Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Disney Store. First and foremost, the store markets itself to any Disney fan anywhere. The store markets to children 3-12, as well as they're parents.

The store entrance in one person: Mickey Mouse. The entrance to the store is divided by black mickey ears. So, there is no question what is inside. Disney merchandise. To little ones, the famous mouse is as recognizable as the McDonald's arches.

The soundtrack inside the store is a mixture of classic and new Disney song staples, like from "High School Musical" and "Cinderella," as well as ad's for the current Disney film, " Enchanted.

The majority of the merchandise is at eye level for people under 5 ft. Making everything at an arms reach for kids, the store's target audience. Merchandise is divided by type (toys, clothing, flatware, collectibles, and dolls), then by gender, and finally by movie. For example, the Disney Store sells hats, gloves, and scarfs. One one side of a unit there are princess themed merchandise, and the other heroes like Buzz and Power Rangers.

The flooring is either blue carpet, or white sparkle tile depending on what are of the store you are standing in.

All signs state the price of the product below it, not what the product is. Due to the nature of Black Friday, the normal black and white signs were joined by big, red signs.

Similar to the signs below:

The cash wrap is a long line of registers in front of a massive display of classic Disney characters. Also, there are bins with impulse buys lined up on and behind the registers. Finally, Disney is currently promoting the pre-order of "High School Musical 2," so, there is a ton of sign-age for the musical.

The business tries to project the image of American idealism that Disney embodies. It tries to project a family friendly environment. It does this by promoting items for little ones to both kids and their elders. And it sells adult merchandise like clothing and coffee cups to older ones. Creating a store for the whole family. Bright colors equal family.

Customers interact with how the store's merchandise is placed. Again, at low levels, toys are easily accessible for kids while clothing is higher up for their parents or guardians. The music that plays promotes the product, and some customers sang along.

It was interesting that they had the same types of products throughout the store. Like clothing in several places. The store used elements of Disney life, like Cinderella's castle, as fixtures.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Answers to Questions

Kelsey's: According to the article, shoppers are influenced by the positioning of merchandise. How influential do you feel this is on the shopper’s willingness to buy? Can positioning really change the success of a business?

Positioning of merchandise is key to the success of a business. Placing trends together, at a prominent position in the shop, draws a customers eye. A style of tops hidden among racks of jeans will not sell itself to a customer. But, if the same top was highlighted at an end cap of the same denim rack, it will fly off the shelves.Jeans sell best folded on tables. Hanging jeans rarely does justice.

Customers flock to attractive denim tables paired with sleek racks full of clothing. Merchandising is a hard art, a balance between organization and visual appeal for the customer.

Last August, the "Free People" shop at Macy's Southdale Store 31 was horrendous. The beautiful clothes were mismatched by color, texture, length, and price. We needed to make room for new merchandise by selling what was on the floor to make room. My manager, Sushma, knew i was up to the task. I re-vamped the department. The next couple of days, we sold out of many sizes, colors, and products. All because of merchandise placement.

Brandon's: This article states, "since the chances that shoppers will buy something are directly related to how long they spend shopping, and how long they spend shopping is directly related to how deep they get pulled into the store." Drawing a person into a store is obviously a very important part of generating sales. So, what draws you into a store? What keeps you browsing in that store?

What draws me in to a store? Where to begin... Stores that usually catch my attention are that more of a boutique/high end scale. Organized stores without the chaos that usually goes along with the Mall of America's Forever 21. I love department stores with the feel of Bloomingdales or Nordstroms. The music of Abercombie can be enticing, but often an intimidating turn off. I like attention from assoicates when I need/ask for it, however a pushy sales associate often is a humongous turn off, but as is the associates that are too busy gossiping to help a customer.

I keep browsing in a store when I find products that have a good balance between product and price point. If I feel like I am getting a good deal, I will stay in a store longer. I will leave if i feel claustrophobic by either the staff or racks or other customers.

A Shopping Question

Do you believe that the mapping of a store has influence on your shopping habits? Or do you, the consumer, know what you are looking for and it is a mere matter of finding the item within the store? Is it moral to manipulate consumers by product placement, or effective marketing?

