Tag Archives: merchandising

Target Launches New Brand – “Smartly”

Not all innovation requires high-tech. Sure, shiny robots, drones, talking home pods, and self-driving cars get a lot of coverage in the innovation spot light. But there is plenty of innovation around in even the simplest of household items. The key is to make sure the innovation meets the needs of the customers.

A very simple new product line innovated and launched by Target this fall is called ‘Smartly’. Smartly is a new, low-price brand with more than 70 items priced below $2.00. That’s right. Two dollars. The products include household cleaners, razors, hand soap, paper plates, and toilet paper.

And it’s not just a low price point. Most of the products are sold as single-items, or in small multi-packs. This is ideal for space- and budget-conscious consumers, such as students and young apartment dwellers starting their first jobs.

Going along with the reduced packaging, prices are roughly 70% lower than traditional brands such as Tide, Gillette, and Charmin. And, the Smartly line even undercuts Target’s own Up & Up brand by about 50%.

Simple innovation can equal smart innovation.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. Explain the use of a product-market grid to determine market segments.
  3. Show Target’s new Smartly product line: https://www.target.com/c/smartly/-/N-r4rpp#?lnk=snav_rd_smartly
  4. Read Target’s announcement of the new line: https://corporate.target.com/article/2018/10/smartly
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team build a market-product grid by identifying five market segments that shop at Target, and five categories of product groupings sold at Target.
  6. Where does Smartly fit in the product groupings? What market segment is the best one for Target to pursue with this new product line?
  7. Finally, how should the company promote the product line?

Source:  New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Target, other news sources

 

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Crocs Launches High-Heels

Crocs casual shoes surround us. The comfortable, resin-based footwear comes in a wide variety of styles for women, men, and children. There are classic clogs, sandals, wedges, sneakers, boots, and more. But until recently, there were no dress-up Croc shoes for more formal and business events. Hmmm….. Is this a new market opportunity? The answer appears to be a resounding ‘yes’.

Crocs heard the need from its loyal female fans and recently launched a new high-heel Croc shoe. Crocs may have started as the shoe for casual outdoor wear, but were quickly adopted by people who are on their feet (such as restaurant and hospital workers) for long periods of time. Made with a closed cell resin called Croslite, the foot beds warm and soften with body heat, molding to the shape of each foot. The shoes use an orthotic heel, built-in arch support, and tarsal bar, making customers’ vocal fans of the comfortable shoes.

While fashion-forward consumers might not be fans of Crocs, the company has sold more than 300 million pairs of shoes in 90 countries, and reached $1 billion in revenue. The shoes have been featured in fashion run-way shoes, and been seen on the feet of Pres. George W. Bush and First Lady Michelle Obama, among others. The shoes have also been a frequent recipient of satire and “worst” lists.

Crocs – love ‘em or hate ‘em?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who has Crocs? What are the opinions of students about the shoes.
  2. Videos can be found on Croc’s: https://www.youtube.com/user/crocs
  3. Crocs’ website: https://www.crocs.com/
  4. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  5. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for Crocs high-heel shoes. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  6. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?

Source:  Fast Company, USA Today, other news sources

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The Joy of Books (for kids)!

Remember when one of the joys of being a kid was getting a box delivered to you that was filled with surprises? Even when the box contained books?! I remember it and the pleasure that reading brought (and still brings) to my life. When kids read, new worlds open up to them. And, building a love of reading early can lead to a life-time love of reading and learning.

In a new service geared to young readers, Amazon is starting a new service to send a monthly box of books to kids based on their ages and interests. The Prime Book Box service uses the tag line “The Love of Reading, Delivered” and delivers a curated box of books every one, two, or three months. The service is priced at $22.99 per box, an estimated 35% discount from the cumulative list prices.

Books can be selected for various age groups: Baby to two year olds, three to five year olds, six to eight year olds, and nine to 12 year olds. Each box contains either two hardcover books or four board books. The selection may include classic books as well as new books selected by the editors, and customers have options to swap out books and substitute from a selected alternative list. The service also takes into account a customer’s purchase history in order to avoid sending a book that you had previously purchased on Amazon.

Reading and getting surprises in the mail – it makes kids happy!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the power of reading for kids.
  2. Poll students: What do they remember about getting books as a kid? What were some of their favorite books?
  3. Show Amazon’s Prime Book Box service to class: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072J4QS9F
  4. Pricing is usually a complex topic. Discuss the six steps for pricing (determining objectives, estimating demand, determining cost/profit relationships, select price level, set list price, and make adjustments).
  5. Discuss the various pricing models in class: demand-oriented, cost-oriented, profit-oriented, and competition-oriented.
  6. Which strategy is Amazon using for the new service?
  7. Will this be effective?

Source: Brandchannel.com, other news sources

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