Archive for February, 2009

Circuit City – God’s Gift to . . . Amazon?

Posted in Blogroll on February 28, 2009 by nmb

What if Amazon became Circuit City’s unexpected beneficiary & Best Buy became a place to do research first? I’m pondering such things . . .

Shopping in the low-pressure privacy of your own home, no taxes and pretty good shipping (especially if you have a prime membership on Amazon) vs. high pressure or indifference, service plan come-ons and/or hikes through produce and panties to get to the CE department.

I see an upset in the offing.


Walmart’s Great Value Revamp: Great Timing

Posted in Blogroll on February 25, 2009 by nmb

Much is being said about Walmart’s decision to revamp its Great Value private label in food, mostly about what it should look like and which brands would be worthy of imitating (Kirkland is a clear winner on that front).  I’m thinking more about timing . . . Walmart is upping the anty in an already-strong category just as Target is trying to remedy its food mistakes of the past. While Target was busy creating groovy designer alliances in discretionary categories, Walmart’s food advantage and clear non-discretionary value proposition made all the difference as gas prices hit all-time highs and with the recession hitting harder than ever. Target is laser focused on getting food right, particularly on the perishable and private label side; Walmart is smart to preemptively upgrade its offering, position for the pull-out and gird against potential market share gains by Target!

All You Magazine . . . Connecting the Walmart Woman’s World

Posted in Blogroll on February 12, 2009 by nmb

Diane Oshin, publisher of All You Magazine, took the dais yesterday in Bentonville to reveal findings from the magazine’s Problem/Solution study, a study which promised to bring rare insights into what motivates and concerns value-conscious, female Walmart shoppers.

Having the opportunity to learn more about this highly-influential consumer group would be a bonus on any day; however, on the heels of Walmart’s announcement of cut-backs at the home office the presentation to an audience of 100+ vendors was particularly relevant.

And so it was that Ed Clifford, president of the Bentonville Chamber began the presentation on a somber note; expressing sorrow for the layoffs while offering encouragement regarding the many opportunities that continue to exist with Walmart and other major companies that are based in the Northwest Arkansas region.

Ms. Oshin has been publisher of All You since its inception over four years ago and considering the rash of titles that have shuttered or moved entirely to digital in the last couple of years, the magazine’s staying power is quite remarkable.  I remember All You’s launch back in 2004 and the skepticism regarding its premise . . .  Did the world really need a magazine with such limited distribution (Walmart only or by subscription) and with such deliberately mainstream content? Evidently so . . . and, as Ms. Oshin’s presentation revealed, the magazine’s passion for knowing its customer and staying “on point” with her may be All You’s secret success sauce.

Anyone who does business with Walmart knows that “problems” are “opportunities,” a philosophy that also forms the foundation of the Problem/Solution study that All You embarked upon last Summer when gas prices were taking the wind out of everyone’s sails . . . If you can stay on top of the problems that value-driven women are wrestling with in their everyday lives, then you are poised to offer them “practical, realistic and affordable” ideas that give women the “recognition and encouragement” that they deserve. This radical departure from overtly aspirational feel bad messages isn’t just right for the times, it positions All You as the ultimate answer for an “underserved” mega niche that is critical to any marketer doing business in the value space.

Instead of featuring limited edition products then daring its readers to go hunt them down, All You keeps it real by featuring products from stores that value-conscious women frequent, meal solutions that respect her time and budget and, at the end of the day, makes women feel good about themselves through savings achievement and positive reinforcement about where they are right now.

So, what ARE the problems that these women are wrestling with and how can marketers position their products and services as a solution? According to All You’s study, the opportunities fall into four categories:

1. Health – Women care about their own health; however, they also are concerned about the health of their parents

2. Money – Back to Walmart’s “Save money, live better” mantra

3. Technology – According to the study, women use an average of 7 technological devices to make their lives better. I’ll add that Walmart has known this for a while and that’s why they have John Andrews, the retailer’s guru for emerging media, on the prowl for any and all technologies that “connect her world.”

4. Green – Caring about the environment isn’t just for the elite, it’s an ongoing mainstream concern. Marketers have a real opportunity to tap into women’s desire to leave the planet in better shape for their children

 Women may be pinching pennies on clothing and even food; however, according to the study, their pets are still getting the royal treatment, (if you want more on pet privilege at retail, check out this link from Retail Wire or just head over to my house and take in the action).

If you’ve attended previous Walmart executive presentations, you know that they are all about getting items checked off of a shopper’s list. This one goal has driven everything from store layout to product selection to the retailer’s “win, play, show” merchandising strategy and “fast, clean, friendly” mantra in operations (learn more about these initiatives by clicking on However, getting ON the list to begin with is the Holy Grail when 73% of women go to a store with a shopping list in hand.

Ms. Oshin wrapped up her presentation with tips on how to get value-conscious women to pay attention to your messages.

1. Give her a solution she is seeking. Note that she didn’t say “Give her a solution that you want her to like.” All You is about respecting women’s freedom of choice . . . so is Walmart . . . so should you be!

2. Make her feel valued and understood. Overarching aspiration isn’t the name of the game.

3. Utilize impactful store sampling – Walmart is all about connecting with consumers where and when they are receptive to connection and sampling helps complete the connection loop in-store.

4. Act on her increased interest in couponing. As Walmart’s alliance with powerful “mommy bloggers” (known at Walmart as the “elevenmoms” demonstrates, Walmart is looking at new ways to leverage tried-and-true marketing vehicles that fulfill the promise of “Save money, live better.” Ms. Oshin encouraged anyone who wanted engage in a deeper dialog to contact her at

More Weigh in on Starbucks

Posted in Blogroll on February 2, 2009 by nmb

Following up on my last post . . . threw in my two cents on Retail Wire this a.m. also. Read what everyone else has to say . . .