• "No Cash" Catching On

    In Sweden only 20% of all transactions in the country are conducted in cash, but in the United States? No such luck. We, as a nation, are still struggling with using the chip card machine, which was about 10 years overdue, and soon we will have to grapple...
  • The Big Spenders of 2017

    Although the holiday buying season isn't yet finished, the bulk of the shopping has been done. And it looks like the economic gains of 2017 (combined with the fact that Americans are saving less than in previous years) have enabled the best Christmas...
  • Back To Books

    After a decade of trying to sell lots of items outside of the "books" category, Barnes and Noble has decided to "unclutter" its stores to make room for what it considers to be an excellent opportunity for future revenue growth. For...
  • Online Retailers Give Thanks

    Holiday spending is expected in increase by almost 5% this year, which is a rather robust rate, and this is certainly great news for retailers. But almost all of that growth is expected to be online, and so brick-and-mortar brands have been busily building...
  • 100 Years Of "Gift Dressing"

    What do World War One and Christmas have in common? Gift wrapping was invented back in 1917, but back then it was called " gift dressing", which actually makes a whole bunch of sense. Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards Inc., a brand that is still...
  • Short On X-Mas Trees

    Although the Great Recession has been over for many years now, some aftereffects can still be felt in certain industries. Let's take Christmas trees as an example. Apparently there is a shortage this year, but what does that have to do with the recession...
  • Amazon's Clicks and Bricks

    Amazon is ready for the holidays. And as it stands today, the company has been both naughty and nice. It has been naughty to its competitors who are finding it increasingly hard to compete and it has been nice to its consumers who can now shop Amazon...
  • Coffee vs. Tea

    In previous posts, we have established that the market for coffee retailers is absolutely saturated and that smaller stores are now experiencing declines while even the growth rate at Starbucks has slowed considerably. But even when there are too many...
  • Coffee Crunch?

    A quick look around any downtown area will tell you that coffee retailers, led by the far-too-ubiquitous Starbucks, have saturated the market with their shops. To say this market isn't crowded is to ignore the fact that "specialty coffee"...
  • No New Malls?

    The age of the enclosed regional mall has long been over with construction peaking in the late 1980's, a trend that began well before the age of e-commerce. This is not to say that they will disappear altogether, but only six large malls were built...
  • Gucci Grabs Young Shoppers

    With all of the talk about how the vast majority of traditional brands are struggling mightily to resonate with a massive cohort of fickle young consumers, it's nice to see one of your grandmother's classic brands emerge as a winner in bridging...
  • Target Remodels, Thinks Small

    As brick-and-mortar retailers reduce their respective footprints across the nation, it is important to remember that despite the rapid rise of e-commerce, these major retailers will always be building new stores even as they close old and under-performing...
  • Costco's Catastrophe Kits

    It often pays to address a niche market, which could be defined as a relatively small market that features few if any competitors. If you have a unique enough good or service and the market is large enough to reach and serve profitably, niche marketing...
  • The Book Is Back

    The failure of e-books to win enough American hearts and minds means that the creative destruction of the book industry may be coming to a close. Larger bookstores have already consolidated and big chains have closed down as Amazon rapidly grabbed its...
  • Holiday Freeze for Brick and Mortar

    The consumer shift from brick-and-mortar buying towards e-commerce buying has been in full force for almost two decades now, and the 2017 holiday shopping season won't be any different. Indeed, Retailer brands that focus on physical locations have...
  • Making Lidl Progress

    There was much fanfare when the German grocery giant entered the U.S. market, opening a headquarters in Virginia and challenging long-held turf in that state, Georgia, Delaware, and the Carolinas. The plan is to gain a nice following and expand outward...
  • New Owner, Old Prices?

    Much has been written of late about the lack of progress Whole Foods has made thus far in its efforts to lower prices, but this writing has been penned primarily by journalists rather than professional marketers, the latter of whom must understand that...
  • Natural Pricing's New Paradigm: Part Two

    (Continued from Part One) The fact that they all begin with the letter “C” makes them easier to remember as a framework for pricing strategy, but although easy to remember, "The Five C’s of Pricing" are nonetheless challenging...
  • Natural Pricing's New Paradigm: Part One

    Over the past 50 years, marketers of natural and organic products up and down the supply chain have enjoyed a distinct luxury that most marketers only dream of -- a constantly expanding market consisting of consumers who are willing to pay a premium for...
  • Toys "R" Bust?

    Long-ago, Toys "R" Us joined the ever-growing list of retailers struggling against the forces of Wal-Mart and Amazon, unable to beat prices and losing relevance to an increasingly fickle culture. Once a mainstay of the national retail scene...
  • Lululemon: Thinking Beyond the Mat

    After a great deal of negative publicity caused by selling several batches of unintentionally "see-through" yoga pants as well as the CEO's assertion that the company's yoga pants "aren't for every (body type)", Lululemon...
  • The Sushi-Style Burrito

    In a new product development twist we would expect from the always-creative marketers at Taco Bell, coffee drink-retailer Starbucks has decided introduce a food-fusion product that is part burrito and part sushi. If you are confused as to why they would...
  • Smashburger's Triple Threat

    Regional fast food chain In-N-Out Burger has cried "foul" and as a result has filed a trademark infringement suit against the national fast food giant, Smashburger, claiming that the rapidly-growing, upstart chain's "Triple Double"...
  • The Zombies of RadioShack

    Unbelievably, RadioShack still exists. Long ago, most of us forgot what it is those folks actually sell, and back in 2015, the forgotten brand that dies hard filed for bankruptcy protection. It was rescued by Sprint which entered 1,400 RadioShack locations...
  • A River Runs Through It

    Apparently Amazon's proposed acquisition of Whole Foods Markets will face no opposition from the Federal Trade Commission, and so the deal will close on Monday. In earlier posts we have explored many reasons for this interesting acquisition, the biggest...