Posts Tagged ‘retail’

Last night I finally had the opportunity to ask Alfred Josefsen, supermarket retailer Irma’s charismatic CEO, the one question I had been wanting to for a long time: “Why would your organization be missed if it ceased to exist?”. Well, it’s not the sort of question you just walk up to someone and ask. Sounds a bit morbid, perhaps. But the context was this. At an executive briefing attended by both of us we were all challenged with this one question to ask one other person in the room during the coffee break. The question is part of Jacob Bøtter’s NQ series and is also known as the obituary test.

Anyway, I (the naive, tree-hugging, time-warp hippie) was very pleased with Alfred’s answer. The world would miss a supermarket that wants to make a difference. That doesn’t go for the lowest (price) denominator and that wants to create experiences for their employees and customers alike (Irma always comes in among the top of the Best Places To Work list – and won it back in 2008). Alfred pointed to their exceptional culture and their passion to work with what they believe in. Decisions are made locally and employees have the freedom – and the obligation – to make decisions for themselves.

Hey, that answer was good enough for me.

I just discovered a great little iPhone app called Redlaser. It scans barcodes and in a split second it returns a long list of online price comparisons, a bit like Pricerunner, only this brings online price comparisons into the offline world.

I spotted Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the bookstore at Dublin Airport at the ”special price of €13.99” and decided to give it a quick try. A Redlaser scan of the barcode revealed that Douglas Adams’ classic could be purchased online at biblio.com for $9.98 (€6.70). Now – that’s less than half price. Would I buy that book from Hughes & Hughes at Dublin Airport given that information at hand? Definitely not.

The app is very simple, but obviously leverages a powerful search engine (TheFind), which hooks up with a rapidly growing number of online shops and its ramifications are astounding. It will put far more pressure on retailers to coordinate online and offline offerings minutely and realtime to ensure that customers don’t abandon their shop purchase in favour of buying it online (which I would have done in my example).

I’ll be following this little red devil closely to see how and to what extent it might change customer retail behaviour in 2010 – and, oh, I’ll be sure to develop some cool strategies for retailers to not only cope with this new “thing”, but also take seriously advantage of it.