Although they don’t dampen sales, the 1 provocative window displays of Victoria’s Secret engender periodic protests from mall patrons. The racy campaign that has made the brand a cultural phenomenon is a bit of a double-edged sword that needs to be carefully managed. For instance, in less-aware times, the retailer would carry its sexy images of winged glamazons onto the sales floor. Not today.
Retailers are discovering that, like human nature, the store experience just isn’t that simple. It’s tied to the needs and occasions that drive today’s fragmented shopper. Most businesses still strategize around the external consumer mind-set, unaware that it changes inside the store—at the point where the passive consumer becomes an active shopper ready to make the purchase decision. In the case of Victoria’s Secret, sexy graphics made some shoppers feel uncomfortable. Who knew?
More retailers are taking a page from the consumer-packaged-goods playbook, and investing in behavioral research. Ethnography in combination with newer methods helps discover opportunities to inform and influence shoppers along the decision-making path. It takes into account that the same person can exhibit different behaviors depending on need. A shopper may need to feel like a good mom or a stylish individual. The store can address those needs—and help solve problems around the occasion. Does the shopper have leisure time today? Or is she rushed, with kids in tow? These considerations can even be broken down according to segments to find where groups overlap or differ. The resulting insights can be integrated into the store design.
As an industry, retail has largely overlooked the advantage of combining research and modeling as a way to gauge conditions for new-store concepts before rolling them out. The same algorithmic power that drives e-commerce makes it possible to subject the market unknowns of a store prototype to simulation, to test the scenario and mitigate risk. After research showed too much customer confusion, Walgreens announced its plans to reduce the number of items it carries. It is also considering opening smaller stores to reduce clutter and enhance value.
Customer-centricity—truly understanding the customers and revolving every business decision around them—is one aspect of retail that is not changing rapidly. The majority of retailers are still driven by the complexities of running a business or pleasing their share holders. This seems oddly backward in such a fast-moving industry.
The use of market sciences can help a siloed and stodgy business make a case for creative change and deliver the shopper insights that can help it achieve the ongoing retail goals of bigger baskets, more frequent trips and increased loyalty. Knowing the customer better helps businesses develop fresh relevant ideas, improve the customer experience and, thus, store productivity.
Coca-Cola names chief marketer
ATLANTA The Coca-Cola Company has appointed Joseph Tripodi to the position of chief marketing and commercial officer, reporting to president and coo Muhtar Kent. Most recently, Tripodi was the senior vp and chief marketing officer for Allstate Insurance Co., where he was responsible for the structure, strategy and execution of all of their marketing efforts.
In his role, Tripodi will lead a new function consisting of the combination of the company’s global marketing and commercial organizations. In addition to overseeing all aspects of marketing, he will be responsible for coordinating and leading the company’s strategic direction in commercial leadership.
Prior to joining Allstate in 2003, Tripodi was chief marketing officer for The Bank of New York. He served as chief marketing officer for Seagram Spirits & Wine Group from 1999 to 2002. From 1989 to 1998, he was the evp for global marketing, products and services for MasterCard International, where among other achievements he was a chief architect of the acclaimed “Priceless” campaign. Previously, he spent seven years with the Mobil Oil Corp., where he gained considerable international experience in roles of increasing responsibility in planning, marketing, business development and operations in New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Guam.
Whole Foods takes top spot on EPA list
WASHINGTON Whole Foods Market took the top spot this quarter on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Top 10 Retail Partners in its Green Power Partnership program. Other major retailers on the list include Kohl’s (2), Staples (4), Lowe’s (6) and Office Depot.
According to its profile on the EPA Web site, currently, Whole Foods Market is purchasing or generating 100% of its total national power load from green power sources.
The Top 10 Retail Partners in the Green Power Partnership is released quarterly and represents the largest completed annual green power purchases of all Retail Partners within the Green Power Partnership. According to the EPA, the combined green power purchases of these organizations amounts to an estimated 1.4 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually, which is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power more than 140,000 average American homes each year.