Disruption in Retail

Disruption in Retail

For a long time the advantage of leading retailers was their size. They were able to buy goods cheaper, because they bought large volumes. They had lower overhead costs because they operated many stores with centralized structures. They had large marketing budgets to run expensive advertisement with a lot of it on TV. Their sales were continually rising.

But suddenly the party was over. Much smaller retailers are snatching away market share from the big guys. According to an article in the Economist, large consumer packed companies (CPG) lost 3% market share between 2011 and 2015. What happened?

Why small retailers gain market share

  1. Online marketing is much cheaper and reaches more and more people. At the same time people are watching less TV. The advantage of big marketing budgets is declining.
  2. Through outsourcing of the production and online distribution, it’s easier for small companies to enter the market.
  3.  Small companies are often more flexible and understand better to keep up with the pace of their fast changing customer preferences.
  4. Consumers willing to spend more for a certain product tend to prefer smaller brands. Traditional big brands are the shops for basic, cheap products. According to Deloitte one-third of American consumers, would pay at least 10% more for the “craft” version of a product.

The Need to Change

All this has provided a big opening for smaller firms. The retail industry seems to enter a new world. Now there are multiple opportunities to navigate around the competition for brick and mortar stores as well as online shops.

The key for retailers to take advantage of these opportunities is to be brave enough to put everything aside that was once important and rethink and redefine the business completely. Last month Target announced that it will commit more than $7 billion to adapt to the rapidly evolving customer preferences. Everything from pricing models and store design to the retail experience and customer relation needs to be questioned. Standing still is not an option and boldness in this marketplace will be rewarded. Jazzyjobber will be part of this journey and welcomes everyone to join in.


  1. Invasion of the bottle snatchers; Economist 2016: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21701798-smaller-rivals-are-assaulting-worlds-biggest-brands-invasion-bottle-snatchers
  2. TargetCorporate,  February 2017: https://corporate.target.com/article/2017/02/financial-community-meeting

The 2 Main Things in Retail Today

The 2 Main Things in Retail Today

The possibilities to sell goods to customers have never been easier and numerous than today. eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Craigslist, online stores, mail-to-order, garage sales, flea markets, auctions, product parties  and pop-up stores are just a few alternatives to the classic physical store. This huge selection enables customers to shop according to their preferences.

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10 ways to connect with the customer

10 ways to connect with the customer

On my search for ways for companies to connect better with their customers, I stumbled over the book “Emotional Branding ” by Marc Gobé. Even though it is a couple of years old, its “10 Commandments” to improve customer relations are still inspiring:

  1. From Consumer to People : Consumers buy but people live.

Instead of trying to win over a customer create a win-win situation. For example instead of pushing someone into a deal, develop a mutual agreement. The customer may appreciate your approach. Instead of waving a sales sign “valid only today”, ask your customer to show you pictures of the room to be designed. Then develop design solutions together.

  1. From Product to Experience: Products fulfill needs whereas experiences fulfill desires.

Offer more than just price and convenience. Arouse the imagination of the customer and turn “needs” into “”wants”. Add emotional relevance to your product. The age and smell of a chair for example could relate to historical events.

  1. From honesty to trust: Honesty is expected. Trust is engaging and intimate.

Top your best practice policies by eliminating risks for the customer. Generous return policies are great as well as products on trial.

  1. From quality to preference: Quality is a given. Preference creates the sale. 

Offer more than the competition. How is your product outstanding? Sell what others don’t have.

  1. From being known to being loved: The difference between notoriety and aspiration.

Think of telephone companies. Just because everybody knows you does not mean everybody likes you.

  1. From Identity to Personality: Identity is recognition. Personality means character and charisma. 

American Airlines has a strong identity, but Virgin Airlines has personality.

  1. From function to feel: What a product is for and what a product can do

A Harley Davidson is not just a motorcycle. It’s an experience.

  1. From Omnipresence to Presence: The difference between being there and being seen.

Quality tops quantity in advertising. Billboards and commercials are everywhere. Starbucks is at the right place at the right time.

  1. From communication to dialogue: Communication is telling. Dialogue is sharing

 Think of the benefits of social media. Listen to your customer.

  1. From service to relationship: Service is selling. Relationship is acknowledgement.

Howard Shultz, CEO of Starbucks:”If we greet customers, exchange a few words with them and then custom-make a drink exactly to their taste, they will be eager to come back.”

How do you foster the relationships with your customers?


Marc Gobé: Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People; 2010


Simple Living

You may think “Why is there a post about Simple Living on a Blog about Furniture and Interior Design?

