Monthly Archives: August 2016

Red Wing Shoes Adapt to Women


While there are certainly brands and products that are only targeted at one gender, these brands might be missing a big opportunity to bridge the gender divide. And we don’t mean the “pink it and shrink it” approach to market products to women. Companies have to understand the female shoppers’ needs and wants, and make sure to build unique products for them.

One company that is taking a more female-centric approach is Red Wing Shoe Company in Minnesota. It worked out its $300+ boots were being purchased by women, not large boys, and took action. A big clue was the surge in small shoe sizes, followed by a big uptick in social media postings.

After discovering that women account for roughly 10% of its Men’s Heritage collection sales, the company took note and began to restructure products for a female consumer. While certain models are identical to the men’s products, other new styles are distinctly for women. Materials used have also shifted as the company reconstructed models to account for the difference sizes and weights of women, particularly when breaking in new boots.

These boots are made for stomping.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Discuss the differences between marketing clothing to men versus women.
2. What products/companies have been successful at adapting their products to both genders? What accounts for this success?
3. Show the company’s site:
4. Discuss the site. Does it account for women shoppers?
5. What changes should the company make to market to women on the Web site?
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune

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The Unhealthiest Restaurant Meals


Raise your hand if you have ever been on a diet. Now, raise your hand if you have ever been surprised to learn how many calories are in what you thought was a healthy meal!

The Center for Science in the Public Interest recently published its annual list of the most unhealthy restaurant meals with nine “winners” from appetizers, entrees, drinks, and desserts. Are you ready for this? Here are some of the top unhealthy meals:

• Whole Hog Burger (2,850 calories), Uno Pizzeria & Grill
• Jersey Mike’s Subs Giant Chipotle Cheese Steak (1,850 calories)
• Build Your Sampler (can reach 3,390 calories), Applebee’s
• Fried Chicken & Waffles Benedict (2,580 calories), The Cheesecake Factory
• Short Rib & Cheesy Mac Stack (1,910 calories), Dave & Buster’s
• Dessert Nachos (2,100 calories), Buffalo Wild Wings

There are lots of healthy options at many restaurants, but if you’re not careful, you could wind up eating one of these (and many more) unhealthy, calorie-laden, full of fat, meals.

Where do you want to go to eat tonight?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Discuss eating habits. Poll students as to where they eat.
2. Show some of the unhealthiest meals:
3. Why is this an issue for the restaurant industry?
4. Next, show the Web site for the Center for Science in the Public Interest:
5. Have students examine articles and information on the site. What surprised them?
6. Divide students into groups. Have each group select a restaurant chain and examine the restaurant’s menu for calories and other health issues. What are their findings?
7. What could restaurants do to address the issue of unhealthy meals? Does the restaurant industry have a social responsibility to consumers in regards to health?

Source: Chicago Tribune

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Cash? How Old-Fashioned!


Retailers, as well as consumers, seem to be quickly moving to a cash-free form of commerce. By this we mean that instead of paying in bills and coins, more consumers are easily paying for purchases with credit cards, debit cards, or via an app. There are a lot of benefits for businesses to go cash-free. In fact, some retailers are phasing out the use of cash entirely in favor of cards.

One such business is Sweetgreen – a restaurant chain with 48 locations across the U.S. Several of its locations stopped accepting cash in January, but according to the company’s owners, barely any customers even noticed. The company had recognized that cash purchases had declined to less than 10% of total purchases and took action to eliminate the cash, and speed up the ordering and service process.

This is happening not just at U.S. retailers and restaurants, but also in other countries. In Sweden, only 2% of the country’s economy is represented by bills and coins. And, this year, compared to the average of 75% cash payments in the rest of the world, only 20% of all consumer payments in Sweden have been made by cash. Even the Abba Museum (which launched the 1970s hit song “Money, Money, Money” no longer accepts cash.

What’s in your wallet?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Poll students: who uses cash, cards, apps, and in what amounts? Where are they likely to use each form?
2. What are the concerns and issues with no longer using cash?
3. Check out Sweetgreen’s Web site:
4. Why does cashless work for this company?
5. What are the advantages and disadvantages with no longer using cash?
6. What are actions that retailers should take in regards to going cashless?
7. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a business and then develop a marketing plan to feature the cash-free transaction as a positive message.

Source: New York Times

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