Category: Retail

Here I am to revive Pitchmen Enthusiast and chat about Toys-R-Us.

Three or four years ago I ended my venture of writing here at Pitchmen Enthusiast. After doing that, it pretty much ended my many years of interest in the direct response industry. It’s funny the direction that life took me–to working in the marine industry instead–but getting my own brand out there as BoatShowGirl. While I love doing that, my Pitchmen Enthusiast blog gave me a passion for business and a reason to keep up with the industry news and it helped me in the long run. It was my weekly homework to help with life and my ideas for the future. I could find something to be excited about or a piece of news that would make me want to write.

That’s kind of what happened to me recently.

I saw articles on LinkedIn about Toys-R-Us going bankrupt, and the comments that followed… and guess what? It made me say, “Wow. I wish PE were alive so that I can talk about this piece of news.” And so, here I am, I am reviving it so that I can talk about business once again.

First of all–I solely believe that Toys-R-Us is the equivalent of Sears or JCPenney in that aspect–so are we really surprised this has happened?

The last time I was in a Toys-R-Us was a while ago and their prices were either double or triple the prices of say from Wal-Mart, Target or some other named store. In this day and age, parents are looking for the cheapest price of toys so they will shop online or ads before they buy to see where they can save some money. Secondly, mostly kids want electronics now and the normal every day toys of yesterday are being forgotten, or they play with the physical toys for only so long to outgrow them and want something new. Our world is moving so fast with new, new, new that hardly anything stands the chance of being constant.

I’ve seen some mention of this in comments or other websites: locally owned toy stores are getting the Toys-R-Us customers because they lure them in by way of being personable, or set up a play station. I’m sure that’s probably true. Local businesses are back in the game.

So honestly, this is really all I have to say about that, because again, this is one of those things that should’ve been predicted a few years back.

I am looking so forward to coming back and writing about business topics! Cheers to reviving Pitchmen Enthusiast!

Side note: I have brought back some old entries that you may have read and remember, or never have read, in the event that you want to catch up to see what Pitchmen Enthusiast is all about.

Another downer on Best Buy, the Father’s Day dilemma.

I read this article about how this lady was out with her son on Father’s Day and noticed that all of the women were shopping every where but Best Buy, and why?

Read her article for more details. In the short of it all, once again, Best Buy makes worst for their customers and are not helpful to them at all.

According to the article, lack of context / connection / simplicity are basically the main factors that women don’t want to shop there, even for their husbands or fathers or that guy in their life.

Best Buy and their employees are good about announcing and stating the facts that people can read (specs) but they are not good about connecting with the customers to break down how pretty something looks or how smoothly something runs.

For a camera, instead of reading the specs that the customer already read to themselves, how about telling how nice the camera shoots photos up close or what special filter the lenses have. For computers, share what programs look wonderful on the screen – if it’s photo specific or a computer for writers or gamers. Those things…those things that help SELL the item.

As Dan and I were having a discussion at lunch over this, specs don’t matter any more, they want details…and that’s a huge reason why Apple wins over their customers because they have it.

Most Best Buy employees are like retail employees, most aren’t in it for the career and most are only in it for the money. So, they point to or make a point to mention what the customer already knows (ie: what they can read), instead of taking the extra step to find out specific things about the item to make a sale.

Two suggestions mentioned in the article, I don’t really agree with.

This may be sexist, but, I do not think that Best Buy needs to cater to just women or just men. It’s a man’s thing – that new ole technology – tvs, gaming, computers, etc. Yes, I am a woman and I like technology to a certain point that I want something cute that works, or something that works and is cute, y’know?

Sure, you want to add feminine to the menu at Best Buy? When the lady wants to buy a computer, add a pink USB drive and pink computer cover. Or, a pink phone case for her phone. Or, whatever color they want. But I think they already have a small selection – so it’s pretty moot talking about it.

But I do agree that they need to really clean it up with all of the return policies and prices and everything else wrong with Best Buy.

“Protecting themselves from customers” – it’s a dead giveaway that due to high loss prevention numbers, we allllll know that people steal and it’s a bad, bad, bad idea NOT to protect your company models/items. Why wouldn’t you want to try to save your stuff from being stolen?

This is anywhere, pretty much, that the employees DO focus too much on trying to catch people who are stealing (or who aren’t but everyone is apparent suspect) and not truly caring enough to help someone. I get annoyed so much every time walk around every single corner and get an employee asking ,’you finding everything okay??????’ It’s like, ‘yes, five of you have been here asking that same thing. Please let me shop. Help me when I actually need to be helped.’

But it all goes back to how Best Buy is failing and things won’t be fixed.

Do you think that RadioShack could make a come back?

I was checking my normal program for reading the every day updated business/marketing/economy news and came across this blog post.

It’s basically saying that if Radio Shack turns its head away from what they’ve become to go back to the roots of their beginning – like selling parts and nothing but parts – then they could turn this whole game around.

I can’t remember the last time I went into a Radio Shack. But, I can tell you the last time I saw one and went back to that same place weeks later only to see they’ve closed up shop.

Radio Shack lost its vibe when it started selling computers and phones and other electronics that Best Buy and Comp USA and several other big box electronic retailers sold. Price was another thing. If I remember correctly, Radio Shack’s prices weren’t right with what it should’ve been or less than what it should’ve been.

