Monday, October 05, 2009

Sometimes a Great Notion - Halloween Horrors

Potato chips, candy, dressing as vampires! Has The Retail Muse gone all Halloween three weeks early? Seems like it, and as the muse gorges on salty snacks and tightens his cape, he checks out student bloggers, Vooks, silly walks and "who loves yeah baby". All this and more in the Muse's personal Zombieland.

The economic pillar of salt.
Presumably, an indication of how bad the economy is, can be measured by the quantity of potato chips consumed. Not an economic theory yet, but salty potato chip snack sales have risen 22% since the economy tanked. As the economy recovers, sales will rise a modest 4% per year.

Why? Experts say it's because salty snacks are a good value (which The Muse thinks means "filling"), and a growing trend to chop down on chips between meals. Although 2/3 of shoppers say they want healthier alternatives to chips, with over 300 new salty snacks hitting the market in the last year, it's clear that wants, and needs are not translating into increased sales.

Candy Land

If your idea of a good time at the store is slipping into a diabetic coma, then Dubai is the place for you. Candylicious is the name of the worlds largest candy store, recently opened in Dubai, UAE, spanning 10,000 square feet of sweet fun. Pillars embedded with candy and a candy airplane flying overhead are just two of the out of the world experiences at this candy haven.

The Twilight of True Blood

Even if consumers are going all frugal this Halloween season, Vampires are the #1 choice for adults as a costume. The success of True Blood, and excitement building for the new Twilight movie, have made vampires a must costume this season. Pirates, costume choices. Nurses and politicians have fallen down on the list of most popular.clowns and the Muses' favorite, - Wenches/tarts/vixens, round out the top five Health Care Fatigue?

Recruiting Student Bloggers

MIT has ramped up the blogging of students, encouraging enrolled students to blog on anything and everything about their campus experience. There must be a few good nuggets about campus retail in these blogs, one guesses, but recruiters are using these blogs to appeal to High School students, and prospective recruits to show the
human fun side of college life. MIT has grasped it in a big way, but Amherst, Yale and Vasser are all seeing these blogs as an effective recruitment tool for new students.

When panic sets in

Book publishers, checking out their financial statements, are developing multi media applications for popular ebooks. After years of trying this with college textbooks, publishers are embedding video, charts and music within popular fiction and non fiction titles to ride the Kindle craze. The moniker for all this multi media mania is "vooks" (Video Books), one of the most unpleasant product names of all time.

Silly Walks.

It"s been forty years since the first episode of Monty Pythons Flying Circus sketch show, but interest and enthusiasm still runs strong. New documentaries, a stage show with the 5 remaining cast members, and a host of products are hitting the bookshelves and theaters in the next month. Interest in Python has never waned, with 12 year old to college students still reciting the lines of "bookshop" and "dead Parrot" and "ministry of Silly Walks" to anyone that doesn't roll their eyes in tedium. Still, a great and fun product line to sell in many a campus store.

Who loves yeah?

According to Internet Retailer the most talked about companies online include Amazon, Target and Ikea. The new survey tracks references to the retailers name over 100 million blogs, including analyzing the tone of each reference. Other most talked about retailers, include discounters like Wal-mart, Costco and Kmart. Other top fifty references include tech retails like BestBuy, and fashion depots such as H&M.

Pop up in Airports.

Campus retailers can always look to airport retail as a good example of what might come their way some day. In Glasgow, Scotland, pop Up retail has taken on a new form with the company Planeshop. This company is setting up pop up retail sites throughout the airport with the intent of changing the brand and product selection on a regular basis. A carousel of ever changing products for consumers. Customers can vote for the brands they would like to see in the store for the future, and as each brand "pops" up, the outside graphics change to lure new shoppers in.

Walgreen's Basics

Rather than roll out more locations, Walgreen's is taking a new tack, renovating existing stores and reducing inventory. Many of the nations Walgreen's will be renovated to update the in store experience. Additionally, Walgreen's is reducing the amount of products they carry, reducing a typical 22,000 item Walgreen's by some 5000 items. The hope is to make products more visible, weed out slow selling products and make the shopping experience more worthwhile for the customer.

Now, when was the last time you thought a campus store could take a page from Walgreen's?

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