Falling out of like with online shopping

DEAR OVERSTOCK.COM

Two weeks ago, I ordered an outdoor rug for my back deck from you.  I was so pleased to find the selection you offerred, and did a bit of exploring on your site to determine the size and style I wanted. I love that my chosen rug was a good price, the shipping date was very reasonable, and in less than three days the rug was on the deck, under the new table. Imagine how happy I was to have my neighbors over for dinner, collecting compliments on my style of outdoor entertaining.

So, why oh why, Overstock, do you continue to show up in my Facebook feed as a sponsored post with views and ads of all the other rugs I looked at but did not order???

Come on now, you know I bought one of the 5 styles I was looking at. Why do you now haunt (read as annoy) me with the other 4?

This the is most shopper-annoying part of technology.

It makes me want to delete my Overstock.com account. Instead of helping me, you are interrupting my life while I am trying to enjoy what I bought from you already.

WHEN WILL YOU LISTEN??

I;m falling out of like with you.

 

The Maxxinista in Me

If you are female, you have it in your DNA. If you are male and have it too, shopping is never a drudgery. We, the shoppers, create our own fun and games in the stores, especially when we’re on adventure mission mode for a bargain.

Enter the Maxxinista. She reads the September issues. If  you have to ask, stop now and thanks for stopping by.

She seeks silhouettes, colors, fabrics. This is not about brands, it’s all about style, tempered by what you can get away with for dates, work, conferences, you know…the cleavage factor…a.k.a. how short IS that skirt.

In a lot of high end retail, the selection is curated and adapted from the runway collections. In TJ Maxx, it’s great knock offs and prizes galore. At half the price or less. Mastering the experience is part of the empowerment, right?

This retailer knows their shopper psyche, enhancing the experience with better merchandising, nicer dressing rooms with a limit of TEN garments, not 6, and don’t forget they have year-round layaway!

Only yesterday, which was Labor Day, I overhead a well-heeled woman in a very busy TJ’s store exclaiming delight at finding current Nordstrom dresses at half the price. She was beaming, I might add.

Those Ellen Tracy “Spartan Green” skinny jeans for $39.99?  Those Vince Camuto slim fit spot-on trendy blue ankle pants for $24.99? Searching and finding trendy Michael Kors key pieces that fit?

What’s not to love? Half off. What’s not to inspire more shopping?

Now stop and think about the 60% of the population that hasn’t had a raise effectively since Lyndon Johnson was President. Welcome to the largest shopper segment in America.

What’s your strategy to win her over?

 

 

 

Packaging is the silent salesman, whispering in the shopper’s ear.

The role of packaging is to be the silent salesman, according to Vickie VanHurley, Ph.D. and Package Design Team Supervisor for Meijer.  Being a regular Meijer shopper, I recently reached out to Vickie to engage her in a packaging methodology dialogue.  Frankly, I wanted to know why they made the private label potato chip bag dark green. What was the insight?

But Vickie works in general merchandise, and while my question on chip insights goes unanswered for now, we had a great discussion on the role of insights in packaging.

Meijer moves fast in private brand product development, and Vickie’s team rarely has the luxury time to complete in-store testing. The company relies on the prowess of the entire team and its ability to write an insightful branding statement as the creative direction for any private brand packaging in the general merchandise area.

Vickie’s job is to interpret an emotional connection to desire for the product and translate it to the shopper via packaging as if she were the sales associate telling you the story at the point of purchase.  She wants you to feel something visceral, but she doesn’t get as much space as the ad and display designers. But working as a team gives her the opportunity to “nail it” on packaging, sometimes using just a wrapper.

So I journeyed to the aisles of Meijer to see what examples I could find of Vickie’s craft in action. And find them I did.  Although the temp outside was only 38 chilly degrees, I felt The Summer of Color connection in an warm and sunny manner. The silent salesman spoke to my desire to update my kitchen and linen closets with fresh, fun items to add pops of excitement to my summer entertaining. The entire concept was visually stimulating, from display to packaging to the products themselves. Even the beach towels were inspiring. Take a look at how integrated all of the elements are!

Well-balanced and so pretty!

 

Pretty enough to be a serving board.

 

The quality is really nice!

 

The package tag is as nice as a notecard inviting you to the beach house!

 

Ahh, yes, time to plan the vacation trip! I want this experience for my family.

 

Vickie’s team is doing a great job with the Katie Brown line of home accessories as well. The display and packaging instantly conveys a sort of stylized, rustic yet approachable vibe. “Simply at Meijer” and what look to be an updated version: “Keeping it simple at Meijer” is a nice packaging tagline that assures the shopper she’s going to get it right without too much fuss and distress. I also loved the cutout towel wrapper, allowing just one more hint of saturated color to peep through the cutout. That silent salesman is telling me that the up-market design cues are an important part of feeling good about buying home furnishings at Meijer.

This all but says “come on over to my home”

 

Wrap up and enjoy movie night in style!

 

Doing dishes is now a style statement. Sign me up!

 

I can’t wait to see more of what this team is up to. Vickie and her crew obviously get it when it comes to arming the silent salesman with what to say to shoppers without uttering one spoken word. They’ll show us more at the Shopper Insights conference in July. I hope they bring some sample products of the new DRINK line for the cocktail party!

 

Will Magnolia expansion plan work for Best Buy?

Better yet, will the expansion of Magnolia Design Studios work for high-end shoppers that BestBuy wants in its stores in select geography?

While luxury goods sales inched forward in 2011, the forecast is soft again, with personal technology leading the electronics category. Coupled with the belief that homes are just not going to recover significant value any time soon, shoppers may desire, but decide not to invest in high-end home entertainment and management systems.

If it were me and I were building, I would surely investigate. In my humble shopper marketing opinion, home management technology, especially the green sort, suits me fine. I’m ready, but retrofitting a home built in 1974 isn’t going to get done this year!

I’m going to keep an eye on this concept. It could signal a much needed turn in the home refurbishing category, even on only a niche basis. In the meantime, I hope BestBuy stocks up on  iPads for the holidays. If you can’t give your spouse an automatic home management system this year, give an iPad and claim your spot on the trendy list. But hurry, Best Buy’s website is already warning of limited quantity.