retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from an MNB reader:

I have been thinking a lot about your item ‘Throwing Shade’ and Michael Sansolo’s subsequent piece on consumer self-perception. Several years ago, I attended a session by a marketing group about consumer self-identification.  They worked with retailers to define their core customers by working through exploration of how these customers define themselves and the kinds of imagery, store layouts and styles they respond to, right down to the kinds of animals, landscapes, and colors to use in their marketing materials.

Ultimately, the point was that demographics such as age and geography are poor indicators of how consumers see themselves; instead, you should try to understand the psychographics of your core clientele and seek to align yourself to those, so your core clientele will understand and identify with you. That was the business lesson I took from your interaction with the usher (your chagrin is the same that I feel every time someone offers me a seat on the bus for what seems to me to be no good reason). The usher was being polite to you, but any business that can’t see why you felt the way you did is probably in a little trouble.
The issue of consumer self-identification is even more urgent in this era of extreme personalization. E-commerce delivers more to consumers than just an easy way to get stuff.

On a different subject, from MNB reader Phil Blackburn:

Was reading your take on Radio Shack going out of business this morning. They are a great example of a business that did not evolve, and therefore became irrelevant.

I stopped buying from them a long time ago for a different reason:  rather than simply checking me out, they asked for my phone number, address, etc.  I refused, and told the clerk that it was pretty ridiculous to invade my privacy when I was just trying to buy some batteries.

Sad for everyone involved.

I think you just quoted Kramer from "Seinfeld."

Regarding the clothing store in Boston where they have a machine that can make a jacket to-order on the spot, one MNB reader wrote:

This sounds so intriguing that if I were headed to Boston, I would try to make time to see this machine and while I’m in the store, I’d probably at least look to see what else they carry and may even buy something  - off the machine or otherwise.  It’s a differentiator that all by itself probably wouldn’t work but combined with the ‘typical’ way of shopping,  it brings consumers to the store that might not have even considered walking in the door previously.

And from another:

This is one of they most revolutionary things I have read about retail this year.  I can hardly wrap my mind around the implications...Wow.

And, from MNB reader Tim Grimes:

Have been watching "Bosch" - per your suggestion, every night for 2 weeks-and I’m entering Season 3 tonight.  Can’t think of a better show on TV and Titus Welliver -what an actor.  Rounded characters, great acting, great plot lines…how about the circular killer.  Inspired!

Thanks for a great head’s up as the first two seasons were an incredible find!

That's what I'm here for.
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