Posted by Dale Buss on April 11, 2011 05:30 PM
Forget minimalism. Retailers have seen the error of their ways, and they’re cluttering up their store aisles as quickly as they can.
Walmart is returning to a “general store” one-stop-shopping experience, eager to shake itself out of a long same-store sales slump.
Helping that goal: its funny new spots (below) reeling off the oddball assortment of items it carries, delivered with a droll voiceover.
Other American retailers, ranging from Dollar General to Old Navy, have bought into the idea that what American consumers really want are aisles of plenty, so stuffed with things that the merchandise threatens to fall on them or trip them up.
But nobody does it better than Walmart, whose return to its roots is designed to create a “fuller” feeling by shoppers. The thinking is that the more merchandise consumers see and experience in-store, the more they'll buy and the better deals – and, of course, selection – they'll expect.
That's why Wal-Mart corporate is restoring some 8,500 products back to its shelves, flagged in-store with signage touting, "It's back!"
It's reviving classic items such as fishing tackle, bolts of fabric and other so-called “heritage” merchandise that the chain had reduced or dropped in an ill-fated effort to “Targetize” (read: minimalize and de-clutter) stores in order to appeal more to upper-income shoppers and goose US sales.
Wal-Mart corporate's latest marketing campaign also serves to remind shoppers that its Walmart stores will match competitors’ prices.
We’ll see where all of this leads. With consumer spending ticking back up recently, Wal-Mart may have corrected its big mistake just in time to take full advantage of the rosier retail outlook.