-).

Many Thanks!


Monday, November 01, 2010

Simple Marketing Now - October 2010 Update

Simplify Your Marketing!


Happy Halloween to you all!  I hope you enjoyed a ghost or goblin or two over the weekend.

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

[If you are 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 October 2010

The biggest news for October has to do with Bathroom Blogfest 2010: Press Release: Bathroom Blogfest 2010.  This was the plan for the week: Bathroom Blogfest 2010 Begins.

Immediately before Bathroom Blogfest began, I participated in Blog Action Day: Water & AOC3.

Other exciting news, Simple Marketing Blog is now listed in eCairn's Top 150 Social Media Marketing Blogs.
Happy Halloween!

You will enjoy the wisdom that Nufloors retailer Cynthia Dean shares in Connecting With Customers: Nufloors Advice.

Social Media Marketing Resources:

These three Bathroom Blogfest related posts include valuable social media marketing resources:
I've been contributing to Content Marketing Institute's crowd-sourced series on engaging content. Although I focus on my contribution in these posts, I think you'll want to read the original posts, too.

Finally, here are the latest links to articles and news about practical marketing on Twitter, coded #PracticalMktr: Practical Simple Marketing In The News 10/5/10.

As always, Thank You for reading.

Have a wonderful November.


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/
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