retail news in context, analysis with attitude


by Kevin Coupe

Content Guy’s Note: Below is a commentary on the same subject as the video piece, but it isn’t word-for-word the same. You can look at both, or either...it is up to you. I look forward to hearing from you.


Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with The Content Guy.

So I recently attended a family wedding down in Charlotte, North Carolina, and aside from the fact that it is great fun to spend time with people you love in an atmosphere of unmitigated joy, I found the experience to be surprising from a couple of perspectives.

One was the fact that I had no idea that Charlotte turns into New Orleans on Friday and Saturday nights. I mean that almost literally - the Epicentre downtown was rocking and rolling well into the early morning hours, with music blaring, people laughing and drinking and partying (not necessarily in that order). My 22 year old son found it to be enormously attractive, though I think he was a little surprised when he was propositioned by a hooker in the elevator of the Aloft Hotel downtown.

He told me that he was a gentleman about it - he explained to her that he really wasn’t interested, though he did inquire as to how expensive she was. $300, she told him. Now, I’m not really worried by any of this because he told his mom and me all about it the next morning ... and he explained his interest in the price by saying it was marketing research. Chip off the old block, I’d say.

On Friday afternoon, before the rehearsal reception, when it was pouring rain - and I mean “build an ark” pouring rain - my son and I decided to go to the movies at the Epicentre, and this was where we ran into the next surprise. The theatre was amazing - not only was it fancy and luxurious, but it featured a couple of full bars, a restaurant, and looked more like an expensive club than a movie theatre. And there was enough space in between the theatre seats to bring your meal into the theatre with you, to enjoy while watching the film. In fact, it was so nice that after the reception, my son and a friend of his decided to go there for a drink ... just because it was incredibly nice, reasonably priced and presented a great opportunity for people watching.

The ticket cost for the Epicentre theatre - $10. In other words, no more than I usually spend at almost any other theatre I go to.

And all I could think about while at the theatre - watching a movie I didn’t like all that much - was that the experience was being defined by the place, not by the content. Even if I did not like the movie, I liked the theatre, and would be willing to go back again and again. It made it more than a movie, and that’s a critical distinction.

It is a great lesson for all retailers. Differential advantages often can be found in the sense of place, not just in the products on the shelves, in the cases or on the racks. I’m not saying it always has to be luxurious or high end, but it has to be distinct.

To do otherwise, I think, is to give away a potential advantage. And especially these days, nobody can afford to do that.

That’s what is on my mind this morning, and as always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
KC's View: