e-Reader & Tablet evolution

July 16, 2011

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Target to Sell Google e-Reader, Amazon to Launch Tablet 07-14-2011

TOPIC SUMMARY:

The e-reader and tablet computer categories are in the process of getting more competitive based on recent announcements and reporting.

Earlier this week, Target announced it would be the exclusive retailer of the iriver Story HD, the first e-reader fully integrated with Google’s eBooks. The device, priced at $139.99 (five percent less for guests purchasing with their REDcards), provides access to Google’s library of more than three million free e-books as well as its catalog of titles for purchase. Consumers may also trade-in electronic devices for further credit toward the purchase price.

“Target strives to provide guests with exclusive access to the most innovative new products, and the iriver Story HD is no exception,” said Nik Nayar, vice president of merchandising, Target, in a press release. “With the rapid advancements of e-readers and tablets, the iriver Story HD’s superior features and integration with Google eBooks sets it apart.”

Target’s announcement comes on the heels of a report by IDC that said Barnes & Noble’s Color Nook had taken the top spot in the e-reader category during the first quarter.

“Amazon’s Kindle was second, but the lack of a color offering has clearly impacted the company’s previous dominance in the eReader market,” wrote IDC as quoted by Reuters.

Target also sells the Kindle along with other e-readers from Sony, Kobo, Pandigital and Aluratek. The chain also sells Apple’s iPad tablet device.

On the tablet front, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon.com will launch a rival device to the iPad in October.

Citing unnamed sources “familiar with the matter,” the Amazon device will have a screen around nine inches and run on Google’s Android platform.

Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research, believes Amazon is best positioned to compete with Apple and is likely to develop a device that will sacrifice features to offer a lower-priced alternative to the popular iPad. The new unit, unlike Apple’s product, is said to come without a camera.

Discussion questions:  What is your current take on the e-reader and tablet device markets? Will Kindle continue to lose share in the e-reader category? Will lower priced alternatives pose the biggest threat to Apple’s iPad going forward?

My post:

Like the iPhone, Apple’s design edge and first-to-market consistency has held the iPad iPad2 ahead of the pack, at least for those with fewer budget limitations. However, there is a clearly building market for lower cost alternatives of both pure readers and fuller functioning tablets. I’m betting on Apple remaining ahead in the more lucrative premium market and for several others to fight it out in the less profitable low cost arena. I’ll continue to enjoy my iPad2–with the Kindle App loaded on for my e-book reading pleasure.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full article at Retailwire.com:  Target to sell Google e-Reader

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New Target program guarantees unbeatable prices

May 12, 2009

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Target Revives Dropped Price-Matching Program 5/12/09

TOPIC SUMMARY:

Target dropped its price-matching program in 2002. That, as they say, was then because now it looks as though the retailer may be on the verge of bringing it back. Target has tested the program in two markets since March 15 and began a third in its own Minneapolis backyard on May 1.

The retailer has been matching lower prices in its competitors’ ads at 22 stores in the Orlando area and 28 others in Denver for the past two months. The chain rolled out its “Unbeatable Prices. Guaranteed.” program in Minneapolis and Medina earlier this month with the expectation that it will result in a national expansion of the price-matching initiative.

Target believes it has figured out a way to get around the problems it found in 2002. Then, competitor prices were verified at the checkout, causing delays at the front-end. Now, all pricing will be verified away from the checkout at the store’s service desk.

Delia McLinden, a spokesperson for Target, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the program was being retested because they “want to speak boldly about value and low prices and give customers peace of mind.”

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal pointed out in an article that “Target has been ratcheting up its emphasis on prices for the past year, as consumers cut back on discretionary purchases during the recession.”

Discussion questions:  How much will Target’s “Unbeatable Prices. Guaranteed.” program help it achieve a stronger price image with consumers? Does a program like this risk diluting the equity Target has built for its brand over the years?

My post: 

I have always been a big fan of Target.  I am “one of those” who avoid Wal-mart if at all possible due to the feel of the place.  Target provides good prices (even if not as low as Wal-mart) with nice ambience and some really cool product via their focus on design.  Unfortunately, they have drifted in the last few years and lost some of their message.  It didn’t change my enjoyment of the shopping experience there but clearly Wal-mart gained share as they stayed true to their low price message and dealt with much of their bad publicity.

I haven’t seen the new price-matching program in action, but I will assume the two test markets have shown strong results or they wouldn’t be expanding the program.  Target is known for execution, so I will assume they have the bugs worked out of dealing with the customer requests.  I think the marketing message is right for the times and as long as they keep to their design ethos, it will prove to be a good move.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full discussion at RetailWire.com:
http://www.retailwire.com/Discussions/Sngl_Discussion.cfm/13736

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Do you buy your pumps at Neiman’s or Payless?

February 7, 2008

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RETAILWIRE DISCUSSION TOPIC

Payless Goes High Fashion on the Cheap– 2/7/08
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TOPIC SUMMARY:

High fashion for the masses, at least in footwear, has been on display up and down catwalks during New York Fashion Week as models have strutted their stuff wearing shoes from top designers that are Payless ShoeSource exclusives.“Payless’ vision is to democratize fashion,” said Matt Rubel, chief executive officer and president of Payless. “Our philosophy has been to find the young emerging talent, then bring it to our customer at affordable prices.”

Discussion questions: Will we see an increase in the number of high fashion designers who sign agreements with retailers serving the mass market? With the economy slowing, do you expect to see more luxury consumers trading down to designer clothing, footwear and accessories sold in outlets such as Payless?

My post:

New, fresh designer talents have many choices to consider today for their product placement.  No longer is high-fashion reserved for Neiman’s and Saks.  Target and Payless ShoeSource have rewritten the designer playbook by successfully signing exclusive designers and then doing a reasonable job a taking care of and nurturing these brands within an otherwise discount-oriented environment.  The lower end of the luxury goods consumer group already shops in department stores and discounters.  The slowing economy will increase the percentage of designer fashion purchased outside of the traditional luxury channels.  But the truly wealthy will not be lured by Alice + Olivia at Payless.  They’re not giving up their Christian Lacroix pumps or their Manolo Blahnik slingbacks.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

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GO TO THE FULL STORY AND DISCUSSION:
http://www.retailwire.com/Discussions/Sngl_Discussion.cfm/12743

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