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Dec 15, 2010

Retailer Marketing Strategy: Walk The Line

A few months back I attended the launch for Treeet, the new online shop for books, mags, music, movies initiated and funded by Gordon and Gotch, the big Australasian magazine distributor. I have since signed up for their emails, which I have been watching with interest, especially with regard to their marketing strategy.  At the time they said they would be differentiating from other players in this crowded market by promoting their 'in-stock' position and ability to ship quickly. ie. a marketing strategy built around service.

So, it was interesting when I opened one of their latest email offerings in the mad run-up to the retail Christmas.  Let me say that I think they do a lot of things right, and have done a credible job of establishing their business in one of the most challenging retail trading environments, ever.  

First up, was their opening:

My first thought ? $30 for a stocking filler ?  In an era of price deflation, I would expect a stocking filler to be less than $20 and heading rapidly south at that.  $30 and under seems way off the pace in today's market....

However, their presentation was enough for me to look further, especially as they advertised 'In Stock Now'.

Next up, I had a look at the products they thought would appeal to me, and this really got me thinking (and not in a positive way):

Please understand, I am a content maven - I devour books, mags (when I find one that interests me), movies and music - I own in excess of 400 dvds, and about the same number of cds - some would say I have a problem...  Of course lately, with my iPad I also devour a lot more content online than I used, and at a variety of times, too.  Reading an online mag in bed is somehow rather decadent.

I thought, wow, I am not sure I would pay over $20 for a new book. I have recently joined our fabulous new local library and also buy secondhand books (the new frugality), and it is very rare I feel I want a new title badly enough that I need to shell out more than $20 (often in excess of $30) for it. My friend has a Kindle and I am thinking about downloading (and paying for) some titles on my iPad.  Think about it, why would you buy new books, if not to give to a non-Netizen ? I could get a fabulous new move dvd for way less than that up the road my local JB Hi-Fi.... and my house is choc-full of books anyway... garage sale anyone ?

The magazine - I can't remember when I last took the time to read a physical magazine from cover to cover - and now, with FlipBoard on my iPad I can create my own customised magazine.  So that, too, fell by the wayside.

Which left me with good old Johnny  Cash - believe it or not - and this IS embarrassing - I do listen to some of the songs from Walk The Line - but just the other day I was putting a playlist together for my best friend, and I downloaded some tracks from iTunes - instant and only $1.49 for the ones I wanted.  That felt good!

So when  I took another look at their offers - I thought 'Wow - imagine being in a retail business - an online one at that - where you have so much competition and where the demand dynamics and distribution channels are changing so rapidly', and that's forgetting about those retailers locked into physical distribution outlets - those things called 'stores'.  You've got to work a lot harder to get me to part with my Christmas Dollar now. That means service and personalisation.....

So, what's it going to be ?  What's your marketing strategy ? Are you going to Walk The Line ?

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