2010 publication. US-focused.

More descriptive; not quite focused for some chapters, I felt. Some read like opinion pieces.

Context is about consumer purchasing behaviour in a time of thrift and credit consciousness in the wake of the global financial crisis and downturn. Consumers who “think twice about very single purchase”. Also consumers who rely on reviews online, posted by people they don’t know; buying based on need more than wants.

Author calls this the Great Compression (economic squeeze) Vs Great Depression.

The age of thrift.
Analyzing some root causes of the crisis. “false wealth” and “liar loans”; inflated home loans beyond the value of the home and the ability of the borrower to repay; housing bubble.

Price is critical but more so value.

His view was that consumers now expect deep discounts as a given. One problem being that retailers are starting discount periods earlier and earlier before actual holiday seasons. That retailers need to give consumers a dose of “Discount Detox” before consumers feel comfortable about making full-priced purchases again. He provided a few case studies on how some retailers have protected their brand image and still offer discounts or encourage year-long purchase (e.g. anticipate their need for seasonal goods, before the start of each season; maintaining a discount policy for goods that are ready to be “retired”; creating artificial scarcity for products to create perception of high value/ demand & customer satisfaction).

New retail rules
maxims: Stick to product core focus. Size of business does not mean better run. Multi-tier product offerings (different classes of the same product type). Service is a key differentiator. Exceed expectations. Product can “sing solo”. Multiple marketing messages. Offer distinctive products.

Chpt 5 – suggests it’s always better to take a calculated step and deal with the consequences, than to do nothing at all. Note: real estate tends to be the last to be sow signs of recession and also last to show signs of a pickup.

Chpt 6 – the new consumer.
How they are locked into long term payments; some sales tactics tricked consumers with freebies that has them inadvertently agree to paying long term commitment to regular top ups. Or automatically replenishing/ topping up the purchase when consumer’s stocks are low. “make it a given that consumers will be using your products for an extended period of time.” (is that ethical, I wonder)

Chpt 7 – global consumers; case study of Crocs.