Archive for April, 2010

Walmart looking for New York City location, Maybe?

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Crains, Retail current projects news had the good fortune to have worked along side Sam Walton on several retail design and planning projects for Walmart. Mr. Sam, as his associates addressed him as , was a people person and had the utmost respect for his employees, customers and business associates. He knew his success would be based on everyone who was involved with the effort should benefit from the relationship.His values were reinforced every week at their company meetings discussing the importance of a greeter at the front door and how to treat and service the neighborhood where the store was located. That description does not resemble today’s Walmart  to me especially when Lee Scott makes a statement like that opening a Walmart store in New York City was not “worth the effort.”Walmart can afford to do anything they want in one location, this is proven by the many one of a kind prototypes they have designed over the years for the sake of just testing an idea. So what is so hard about entering into NYC when their competitors such as Target, Kmart, Costco and others have all found a way to be of service to our community. Could it be they are afraid of the ripple affect should the union become an issue? Mr. Sam would never have thought twice about doing what was right for the general public.It is amusing to me that Vermont, a state known for their values and beliefs on what makes a better life today was the last hold out for Walmart to penetrate. Vermont did not want traffic, pollution, big parking lots, but rather was very happy with the Momma Poppa way of doing business which was one of the many elements that made the state appealing. Walmart spent a lot of money in public relations, lobbyist and donations to get that store open.That store was not a standard sized store but rather undersized  to compromise with the Vermont dictate, but never the less they agreed and opened that store. Why? Perhaps to be able to say that Walmart was now in all 50 states.Well I ask Walmart, would you like to be where everyone knows,”If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”? or are we not that important enough to make the effort.This current Walmart philosophy is so counter Mr. Sam’s values that perhaps all us New Yorkers are better off if Walmart never comes to the Big Apple.Jerry Birnbach Retailers for a better

Retailers can do more for Earth Day -reject plastic

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Every year for Earth Day I make a resolution to help the planet. Do you remember what life was like before we had plastic in our pockets?

Much simpler before because you had to use paper. The advantages of paper were many including if it fell on the street you were sure someone would pick it up and save the landscape. When you ran out of paper in your pocket you stopped distributing it until you had more paper. You never had a problem with being declined or transaction wouldn’t go through.


Today the plastic is a real menace.It does not shut down and you use it over and over never considering the impact on the environment or your closet.

What is the carbon footprint that plastic leaves behind? Constantly transmitting  to the plastic credit company requiring lots of electrical equipment and power to process.


Our Health Plans are more costly because people feel faint when they find out how much plastic they used each month. If your card falls on the floor, it won’t be picked up because everyone knows you shut it down when it was lost. Let’s not discuss recycling the plastic every year when a new one comes. Cutting a plastic card in half is not the first step to a clean planet. Now how about the fact that the footprint which the plastic leaves is a recording of every store you visited, every vacation you ever took, every gift and telephone call you ever made. That’s a little too much information sharing especially when it starts to show up on automatic Card company Tweets. What is more disheartening is the fact that the plastic company knows more about you than you do. So this year I am all about paper and not plastic in my pocket.


Imagine the impact this would have in retail design and display when planning the checkout counters?

Net Prospector helps Vendors find gold

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

There’s Gold in them there hills and Net Prospector is your company’s guide for finding millions of potential customers for you on a daily basis. Each person reached brings an endorsement, hypes your product and fuels your efforts to rule the internet.Every day, millions of people use Twitter to create, discover and share ideas with others. Major marketing people are turning to Twitter as an effective way to reach out to drive business. From local stores to brick and mortar to internet-based or service sector, people are finding great value in the connections they make with businesses on Twitter.Now it is possible to search for exact word groups on Twitter allowing Vendors to get in real time the worlds reaction to their category of product, retail outlets selling their product, and customer suggestions for improving the items. By directing the conversation with Twitter postings you can get free surveys and valuable information to drive your business. Twitter allows you to stay in contact with your customers and creating a loyal following online.The value of Twitter for taking the guesswork out of expensive business decisions such as advertising, stocking up on a color or style is untapped. Social Networking for business is ground breaking and Net Prospector will help you dig for leads and profit generating information.Do Not Wait because a big part of racking and your exposure on the internet is based on the length of time you have been registered on the network.You have questions?Net Prospector has answersContact:

Paved Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot.

