Mobile Apps shaping the way customers are shopping

by Deepak Sharma on Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mobile technology will change the way Retailers interact with their customers, the way customers shop and the way they have options to move on if Retailers are not spot on. Check this iPhone application, called Checkout SmartShop - a shopping assistant meant to help you find online and local prices when you’re out and about shopping.

The App lets you enter barcode on your iPhone (better would be scanning or taking pictures) and find out the price and availability of the product elsewhere, online and other stores. you get to see the user reviews and store locations also with the app.


With Apple selling 1 million iPhone 3Gs over the first weekend, you can well imagine the impact, SmartShop kind of app can have on Retailers. Question to Retailers, Do you have your mobile strategy in place??

The Yin and Yang of Retail

by Deepak Sharma on Thursday, July 10, 2008

A very well written blog post on the relationship based on trust between Retailer and Vendors when it comes to shipping displays, running promotions and packaging.

Why would I stop a vendor from shipping displays, running promotions and changing packaging? Because I don’t trust that they know what they’re doing. I’ve seen too many hastily designed displays, too many promotions that build up like expired plaque on my planogram, and too much packaging that shows how little they understand the value of real estate. From here, it’s a short leap to understand why I’d ask for “just hand me the check book” entitlement programs. Entitlements are insurance policies against vendor marketing failures. Pay me up-front. I expect you to fail.

All this makes sense until a brand shows me that they understand what I do for a living and then proves it. Show me quantitative packaging and promotion research measured against your end users who shop in my stores. Show me how you’ll forecast it, ship it, sell it through, and then clean it up after it’s done. If you can do this, I’ll test anything you want because I’ll believe that you know what you’re doing and you won’t make a complete mess of the one thing I have that you don’t – my stores.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Retail

by Deepak Sharma

Fun article coming from WSJ today.

Excuse Me, Do You Work Here? No, I Just Need to Fold Clothes

The ranks of obsessive folders have swelled in recent years as a generation of Americans has done stints as clothing-store clerks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual nonsupervisory employment in clothing and clothing-accessory stores grew to nearly 1.3 million workers in 2007, up nearly 20% from 1990. Gap Inc. says it has trained "hundreds of thousands" of Gap store employees in the art of folding since the late 1980s.

Along the way, legions of retail grads have spent countless hours neatly folding T-shirts and jeans and stacking them on tables and shelves. Now, their peculiar idea of perfection is straining marriages and leading to bizarre behavior ranging from buying clothes based on an item's foldability to straightening up sloppy displays while shopping.

Tracking Offline Conversions

by Deepak Sharma on Monday, July 07, 2008

Great article on ways to track offline conversions and the need for 360°multi-channel analytics. A must read for everyone who is involved in Multi-Channel retail or getting into the same.

Tracking Offline Conversions: Hope, Seven Best Practices, Bonus Tips

Don't forget to read the comments too, a whole lot of discussion and clarifications are happening on the article's comments.

STORES Top 100 Retailers

by Deepak Sharma on Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The 2008 version of the STORES Top 100 Retailers study is out. Wal-Mart retains the first position yet again.

Wal-Mart remains the No. 1 retailer by revenues — a position it isn’t likely to cede any time soon as it alone accounts for 21.7 percent of aggregate Top 100 sales. Change is afoot, however, as CVS has vaulted into the No. 3 spot as a result of its acquisition of Caremark, reflecting the evolution of the health and wellness industry as served by drug stores. Home Depot managed to hold on to the No. 2 spot despite the depressed state of the housing market, while Kroger, the supermarket leader, slipped one place to No. 4.
Mass merchants are well represented in the Top 10, with warehouse club operator Costco Wholesale ranking fifth, Target sixth and Sears Holdings — parent of Sears, Kmart and several chains of hardware and home furnishings stores — in the eighth position. No. 7 Walgreen has been displaced as the volume leader among drug store companies, though it has been beefing up via acquisitions. Rounding out the Top 10 is SUPERVALU, which this year has its wholesale and distribution business included in total revenues.

Get the Top 100 Chart here.