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Aug 31, 2009

Rather Pure

That Store, Chatswood Chase, sells upmarket denim - looks stylish but perhaps a bit too pure for today's market ?

When More is Less

Gift shop, Miranda- I am sure they had some good stuff - if only I could find it :(  Clutter is a #FAIL for time-pressed, attention challenged shoppers in today's market. (It also makes inventory control very tricky).

Cool Nissan Micra

Campaign on adshels around Sydney city - follows up on Twitter campaign -  ideal for target market.

Aggressive JB Hi Fi

JB Hi Fi, Chatswood, pumping along - of note is how they aggressively promote their catalogue - can't remember when I last received one anywhere, and their online presence is average.  Clearly, though, the results speak for themselves at the moment.


Retail Landscape

Napoleon Invades

Napoleon Perdis store, Miranda - notable for how large it is - clearly a big push into the malls is part of their distribution strategy - in addition to being in the department stores like Myer and DJ's. The deliberately over-the-top decor is not to everyone's taste, but it certainly stands out, and is clearly identifiable - contrast this with  the Clinique kiosks.

Katies runs very late

Katies, Miranda.  This national retailer is still deep into markdowns across the store, when other fashion retailers are well into launching new season.  This must be a concern for management, and shoppers eventually get tired of markdowns and sales.  Watch this space.

Aug 30, 2009

Dad's Bag

Darrell Lea, Miranda. It's Father's Day this Sunday - get your dad the bag he's always wanted :)

Quite some Feet

Upmarket shoe store Double Bay - this window stands out. Shoes were really expensive, though.

Rivetting and tight

Levis store, Chatswood - good looking store, didn't see many customers, though (Thurs lunch-time). I think the mood lighting is quite effective. The fitout looks pretty expensive - I am unsure of whether the economics make sense in the tight margins of the denim category.

Aug 29, 2009

Twitter: Psychology or Psycho-Babble?

Source: eTailToday.com.au

Extract from my article in eTailToday:

You might well ask why Twitter has taken off – after all, the 'tweets' or micro blog messages are limited to 140 characters, you can get easily get inundated by spam and get-rick-quick artists, and if not careful can waste a lot of precious time.

Some pundits think the Twitter world is inhabited by geeks with ADD. This is only partially correct. It is clear from spending a bit of quality time on Twitter that mainstream consumers are now 'signing on' in droves.

In my opinion, the reasons for Twitter's spread are rooted in fundamental psychological processes at work, and whether Twitter remains as the vehicle of choice for micro-bloggers or not, the practice of micro-blogging has become permanently established.

Marketers need to take note.

The linkfor the rest of the article:

I look forward to your comments or suggestions.

Aug 28, 2009

The Value of Values

The Body Shop, Chatswood.  I think The Body Shop are sound retailers from a technical perspective, but like most of you I have been aware of their values - as articulated in the press.  I stopped to have a look at how they have put them up on the outside of the store, which is commendable, in that it is transparent.

Here's the question:  Do you think they live up to their values as listed ?

Let me know your thoughts.

Retail Landscape

Smiggle's Double Act

Cool Smiggle plasma video clip (apologies for poor quality) - the customise handset concept is compelling on screen, and they also have (for the first time ?) two offers sequentially, suggesting they have found this is really working for them.  One to watch.

A Thing of Beauty

Clinique mall kiosk, Chatswood.  I liked this Clinique mall kiosk which does a great job of representing the brand.  The subtle cues, like the consultants' white coats which signal professionalism, as do the white chairs which signal style, lend to the overall positive impact.
A relatively minor criticism - the kiosk is more of a counter in places - it doesn't have enough access from the walkway, which means it is not quite as welcoming as it could be.  I did also wonder about the privacy aspect - but then many women are used to having their treatments in the open in the department stores.  

Obviously a serious amount of investment went into this, as one would expect from such a significant brand. This shows in, amongst other things, the differential and 'hot spot' lighting which one doesn't always see in a kiosk model.  An impressive effort.

Aug 27, 2009

Women with Apple

Chatswood, yesterday - this Apple store, relatively newly opened, was busy yesterday - as it has been every time I have walked past it.  Big difference yesterday was the high proportion of female customers - which has to be good for the brand.

