Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hunters Flock to Dicks for Field & Stream Department

That’s the spirit Dick’s Sporting Goods (Coraopolis, Pa.) has tried to capture with its new concept called “Field & Stream.” The first two such ventures opened last year, in Cranberry Twp., Pa., and Crescent Springs, Ky. And while Jack Barnes, general merchandise manager for Field & Stream, will admit that the creation of the store environment was fun, he also points to the enormous challenge.
“We wanted to create a space for the hunting-fishing-camping enthusiast that was authentic,” says Barnes. “And that meant we had to get it exactly right. These people can spot the phony immediately.”  They use displays from POP2GO.

The authenticity starts with the name on the building, the title of the magazine for outdoors enthusiasts that has been around since 1895. Dick’s owns the rights to the name, for retail purposes, and has been a partner in the development of merchandise with the Field & Stream label.
“The Field & Stream name announces that this is the authority,” says Paul Lechleiter, chief creative officer at FRCH Design Worldwide (Cincinnati). “It says these guys really know their business and you can trust that.”

The four legs of the stool sought by Dick’s and FRCH were brand, assortment, environment and service. Field & Stream provided the brand. And Barnes, an outdoors enthusiast himself, managed the assortment, making sure the very best equipment reflected all the best brands and state-of-the-art advances in technology and use of materials.

The environment was carefully crafted to provide a genuine, immersive experience without seeming tricked out. The open space, filled with raw materials – stone and wood surfaces – is easy to navigate. Two 11-ft.-high walls run the length of the store, dividing it into identifiable merchandise areas. Open sightlines lead shoppers to sections with un-gimmicky names like Camping, Paddling, Tackle Shop, Archery, etc.

“It’s a no-nonsense, unambiguous store layout,” says Lechleiter. “You know instantly where you’re supposed to go. It’s actually a collection of small specialty stores pulled together around expertise.”
That’s not to say the environment is bland. Far from it. A highlight of the visual approach is what Lechleiter says is an extensive collection  of taxidermy, from mounts on the wall to forest vignettes throughout the floor. The collection, assembled by Wildlife Recapture, a taxidermy service in Libby, Mont., includes one of the largest recorded moose specimens captured to date.

One installation includes huge displays of wolves and deer in a real-life chase scene through a wooded forest with painstaking detail given to capture the reality of nature. “Every mount and every wildlife scene is composed to tell a story,” Lechleiter says.

Framed Field & Stream magazine covers line the walls, plus a lot of the magazine’s natural wildlife artwork. “We’re not owned by the same company but we partner with them,” says Shian-Li McGuire, Field & Stream’s director of brand marketing. “We’re interested in having the brand grow. We hope the magazine sees value in the store and what it can accomplish in driving the brand name.”
Outdoorsy graphics and taxidermy notwithstanding, Barnes feels that the success of the concept will ultimately rest on the knowledge and credibility of the store associates. “This customer is particularly passionate,” he says, “so we wanted to create a store where they’d say, ‘These folks get me!’ ”
And that meant giving them equally passionate employees who are there to help, inform or just trade hunting and fishing stories. As Lechleiter says, “These guys are real hunting experts; they live the life.”

The store can also be reconfigured for the occasional lecture, class or presentation.
Dick’s two kick-off sites were not accidental. Both are avid hunting and fishing areas. “It’s easy enough to find out where the most hunting and fishing licenses are sold,” says Barnes. And that will drive what Lechleiter calls a “massive roll-out.”

At 50,000 square feet, slightly smaller than the typical Dick’s Sporting Goods store, these stores can be more targeted to their locations, to differentiate themselves from the competitors’ huge regional flagships, says Lechleiter.

The company purposely kept the Dick’s name off the building. “It’s not often that you have access to such an iconic name,” says Barnes. “Someone doesn’t have to guess what’s for sale there. We think these customers want to walk into a place that relates to them and only to them.”
Besides, he says, this is a particularly good time for all retailers in all sectors to develop niche concepts. “Today, anyone can find anything and everything online,” says McGuire, “so when someone goes into a store he wants a customized personal experience, an elevated level of merchandise and service that taps into the emotional connectivity of a cultural enthusiast – the romance and passion for the lifestyle.”

Or, as Lechleiter says about the store, “if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you walk in and feel you’ve been dropped into heaven.”

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Target Ignored Credit Card Security Warnings!

Target Corp. (Minneapolis) acknowledged that it had been warned of suspicious activity prior to its data breach last year but had decided to ignore it.