Paco's "butt-brush" theory is that a women's product that requires extensive examination should not be placed in a narrow aisle. Does this make sense? Clearance racks are often the most shopped region of the store. they are also usually crammed next to each other and often in shambles. But this goes against Paco's theory. Why do women still shop in clearance racks?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Packaging is extremely useful in drawing consumers' attention to a product. Nevertheless, packaging does have other purposes, surprise? First of all, it acts as a handy way of portion control. It makes shopping easy. Just pick up a pack of half a dozen pairs of socks instead of matching socks from a bin. It would be quite difficult to purchase, lets say the famous Cocoa Cola Classic if it was not in a package, it would just be a sticky mess! Packaging also helps keep a product in new condition. Eggs would break, TV's would scratch, and Kleenex would get wet. Finally, packaging can prevent theft. It is a lot easier to steal an iPod sitting on a shelf than a bulky, yet well designed package.

Al mismo tiempo, packaging creates a lot of waste. The production of the packaging wastes scarce resources of labor, materials, energy, and time. Once a consumer removes the last layer of packaging, what ever that may be, he has left behind a trail of plastics, Styrofoams, and paper.

The following articles, "Continent-size toxic stew of plastic trash fouling swath of Pacific Ocean" by Justin Berton and "Germany, Garbage, and the Green Dot: Challenging the Throwaway Society" discuss environmental concerns about packaging. Both articles suggest that current package design is excessive and creates excess waste that negativity effects the environment through pollution, litter, and wasted resources.

To produce a more environmentally friendly packaging, there are several modifications that could easily be put into practice. first and foremost, use recycled products in packaging and make all packages recyclable. Simplify the process of recycling, and aid the world, by using less material for packaging. Do not make things bulkier than need be. Less "stuff" surrounding the package would encourage consumers to recycle what is there and it would create less waste.

Listen to what Captain Planet tells little ones...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Packaging is hugely important in marketing a product. Let's pretend that I have never bought laundry detergent before, completely clueless to brand preferences. At target, method brand detergents are the most visually appealing, except for maybe the bright, simple Tide logo. I would purchase the method detergent because of it's unique, ergonomic shape as well as captivating, simple text.

There are a good deal of products that have iconic packaging, including, but not limited to: McDonald's. Think about it. The golden arches. You've already driven 349 miles, and are really craving a cheeseburger happy meal with no meat. A glimmer ahead of classic red and yellow, is that a mirage? But wait, the arches............ it's McDonald's.

I guess McDonald's isn't really iconic packaging. But one will always recognize dem golden arches.

There are, as with life itself, many usability issues for packaging. one of the most frustrating examples is but of course the hard plastic type with sealed edges. It is possible that one needs a PhD from MIT to open it.

Like, I don't want to talk about how many times I've cut myself with scissors while trying to open packages like above.

The excitement of a child when she, or he, gets a brand new Barbie is like no other. The window to see Barbie and her stylish new outfit and accessories. The Mattel pink that is like crack to 7 year olds.

But beneath the glowing exterior, a minefield of usability problems exist. Barbie's hair is sewn to the back of her cardboard home with some sort of plastic. Every appendage is twistietied in place. Even the cool accessories are locked into place with plastic. So the beautiful outside is tarnished by the ugly interior.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015

The reading, Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015, relates to the concepts of user-focused design that we discussed in class. The entire reading is a list of mistakes web designers make that cause web pages to be confusing slash really really bad. The author discusses the negative effects of unnecessary flash design..... no one really needs to view a 30 second piece on microwaves. He talks about making everything visible, a key point in Don Norman's book.

The most important points on the site are "nobody cares about you or your site," and "heroine content." No one is looking at a web page for you and you alone. They are on your website to accomplish something from historical facts to buying a mini fridge. Sites that have heroine content are enticing and obsess the user. Neopets are crack, or heroine, for young kids. A site dedicated to games, colorful creatures, and shopping. An American child's dream.

Laura's import list of important design factors for a web page.....

if there is music, is it necessary/annoying?
can i easily search the site to find something meaningful?
are the pages complete yet concise?
do i know where i am?
does the site make sense?
what am i looking for?
do i have to hit the back arrow, or can the site navigate me simply back to where i was?
is it attractive? contrasting colors? readable fonts?

no flash intros.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Other Classes

Kelsey's Blog was similar to my own. Making a far off link between design and real world applications. Marketing seems to be a mixture of economics and design. Good merchandising requires proper design and marketing....

Robert wrote about how he never thought about negative design aspects, especially usability. Before reading Don Norman's epic novel, I too never really thought about usability. Like Robert I was more concerned with where i was going and whats going on for dinner. Its interesting that after being in seminar for a couple of weeks, Robert has payed more attention to the world around him.

I enjoyed reading Spencer's blog about Mac OS Leopard. It is essentially a increasing the "supply" of the operating system without giving anything up. It is efficient. The features of Leopard are both easy to use and visible, making them user friendly.