BJs

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I was shopping at a Sam’s Club in NC a month ago and speaking with a couple of lovely ladies at the customer service desk. Both had holes in their smiles. (I wondered if they smiled as effortlessly as the rest of the population.) Missing teeth is a cue for poor or no insurance. And Sam’s Club, in my community, appeared to index high for workers with poor dental health. Sweeping statement I know.

I’ve spent weeks and weeks at BJs and Costcos in NY and seeing gap-toothed employees was uncommon. Not unheard of, but very uncommon.  It may sounds snooty but I like my food servers and customer care people to have a full mouth of teeth. (Let’s make America great again.)

As a brand guy, I’m thinking employees who exhibit improper dental health in front of customers impacts the brand preference. I’m not going to go too deeply into feelings and associations, e.g., hand washing, personal hygiene, etc. but this employee health oversight must be worth a couple of points of annual revenue. (Read millions of dollars.)

If you don’t care for your employees, why would you care for your customers. 

Come on Sam’s Club. Help a worker out.

Peace.

PS. I do not know for sure that Sam’s Club doesn’t offer dental insurance. I do know, in a research study of one, employees seem to need better dental health.  

 

 

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Walmart’s mission, I just read on Forbes.com, is “We save people money so they can live better.” Is this an endemic or non-endemic mission? I would normally say non-endemic, in that anyone selling anything can talk price strategy, but since Walmart is selling just about everything it might work. It might be endemic. Nah. Not falling for it.

And the whole “live better” is so done. It’s like we help you “sleep better.” Done.  The fact of the matter is much of the low cost stuff one buys at Walmart it not built to last. It’s built for now and next year.  Like products at BJs. A Coleman cooler, for instance, with cheesy plastic hinges is not long for this world.  You’ll be buying another in 22 months. That’s not living better.

Walmart is about the transaction. Volume. Turnover. China. It’s not about living better.

This mission is internal. It’s for the 2.2 million employees at the world’s largest private employers. To make them feel better.

Walmart has a lot to offer. It just needs to be more straightforward and perhaps smarter about its positioning. If you want to do good, do good. Especially when hawking value. Study ConAgra’s Banquet brand.

Peace.

 

 

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If you visit big box stores like BJs, Costco and WalMart, no matter where you walk outside the food aisle you are going to find some really low cost products. Izod shirts for $16. Patio furniture for $399. Plastic hose winders for $14. Most of this stuff shares one thing in common.  It has a shelf life of about 3 months. Then it will be put out with the trash. You just know the colors will fade, the nylon  unravel, the legs will be uneven and the handles fall off.

When all this stuff — imported from other countries, stuff that low earning families buy to fill the American dream — breaks, they go out and buy more.  Because it’s so cheap. When the new administration puts a border tax on this “stuff,” adding, who knows, 40% more to the price, what will people do?  No longer will they be able to send their kids out in the snow in a $22 ski jacket.

It will change consumerism. It will force to people to spend more wisely. On better quality. I will force makers of dreck to become makers of goods. (There’s a reason they were once called goods.)

This isn’t a political statement. It’s a quality statement. We need more quality. We need less crap in the land fill. Less is more.

Peace.

 

 

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I write a lot of sales training stuff for one client.  The company does a good deal of cold call intercepts at stores such as BJs and Costco.   As someone who never really did any direct product selling – ads and brand strategy don’t count – I needed to get out of my comfort zone and into the selling zone. It took some time — but looking fast-moving custies in the eyes and learning how to “pitch” by trial an error, was quite a learning experience. David Ogilvy would have been proud.  

First there is the approach — customers walking toward you. Then the engage, getting them to slow, stop and talk. Then the position and sell.  And finally the close…get the fish off the hook and into the boat.

One tenet I’ve long believed in that works across all these sales steps is “education.” All people like to learn. They may not like sitting in a class room, but there isn’t a brain on the planet that doesn’t want a little stim. A little new information. We are curious animals. So, all you salespeople out there, subscribe to the unbeknownst, the never seen, and the inheard of.

It works. Peace.                   

 

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The promise of the craft economy is higher quality products. There’s little question that the love that goes into craft beer (or batch beer) is exponentially greater than that going into mass produced brew like Bud Light. Sir Kensington Ketchup is another example of a craft product in search of a sliver of market share. With less sodium and sugar and no genetically modified ingredients, the product has a built in market. So long as the taste is there. Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo is a successful craft product. The craft economy is growing.just mayo

Here’s the thing about the internet age. A craft product can go from zero to 3/5th of a mile in ten seconds like that. Distribution channels aside, if a craft product “hits,” demand can soar in hours. New product producers and manufacturers need to have a “soar” plan.

And not all craft product people want to mass produce (wink wink), but those who do shouldn’t be caught off guard. It takes months and lots of money (in stocking fees) to get consumer packaged goods onto a grocery store shelf. That’s too long. You need a plan. Costco? BJs? Direct to consumer via the web? Options all.

New product people in the craft space – crafty they must be.           

Peace?

 

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officejetI was in BJs the other day by the HP ink cartridge area. I counter 92 SKUs for OfficeJet Printers. And OfficeJet is only one brand of HP printers. There’s OfficeJet, LaserJet, DeskJet and more. There were more OfficeJet options than types of gum at a candy store.  While doing fieldwork at BJ’s I observed very few people buying HP ink products. Maybe one or two an hour. And you wonder why HP needs to fix itself?

It wasn’t that long ago when HP was the number one PC manufacturer and killing it at earnings time. Now the company will be split so it can retrench, focus and hit some numbers. Sad, really.

There’s not a person in America (not working at HP) who thinks printer ink for the home is fairly priced. So there’s an opportunity. Develop a new way to transfer words onto paper, or some other surface, that is legible and low cost. A cost that makes consumers smile. Right now it might feel to HP like eating the children, but it’s a smart future play. And one that will restore some luster and earnings potential. Como say patent?

Come on HP. Peace.

 

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