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WHY Do Customers Think of You?

What do customers think of you?

While they probably don’t just sit around and actually think much about the companies they do business with, consumers generally form specific opinions about stores over time and exposure to marketing messages, personal experience, and what they hear from others.

Whatever value equation a company brand has established with a consumer, unless it is a discount brand, it is lowered by constantly promoting deals and discounts on what customers already want to buy. These discounts do more than cost money. They also make it easy for the customer to categorize in their mind what type of retailer each store is to them. And once they’ve chosen the category, it is very difficult to change their perceptions. Continue reading

Handling Haggling

Handing MoneyHaggling on the Rise

The introduction of the new Taggle concept for in-store bidding on merchandise at participating retailers brought about a plethora of media reports on the haggling fad. Now some retailers are adopting haggling procedures and training their associates. Don’t fall for it.

Continue reading

What’s Wrong with this Message?

Enough about the economy stupid.

Yes, we need to be empathetic to the consumer’s need to save, but the problem is amplified and exacerbated when everyone who is marketing has the same basic message across all communication channels. A basic tenet of marketing – differentiation, is lost.

Shouldn’t your brand be all about helping consumers escape the everyday issues of life? Keep in mind that when your advertising messages remind your own brand constituents of the harsh realities of living today, and that they should save money every time they buy you are NOT making them feel like they need to have what you’ve got. Continue reading

Why This Business Gets In Our Blood


My colleague, Judy Stapler is an accomplished market researcher, a consumer advocate, and a great addition to our team. Judy recently commented to me that she has observed how exceptionally passionate she has found the people in the horticulture industry to be about what we do (as compared to people working in other industries) . We do not need to get into a deep theological discussion, or raise an argument on the reason why people in horticulture become obsessed with horticulture. Can we just agree that we are?

Continue reading

Fast Forward to Uber-Cocooning

Consumers get better and better at it. They’re sure getting a lot of practice. John Naisbit first predicted “high-tech/high-touch” in Megatrends. Faith Popcorn predicted “cocooning” in The Popcorn Report. She’s now updated that with “uber-cocooning”. Certain things aren’t changing so much as they’re getting deeper and richer. The consumers have become more sophisticated cocooner’s with outdoor living, outdoor living rooms, and even those televisions that pop up out of the hot tub or outdoor kitchen (thank’s Dawn Gower at Ferda’s). Have local owned garden centers kept up with this really, or is the consumer bypassing the local-owned retailer for the greater garden center world? What are we going to do about it now? Are we going to try to play the discount , lower price, smaller size game and hope to keep the volume, or are we going to get serious about this, take the high road, and provide the total value of great product, shopping environment, and service that is becoming of the customer’s desire to “uber-cocoon”?

Read more and see what Faith Popcorn said about cocooning and uber-cocooning by clicking here.

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