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  • Ray Allegrezza

Retail remains a moving target

Ray AllegrezzaRay Allegrezza
During the recent Nationwide Marketing Group's PrimeTime Show, an electronics retailer asked me how I would define the current retail environment.
     I told him that with all the changes taking place with consumers and retailers, retail amounted to one moving target trying to hit another moving target.
     For openers, look at just one change at retail - the growing impact that e-tailers and online shopping continue to have on consumers, and by extension, traditional brick and mortar retailers.
     According to ComScore, total retail sales of all types only grew about 8% in 2011, but online sales for that same period jumped 13% to more than $161 billion, making it clear which channel had a leg up with today's American households.
     And speaking of today's households, are we even marketing to those households correctly?
     Based on what I often see at markets, one might think that we still believe the typical American household consists of Mom, Dad, 2.5 kids and Sparky the dog.
     But as socialist Eric Klineberg points out in his book, "Going Solo," the number of Americans living alone has hit an all-time high. Among his findings: 28% of all households currently consist of just one person - the highest level in our country's history.
     He goes on to point out that more than 40% of households in major cities such as Atlanta, Denver, St. Louis, Seattle and Washington, D.C., are single.
     Then there's the other moving target - the retailer. Never before have I seen the lines at retail this blurred.
     A great example of this was evident during Nationwide's PrimeTime show.
     I met a growing number of appliance and electronics dealers that have fattened margins by adding bedding and furniture to their mix. Meanwhile, the show also was populated by a healthy number of furniture retailers who have added consumer electronics and, in some cases, appliances, as a way to get more - and new - feet into the store.
     All these changes are exciting and can lead to new business.
     But now, more than ever, if you hope to hit the target, you need to be on target with your message, your presentation and your assortment.

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