The article says that Radio Shack really needs to focus on their main customers which are the hobbyists who need parts.

I don’t really think of parts when I hear Radio Shack, I just see a retailer that’s waaaay past its prime. Unfortunately.

There’s already a ‘good enough’ parts retailer and it’s online; Tiger Direct, New Egg, Amazon… and so on. You can also find cheap things on eBay. The only thing I can think of are the people who don’t believe in ordering stuff online and there’s local places around to find parts.

I don’t know. It’s just like anything else. Looking for the best price for clothes? Go somewhere cheap like the thrift store or store when they’re having sales. Best price for jewelry? Same. Best price for electronics? Look online, look at big box retailers or smaller businesses. Best price for parts or hard to finds? Thrift stores, eBay. Y’know.

It’s just too hard to turn an older ex-well-known company back around to be something in a really, really bad economy that’s trying to recover.

There’s too many places to buy things from, there’s too many places that are the same and not unique at all. It’s devastating to those who built the company but it’s just a factor in retail life.

What do you think?

JCPenney and their ‘no more sales’ tactic.

Think back to the ages of catalogs in the mail. Which ones did you get? Perhaps out of the few that you received, you got JCPenney, right? Not only that but you also received coupons or at least some sort of newspaper insert to introduce the next sale that was going on — and that, is still going on nowadays.

Now, I’m usually up on all of this kind of thing but had no idea what this retailer was trying to do (only because I live in a box now that I’m really busy).

JCPenney tried taking away all sales by doing ‘best price’ for a month.

Now, could you imagine? Could you imagine if you were the big box retailer who always sent coupons and ads in the paper/mail to advertise sales – and then – it suddenly stopped? Wouldn’t you think the store had packed up and left?

What were they thinking? For a company who relies on that kind of business through mail inserts advertising sales, that was such a stupid move.

Not to mention, the new CEO is from Apple, which holds a much different standard. There are straight up prices, no sales, and only sales when something is needing to be pushed out the door before the new Apple product arrives.

Instead of looking at the big picture, the new CEO decided to step in without really thinking. People rely on sales being advertised so that they can go to the store and get items on sale. With no advertisement, who would be dropping by? Perhaps the few people in the mall who swoops in and back out? As you read in the article linked above, traffic in the store dropped.

I would put JCPenney in the same category as Sears. They have been around probably about the same time, both put out catalogs, both carry some sense of the same brand and so on. Not only on the store front would I compare JCPenney to Sears but I would do some comparing about how they are so close to failing.

What’s so unique about JCPenney and Sears? Not too long ago, I did a write up about how Sears is going down the drain.

Price write up has been something that is being talked about a lot these days. For me, buying clothes is like a dodgeball game, I try to dodge every single high price and don’t buy anything unless it’s ridiculously on sale. For people who work in retail, you know what’s going on – do you want to fall into that hole?

Bottom line: JCPenney is a bit outdated for these days. Now we have all kinds of speciality stores, cheaper places to shop, thrift stores, and better big box stores.

I’m just waiting for JCPenney to close, just like Sears.

What’s your opinion on the new way that JCPenney tried to do things?

Sears and Best Buy: The Beginning Downfall of their Corporations

As I was looking through the LinkedIn articles I had on my iPhone app, I saw THIS article and became interested enough in writing about it.

Basically what the article is saying that Sears is becoming more like Best Buy – a retailer whose been around for a while – and now is in trouble (or, should say, has been for a while) in this shaky economy.

Back a few years ago, in my retailing career, I used to work inside Sears’ Lands End. Let’s just say straight out – I hated Sears. Our Sears was always portrayed the same way – hot, very hot, and slightly uninviting. It was where the “older” crowd went. Sears was the place where the crowd walked through to get to the other side of the mall but never to really stop around and look. It wasn’t hip enough for 2/3rds of the mall goers.

Remember Montgomery Wards? This will be Sears in a couple of years. In my opinion, Sears isn’t making it as a large box store any more. They lack fashion and focus and they just can’t keep up with today’s market.

Now, I must say I haven’t been in a Sears in a while and haven’t even looked online to see what they have to offer — but I am saying this from experienced. As suggested in the article linked above, they should find focus in on their tool and housewares departments. Often when I think about Sears, I think about appliances, so?

Best Buy. Oh boy, Best Buy. Okay, so I admit we go to Best Buy to look around and possibly get something if it’s… NOT *any where else* if we need it like asap or if we come across a great, quick deal.

Best Buy is a repetitive box store that will soon be obsolete. Their prices are way too high and the online retailers are often the competitors (regardless of what people think about this). Do you have a list of electronics to get or dvds or accessories? Well, look online first at Amazon or NewEgg – boom! You’ve found a much better deal about half off or more. Need a computer fixed? Yep. Don’t go to Best Buy’s rip-off Geek Squad, go to someone local for a lower cost or for free. Seriously. If you’ve been going to get your computer fixed (or simply looked at) by Best Buy, you’re soooo getting ripped off.

Prices within retail need to reflect the economy. You’re in competition with a whole lot more companies when people have to scrape by and decide on where to spend. What will YOU do Best Buy or Sears to get customers to walk in and spend their money in YOUR store?

Fix your outdatedness. Change. Make more changes. Turn your companies around because soon.. you probably won’t be around to do much more.