The reason is that a growing number of people realize that chasing the Golden Egg does not make you happy. Long working hours, stressful jobs, exhausting commutes are just not worth it anymore. People prefer spending time with their family, being together with friends and neighbors or working out in Mother Nature. They like to spend time preparing for a good meal and be part of what their kids are doing.

I am not talking here about hippie communes or lonesome hermits in the middle of nowhere. More and more people rethink their life and choose different priorities than before. The idea of simple living is almost 3000 years old and can be found in every civilization. The famous Bohemians in Paris in the 19th Century were part of this movement.

Simple living does not mean you have to refrain from luxury but enjoy it. Luxury is great as long as money plays a minor role. Being happy and grateful – That’s what’s important.

Simple living is also about the little things in life. Things you would not even recognize doing like enjoying the foliage of the forest in the fall on a hike.

This way of life creates different expectations from retail stores. These people don’t storm in the store every time the sales sign goes up.

In my opinion these customers value their time and want something different out of their visit.

Some of them may come, because food is offered (think of Ikea). Others may be attracted by events for the kids, like a puppet theater, a magician or a crafting table.

These customers prefer to enjoy the merchandise, not necessarily with a buying intention in mind. Some may be inspired by the store layout and develop design ideas for their home.

Some Boutique Stores also mix up their merchandise with art, jewelry, shoes, food, cosmetics and table ware. The stores have a special type of customer in mind and cater exactly to his taste.

There are many ways to increase traffic in a store, but to find out what fits best, you have ask the customer. People like it, when their opinion is valued. The customer feels taken care of. The customer feels in control and that creates trust.

The good news about trusting customers: They may become loyal to your store and you see them again and again.

Happiness and Business Style

Everybody wants to be happy. Customers want to be happy. Businesses want happy customers.

There is a lot of advice out there on what to do and not to do, to be happy. Here are some core messages and how businesses can act accordingly.


  1. Be Happy to be Happy

One of the most important things for a happy life is a happy attitude. People that live every day as if it were their last, enjoy life and don’t worry much. When people live in the present moment they understand better what’s important and stop chasing the future. Carpe Diem – Seize the moment. Act now and not later! Keep asking yourself what’s really important and will something matter in a year from now.

Businesses who follow that path accept the limitations of planning. Planning is a process based on assumptions with a high chance of mistakes. Because you never know what may happen, plan for several possible futures. A plan should only be a guideline for a business rather than a default.

It is also helpful not be rely on experience. Experience is always related to the past and strongly dependent on specific situations. What worked in the past must not necessarily still work today.

Businesses should also be careful with the trust in “facts” or in “experts”, because every situation is different and general advice often does not help in special scenarios.


2. Positive Thinking

Successful businesses have meaningful goals. They appeal to the customer in many ways, not just one. They are filled with inspiration, because common sense is not enough to reach inspiring results. These companies believe in what they are doing and combine bold dreams with realistic expectations.

Successful companies embody a fundamentally positive business attitude. Negative thoughts are ignored, because of the snowball effect and the power of these thoughts. Problems are considered a potential source for learning. The unknown is part of daily business life.


  1. Fill Your Life with Love

People are interested in a person who is interested in them. Each person we meet has the potential to teach us something. Instead of putting others in their place we must put ourselves in their place. Before you satisfy the client understand and satisfy the person.

Business is done between people. Selling is based on relationships. Believing in the best in people usually brings out the best in people.


People can be the wind beneath our wings or the anchor on our boat”

 John C. Maxwell


4. Appreciate Yourself

Successful companies celebrate who they are and what they have. They have trust in their intuition and listen to their feelings.

The first competitor of a business is indifference. Successful companies look for the extraordinary in the ordinary and go where others aren’t. They stand for one distinctive thing that will give them a competitive advantage. This is a promise to the customer.


 5. Do it for You

And finally business should follow the Nike Slogan: “Just do it!” Marginal tactics executed passionately almost always outperform brilliant tactics executed marginally. Good should not be ruined by perfect. Failure is part of the process and helps succeeding. Remember that you become what you practice the most.


  1. The Happiness Equation by Neil Paricha
  2. Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith
  3. Winning with People by John C. Maxwell

Buying into Happiness

Everybody knows that the retail environment has changed in the past 10 years and will keep changing at a fast pace. The boomer generation gets older, millennials  are stepping in as new customers, online shopping, constantly improving technology and so on.

