Whoever thought that one would find trade merchandising tips in the Style and Fashion sections of the New York Times.  If you don’t believe me, click on the links to read the whole articles. The pictures are mind blowing and thought inspiring.

From the STYLE Section :  Getting Shoppers Into Stores Takes More Than Inventory by Ariel Foxman 10/28/2018

There is general acceptance that commodities and things you need regularly will be bought on line. Commodities are high volume low margin items. The 33 pound bag of dog food that fills the dog food container comes by UPS as ordered three days before we run out—Just In Time supply chain management.

The New York Times quoted “Samantha David, chief operating officer of WS Development, one of the largest retail development firms in the country…”

“Gone are the days of shopping by necessity, as much of that can be satisfied online,” said Ms. David, the daughter of the fashion designer Lisa Perry and the former hedge-fund manager Richard Perry, who also has a majority stake in Barneys. “Today, shopping has to be a part of how I want to spend my day, spend my time, in all aspects.”

One of the themes in the article was making the shopping experience feel like home.  In parallel, one of the themes in the recent BDNY show was making the hotel visit a home away from home. I see a pattern.

“Gone are the days when stores told the customers what they were going to buy,” said Robert Burke, chairman and chief executive of Robert Burke Associates, a fashion consulting firm with clients like Chloé and Vera Wang. “The customer is now highly educated about the brands. The customer drives the experience and that experience is not entirely transactional.”

From the FASHION Section:  Libraries, Gardens, Museums. Oh, and a Clothing Store – Shopping areas in Asia are about the experience, not just the retail sale.

From the New York Times: “It’s a core reality shift,” said Scott Malkin, the founder and chairman of Value Retail. “The war is over. Alibaba won. That means physical retail is no longer about the distribution of goods but building brand equity.”

“And brand equity is created via the subliminal communication of ephemeral values: service and touch — what Mr. Malkin calls “the software” that surrounds the “hardware” of bricks and mortar (and marble and sandstone) reality. Which then becomes the place, he said, “where the interface behavior occurs.”

There is more to this story as the Internet evolves with online vendors going upscale in pricing from commodities—but that is another post.