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Barbara Farfan once again has hit the nail on the head. There’s trouble in River City and it rhymes with FAIL. RETAIL,is going through a transition as experienced in the past by Mass Retailers, Deep Discount Drugs and Department Stores. The transition is a result of good times when business people believed that any retail concept will be a winner.Sharper Image, Warner Stores, Disney Stores, KayBee Toy, and Kids r Us are just a few casualties of good retail times gone by.We are heading to a world of Hybrid Retailers based on the dynamics of retail. As grocery retailers needed higher gross product they introduced items other than food into the store assortment. As discounters failed on the apparel side to get the category successful they introduced food for the volume and turns. As drug stores regulated by insurance companies lost their cash cow, they became a convenience 7-11 with milk with everyday items. Put this trend all together and you have the same store offerings under the disguise of a Category Killer retailers.The game is the same only the rules have changed. This rule book now better include Customer Service, Experienced Store personnel, competitive pricing, never out key items, and exclusive product for todays retailers to survive. As a Store Planner and Retail Consultant,  for over thirty years, I have experienced the evolution of retailing. The good news is we will have stores to shop in and the “paved paradise and put up a parking lots” will be turned back into “Green Zones”.Jerry Birnbach Retailers for a better

Employees Still Accepting Pay Cuts by Barbara Farfan

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

to read more Retailers across the nation must read this article over and over again because it is a wake up call. Look at the Auto Industry to see what the lack of corporate integrity, employee sense of pride and uncompromising customers did to the American Auto Industry. In the 70’s and early 80’s American cars ruled. But I for one got tired of coming home from picking up my new car and finding screws, bolts, on the floor and idiot lights lit up on the dash board. I finally went European and had years of reliable and trouble free auto ownership. The level of employee retail staff is at an all time low regardless if it is at the low end of the retail food chain such as Mass Retail or at the high end Department Store. As a Retail Design Consultant and blogger for “Retailers for a better tomorrow” it puzzles me that this practice is not given a higher sense of priority. The frustration level to go into a retail store, have no assistance, or staff that are not knowledgeable about the product, unwilling to go the extra mile to accommodate the consumers is monumental. • There are several retailers such as The Gap, The Container Store, Apple Store who get it and make the shopping experience pleasant. On the other side of the equation is a Radio Shack, a highly technical resource, and a store that I visit as a last resort. Do I want uncontrolled images on the TV screen or music that has a limited appeal level assaulting me? Do I want to struggle to find what I need because I have a better technical sense than the person assisting me? Am I a satisfied customer knowing that in less than thirty days I will be returning the item because it either is faulty or does not do what it claimed to do? The most incredible realization for me is that these staff members do not get that they are digging their own grave. Retailers cannot survive when incidents noted in Barbara’s article and some of my references are not isolated ones but rather the norm. Just like the piped in messages were a feeble attempt by corporate to bypass the human factor, retailers need to train their staff or find a way to turn the store into a giant vending machine. Look at the way we purchase gas today as opposed to the days of a gas attendant. We talk to the pump tell it all the information we require, and the pump makes the purchase and gives us a receipt with a message of thanks. The gas pump is better than some of the deadbeats that did the same job years ago and were ultimately replaced by a robotic gas pump. The personal touch, the lost opportunity to win over a customer and gain consumer loyalty went down the drain with the new pumps. The bottom line is that there is a real problem with today’s retail staff and if no one wants to fix it, we will all be gravitating to the next innovative retailer who has made the people factor more important than product. Jerry Birnbach F.I.S.P.

Kmart announces new brand for tweens

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

I hope that Kmart does not do their famous put the new brand on a rounder or faceouts , add a photo of the talent and expect it to fly out the door. As a Store Designer and intimately involved with the Isaac Mizrahi roll out in Target I know what it takes to have a brand succeed. This brand needs to appeal to a demographic who have mixed feelings about being seen in Kmart shopping for apparel. It has never been cool and if Kmart wants the girls to show up, a full blown visual merchandise and display presentation, visual impact all need to be present.I have said it before that Kmart is on its seventh life and unless they start to establish an identity and come up with fresh innovative concepts they are going to use up their remaining lives quickly. I wish them well and hope they understand what is at stake here.Jerry Birnbach F.I.S.P.RDD Associates Store Design and DisplayRetailers for a better tomorrow blogger

Kmart and Selena Gomez Announce Apparel Collection — HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., March 30 /PRNewswire/ —

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Kmart and Selena Gomez Announce Apparel Collection — HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., March 30 /PRNewswire/ —