Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Service of Traditional Retailers Shooing People Online

Monday, September 11th, 2023

I wonder what the future will be—and the strategy is–for the traditional retailers that force customers to buy from them online.

For example, I tried to buy orchid and violet fertilizer from several stores that sell these plants, and none carried the products. I found them online.

I wanted to buy a gift card for a friend from a restaurant she likes. My only option was to buy an e-gift card that was only good for online orders. She doesn’t make online orders. And I didn’t want to complicate her life. She’d have to figure out how to retrieve something she wasn’t interested in using in the first place. I bought nothing from them.

Walking through the Long Island Railroad station on Madison Avenue below Grand Central Terminal–called Grand Central Madison–that opened in January I wondered about the attractive hallways ready to welcome 25,000 square feet of retail business. The station is still bereft of takeout places, restaurants and clothing shops. I only saw a few kiosks selling coffee, soft drinks and snacks.

Losing in person business isn’t always the fault of a vendor. Changing trends continue to have their impact.

I see no takers at a shoeshine operation with four chairs in Grand Central when I pass by. I don’t think it is solely the fault of the impact of people working remotely. In NYC fewer people are wearing leather shoes—sneakers being the footwear of choice. Increasingly wedding parties wear them too and department stores devote a large percentage of their shoe real estate to them. A smart brand like Hoka recommends styles for running, walking, hiking, gym/fitness and all-day comfort.

Have you found yourself buying more things online not only for convenience but because you are forced to? Do you empathize, as I do, with businesses that may still be essential for some but that have become increasingly difficult to sustain due to changing trends?

Vivid images waiting for stores to replace them at Grand Central Madison–the Long Island Railroad station on Madison Ave below Grand Central Terminal

Service of a Once Iconic Brand That’s Lost Its Sex Appeal

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

A childhood neighbor used to tell me “You have to suffer to be beautiful.” In the day she was right. Women slept on giant rollers while now dryers whip hair styles into shape in minutes and fashions are also more relaxed. We’d never have dreamed of wearing sneakers or flip flops for any reason other than for gym class or to walk on the beach. Now both are the uniform of many in towns, cities and airports.

With obvious exceptions—facelifts for example which I’m told are very painful and make deep dents in pocketbooks too–comfort over vanity seems to have won in many of the best places. “Why Smart, Chic Women Are Abandoning High Heels [Forever],” wrote Chloe Malle recently in The Wall Street Journal.

Victoria’s Secret’s drooping bra business is the main reason L Brands’ stock is down 41 percent this year according to Elizabeth Winkler in the same paper. Bras represent 35 percent of their sales she reported. Customers are looking to the competition for “comfort and ease, not airbrushed fantasy,” she wrote. “In July, Victoria’s Secret’s semiannual sale was so weak the retailer was forced to extend it by two weeks and offer steeper discounts, leading analysts to declare the brand broken.

“Instead of $60 padded bras that sell male fantasies, women are opting for cheaper undergarments that prioritize their own comfort. Victoria’s Secret has tried to adapt with the times, ending its catalog, doubling down on sports bras and even releasing a collection of ‘bralettes’—bras without underwire and padding.”

Competition features different body types in its ads as compared to the Victoria’s Secret “traditional sex-infused marketing,” they wrote.

I wonder if the new team will adjust this image. The Christmas direct mail piece that landed in mailboxes this week [photos right and below left] featured the old Victoria’s Secret image and none of the sports bras and bralettes they claimed to have adopted. Clearly designed to inspire men to buy gifts and enjoy, it nevertheless ignored the reasons for the downturn in sales.

In a subsequent article in The Journal, Khadeeja Safdar and Maria Armental reported on additional moves the brand is taking to regain its momentum from adding a Tory Burch veteran/former president to run the lingerie division to halving its dividend.

Are you surprised that Victoria’s Secret was knocked off its pedestal in part by the drive for comfort? Do you shun uncomfortable clothes and shoes? Are you surprised by the trends for fashion conscious women identified by Journal reporters regarding flats over stilettos and less challenging underwear? Do you miss the formal days of yore?

Service of Changing Taste: The Lowdown and the High

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Question: What do smart marketers do when consumers cool on their once hot product? Answer: Develop the next trend.

Beer consumption has slumped—Americans chose wine or cocktails over beer in 2017 for the first time. Saabira Chaudhuri and Annie Gasparro wrote that drinkers “are thinking about other things: taste, value, beer bellies.”

In their Wall Street Journal article they cite Beer Institute stats: the brew was 60.8 percent of people’s drink of choice in the mid-1990s. Last year it dropped to 49.7 percent. People 21 to 27 years of age chose beer 65 percent of the time in 2006 vs. 43 percent two years ago according to Anheuser-Busch InBev SA.

Enter brewers like Lagunitas, a Heineken company, among several “diving into the deep end of the cannabis-infused drink pool.” The brand introduced a sparkling water drink for sale in California called Hi-Fi Hops according to Steve Huff on maxim.com. “Lagunitas says their 420-friendly fizz comes in two strengths: a lighter version with 5mgs of THC and a stronger one loaded with 10mgs of the only reason anyone messes with cannabis anyway (it’s the THC that brings the mellow, in case you didn’t know).” THC stands for tetrahydrocannabidinol.

According to Huff, “If anything, the beer maker is a little late to this game. Blue Moon founder Keith Villa is producing craft beer loaded with THC. Corona is ready to join the game, too. And California vintners have been infusing wine with weed for a while now.”

Cannabis is legal in Canada but is against federal law here. Mike Adams, contributing writer at Forbes, wrote that “Molson Coors, the second largest brewer in the world, is reportedly trying to get into the game.” It’s considered by some currently a risky venture for sales in the U.S right now though “the beverage sector alone is expected to produce $15 billion a year, according to statistics from Cannabiz Consumer Group.”

Adams reported that in Canada the market might jump from $5 billion to $22 billion because, as a Canadian brewer planning to introduce a cannabis beer observed, “Smoking has lost, and beverages are how we like to become altered.”

Do you think that cannabis drinks will take up the sales gap for breweries made by decreased beer sales? Will pressure by breweries, along with other interest groups wanting to make cannabis legal, convince lawmakers to change the law in the US? Have you tried a cannabis drink?

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