Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Campus Retailers can Snag some trends.

It is a great big exciting day here at Muse HQ! A grab bag of trends are brewing in the retail sphere, and we thought they are items that those forward thinking and risk taking campus retailers might want to investigate further. So here we go, a few trends to watch and capitalize on:
Dude! Can I Borrow your Eyeliner?
Yes it is true. The cosmetics business for men is becoming a fast growing big business. Men (those that admit it), are getting in to wearing cosmetics as they let their inner metro sexual out, and become more focused on their appearance.
The Men's cosmetics business all started a few years back with hair care and body washes. Now however, men are interested in things like under-eye concealer, anti shine products and yes a bit of stealth foundation.
It's a growing business, and online retailer www.menaji.com is the leader in the sales field. Menaji reported a 70% increase in online sales over the past three years. A trend analysis firm, Euromonitor reported that men's grooming products grew more than fivefold in the the past three years to $4.8 Billion.
Much of the uptick in sales comes from confident and self assured younger men, the 18 - 30 bracket. Who, we assume might be shopping at your store? Time to stock up on the men's mascara products. In a dark quite part of your store of course.
Design and Decor teen.
Interior designers are thrilled. They have a new revenue stream! The hottest thing going in the interior design world has been the remarkable increase in designing rooms for teens. Teenagers (and pre-teens), are increasingly interested in the look and feel of their environments. The result has been a renewed focus on developing rooms for teens and young adults that are cohesive, reflect the individual, and provide a comfortable surrounding.
Designers involve the teens directly in visuals for the new room. In fact, DeAnna Radaj is an interior designer that specializes in interior design for the younger set. She has just released her second book called " Feng Shui for Teens"
So what does this mean for the campus retailer? As we have written about in the past, adding items that would fit in to your on campus dorm rooms is worth considering. Sears, and Target are both courting this market, along with many more. Are you missing a new revenue source?
Good Things Come to Those Who Whine.
You can't make every customer happy all the time. In the past, a small percentage of your unhappy customers might make themselves known to you and you could respond. Now, with Facebook and Twitter so prevalent, customers are taking to the social networking street to voice their opinions - often within minutes of their experience.
And companies are taking notice. Breanne Hughes took to the Twitter network, voicing her frustration with her sky high cell phone bill after being given incorrect information by her service provider. Within a couple of hours, her service provider had contacted her, apologized and corrected her bill. She also received twitter posts from a competing provider offering her options to move her plan to them.
It was personalized and speedy corrective action from the business. Which got us to wonder if campus retailers are making sure to keep an eye to the social networking world. Field  out negative comments and correct them in short order. Retailers could easily monitor the feedback traffic and resolve issues with key trend setters on campus.
Coupons, Coupons We All Scream Group Coupons!
Coupons are so 20th century. But, have you heard of http://www.groupon.com? Here's how it works. In (most) cities, groupon works with existing businesses to promote their services and products. Then they sign up customers by email and each day send them a coupon for a special deal. The deals are usually half off, in your area, and generally are for businesses that are new or something you have never tried out. We get the coupon each day, and has included businesses ranging from rock climbing experiences to half priced baked goods at a local bakery.
Now the key is that you, as the consumer, have to make the decision to buy the coupon on the day it was released. If enough people join in, then the coupon is released and off you go to the never known business. And that is where the "groupon" name comes from (group coupon - get it?).  Marketers and national advertisers have mixed feelings about the success of this, although "The Gap" has been experimenting with it across a number of large metro markets. 
Besides the tepid response by marketing gurus, we think it is a great way to promote collegiate retailers, and the overall university community. Universities and College events can often fly under the consumer radar, so we we see this as great way to promote events on campus to build traffic and increase exposure. Retailers on campus could work with their Athletics department, or the Students' Union, or any academic department to promote events, speakers, or special on campus promotions.
Sounds like a great experiment and would be fun to try out with a few select events or experiences!
So there you go. Four ideas to build your business. You need to get out there and watch what people are saying about you, grab the mascara, set up your dorm room design center and get those groupons working for your campus!
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