The New York Times reports that Target had installed security software designed by security firm FireEye (Milpitas, Calif.), according to two researchers who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing client confidentiality.

The FireEye software reportedly sounded multiple alarms as criminals were uploading their tools to siphon out customers’ credit and personal data.

“Like any large company, each week at Target there are a vast number of technical events that take place and are logged,” said a Target spokeswoman. “Through our investigation, we learned that after these criminals entered our network, a small amount of their activity was logged and surfaced to our team. That activity was evaluated and acted upon.

“Based on their interpretation and evaluation of that activity, the team determined that it did not warrant immediate follow-up,” she said.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Display Products For All Needs

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•Attract Customers - The interior of any store can look incredible, but that doesn’t benefit managers and owners if no customers come into the store. Enticing customers through the door is a difficult task, especially in crowded shopping centers. Use custom banner flags, event displays & window signage to start drawing in more customers than you had thought possible. Outdoor advertising is a low cost solution with high revenue results. Floor standing easels are a valuable resource that can display an custom sign and is also portable and lightweight.

•Controlling Traffic Flow - As it is with any business, there are always products or services with higher overhead than others. Use poster frames, floor standing signs or sign clips to move customers towards the product or service that will bring the most profit. Use a light box to bring attention to a poster announcing a large sale, or place a lobby stand in the entrance with details about a specific service to get customers’ attention the second they walk in the door. We specializes in traditional store merchandising, there are many other product lines offered. From trade show graphics and prize games to restaurants and sports bars, we have the supplies you need. Standard products and solutions are available, as well as contemporary styles of product marketing.

The diverse selection below may be just what you need to take your marketing to the next level:

•Custom Displays – We can produce any Acrylic, Wood, Plastic or Metal Point of Purchase Displays you require. We can produce 1 to 100,000 units, NO MINIMUMS. Our design team has over 20 years experience with Merchandising displays and we know what works, what doesn’t and what type of material to use in each situation.

•Literature Stands & Holders - Facilities with waiting rooms can benefit from floor standing or wall mount magazine racks. Offer patients or customers literature to read while they wait for their appointment. Convenience & grocery stores also commonly use literature stands to increase point of sale purchases. Provide office visitors quick access to information with a business card display. •Trade Show Supplies - We specialize in getting you everything you need to run a successful trade show. Get portable counter booths to easily set up a presentation stand. Utilize our custom graphics department to have an entire booth backdrop printed, or simply print a company logo on a table runner. Accessories like lighting, tables and chairs and utility carts help make any setup a breeze, and help fill out the booth space.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Lowes Hires New Merchandisng Executive

Lowe's Cos. Inc. (Mooresville, N.C.) has named Michael Jones as its new chief merchandising officer.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the move is seen by many as a first step in Jones becoming ceo of the housing supplies retailer. The cmo position had been vacant for nearly a year.

Jones was most recently president for North and Latin America for Husqvarna AB (Stockholm), the Swedish manufacturer of outdoor power equipment that is one of Lowe’s biggest product suppliers.
He also spent 15 years with the General Electric Co. (Fairfield, Conn.), starting in appliance contract sales and moving to positions as chief commercial officer of European consumer and industrial operations and a general manager of cooking products.

At Lowe’s, Jones will be responsible for merchandise offerings and global sourcing for the retailer’s 1750 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. He also will work closely with the leaders of customer experience design, marketing, operations and logistics.

The company made a statement saying current ceo Robert Niblock has no plans to retire “but Lowe's always wishes for its executives to advance.”

Monday, March 10, 2014

Walmart To Invest Billions into Latin America

Walmart Stores Inc. (Bentonville, Ark.) has said it will spend more than $1 billion to open new stores and increase its e-commerce technology in Mexico and Central America.
The expansion would add a total of 3.7 million square feet of space, growing its Mexican presence by 5 percent and Central America by 7.6 percent.
Bloomberg News says Walmart “is looking to Latin America to help offset declines at home.” Same-store sales at Walmart stores in the U.S. fell 0.4 percent last quarter.
Walmart’s Mexican business, known as Walmex, will spend about $260 million on remodeling and maintenance, about $90 million to logistics and about $140 million to e-commerce and other technology.
David Cheesewright, who became head of Walmart’s international unit this month, said consumers around the world are stressed, with “significant slowdowns” in numerous markets, including the faster-growing developing countries.