Thursday, July 08, 2010

Heating up Retail

Oh the heat! "The Muse" is melting! Before turning into a giant puddle at your front entrance, "The Muse" found came across a few trends heating up the retail world:

If it fits you must.....
One of the great drawbacks to shopping for clothes online is how the garment fits. We are all not the same body type, and generalized sizes like small, medium and large, can be a bit confusing. No fitting room for you! But, a company called "" aims to change all that. They have created a nifty online fitting room application. The user enters their specific body measurements (in the privacy of your own home no doubt), and then a 3D mannequin is created. Choose the garment you want to purchase and click select. Your new online mannequin illustrates how the garment will look on you.

What we really like about this application for campus retailers, is that it is a simple button that it placed on your website. Users click to the site, set up with your campus gear, and then away they go. No muss, no fuss for the campus store. It would be great for parents, staff and alumni that browse your site, and may be compelled to purchase if they could use this application.

In beta tests with a large German retailer, sales increased 3.1 times and returns were reduced by 28% using this application. Those type of numbers alone makes this a" must"investigate item for your store ecommerce site.

Texts and Facebook cool
Two recent surveys suggest that retailers diving into online marketing might want to take pause. In the first survey, fully 48% of college aged students indicated that they do *not* want marketing text messages. They find them expensive, intrusive, and annoying. Only 17% of college students surveyed wanted to opt in for marketing text messages. One of the clear signals that came out of the survey was that consumers would accept text messages if it offered them an online offer for something free - otherwise they wanted no part of your sales promos. This went for Twitter promotions as well, so use caution when Twittering all your sales or special offers.

The second independent survey was on Facebook users. The survey found that high school and college students were leaving facebook in fairly large numbers. The reason was not privacy, but more a demographic shift. Young users leaving Facebook cited the fact that their parents and older people were signing up in droves, and the site was loosing its appeal. They also cited the vast amount of marketing messaging as another drawback. More tales of caution when marketing to the fickle college age crowd.

Pop up retail heats up
We've written a bit on the pop up retail trend in the past, especially as a money making application for college stores. has a very good concise article on the "how tos" of opening a pop up retail site, with some real world examples from retailers. The article sites 4 factors for a good pop up store:

First, "to get the word out" - A phrase that every campus retailer focuses on - especially at back to campus time.
Second, "to unload new inventory" - Go look at your back storage room, how much product is hiding about?
Third, ""to test new markets" - how often have you wanted to connect with campus visitors? alumni? parents? - this is one way.
Finally, "to vet a new business idea" Have a new exciting product or service? Pop up might be a way to get the message out.

Read the article HERE, and consider the applications on your campus.

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