Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Brick & Mortar Shopping 2.0

Holiday shopping excitement is ramping up.  The National Retail Federation predicts an estimated 4% increase over 2014.  Forrester expects online shopping to exceed $95 billion; an increase of 11% over last year.  Long-term: Will brick & mortar shopping be eclipsed by online shopping?     

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Some leading retailers are modifying their business models to compete.  Detailed below are three retailers that are enhancing their brick & mortar operations for their customers:

1.)   One brand that I respect and have written about is North Face.  In select stores they are introducing a cinematic virtual reality experience titled “The North Face Nepal.”  Sounds more exciting than online shopping.  However, since North Face understands the value of connecting with its consumers (specifically Millennials), they are also offering the content to Outside magazine subscribers.  In-store shopping augmented by virtual reality.

2.)   In my hometown of Philadelphia, Urban Outfitters announced they are entering the restaurant business by purchasing the Vetri Family Group of restaurants that includes Pizzeria Vetri which they plan to open in some of their flagship stores.  In-store shopping combined with an eating experience.

3.)   ShopWithMe, a retail start-up is opening interactive “smart” stores.  Their pop up concepts will include merchandise presented (e.g., Toms Shoes, Raven+Lily) on glass top digital displays or in futuristic fitting rooms complete with interactive mirrors.  In-store shopping enhanced by futuristic design and interactive technology.  

E-commerce will continue to exhibit robust sales.  However, some leading retailers will continue to find ways to attract consumers to their brick & mortar locations.  What will be the key?  Find “smart” solutions to enhance their customers’ shopping experience. 

Brick & mortar shopping 2.0: The new look!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

No Tipping Thank You

A hot topic in the foodservice industry right now is the potential of eliminating tips.  Legendary New York restaurateur Danny Meyer was the first to announce a no tipping policy.  Last week national restaurant chain Joe’s Crab Shack indicated they were heading in this direction.  So what’s next?   

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What is the rationale behind the no-service gratuity model?  Restaurateurs will pay their servers, hosts and bartenders higher, fixed hourly wages which will improve the team performance of their workers and reduce turnover.  Oh yes, to cover this business model, menu prices will obviously be increased potentially 15 to 20%.  Will this policy go mainstream?  More importantly, will diners be comfortable with this move?

So what’s next?  Maybe Foodsy, a new restaurant in Amsterdam has the ultimate solution to a no tipping policy.  They have eliminated their staff altogether.  Guests are provided menu recipe cards.  Then guests use either raw/fresh or prepared ingredients to cook and serve themselves.  They are even provided instructions how to tap their own beer or brew coffee.  At the end of their experience, patrons pay via an iPad app.  Due to the elimination of staff, most of Foodsy’s meals are cheaper than other restaurants. 

How do you vote?  To tip or not to tip!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Tired Expression

“If I knew then what I know now, I would have been very successful.”  A tired expression (a.k.a. cliché)!

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I have lost count of how many times over the years I have heard the above cliché as it pertains to business.  Even to relationships!  Think about it.  What you know today can be attributed to all the cumulative learning (a.k.a. experience) achieved on your adventure.  Unless you have a time machine, you cannot turn back the clock and take all your current learning (a.k.a. experience) and apply it to the past.  A more realistic approach to life is best summated by Danish philosopher, theologian and social critic Søren Kierkegaard:

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”