Stuff Piled in the Aisle? It’s There to Get You to Spend More (New York Times)

Retail Stores Add More ProductsWhen walking into retail stores consumers rarely give much thought to understanding just how much a retailer invests in a physical store. For many retailers, the investment is substantial. It includes the costs associated with the building, the store fixtures and the employees.

However, the largest expenditure facing retailers is the inventory of products sitting in the store. For example, the value of inventory in large grocery stores or department stores can easily be worth millions of dollars for EACH outlet.

Nonprofits Look For New Ways To Get People To Give (NPR)

Creative Promotion by Non-ProfitsPossibly the greatest challenge confronting most marketers is figuring out how to generate interest among potential customers.  This is where promotion comes into play.  Marketers use techniques including advertising, personal selling and public relations to build customer interest.  Yet, on a daily basis markets are over-saturated with thousands of audio and visual promotions.  This results in customers being exposed to more messages then they are able to understand and retain.  In this environment, even if a marketer has excellent products, their message often gets lost among the “noise” generated by other marketers.

10 Greatest Salespeople of All Time (Inc. Magazine)

Successful SellingAs we state in our Personal Selling tutorial, sales is a highly misunderstood field.  Yes, most people understand the main task of many (but not all) salespeople is to get customers to purchase products.  And, because of this many have developed the perception that salespeople must be extremely aggressive and interested in only one thing – making a sale.

But, it would be shortsighted to think that making the sale is all salespeople do.  In fact, they contribute to the marketing organization in many other ways.  For example, the sales force is a key provider of market information since they are directly involved with customers on a daily basis.  This level of contact can directly benefit those in charge of product marketing by providing important details on what is occurring in the market.

Some Grocers Abandon Rebates for Reusable Bags (USA Today)

Reusable Shopping BagsThe highly competitive retail grocery industry is famous for operating on low margins.  In populated areas within many U.S. markets, there are many supermarkets, discount stores, club stores and others selling grocery products.  In fact, it is not uncommon for shoppers to have a choice between two or three different grocer retailers located at the same intersection.  And many shoppers take advantage of this by carefully researching stores looking for the best prices.  In such an environment, price competition can be aggressive, leading grocers to operate on margins in the low-to-mid single digits.

One important ramification of customers efforts at price comparison is that shoppers are not particularly loyal to a retailer.  Because of this, increasing price to raise margins can be difficult as shoppers can easily shop elsewhere.

Your Brand on TV, for a Fee, in Britain (New York Times)

Product PlacementIn a previous post and in our tutorial section, we have noted the effectiveness of using product placement promotion.  Such promotion, found primarily in entertainment programming including movies and television shows, is fast becoming a popular promotional method.  One key reason for its attractiveness is that it offers a higher level of credibility.  Program viewers may believe the product appears because the program producers selected the product and not because the marketer paid for placement.

In the early days of product placement, marketers often paid indirectly for placement.  For instance, to gain visibility marketers used public relations techniques and free product to persuade producers to include their product.  But what it takes to gain placement is moving away from such indirect cost methods and is now moving to requiring direct payment.  As more marketers see value in product placement, the trend is for program producers to charge for placement.  And marketers have responded by offering large sums to get their product included.