retail news in context, analysis with attitude

In almost nine years of doing MNB, I’ve rarely gotten a cooler email.

Last week, I made an approving comment about something Kroger CEO Dave Dillon said about the company’s strategy, and then said (in a rare moment of self-deprecation), “Not that Dave Dillon cares if I approve or not.” Well, yesterday I got an email from MNB user David Dillon that said:

Just want you to know I actually do care what you think…

It doesn’t get any better than that.

On the subject of Blockbuster’s travails, one MNB user wrote:

It seems like Netflix and Redbox have taken opposite strategies and Blockbuster died in the murky middle. Redbox narrowed their selection down to the several hundred (maybe less?) most popular movies in a tiny footprint. Comparing their $/square foot to a traditional store is a no-brainer. And, it's unlikely that Redbox will ever support the kind of high quality video discovery that Tarantino referred to. Netflix, on the other hand, is all about discovery of less popular movies - what Chris Anderson calls the Long Tail. Because Netflix doesn't need to worry about duplicating inventory in thousands of expensive stores, I can get more (and more interesting) movies from them than I could at any video-rental-store, ever.

I see Amazon the same way: sure, I'm a little sad about the loss of the small, local book store. In return, though, I get to support the small author.

And as a small author, I salute you.

The simple reality, BTW, is that companies like Barnes & Noble and Borders make it almost impossible for small authors without major publishing houses to do business with them. Amazon is a very different story - and its ability to work with small authors is what allowed Michael Sansolo and me to write a book that has gone to its third printing.

On a related point, one MNB user wrote:

The other day we were discussing e-readers and one lady mentioned that she was reading an excellent book and wanted to loan it to others but didn't feel she could as she had other daily news feeds on the reader and would miss the news if she lent the reader.

As I was thinking about this, I came to the conclusion that if e-readers became the rule rather than the exception, the authors would be able to sell more issues as most people would not pass books around.

To me, this looks like a long term win for the authors.

From our perspective, this is a good thing.

MNB user Bill Jensen had some thoughts about the applicability of the e-reader revolution:

Kevin, it is not only the customer of the future that will be using an e-reading device, it is the customer of today. Classes are now held

So ... if a customer is offered a store specific pdf to download as she/he entered, with say, weekend specials, or daily specials, I believe they are more likely to read them as they knock off their e-list of groceries and goodies to buy.

But will the employees be able/willing to demonstrate the fun of interacting with a store's e-reader, or will they provide you with fed-ex style service?

That, as they say, will be where the rubber meets the road. All these technologies are only as good as the support offered by the retailer that employs them.

Here’s why I love the MNB community.

On Friday, MNB took note of a Cincinnati Enquirer report that Kroger has been pulling boxes of Ochocincos - a new cereal featuring Cincinnati Bengal player Chad Ochocinco that was meant to draw attention to the Feed the Children charity - because a toll free phone number given on the box was directing consumers to a phone sex line.

The problem: the toll free prefix given was 1-800 instead of 1-888.

My comment:


Gives whole new meaning to the phrase, “the most important meal of the day.”

And almost immediately, I got a bunch of emails suggesting other alternative slogans. Among the ones that are printable on a family website:

• “The Best Part of Waking Up.”
• “It’s not just for breakfast anymore.”
• “The best to you each morning.”
• “They’rrrrrrrre Great!”

Gotta love it.
KC's View: