digital marketing

Clicks to Bricks: Retailers Building Scale by Changing Channels

E-commerce is clearly still in its infancy as a volume-driving “channel,” but the establishment of digital flagships, often in lieu of physical ones, is driving a host of additional benefits for retailers. The “bricks-to-clicks” model of the past is beginning to be turned on its head, and a new wave of retail competition is transforming the landscape without laying a single brick.

Global Gateways

Japan-based, fast-basics retailer Uniqlo has set its sights on generating $10 billion in the U.S., with 20% of that originating online. This may seem like an ambitious goal, given that its U.S. presence is currently limited to three stores in New York and its next physical flagship opening, in San Francisco, isn’t due until October. In the meantime, the company is said to be on the hunt for an agency that will build out a U.S. digital flagship for its brand. Uniqlo’s e-commerce platform will definitely get its volume engine cranking, but it will also prime the pump in markets slated for future stores, while driving global brand awareness in a way that its spotty physical footprint can’t just yet. Uniqlo’s agency RFP included a stipulation that the e-commerce infrastructure “provide a universal foundation for future expansion in other global markets.”

Virtual Virtuosity

Often referred to as its country’s equivalent to Nike, and marketed in the U.S. as “the biggest brand you’ve never heard of,” Chinese challenger brand Li-Ning is also determined to make its mark in the U.S., but its first lob over the fence wasn’t to open a Manhattan mega-store or even a couple of pop-ups. In fact, while the $1.23 billion company expects the U.S. to account for 10% of its international sales by 2018, it has no imminent plans to hang anything but virtual shingles here. With the premise of enabling consumers to “feel the personality of the brand” as if they were in a physical store, Digital Li-Ning debuted in March and has garnered a 425 percent increase in unique monthly web visitors. The brand has since created a robust virtual ecosystem that incorporates Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, YouTube, and the blogosphere into its digital mix. Clearly, Amazon isn’t the only e-commerce pure player intent on shaking things up.

Digital Default

Although Burberry’s bleeding edge drives into digital stand out as an impressive exception, the rest of the luxury market has largely resisted the rush to e-commerce, and instead relied heavily on carefully-curated physical flagships situated in major markets. Amazon’s just-announced foray into fashion will provide a much-needed margin boost to its portfolio but its determination to sign on brands such as Michael Kors, Vivienne Westwood, and others also portends of it transforming into the digital flagship of choice for many luxury brands.

Store-less and Stellar

Watching Walmart television ads while in Manhattan has always felt dissonant to me. After all, getting to a Walmart from Manhattan requires a tedious trek off-the-island to Secaucus, NJ. Did they flunk hyper-localization 101 or is something else at work? Thanks to the magic of its endless online aisles, Walmart actually counts Manhattan as a top market, and one that isn’t reliant on New York bargain hunters making hikes to neighboring states or succumbing to its ongoing store-building overtures. Any future ribbon-cuttings in the Big Apple are bound to grab headlines, but for Walmart, they will signify the achievement of a multi-channel milestone.

Retail Wire picked up this article. Check out the discussion.

This article originally ran on the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA) site.

Busy Week at Best Buy - Our One-Stop Roundup

The last two days have brought non-stop media inquries for NMB's CEO, Carol Spieckerman, following the resignation of Best Buy's CEO, Brian Dunn. Although many pundits and media are focused on Dunn's reported indiscretions, Carol is taking the high road and focusing on the future. Here's our one-stop roundup of features and related blog postings. 


Despite CEO Exit, Best Buy Sticks with Revamp

In the 4/11 edition of Finance & Commerce, Carol Spieckerman tells writer Chris Newmarker that she thinks "all bets are off" after Brian Dunn's departure. 

Read the full Finance & Commerce article.

Article by Chris Newmarker for Finance & Commerce, 4/11/12, © 2012, Finance and Commerce. All rights reserved. 

Best Buy: CEO Brian Dunn resigns over 'personal conduct' issue

Carol Spieckerman says Dunn's departure offers Best Buy the "opportunity for a fresh start at a pivotal time" for the industry. She goes on to say, "Whatever the impropriety was, in an odd way that gives them (Best Buy) permission to go in a different direction."

Read more of Carol's comments in the Pioneed Press article.

Article by Tom Webb for Pioneer Press, 4/10/12, © 2012 Media News Group. All rights reserved.

Best Buy CEO Resigns Under Cloud

Calling it an "unfortunate case of Dunn's poor judgement getting in the way of Best Buy making progress, " Carol Spieckerman shares with retail writer, Thomas Lee, the gold lining in Dunn's resignation: it gives Best Buy permission to move in a new direction.

Read the Star Tribune article.

Article by Thomas Lee for Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 04/11/12, © 2012 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

Retail Wire: Best Buy's CEO Resigns. Who's Next?

In Tom Ryan's latest Retail Wire article, he asks Brain Trust Panelists to weigh in on what type of skills (merchandising, digital or other) are required to lead Best Buy at this point and what value should be placed on bringing in an outsider in turnaround situations? 

Read Carol's featured comments and who her fantasy pick for Best Buy's new CEO.

Article by Tom Ryan for Retail Wire, 04/11/12, © 2012 Retail Wire, LLC. All rights reserved.

Another article on Best Buy that you might dig ...

 Two Mighty Myths by Carol Spieckerman

Best Buy is the latest member of a growing group of retailers that have recently announced significant business overhauls. Clearly, retail is about to get a whole lot more interesting, as many of the majors, including J.C. Penney, Lowe’s, Kohl’s, and others make simultaneous big breaks from their pasts. Before the momentum builds any further, it’s time to debunk a couple of myths...

More Best Buy-related articles and media contributions from NMB ...

 Follow Carol on Twitter  


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Much Ado About "Showrooming" in Retail

Price transparency, "showrooming"...what's a retailer to do? Carol Spieckerman weighs in on the effect that online comparisons are having on Target, Best Buy and others, in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

Article by: Tom Web,TwinCities Pioneer Press, 03/31/12

Read "Minnesota Retailers Fight Back Against Online 'Showrooming'

© 2012 Media News Group. All rights reserved.

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