What shopper has time for this? "Looks vaguely grocery-ish, don't know what they have but it isn't the brands I usually get. Don't know how long the store will be around. Don't know if I would like it. No fresh foods. Sure, I have an hour to burn..."
I'll just go to my usual Super Target, Asian grocer, and farmers' market in season. If someone really wants to pop-up and get my attention, they ought to rent a table there.
I'm friends with the owners of Minneapolis' largest Asian supermarket, United Noodles - local segmentation is the key to their success. Did you know there is a significant Hawaiian community way up here in the Twin Cities? UN sure does - and stocks the same products you can find at a local grocer in Honolulu, fresh fruits, meats, and poke, beverages, hot spam musubi in their deli; and cements local loyalty with targeted promotions and even cultural programming like their famous luau each November. The store is packed with hundreds of expatriates and friends that day! And they do similar things for the Filipino community as well, and our Indonesian/Malaysian community, etc. as well as for the traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese shoppers.
In my industry: making product vendors give ever-deeper discounts and ever-longer payment terms instead and pocketing the margin rather than investing it in getting new feet in the stores. It's a great way to show us vendors the merchant isn't a partner and encourage us to sell direct-to-consumer!
With the later movie release dates, Star Wars merchandise was probably not as big of a lift as hoped, nor Frozen, despite the aggressive licensing. Target's toy selection was supposed to include more emphasis on smaller manufacturers and made-in-USA products -- they had made a start on it when Toys "R" Us collapsed, but this season it really looked like more of the same from Hasbro, Mattel, Lego, FunkoPop and the other big manufacturers and very few indy lines. (Perhaps due to panicked forward-buying because of Trump's tariffs?)
There's a big Cards Against Humanity display on the back wall right now, but at this point that series is also ubiquitous. They need to recommit to identifying and promoting unique lines from emerging and established specialty vendors to demonstrate a different point of view than Walmart.
"Whopperishness" is a great mouthful of a word that we can't let get away. Probably means something so self-referential yet ultimately disposable that one would wonder why so much expense was given: "Jane decorated her cubicle with so much company-branded swag that you could sense the Whopperishness all the way back at the elevator bay."
Which as other commenters have said, is a sizing-consistency and product information standardization problem, and that drives all the way down to how the clothing industry does business -- overseas production/sweatshops, "fast fashion" with all its wastefulness, body-image mentality and marketing misogyny, etc. Get it all to a clean baseline and you'll probably go a long way to solving the demand-forecasting and production-allocation problems as well!
I don't know about their Florida/California merchandise mixes, but the Macy's here in Minneapolis as well as in Chicago have pretty much the same mix as they would in NYC. But shoppers in Chicago don't want to look like they're from New York, and folks here in the Twin Cities think the Chicago style is absurd. When Macy's abandoned the Marshall Field's and Dayton's buyers, they abandoned any pretense of localization in these markets. And that's why they don't have the loyalty that Field's or Dayton's had.
Breakthrough thinking! Now let's take this to the next level. How about this:
Seatback ordering on Delta's inflight entertainment system + Target.com = items available in a locker right next to the baggage claim at your destination by the time you arrive (give it a two-hour window). Delta is putting in seatback screens across the fleet while American is taking them out. Target has the selection, quality, and most importantly proven capability this year of fast fulfillment.
I would have used this twice in the last month!
There's the gold nugget -- apparel sizing is so unstandardized as to be almost worthless in helping a shopper make a decision. I've bought 2 pair of pants with the same SKU and same measurements on the same order from Lands' End (whom I give high marks to), but the actual fit varied between them -- because they came from two different production lots. What's a shopper to do?
Until we as a country get serious about addressing the root issues of healthcare, homelessness, and the easy availability of weapons, no sector of our economy or society is going to be safe. And as long as those in political power continue to ally with those who profit from these problems continuing (and feel free to commit crimes themselves), all we can do as businesses and local governments is play whack-a-mole. Retail theft is a symptom, not the disease.
Year-round, the Starbucks "You Are Here" drinkware line has been quite popular worldwide for the past two decades, both to hometown customers and especially for travelers. I still use the insulated tumblers I picked up in Guangzhou in 2007, and have a shelf full of glass water bottles from all over the country. Limited editions with geographic scarcity and not sold online = ensures I look for a Starbucks in any town or airport I visit and drop $15-$20 more than just the cost of a White Chocolate Mocha!
Especially with founder-owner smaller companies, whatever success the firm had originally is tied into the stories of the founding and early years. Any divergence from "how things used to be" is very often perceived (rightly or wrongly) as a direct attack on the living memory and values of the owner and provokes fear in her heart.
Deming taught us to "drive out fear" and in today's phrasing, to "get over ourselves" to face real facts and do what must be done. But until the founder-owners realize that failure and loss of respect and position is inevitable unless they commit to change, there is no chance of success. In which case today's phrase is apt: "OK Boomer."
"Shopping is theater" is smack on the point, where the customer is the star and the merchandise and staff are the supporting actors. When I see the same three colors in dress shirts, and over half the inventory is "athletic/slim fit," the floor is messy, and no sales clerks working the floor, that's a show that I get bored with really quickly.
Or it turns into a Xinjiang scenario, willingly aided right now by US hardware and software providers. The technology can be used for repression or liberation, but once the scale tips toward repression, there is no peaceful way out. That's why we have to demand careful consideration here.