What’s more is that the priorities for spending are different today. According to the WSL Strategies 15th Biennial “How America Shops Mega Trends Survey”, 55% of women said their top spending priority is paying off debt, followed by saving (48%) and vacations (35%).

WSL titled the study “Buying Happiness” and concludes that American shoppers want to be more financial responsible, have a less stressful life and spend more time with the family.

Gone are the times when whole families swarmed out on the few free days per year (mainly holidays) to add more stuff to the house. Gone is the lure of buying without paying through generous financing options. Gone is the luster of “cheap”.

Today the Happiness of Buying includes the mindful choice of a product along with a positive buying experience. People prefer ecological materials that don’t cause harm for them or the environment. People feel responsible for the way their product was created. They want to know who produced the product and how was it done. Quality moves in the spotlight for a longevity, durability and aesthetics.

Happiness does not only come from concept of “less is more”, it’s also the creation of joy, positive energy and value that comes with the purchase.

Shopping must be fun and a rewarding yourself with new things that you can afford creates happiness. There is not much need for more products unless they are either completely different from the existing ones or they are improving the life of the consumer in a new way (disruptive products). The relevance of a product today depends highly on its background. What makes a product special is often the experience the customer keeps in mind when he bought the product. Every time the customer sees his product in his home he is reminded of the story that came with the product. What a happy moment!


Source: Home & Textile Today, May 6, 2016

Hello again

Hello again,

After more than a year without writing anything on my blog I am finally back. What has happened in the last year? Well, a lot. I have looked deeper into, what moves people  to makes decisions. What makes a store attractive? What must a product have today to be successful? I probably still don’t know the answers to all of these questions, but I have gathered a lot of thoughts and ideas.

It is my that understanding, the customer today is looking for more than just a product. The times where people flocked to the stores and get carried away buying tons of mostly inexpensive merchandise are over. At least for the sophisticated customer that does intensive research before committing to a brand or a product. It is very important to know where the product was made, how it was produced, what is in the product, and what impact the product has for the customer.

The customer today also likes to build a story behind a purchase. How did he find a product? Was it fun to pick it out in the store? Why did he buy this product and not something else? Does the product still provide joy and happiness when it is at home?

This is where “Artful & Inspired Living” comes into place. In a world that’s cramped with stuff in attics, closets and garages, you have to choose carefully what you put around yourself. A lot of books are written about decluttering and minimalist style but I don’t think that’s the answer. You can learn how to get rid of things, but the key is to create an atmosphere of joy and pleasure at home.

A home provides the most happiness when it is filled with objects that create joy, provide wonderful memories or are simply practical and functional.  A home can be the fertile soil for great things and lift up its owner to a better life. “Show me how you live and I tell you who you are!” is a saying with a lot of truth.

I am very pleased to introduce two more companies that I am working with. The companies are based in Germany with the company FM Munzer, manufacturing high class sofas and the other company Hobbs Design designing and producing unique cabinets.  Both companies fit perfectly in the concept of Artful & Inspired . Please stay tuned for my next post to learn more.

Working the Long Tail

The Jazzy Jobber is a communication platform among manufacturers, distributors, retailers and the end users. Instead of focusing on the competition I am looking for new products and new services.

This is a very open model where a multitude of products is offered and the users decide if the product enters the market.  Products that I am offering have to be inspirational, which means customers must be emotionally engaged with these products.  The products that you will find on this website are unique.  The story of the product is important to find out how customers feel about the product.

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4 Steps to the Millenial Customer

With the successive retiring of the baby boomer generation, a new type of customer is going to dominate marketing in the future.

The buyers of the millennial generation spent $27 billion in 2014 on furniture and bedding, which is 142% more compared to 2012, according to Furniture Today’s Director of Research, Dana French, in a recently published analysis about the shift of generational buying power in the last years. http://www.furnituretoday.com/article/518483-consumer-buying-trends-boomers-buying-power-decreases-17

There is common agreement that this generation will be a driving force in sales and marketing in the next decades, but it seem like there are blank spots and uncertainties regarding the way to work with this new kind of customer.

One goal of the Jazzy Jobber is to provide a platform for the millennial buyers.  In this post I will discuss main characteristics of this generation and how to engage them.

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Hello World,

Finally this is my first blog. After a long time of researching and studying I am proud to start my series of articles about modern living, marketing and aspects about decorating.

First I will begin with thoughts about the reason and importance of interior decorating and ways to make your home come closer to you. Second I will take a look at sustainable living and why it matters .Third I will write about a group of customers that will shape the way of marketing and sales, the millennials.

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