Monday, September 28, 2009

Sometimes a Great Notion - Hair Metal Edition

The Retail Muse spent most of the week indoors, clipping coupons, stocking up on hand sanitizers, and listening to records by hair metal band Dokken. When the Muse did venture out, it was only to try out the new sub zero customer experience at the nearest shopping mall.

Happy Hair Metal Notions!

A coupon saved, a penny earned.

Remember the heady days of the early nineties when redeeming coupons were all the rage? Recall the coupon queens paying $12 for $160 in groceries? Well the coupon cutting and redeeming craze is back. 3 Billion coupons are projected to be redeemed by recession proofing shoppers this year. While well off the peak coupon year of 1992, when 7.9 Billion coupons were handed in, but a strong 23% increase.

Paper coupons, within stores and in newspaper flyers, still make up the vast majority of coupon redemption. Electronic and mobile coupons still have yet to catch on, accounting for less than 1/2% of all coupons redeemed. Consumer psychologists suggest that one reason e-coupons are not popular, is that paper coupons take time and work to acquire them. Coupon clippers feel they have outsmarted other shoppers.

Cleaning up on the flu

With fears of H1N1 virus, and flu season just around the corner, hand sanitizers have become the big break through product for 2009. Sanitizers are now a 112 Billion industry in the US, with sales of hand sanitizers rising 19% from a year earlier.

Health experts remain divided over the effectiveness of sanitizers. Many posit that washing hands effectively is still the best way to stay healthy. However, some experts point to growing evidence, that hand sanitizers might work more effectively, since individuals tend to use them more frequently, and more thoroughly, that hand washing.

Whatever the case, The Muse has noticed the increase in hand sanitizer centers at many businesses recently. The Bank has yet to install one, and with all that dirty money you would think this is the first place for a giant hand sanitizer center.

Dokken and Norton

What do you do if you are a company like Norton, and you are faced with selling an uber geek software package like Norton Internet Security 2010? Well hire a hair metal band, like Dokken, that's how. Members of Dokken - An 80's hair metal band when hair metal ruled the world, have been hired, along with a chicken, to promote the Norton software. Will Dokken hurt the chicken? will the chicken be saved? Watch and decide the chicken's fate in this well designed ad campaign going viral.

Baby it's cold inside

The Retail Muse is not known for his love of Sub arctic temperatures, so it was with some trepidation and fascination that the Muse stepped into the new Mark's Work Wearhouse, on the Southside of Edmonton, Canada, to try out their new customer engagement experience.

Off to the side of the massive work super store is the $35,000 customer cooler. Looking oddly like something from an episode of Sopranos, the cooler simulates -40 temperatures and adds wind chill simulation, giving the Muse the sensation of standing in his backyard any day in February.

The idea behind this customer cooler is not simply deep freeze masochism, but rather to sell coats. Jackets with names like Arctic Defender are the selling point and trying each style out in the freezer certainly does give you a sense of how well the winter jacket will work in the outdoors.

After trying out three arctic coat combinations (along with matching gloves of course), the Muse discovered, not surprisingly, that the best coat for the cold was also the least fashionable. Bundled up like a woolly Mammoth standing in a stainless steel cold wind tunnel, the Muse mused that this indeed was a clever customer experience.

After stumbling out and unwrapping in aisle 3, Trevor, the pleasant and knowledgeable staff member commented that management is thinking of adding a water "feature" to mimic icy conditions. The Muse will pass.

So is this Disneyland for work wear profitable? Accordingly to Trevor, sales have been amazing on winter coats, even with winter a distant thought. Plus, commented the happy clerk, customers bring their friends to try out the cold factor, and many purchase coats or gloves as well.

The Muse left with a new pair of gloves. If only to protect his hands when he goes back for the icy freeze up water feature experience.

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