Home' Border Enterprise : Enterprise Spring-Summer 2009 Contents 29
A challenge confronting the growing number
of natural product retailers in sectors such as
food and cosmetics is to convince consumers
that natural products are not just better for
the environment but also perform with equal
effectiveness to artificial products.
Providing scientific evidence of product
effectiveness is now a key feature of some
companies' marketing campaigns. For instance,
Estee Lauder's Origins division recently launched
a skin-care product called Youthtopia that was
advertised with claims such as: "73 percent saw
younger looking skin with fewer lines" and "75
percent agreed their skin felt firmer."
4. Popup shops.
These are temporary stores set up by retailers
either in unconventional locations (e.g. churches
or university campuses), or in vacant conventional
retail space. They are used by retailers to
introduce themselves into new markets where they
have not yet established a real estate presence.
Mainstream retailers such as Target (US),
Limited, Gucci and Brooks Brothers have been
using pop-up stores to reach new untapped
communities. Increasing retail vacancy rates are
creating significantly greater opportunities for pop-
5. Corporate responsibility.
The issue of green and sustainable retailing
is closely associated with the broader topic of
corporate responsibility, which involves community
involvement, charitable giving, fair trade and good
working conditions for employees.
In Europe and America social responsibility is
now high on the list of shopper purchasing criteria.
The best retailers believe they can no longer afford
to appeal to material self-gratification alone.
Retail chains are making a greater effort to
tailor merchandise assortments to local markets.
However, the customisation trend runs much
further than that.
For example, US drug store retailer CVS
offers customised gift cards whereby visitors to
its website are able to create virtual gift cards
with a personalised look and feel, incorporating
customer-selected colours, fonts and greetings.
After selecting the dollar amount of the gift card
shoppers can also specify the date, time and
destination of email delivery.
The virtual gift card can be printed by the
recipient and brought to the store for redemption.
7. Advancing technology ahead of the
Technology went mainstream at the till a long
time ago but now mobile hand-held devices are
being used in a variety of ways to speed the
checkout process and improve the efficiency
and enjoyment of the shopping experience. For
example, portable terminals are now being used by
some retailers that enable customers to scan items
before they reach the checkout, where they simply
need to pay.
These technological tools, like corporate
responsibility, add to a retailer's cache and
represent a genuine marketing advantage.
8. Social media.
Retailers are increasingly using social media
networks such as Twitter and Facebook as market
research and marketing channels. The sites
provide an opportunity for retailers to form and
interact with communities of consumers, and to
direct them to virtual or physical space such as
other websites or physical stores.
9. Using vacant shop windows as
This is the classic case of making a silk purse
out of a sow's ear: use the increasing number
of vacant shop windows in shopping centres to
promote retailers and retailers' products. This
can often be hi-tech, involving the use of digital
displays, and draw the shopper's attention to
specific merchandise or promotions in a nearby
10. Discounting and giveaways.
Surprise surprise, they are still here despite
massive inventory reductions that have created so-
called "zombie stores" (stores that have large areas
of vacant space and half-empty shelves). Don't
expect the promotional marketing tool to be put
down any time soon.
Michael Baker is a global retail and property analyst
and consultant. email@example.com
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