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The Penguin that Stole Christmas

The Penguin that Stole Christmas

Posted on 14. Nov, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet Forget the Grinch stealing Christmas. This year, it is a cute little penguin called Monty that not only steals the show, but also the hearts and minds of the UK populace (and softies everywhere). British department store John Lewis has done it again, with a £1 million commercial (US$ 1.5m) that tells the story [...]

Subscribing to Success

Subscribing to Success

Posted on 07. Nov, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet I was one of those early adopters (my wife would use the less technical term ‘idiot’) who paid £150 (that’s about US$240) for a Nike Fuel Band – one of the first of the wearable devices. It tracked steps and distance traveled, compared my efforts with the rest of the Nike Fuel Band user [...]

On the Wild Side: South African Retail

On the Wild Side: South African Retail

Posted on 27. Oct, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet There’s a word for South African (SA) retail: wild (which can be both positive and negative, as I’ll reveal later in this article). It’s unlike anything we see in mature Western markets like the US, UK, and Australia, which seem relatively staid and tame by comparison. On a recent trip to the southern tip [...]

Embracing “Showrooming”

Embracing “Showrooming”

Posted on 17. Oct, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet Over the last few years, “showrooming” has received a bad rap. This is the practice where a smartphone-enabled shopper goes into a physical store to touch and feel the merchandise, gets expert advice, and then compares prices on their device and purchases online elsewhere. The classic example is of a customer visiting a Barnes [...]

Scary Good or Just Plain Scary

Scary Good or Just Plain Scary

Posted on 10. Oct, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet If there were an Olympics of shopping, the US would win hands down. This year, American shoppers will spend in excess of $4.6 trillion dollars on stuff, which equates to somewhere north of 25% of GDP (some estimates put the figure higher). The Brits by comparison lag behind with about 20% of GDP apportioned [...]

What’s Your Horrorstör?

What’s Your Horrorstör?

Posted on 01. Oct, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet Some retail outings fill the shopper with sheer dread. “Horrorstör*” takes that notion one step further, by setting a “traditional haunted house story” in a fictional big box furniture retailer called Orsk. The store is eerily close in style to a certain well-known Scandinavian retailer, and the book looks and feels like one of [...]

Can Retail Rescue a Dying City?

Can Retail Rescue a Dying City?

Posted on 25. Sep, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet Detroit is at once the American Dream and the American Nightmare. Built on automotive manufacturing, and turbo-charged by the construction of freeways in the 50’s and 60’s, the Motor City hit potholes in the 2000’s, with the Great Recession, a corrupt local government and a population decline of 25 percent in the first decade [...]

The World’s Most Unique Flagship

The World’s Most Unique Flagship

Posted on 09. Sep, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet Flagship stores dot the major shopping thoroughfares of the big cities of the world. Often they are distinguished as much by their size as by their distinctiveness – they are monolithic versions of their mall-based cousins. Yes, they may have a feature or two – a massive digital screen here, a café there – [...]

Cashing in on Customer Laziness

Cashing in on Customer Laziness

Posted on 29. Aug, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet The single most motivating notion in retail today can be boiled down to a single word – “Convenience.” I was reminded of that fact again early one day this week, when, dashing out the door with a slice of toast gripped between my teeth, I briefly caught a fascinating discussion on America’s NPR Morning [...]

Here Come the Robots in Retail

Here Come the Robots in Retail

Posted on 22. Aug, 2014 by Jon Bird.

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Tweet Delivery drones are so 2013. The big news in technology in retail in 2014 and beyond is robots replacing humans. Starting just this week, right across the road from Apple in Cupertino, the Aloft hotel is testing robotic bellhops. As reported in The New York Times, the cute-as-a-button “Botlr” will deliver basic items from [...]

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