Tag Archives: retail

The next social media trend

I ran across this video by @dkny today where the Social Media Manager Aliza Licht, SVP of Global Communications for DKNY, plays the witty “DKNY PR Girl” persona. She posted it on her tumblr. I embedded it below.

With a lot of brands now getting comfortable with using personae to tweet and blog, I think the next step in this whole social media game is that they start pulling back the curtain and letting us see the real person behind the avatar.

The coming out video. The next social media trend.

Is social media for retail the chicken or the egg?

I was running through some stuff with a colleague on how retail is being shaped dramatically by social media. I threw out a few ways at-retail is changing on smart phones and how POP should be keeping up with the various ways people are weaving their virtual selves into their in-real-life selves.

“Isn’t this a chicken or the egg kind of thing?” he asked.

It’s actually both.

Social media is forcing retail change so fast that I think the chicken and the egg are in a photo-finish race with each other. If you are betting on one or the other, the only sure thing is you will lose. (unless you are Eggland’s Best or Tyson, of course)

Don’t worry about whether you have to develop a program first to attract followers or attract followers before developing a program.

Do them both together.

Planning doesn’t matter if you can’t execute at retail

Ketchup merchandised on the shelf upside-down

Ketchup merchandised on the shelf upside-down

I had to run into a Meijer’s store on a Sunday evening to pick up a few things when the shelf displaying the store-brand ketchup caught my eye. Something wasn’t quite right and I did a double take. Sure enough, all the bottles were stacked on the shelves upside-down.

From the viewpoint of an over-worked stock person working the night shift and pressed to get everything off the trucks and on the sales floor by 6:00am, it all made perfect sense. The base of the bottle went on the bottom and the cap went up top. Everyone knows this.

But, if you paid attention recently to the condiment aisle, changes were slowly taking place. Brand managers discovered that a lot of people were storing their products upside-down in their refrigerators so the stuff would flow more readily out of the bottle. For most consumers, the labels were almost always upside-down. So, they redesigned the bottles with a wider lid, turned the label around and now 99%+ of the time the consumer interacts with the product, they are looking at the label rightside-up.

But nobody told the last guy in the execution line. With his iPod earbuds firmly screwed into his head, he happily unpacked the bottles and stocked the shelves at breakneck speed and efficiency. All the research, planning, bottle design and associated costs were a waste because the product was not merchandised correctly on the shelf.

This is a small example and with the exception of a momentary chuckle by me, a good photo op and an interesting blog post topic, no real harm was done with the ketchup being upside-down. Shoppers will still buy the Meijer-brand ketchup, perhaps every bit as amused as I was. But the implications for mis-merchandising and ill-fated execution can be extrapoled into other merchandise categories that may not be so benignly maligned.

Like the metaphorical red wine falling off the cart and spilling onto the street in A Tale of Two Cites, the red ketchup could easily be a metaphor for lost profits… or worse at retail.