Four Questions to Continually Ask About Your Customers, Products and Brand
Furthermore, we live in the age of specialization. You can buy a Dell PC from a kiosk in your local mall (or at a couple of retail chains now) or a Mac at the Apple store (talk about branding). When CompUSA pioneered the Apple store-within-a-store concept years ago, it only did one thing: It taught Apple exactly what to do (and what not to do) to be successful at retailing. The concept was great, but the execution was lacking. It took wayyyyy too long to get the concept of staffing CompUSA Apple stores with people who actually knew what to do with a Macintosh. It was almost as if Apple’s current TV ads came to life: Mr. PC trying to sell Macs. Clearly Apple saw this, learned from it and ran with the concept.
CompUSA forgot what it was and what it sold. Back in 1992 when I first stepped foot inside CompUSA’s flagship store on Long Island (N.Y.), I remember being blown away. Here was the largest computer store I’d ever seen. With a great concept it entered the space at the right time with the right products. These days, it sells TVs and other electronic equipment. That’s great for Best Buy or Circuit City, but not for a company that positioned itself as “The Computer Superstore.”
Its competitors effectively have positioned themselves as “specialty electronics” stores. Therefore, when you think about getting that digital video camera or plasma TV, you’re not thinking CompUSA.
Moreover, if you get a chance before it’s gone to look at CompUSA’s store layout, you’ll see that all the noncomputer stuff seems like the afterthought that it is. CompUSA added enough products to say it sold other things, but not enough to be competitive in that space.
The bottom line: If you’re going to expand your merchandise selection to match the competition’s, you better beat it. Have more product on your shelves and make it look like it’s actually supposed to be there!
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.