Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Edison's Concrete Piano

Not all Edison's ideas were successes - as owner of the Portland Cement Company he tried making affordable concrete pianos (he was mostly deaf) and concrete furniture. Neither were entirely successful.

Source: The Week's extract from Pigeon-Guided Missiles by James Moore and Paul Nero

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Curry's and PC World 'Black' Concept Store

Curry's and PC World have a new 'Black' concept shop in Birmingham. Products are supposed to meet high style and technical standards to earn a place in store.

Eco DIY shops - Green Depot (USA) and Kbane (France)

Green Depot in the US and Kbane in France are both interesting eco building shops. Kbane is owned by Group Adeo, giant owners of Leroy Merlin etc.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Hospital Food Around the World

Strangely compelling photos: http://nowthatsnifty.blogspot.com/2009/06/hospital-food-from-11-different.html

Pricing Strategies

  • Cost plus pricing - costs for goods plus a mark-up
  • Value pricing - based on what customer are prepared to pay
  • Every day low pricing (EDLP)
  • High-low pricing - price high then discount it. E.g. Pizza Express have higher prices and constant 2 for 1 coupons available.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Imagineering Profit - SME financial info

Imagineering Profit lets small businesses upload info and get useful stats.

Source: Brett King

mPesa - mobile payments

mPesa grew to 13m customers in 4 years. They now move more money in a month than goes through Western Union in a year. They are bigger than all the banks in Kenya.

Source: Brett King

Square - take credit cards on iPhone

Square lets you accept credit cards with an iPhone. It's much quicker and easier for businesses than opening a merchant account. PoS terminal producer Verifone tried to undermine Square, arguing it's not secure. Visa saw the way things were going and invested in Square.

Source: Brett King

Monday, 15 August 2011

Salvaged timber office

Cool idea using reclaimed timber.

Source: GQ, 2011-08

Pizza Express in supermarkets

Pizza Express now sell as many pizzas in supermarkets as they do in restaurants, according to parent company Gondola Holdings.

Source: Gondola Holdings annual report 2010, here

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Beer towers at your table

In Singapore you can order a communal round of beer in a chilled tower dispenser instead of a jug.

Fizzy Fruit

A company found a way to carbonate fruit. They've been going for a few years, so it can't be a total flop.

Keep your bottle at the bar

In Asia, it's common to buy a bottle of spirits and store it at the bar.

Could be an interesting customer experience ideas for other areas?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

H&M Homewares Magnet

H&M in Helsinki use an Argos-style system for their soft furnishings etc. You pick up a small magnetic card with a picture of the product on and take it to the checkout.

Source: Madeline Temple, retailtemple.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/adult-stickies/

Peer-to-Peer Lending and Borrowing

A few interesting services:
  • Neighborgoods.net - lend or borrow anything
  • Lendaround.com - currently focused on DVDs, and particularly borrowing from friends
  • BookMooch.com - 'Give away books. Get books back.'
There's also some publicity for Moogul.com, which seems to have closed down.

JC Penney's Foundry Big and Tall Stores

US retailer JC Penney is entering the big and tall market with a store called Foundry. Rather cleverly they're modeled on a micro-brewery look and will feature big screen televisions and a poker table.

Photo source: (c) MyRetailMedia on Flickr here.
Info: www.mrketplace.com/15078/jcpenney-debuts-the-foundry-big-tall-stores/


Tesco Cars, which is a re-brand of Carsite.co.uk sells used cars sourced from fleets. You reserve a car for £99, and can then view an RAC report before buying.


Nevasic App

Apparently stops you feeling sick using audio:

Made by a friend of Andrew Hearn an 2020.

CB2 SnapShop App

You can take position items of furniture over a photo of your house, to see if it looks good.

Source: http://www.cb2.com/snapshop/

Monday, 8 August 2011

Ample Sample - carpet sample re-use ideas

AmpleSample.net is a competition to find uses for old carpet samples.

(Website was having some probs at last visit).

Pop-Up Furniture

Nomad's Mio is a clever idea for building room dividers from recycled cardboard. Useful for pop-up shops.

Source: www.magnifeco.com

Meanwhile the Flux Chair is made from a single piece of plastic and folds incredibly small.

Habitat for Humanity's ReStores

Habitat for Humanities ReStores in the US and Canada. Outlets accept donated goods which are sold at a fraction of the retail price. Proceeds help local Habitat affiliates fund the construction of homes within their communities.

Source: http://www.habitat.org/restores/

Group Buying in China

According to CNN, group buying is getting very big in China:

TD Bank coin counter game

Commerce Bank (now acquired by TD Bank and re-branded) have coin counting machines known as 'penny arcades' in their branches. To keep kids occupied, there is a low screen they can interact with an even play a game to guess the value of the coins.

Image source: Powerhouse Animation Studios blog
Detailed screenshots and more info on this blog.

Pottery Barn for Kids

Pottery Barn for Kids is a particularly well put together site, showing really inspirational kids' bedrooms and then showing you each element in the room individually so you can buy it.

Image from this page on their site.

Whirlpool and Maytag - wash before you buy

Whirlpool and Maytag have concept stores in the US where you can do a load of laundry before you buy. Reportedly, test-drives in Whirlpool’s Atlanta store convert 90% of shoppers into buyers

Washington Post 7.7.04

Chico's Clothing - no dressing room mirrors

Chico's clothing stores purposely leave mirrors out of their dressing rooms so women have to step out and interact with staff and friends to see how they look.

More info in article here.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Best Buy Boutique Stores

In 2006 Best Buy experimented with some boutique store formats.

'Escape' in Chicago was aimed at youngish men with high disposable income, and featured membership which seems to have given access to the stores hangout and game playing areas as well as some ability to preview new products.

'Studio D' also in Chicago was aimed at soccer moms and focused on education and helping people do what they wanted in their life through technology.

'Eq-life' doesn't seem to have much info around, but from the photo above found on Flickr clearly had a 'v2' that was designed by Fitch. Seems to be between Habitat and Brookstones.

An article on Studio D is also available on Amazon.com here.
Update - more now seems to be available on good. Article with info and criticising them shutting down: http://therobinreport.com/how-best-buy-blew-the-chance-to-out-apple-apple/

More photos and info from a design company: http://www.esidesign.com/work/best-buy-community-oriented-retail-stores/

More photos as part of a video: https://vimeo.com/32811220

Info sources:
  • http://www.engadget.com/2005/01/04/best-buy-goes-for-niche-buyers-with-escape-and-studio-d/
  • http://gadgetopia.com/post/5017
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/bking/130930844/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/betsyweber/198045149/in/photostream/

Jordan's Furniture, New England

Jordan's Furniture are the Stew Leonard's of furnture. They have a few stores around Boston, which combine a furniture store with thing like an IMAX theatre, indoor trapeze school etc.

Wasn't convinced until I saw the video clips with the CEO who says:
- Most furniture stores spend 5-10% of revenue on ads, they spend 1%.
- They have very high sales per square foot.

Therefore they can spend millions on installing animatronics etc in their stores, not raise prices and still come out well. Most of the actual selling space looks pretty ordinary, but they did have a feature on the 'sleep lab' where assistants in white coats help you find the right bed - looked decent if not extraordinary.

- http://www.jordans.com
- Preview clip of Tom Peters' video case study on http://www.enterprisemedia.com/

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Loss Aversion Bias

At Lollapalooza a sign said:
'Drink more water' and
'You sweat in the heat: you lose water'

You was well written, as it invoked loss aversion (people dislike losses more than they like gains).

Nudge, page 245