Retail Trend Watch:
In a consumer-driven economy like America’s, it’s pretty easy to develop an emotional attachment to retail. First, nationwide shopper behavior begins to dictate our weekly and daily routines. Wouldn’t it be devastating to run out of pens during August’s back-to-school rush? Or to end up in a Walmart on Black Friday because someone forgot to bring cranberry sauce to a day-late Thanksgiving celebration?
Once we’re sucked in to the retail whirlwind, advertisements can even trigger emotions like nostalgia, anxiety, or anticipation in us. When the TV plays its first holiday-themed commercial—it’s officially the Christmas season! And heaven help the parent whose elementary student catches a whiff of the word “summer” in a radio commercial during their morning commute. These things permeate the collective American consciousness. To product manufacturers and retailers, that means one very important thing. It’s all working!
However, for those companies who aren’t long-time members of the seasonal retail club, these predictable trends can antagonize their continued efforts to increase revenue. Take the coveted end-cap position, for example. If a sports drink company wanted to claim the end-cap during the hot summer months when people tend to need the most hydration, they’d be competing heavily with both office/school supply brands and outdoor gear brands (think goggles, sunscreen, pool noodles, etc.).
Sure, the sports drink could delay their promotional display campaign to October—but then their consumer base isn’t as physically active, and therefore they’re not as likely to need the product. And here’s the catch: it’s always a key buying season in the U.S. If it’s not back-to-school, it’s Halloween, or Mother’s Day, or Easter, or the Superbowl for goodness’ sake.
This dilemma plays itself out on repeat behind the scenes of corporate retail. So, when a company does secure an area with high visibility, they want to make the most of their time in that position. That means the shelf should never look empty, promotional signs should always be accurate and well-kept, and no other brands should encroach on their turf.