Blame Amazon?  Not Me. Just Ask The Mid-West!

Blame Amazon? Not Me. Just Ask The Mid-West!

It happened.  It was one of my typical very early mornings watching CNBC.  When I heard that Amazon was buying Whole Foods, yes, I let out the stereotypical huge gasp.

Jim Cramer also gasps when he breaks the news that Amazon is buying Whole Foods.

Once I got over the initial early morning caffeine-stoked shock, I came to the same understanding as the rest of the world.  OK, this is finally, finally, finally it.  Now do we all get it?  It really is mobile 1st and digital always from here on out.

But Wait.

Technicolor memories of my retail career then started to ramp up.  Growing up in the Mid-West, shopping was everything. There were tons of amazing department stores based in Chicago. Consumer products became my career of choice.  Then, all the department stores started to disappear.  These were massive stores.  They were institutions.  One by one, they faded away.

Check out the timeline below for the disappearance of some of Mid-West’s biggest retailers:

Stores out of business timeline
Chicago’s Disappearing Department Stores

As you can see this started happening waaaaay before Amazon came around.   I loved these stores, but I could see the writing on the wall, even back then.  Maybe I am lucky. Maybe me and my retail career have been primed all along for this tectonic shift.

“I loved these stores, but I could see the writing on the wall. Sure, we are where we are now because of the Amazon might.  However, I argue this a bit differently.  I say we are where we are now because the consumer decided it so. “   

 

People vote clearly and loudly with their purchases choices.   See the yellow line below in the graph?  Look to the far right and you will see the Amazon growth acceleration, especially since September 2015.

Amazon Chart of Growth
Amazon Growth Versus Traditional Brick & Mortar Retail

 

If you are in marketing, you know this already- Ultimately, the consumer is always the boss.  So, while Amazon is the latest key player, they are not the total reason.  It is, as always, all about the consumer.  It always has been and it always will be.

Madison Luxe Group is an innovative beauty, fashion and lifestyle luxury brand retail sales distributor and marketing consulting agency founder Christine C. Oddo and Madison Luxe Group
Christine C. Oddo founder Madison Luxe Group, author The Christine Report Blog christine@madisonluxegroup.com
Valentino Resort 2018 Socks, Anklets and Dresses?!? AMAZING!

Valentino Resort 2018 Socks, Anklets and Dresses?!? AMAZING!

Valentino Resort 2018 Socks, Anklets and Dresses?!? AMAZING!

A great reason for new accessory shopping- socks and anklets.

Valentino Resort 2018 with Socks and Anklets is So AMAZING!!
Red for Resort Never Looked Better! Crisp Chic
Valentino Resort 2018 with Socks and Anklets is So AMAZING!!
The oversized blue jacket with this graphical dress to these adorable anklets! Fab Fashion
Valentino Resort 2018 with Socks and Anklets is So AMAZING!!
This is stunning, a whisper thin dress with anklets looks completely polished! Great Style
Valentino Resort 2018 with Socks and Anklets is So AMAZING!!
Serious fave with the cargo jacket balancing the cotton dress and beyond cute socks and sandals!  So girlie So tomboy
H2H- Are You Experienced?  Human to Human – The Digital Promise Delivered

H2H- Are You Experienced? Human to Human – The Digital Promise Delivered

Jimi Hendrix was on the right track in many ways when he asked “Are You Experienced?”

So what exactly is H2H?  No, it is not the latest Asian flu.  Neither is it water—that is H2O.  And its definitely not the latest networking app!

H2H is “Human to Human”

H2H is About Brands & Delivering on Their Digital Promise

Your digital promise is the full delivery of your brand’s experience to your consumer.  Sure, its easy to produce slick graphics and fabulous copy on a webpage and in social media.  But brands have to really ask themselves if they are also providing the human experience vis-a-vie their digital presentation.

At first this seems a bit crazy and if nothing else completely contradictory.  Isn’t the whole point of digital is that it’s exactly just that-digital?  Not exactly.  What customers are demanding is the full range of a robust experience that a brand has to offer.  What seems to be new here really isn’t.  But with digital in the mix, the rules of execution have been forever altered.  Marketers know that consumers do not want to simply buy something, they want to fully experience it.  This means that brands now have to understand how to seamlessly deliver online and offline–with great humanness.

The rules of brand delivery and execution are forever changed.  

Missing the H2H portion of the brand delivery equates to treating your customer like a piece of digital meat!

