Posts Tagged ‘downtown Seattle’

Perception vs. Reality

September 17, 2010

While businesses long perceived as “bargain” or “discount” options have been doing well during our current recession, many other businesses typically perceived as “upscale” have been suffering.  In response to the consumer’s change in spending habits, most businesses have begun to offer specials, discounts and less expensive options.  The question is, does your target market know this?

While dining at Dragonfish restaurant earlier this week, I took advantage of one of their tempting $10 entrée offerings.  I also brought in my parking ticket and got $5 off my check to cover the cost of parking.  Both of these items address perceptions; one is that it’s too expensive to eat out, the other is that it’s expensive to park in downtown Seattle.  These values are communicated not only once you arrive and are handed a menu, but on their website and Facebook Fan Pages as well as Tweeted to followers.

Lots of businesses have to deal with the differences between consumerperception and the new reality.  When I say “upscale downtown salon” you probably think “expensive”.  If I mention the cozy waiting area, fresh coffee, tea and iced water, fresh flowers, fireplace and beautiful glass mosaic floor in the restroom; now you are likely thinking “I can’t afford THAT!”

So what is a reasonable price for a stylish haircut,particularly for ladies?  What is the “value” of looking professional to your career?   The downtown Gene Juarez salon has tackled the perception up front with their front window signage:

What discounts, bargains, specials or values are you offering in response to the change in spending habits of your customers?  How are you letting people know?  Don’t wait for customers to wander in to learn about your promotions or even the everyday value you offer, address perceptions boldly so your reality isn’t a “going out of business” sign!

Gamers Welcome

September 3, 2010

Starting this morning, downtown Seattle will be invaded by tens of thousands of gamers.  Yes, PAX Prime 2010, the 3 day extravaganza, the 3rd largest in the nation, takes over the Convention Center, Benaroya Hall and even part of the downtown Sheraton Hotel.  For anyone who doesn’t have a gamer in your family or circle, this is video game heaven. All the game companies, large and small are here showing their latest wares.  The show is sold out and devotees bought their precious 3 day passes nearly a year ago.  So well attended, an East Coast show has been scheduled for the spring so if you are in the Boston area, start preparing your game plan.

For some of you, this may  serve as a warning to avoid downtown Seattle this weekend and the inevitable crowds. But for any of you who are in the downtown area – this is your opportunity.  Go on line and get the schedule so you know what is going on.  This year, gamers will be walking the corridor between the Convention Center and Benaroya Hall.  Are you one of the countless coffee shops and lunch places typically only open during the week to serve the downtown workers?  Perhaps it would be worthwhile to open this weekend as well. Gamers are typically young men and last time I checked, they also typically consume large quantities of food, sodas and caffeine.

These are video game fanatics, that means they have an affinity for all things Japanese so perhaps a display of Japanese sodas will attract their dollars to your cash register.  If you missed the opportunity to stock some targeted items for this year, never fear, the gamers will return next year too – likely in even larger numbers.

If your business is in the downtown Seattle area, consider putting a sign in your windows offering PAX attendee discounts. You can find the logo on the internet as I did for this blog and print a sign out for each of your windows before the Convention Center even opens this morning! Be sure you are staffed properly, especially at the end of the day. Offer to label and store their “goodie bags” for them just as you would have done with a coat.  Perhaps put together a quick “daily sheet” with a fixed prix meal targeted at their budget.  Use a “game” font (again, check the PAX Prime 2010 website for examples) or even use some of the terminology you get there on your sheet.

Large groups are opportunities.  Know what is coming to your area and when.  Check the event websites for schedules and look for ways you can tap into these valuable consumers.  Your communities work hard to bring these dollars to your market, be sure you are ready – even proactive – about getting your share!

Shades of Lavender

February 3, 2010

Despite my retail background, I admit there are some retail businesses I just don’t get.  I have never understood how sock stores could pay mall rents and I don’t understand Pelindaba Lavender at City Centre in downtown Seattle.  That being said, it’s important to note that while a variety of stores have tried and failed in the mall areas of this office building; Pelindaba Lavender seems to be flourishing in its large, prime location on the corner of 6th and Union.

Seeing the store again yesterday brought back the question I always ask when I go by.  “Just how much lavender is sold?” An internet search revealed impressive sales figures for lavender, essential oils and related products – who knew?!?  I’m not even personally a fan of lavender scented items, but I have to acknowledge Pelindaba Lavender is a model example of telling the story, educating the consumer and presenting their merchandise.

The color scheme of the store, a dark, royal purple is the perfect back drop for the softer shade of lavender of the plants and items made from the essential oils.  The hanging signage indicating products for home, beauty and even pets clearly shows the many versatile uses for lavender.  I also liked the “story board” wall where their history is presented in photos and text. 

The flat screens mounted on the wall with the beautiful imagery of the lavender fields is a great use of technology and says “This isn’t your grandma’s lavender”.

Gifts are presented in lovely packaging with alluring names such as “The Sinful Collection” and “The Decadence Collection”.  Those sound like great Valentine gift ideas for anyone into aroma therapy in your life.

Extra credit must be given for the window displays which include signs detailing their mission, local roots along with the positive environmental and community impact. 

My personal favorite though reads;

                          Pelindaba Lavender
                                San Juan Island

  • Fully integrated Farm, Production 
    Company and Retail Outlet
  • Year-round Job Creation for over
    35 Island Residents.

In today’s economy, this fact alone should be reason enough to visit the farm, the website or their store and support this “uncommon” area employer.

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