retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to yesterday’s Eye-Opener about Apple becoming the highest-stock-value company in the US, MNB user Blake Steen wrote:

So when does Apple become “BIG” software/hardware since it has toppled “BIG” oil?

You’re right. Apple is obviously a BIG company. Its greatest challenge will be to maintain a sustainable entrepreneurial culture, despite the stock price ... to continue to push for imaginative and innovative and envelope-pushing products and never forget or take for granted its connection to the consumer.

I also think it is dangerous to think that just because Apple is bigger than the oil companies that it somehow will take on their characteristics. (Rush Limbaugh was arguing that point yesterday on his radio show - that big oil obviously isn’t so bad because it is now smaller than Apple. Which strikes me as hogwash.)

And, in response to yesterday’s FaceTime commentary about my visit to Charlotte, NC, one MNB user wrote:

I admit to not expecting the direction that the "Southern Hospitality" viewpoint took.  I was anticipating something like Paula Dean style.  I enjoyed your humor and very much appreciate your point that retail today needs to be distinct in order to survive let alone thrive.

I firmly believe in business distinction strategy.  The term is broad laced with regard to the possible tactics with a retail model.  It’s the difference maker to accomplishing competitive if not formidable market position. 

Some of the possibilities are with exterior presentation  regarding sight lines, business character and marketing options.  Features and signatures certainly count. "Qualities" have become so watered down in the wake of the down economy and resulting business cutbacks especially by corporate operations and big-box customer affair or lack thereof, and have been directly affected by labor cutbacks which most certainly have weakened if not trashed employee moral. 

Unless you're a part of the Google, Starbucks, Costco, etc. teams there isn't much love given to those responsible for managing retail and customer affairs...which opens what would seem to be a no-brainer opportunity for "distinction".

We're in a new era of competitive structure and more practical consumer mindset for expenditures and shopping choices.  Price is most often up front with interests but I believe that today's demand is coming back around to wanting more rounded values. 

There is opportunity to step out of the mainstream and to garner improved market shares from the variety of business sectors that a retailer can be exposed to.  And the opportunity comes by way of your point for distinction, Kevin. 

P.S.  Seems like you have another entertaining and promising market researcher in the family.

And MNB user John Fritz wrote:

Kevin, thanks for an entertaining video of your Charlotte experience. I live in Charlotte and have for 9 years. I have moved 8 times with Kraft and this is definitely the best location out of the 8. Interestingly enough I remember the rain last Friday because I had met some BI-LO folks in Augusta Ga and I drove back to Charlotte that afternoon through that storm. The ark was needed. Anyway I let my 22 year old son watch your video tonight. He loves the Epicenter as we all do due to the many restaurants/bars, etc. He did mention he has never seen a hooker downtown but is now going to check out the Epicenter movie theater.

If he asks you to borrow $300 before going downtown, I think it might be worth asking him a few more questions...
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