Human to Human Marketing is The Digital Marketing Brand Promise Delivered
Human to Human Marketing is The Digital Marketing Brand Promise Delivered

 

This is nothing new because as far back as 1998, Joseph Pine and James Gilmore published “Welcome to the Experience Economy” and the phrase was then forever coined.  They plotted The Progression of Economic Value graph.

The Progression of Economic Value Created in 1998
The Progression of Economic Value Created in 1998!

Even then in 1998, customers were demanding experiential immersion with a brand. With digital marketing, they are demanding it even more.  Its sort of a paradox.  The more brands deliver remotely, the more customers expect to be treated like a human.

“Its sort of a paradox.  

The more brands deliver remotely, the more customers expect to be treated like a human.”  

Farfetch, the digital platform featuring hundreds of impossible to find boutiques and merchandise, recently announced their “Store of the Future”.  Check out this short video from Bloomberg.

Farfetch is setting the standard for digital delivery and human experience.

Farfetch founder, Jose Neves says:

“The next stage in the evolution of the fashion industry is the connected store, which uses technology to enhance the luxury retail experience to become even more customer centric,” he said. “Farfetch is at the crossroads of luxury and technology and is well placed to understand its needs and deliver a tailored solution.”

Jose Neves on LinkedIn-the Creator of Farfetch
Jose Neves on LinkedIn-the Creator of Farfetch

In their new retail store concept, Farfetch customers will experience the full immersion of humanity wrapped in a digital brand delivery.  Farfetch has executed an admirable business benchmark for H2H.

Is your brand ready for H2H?  Are you experienced?

Christine C. Oddo is the author of The Christine Report blog and founder of
Madison Luxe Group; a beauty and luxury product retail sales & digital strategy agency.
Inquiries to christine@madisonluxegroup.com
Madison Luxe Group Where Luxury Meets Reality www.thechristinereport.com www.madisonluxegroup.com
The Christine Report
Maximalism vs. Minimalism.  What Meme Is Right for Your Brand?

Maximalism vs. Minimalism. What Meme Is Right for Your Brand?

Maximalism versus Minimalism.  If you created a campaign using a meme, which way would you go?  Which visual style is more representative of your brand?

More than ever before, visual impact takes the lead role in brand presence.  Memes are an excellent tool for delivering incredible visuals while identifying with your target consumer.  In the not-to-distant-past campaigns relied heavily, and successfully, only on their creative and production capabilities.  Our digital media world has changed all that. Creative is no longer perceived and judged just as award-winning art-for-art’s-sake.  It now has to be conceived with the notion that it can go viral – and we all know that creating the magic of going viral is the killer hack in digital branding.  Now not only does creative have to be flawless and fitting, it must also be able to go into full viral motion.

Memes are a leading way to instantly deliver your brand message.

So, will you go with the Maximalist pow and deliver eye candy straight between the reader’s eyes?  Or, is it more fitting for your brand to play it cool and draw them in with a I-couldn’t-care-less-about-how amazing-I-look-‘tude?

Gucci’s latest Watch campaign is obviously continuing their trend in Maximalist fashion.

Check out some of their recent campaign memes.  The copy is critical too!

Gucci Meme 1Gucci Meme 2Gucci Meme 3

Want to understand how Gucci is utilizing memes into their campaign?

Read Australian Vogue’s article here.

Vogue Australia with Karlie Kloss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you have experienced Maximalism, let’s see the difference with Minimalism. What Vetements just did is simply way too cool.
Vetememes the Vetements Meme Jacket Sold Out
Vetememes the Vetements Meme Jacket
Burberry’s Art of The Trench campaign is iconic for its minimalist imagery and impact. They further capitalized on their viral success with a flawlessly linked execution via brick & mortar and engaging user generated content.
Burberry's Art of The Trench Campaign Utilizes Memes, Brick & Mortar and User Generated Content
Burberry’s Art of The Trench Campaign Utilizes Memes, Brick & Mortar and User Generated Content

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Burberry’s did is extremely important.  It illustrates the opportunity for how a brand can lead an entire robust campaign with a single piece of developed creative.

We now know the importance and opportunities of memes.  So what will it be- Maximilism or Minimalism?

 

headshot-from-christmasChristine C. Oddo is the founder of Madison Luxe Group a beauty and luxury product retail sales and digital strategy agency and author of The Christine Report blog.

Inquiries to christine@madisonluxegroup.com

 

Raf Simons’ for Calvin Klein 1st Show = A-MA-ZING

Raf Simons’ for Calvin Klein 1st Show = A-MA-ZING

Soooooo Lovely.  Paris Cosmopolite 2016/17 Métiers d’Art show – CHANEL

Soooooo Lovely. Paris Cosmopolite 2016/17 Métiers d’Art show – CHANEL

 

Watching this Chanel show was like a mini-vacation for me. It is incredible. The models stroll, strut, dance and frolic in the Ritz hotel. Not a traditional high strut catwalk in any way. I love this. They look like they are having the best time, the music is adorable and of course the clothes are beyond. Go ahead, take a moment for yourself you totally deserve it! Watching this is my idea of mindfulness.  Enjoy.

 

Ho-Ho-Ho  Yo-Yo-Yo How Did It Go-Go-Go???  How Were Your Holiday Sales?

Ho-Ho-Ho Yo-Yo-Yo How Did It Go-Go-Go??? How Were Your Holiday Sales?

So, how did it go?  Now that we’re getting through January, for sure you have already done your 2016 Holiday Sales review.  So, how did it go?  If you are not happy, hard to believe, but we now only have about 8 calendar months to implement change.  Can we do all that needs to be done in time, this time?

The key question for most brands and stores has become incredibly apparent-

Where did my customer shop?

Did I have a brand presence there?

Was my customer’s experience consistent?

In Other Words

ARE YOU UNIFIED???

Unified Commerce.  It’s not just Omni-Channel.

What does UNIFIED mean exactly?  It means that presence or performance is no longer about where one can buy a product or find their retailer.  As marketers, we call each of these a channel.  Do you know what your customer calls it?  NOTHING.  Sorry to be so blunt.  That’s right, they refer to it as nothing.  Why?  Because our customers really don’t care what a channel is.  They only care about where they are and if they can easily purchase something.  We also need less emphasis and planning around “channel optimization”, “tracking” the target consumer, or “omni-channel” anymore, too.  Technically these efforts will remain, but it is really all about the right marketing mind set and goals.  Its time to truly begin to understand and implement brand transaction strategies from the consumers’ viewpoint.

Unified Commerce.  It’s Technology and It’s Your Consumers’ Brand Experience.

brp-graphic
2016 projected $30B spend on commerce unification software 

 

 

It is about a product or a brand transaction being seamlessly and instantly present across every platform.

 

Why Omni-Channel is Not The Same as UNIFIED

Here is a perfect true life example of my experience with an exclusive department store-           This retailer is definitely Omni-Channel but definitely not Unified.  When I fly into this city, I always look forward to shopping at this amazing destination.  When I purchase something that won’t fit my carry-on, I have to ship it back.  The brick and mortar purchase process will not allow it to be shipped to my PO Box.  So, the sales associate has to physically release the order at the exact right time so that it meets me at my house upon return from my trip and not sit on my front porch while I am away.  Then, I have to worry about my purchase sitting at the retailer for sometimes a week or more, depending on how long I am away. But, when I order online from this store, they will ship my package anywhere- including my PO Box. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Dior Tribal Earrings My Must-Have Item Ordered Via Text Unified Commerce Needed Here
Dior Tribal Earrings My Must-Have Item Ordered Via Text

Most surprising to me was when I needed some extra help buying some incredible just-had-to-have runway earrings and I wanted a couple different pair to collect all at once. 

I called the store long distance and during this experience, I was able to order these pricey earrings from the sales associate literally via texting but, get this- they were not available for order via their website.  

Very confusing.                                                                    

 

 

 

 

Unified Commerce Needed Here The ECommerce, In-Store and Phone Ordering Brand Experience Completely Different
Unified Commerce Needed Here The ECommerce, In-Store and Phone Ordering Brand Experience Completely Different

 

So, time has come where the point of sale is no longer just about technology capability, channels or physical location of the purchase.

THE NEW POINT OF SALE IS THE CONSUMER THEMSELVES

Unified commerce means that no matter where or when a consumer decides to buy, they can seamlessly, readily and easily transact their purchase AND to them, the transaction feels, looks and acts the same.  The consumer experiences little differences in their transaction options and brand interaction.  Also anyone in the organization that may be assisting in the transaction has the same information access and in real time.

Unified Commerce by National Retail Federation
Unified Commerce by National Retail Federation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time flies.  Our consumer continues to expect more unity in their experience.  Can you be totally ready by the next holiday season?  Can you get Unified?

 

 

Madison Luxe Group Where Luxury Meets Reality www.thechristinereport.com www.madisonluxegroup.com

Christine C. Oddo is the author of The Christine Report blog and founder of Madison Luxe Group; a beauty and luxury retail sales, product development, brand curation and digital strategy agency.

Inquiries to christine@madisonluxegroup.com

FLOTUS FASHION RECAP 2017

FLOTUS FASHION RECAP 2017

flotus-2017-fashion-recap