STORES Magazine - July 2008 - (Page 91)

CONSIDER THIS / LOEB RETAIL LETTER Copyright 2008 by Loeb Associates Inc. Used by permission. In Search of That Next Challenge BY WALTER LOEB Innovators possess a great drive to bring something new to the table. They constantly fret about their last change – yet want to fine-tune it some more. They are never sure that the latest improvement to any new widget is good enough. According to online magazine eWEEK, happy and satisfied people have no drive to innovate: In essence, it writes, misery and unhappiness are the real drivers of most, if not all, innovation. I am not sure that Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were constantly grouchy, but I am certain that every step they took was tested, retested and finally, perfected. Retailers are very much Walter F. Loeb is a New Yorklike some of the inventors of based consultant and member yesterday. They hatch new of the NRF board of directors concepts and perfect them whose newsletter is published after the first test units are monthly in STORES. developed. There are really three areas of development in retailing: merchandising, store development and customer enrichment. In each area, retailers try to innovate There are and change. Schwarz into its children’s department, for instance, gives its stores even more panache. Store developments are equally important; I frequently take tours with clients to point out what’s new. Department stores, particularly, understand that they have to renew themselves every five to seven years — or perish. The Bloomingdale’s store on New York’s East Side is evidence of constant renewal. However, it is specialty stores that truly breathe new life into retailing. Monogram, which grew out of Banana Republic, marks an evolution into a contemporary lifestyle concept; Neiman Marcus’ new Cusp units, which seek to attract college students, define a new space for young fashion customers. Similarly, I think that Lucky Jeans stores are unique in defining a sporting image. Defining image We have seen many innovations in merchandising, ranging from enhancement of fashion to the definition of style. The introduction of any new collection of merchandise by Macy’s, Kohl’s or JCPenney is gutsy and represents the store’s efforts to define its image and contrast it with that of the competition. Whether it is Very Vera, Martha Stewart or American Living, the products are often aspirational to the base customer but help define the quality image of stores. Macy’s recent announcement that it will bring FAO WWW.STORES.ORG Customer enrichment Customer enrichment takes many forms. The rewards that Nordstrom gives its customers are effective in maintaining their loyalty. The special communications are informative and immediate; they create a quick response, maintain a steady dialog between store and customer really and are similar to programs at other chains, including Bloomingdale’s and three areas of Target. (It was funny when Macy’s ran development in a “secret sale” on the Internet: It was retailing: not very secret but it was very effective.) merchandising, Every shopper loves a bargain – store development and these days sales are everywhere. As a courtesy to customers, many and customer stores now open early for a sale enrichment. event, adding a sense of urgency. At In each area, the same time, I believe that holding a one-day sale with an additional “preretailers try to view” sale day damages a brand’s innovate and credibility; the customer must trust the change marketing as being truthful. I also believe that stores must remove sale merchandise when the event is over. STORES / JULY 2008 91 http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - July 2008

STORES Magazine - July 2008
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Dearth of Retail Creativity
What Shoppers Think
Wow, Is That a Wawa?
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Merchandising Strategy
Point of Sale
Human Resources
Top 100 Retailers
Store Design
IT Operations
Systems Managements
LP Vantage Point
Cover Story
Emergency Response Systems
Background Checks
LOEB Retail Letter
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
Last Laugh

STORES Magazine - July 2008