Why We Buy - Novelty

We all love new things. Call it an obsession with 'fresh', but there is something in our make-up which starts the pulse racing when we seem something new and that interests us.

The definition of 'new' obviously differs from category to category, but shoppers expect retailers to ring in the changes, although not in a frivolous way in the climate of the 'new frugality' (potential oxymoron :) ) .

Savvy retailers show shoppers when something has changed. What do you do to signal novelty to your shoppers ? When did you last 'freshen up' ? Do you have a system in place to ensure 'new' is always front and centre ? If you don't you are probably leaving money on the table.

Freshness sells. It should be simple. Insight sells too. Imagine what fresh insights would do :)

The Brand's Voice

Ed Hardy, Chatswood.  A good example of using the brand's 'voice' to sharpen the appeal of a sale or promotional offer.  However, it must be a concern to have to offer such deep discounts so soon after opening.  Very cool store BTW. (apologies for pic quality).


Boost Juice, Chatswood.  Good engagement idea, well executed.  Yesterday's names were 'Tina' and 'Edward' - I was tempted, but I am clearly neither an Edward nor a Tina.  I wonder whether they had a disportionate response ?  Mind you, people with names like Tina and Edward could do with a boost :)

A good crop

A crop of positive retail results: (via Inside Retailing):

Fable of Aesop ?

Aesop, Chatswood Chase.  Stylish looking store selling natural cosmetics - but I have to wonder whether the rear graphic treatment and the front end glass treatment (difficult to see from this photo) doesn't overpower the brand and what  it stands for ?  In other words, beautiful but ineffective :0

Aug 26, 2009

Retail Landscape

Simply Hung Out to Dry

Supre, Chatswood.  This demonstrates the simplicity of an idea that communicates an idea ('we have basics') and is effective in getting attention.  Simplicity + effectiveness = success.

A Peek inside Smiggle

Smiggle, Broadway.  Colour sells - a key element of the simplicity of their formula.  Colour-blocked merchandising simplifies the shopping experience - provided the right colours are chosen.

Under Old Management

I quite like this (adshel) campaign for Coopers Ale.  Says something about the times we live in.  Personally I would prefer my beer (and other things) brewed by someone with a bit of grey :)

Retail Landscape

Aug 25, 2009

The Lonsdale summer

Lonsdale store, Broadway.  A unique British take on summer - looks quite cool, if muted in colour.

Summer is here

Forever New, Broadway.  Outstanding window graphics - a fresh approach to summer. Great to see some bright colours, compared to the current trend to fairly bland tie-dyes favoured by some retailers.

Target executes kidswear well

Target Broadway.  A good example of how Target have translated the storewide 'Every Colour You can Dream of' concept for their childrenswear category.  Apart from the obvious focus on colour the use of the POS as reminder is a good link back to the entrance of the store.

Dad is Ace

Kikki.K Broadway.  Great to see this chain supporting Father's Day in a big way.  About 40% of the store is dedicated to this product - although many of the items are standard items.  Father's Day is not traditionally as big as Mother's Day in retail terms ('why?' I hear  you ask ?  :) ) so it will be interesting to see how they go.  Certainly a good gift destination, pleasant shopping experience, good range of price points for quality products.  I like the simplicity of the black and white theming.  They deserve to  do well.

Why We Buy - Colour

Have you ever noticed how red and yellow are prevalent colours in the supermarket ? It's no accident, as retail marketers have discovered these colours stand out in the (usually dull or even) light of the store. They also convey cues about price and value. Shoppers react to colours – and canny marketers need to examine their packaging, point of sale posters, websites and other collateral to see what cues they are providing for shoppers. Sometimes it does not have to be especially colourful, just contrasting – I know a shop which only does black and white – signalling style and chic interiors. Too much colour and the eye loses the point of focus, too little and the store is monochromatic and boring. Too much corporate branding and it loses impact, too little and the brand is diluted.

Some packaged marketers have even tried to trademark (unsuccessfully) to trademark theiir colours. Just to clarify, the colour above is NOT Cadbury's purple :)

What colours work for your business ? Look at your store through the shopper's eyes. It should be simple. Insight pays.

Aug 24, 2009

Not Child's Play

Adairs, Broadway. A tidy shop, as always, albeit one of their smaller units. Interesting how the eye is drawn by colour and lighting to the back wall hotspot - prime retail selling space. I like the way they have some colour on the front table.

My main reservation is that 'Adairs Kids' is not their mainstream business, and this important space should be allocated to 'core' business. This runs the risk of sending signals that it is a kids linen store, which is only a small proportion of their business.

Who is Paul Dane ?

Spotted in Broadway (and QVB). This store selling shoes and bags seemed to be humming - way ahead of the competition. Does anyone know who they are, what they stand for, who owns them ?

Smiggle Invites

Smiggle, Broadway. This chain is promoting its party invitation and related stationery products. Good window displays but the plasma promo lacks the punch of previous efforts.


even for footwear and bags :)  Nine West store, Broadway. (apologies for poor lighting in pic) A good example (one of the few around) of a retailer using the window to focus on the announcement of  'new arrivals'.  'Freshness' of product offer is especially important to the Frequent shoppers - typically the 20% who make up 80% of the sales.  Why wouldn't you use the window to announce 'new-ness' and make it a central focus for these important customers ?  It should be simple.

Oxfam does Father's Day

Oxfam store, Broadway.  Good to see Oxfam getting into seasonal retail marketing - I quite like the Heineken car - wonder if it comes with beer in the tank (hint) ?

Retail Landscape

Aug 23, 2009


Maloney's, Crown St, Surry Hills.  Yet another fresh produce/ grocer addition to Crown St - the third in three months after Crown St Grocer and Thomas Dux (owned by Woolworths).  It will be interesting to see how they go - Fratelli Fresh - is a major player fairly close by in Waterloo.  Signs of investment confidence, and the demand for fresh, quality produce from a sophisticated community. (apologies for the poor quality pic - more details to come later).

New Look Optus

Store, Broadway.  Open frontage, warm and friendly, contemporary lines, welcoming. Positive look and feel  in line with the 'Yes' tagline.

Aug 22, 2009

Healthy merchandising

Discount Drug Store, Birkenhead Point.  

I was impressed by the high level of merchandising at this pharmacy in the factory outlet centre.  The colours are cheerful, and support the 'cheap' proposition - without sending signals of low quality (not what you want in the health field !).  The signage is clear and price points are visible with a good font size - especially important for older customers, but also to reinforce the low prices message.  Customer service from the pharmacist and shop assistant was courteous and friendly.  They seem to be doing the basics well.

France in Crown Street

Paper2, Crown St,Surry Hills - apologies for the blurry pic - but a great themed window in this store for paper afficionados.  French theme appeals to the romantics amongst us - who doesn't want to go to Paris, after all ?   Worth a visit - both the store and Paris :)

Aug 21, 2009

Not best dressed

Possibly a bit harsh but not the best dressed manager of a designer
fashion store i have seen.

Retail Landscape

Aug 20, 2009

Dick Smith catches the bus

Spotted on bus into city.  Good low tech advertising for high tech products.  Nicely focused for the target market - people wearing ipods on the bus, a concentration of males.

Cue on cue

Cue, Greenwood Plaza looking very sharp.

Dishy Diva

Diva, Greenwood Plaza.  Good store frontage and window treatment.

Body Shop has Body

The Body Shop, Greenwood Plaza.  Tidy merchandising.


Lush cosmetics, Greenwood Plaza.  More than just a vanilla treatment for this promotion. Well executed (apologies for poor photo quality).

Fun party shop

Pret a Party, Double Bay.   Looks like a good shop for those organising kids' parties.

I am not a huge believer in Feng Shui – but yet there is a retail equivalent of this concept. How many times have you walked into a store and found that something is 'not quite right' and yet you cannot put your finger on what is making you feel uncomfortable? You turn, and walk out.

Chances are it's the layout. It might be a table that is blocking the flow through to the back of the store. It might be the angle that floor fixtures are placed at. It might be where the service counter is. It could be the product adjacencies. Basic stuff.

Internet retailers know that this applies equally to e-commerce (indeed all) sites. Have you found out what facilitates a transaction in your store ? Do you know what hinders it ? Look at your store through the shopper's eyes. It should be simple. Insight pays.

Stunning Graphic

Spotted in Double Bay, Cosmopolitan Centre yesterday.