Had an early start. Jet lagged, so I was up at 4 in the morning. Tried to get a little more rest, and then was supposed to schedule to start doing the store reviews at about 10 or 11.

But I had all these thoughts in my mind from the day before, in terms of just the marketing plan, and that was just quite weighing in my mind. So I decided to go a little bit later, and spend the morning focusing on getting the marketing plan steps down in the project schedule.

And I know that probably sounds quite intense. There’s actually a huge amount of work that everything’s basically hinging on this marketing plan, and it was all very fresh in my mind. So I wanted to capture that, and I also wanted to use the marketing plan as a guide to help me understand all the pieces that I should be looking at when I’m looking at these stores.

So I finished that around 10 or 11 or 12, I think. And then I ended up doing store reviews at about 1:30. I started with one of them, T…., and I spent about an hour in there, just watching the customers. It was quite interesting, and I have a whole bunch of notes, but I’m not going to be able to share them with the blog here, because I think they’ve got a lot of kind of confidential insights, I think, that I don’t want to share.

From there I went to the main store, the D store. And that was quite, quite, interesting, I think I spent about 2 hours there. I was looking at basically, how women shop, how men shop, and how people with for children shop.  I just sat in the one space for about an hour, maybe, or half an hour, and just watched. And I just was starting recording all these things I started to see. Again, I’m not going to go into a lot of the details as to what I saw, because I think a lot of that stuff is quite confidential, in terms of our strategy.

But nevertheless, I have to say, it was extremely interesting, but at the same time also quite actually mentally exhausting. So I found myself quite tired. During my examination of the main store, M…. came over and we just chatted briefly.

From that store, I went over to S, I looked at that, and was extremely impressed with the range of offering. But it also made me realize that there’s no way that we can do D… and S…. as one project, it’s just too massive. So basically, I walked around that store. I saw that it’s actually perfectly, perfectly set up for red stores.

Little departments, each one very focused on a particular need, so there’s a roller skating section, there’s a tenting section, there’s a running shoe section. So the way to tackle otherwise, the way to tackle this kind of beast, this kind of size of venture, would be basically to go very easily, by segment by segment. So for example, say you start entering the walking shoes market, under this S brand.

Then you enter the camping niche website, under the S brand. Then you put a plan together, where you’re rolling out 10 or 15 segments, over a course of 1 or 2 years. And each one can have it’s own branding, or it’s own marketing strategy.

And from there, you can actually in 2 or 3 years put it all together under 1 umbrella. Doing that in reverse, is actually creating one big, massive site, obviously people do it, so it’s very doable. But a very risky move. So I think, given M and T risk profiles, I think S roll out should be staged, and it definitely should follow the D roll out. So I think we have to quite clearly define the scope of work, is to make sure the scope is focused on the shoes component, and that the S would follow perhaps, as an additional project. Or, with a different team, that has a different focus, and less pressure on performing on the sales figures, but could still be moving along.

So that may be one of the things I could propose to the guys, as let’s say, okay, we can really focus, and aim to perform on D, and then we can basically start moving on this S segment. But the performance may not be there, because the marketing focus may not be there right off the bat, to get it there.

But anyways, very exciting to see. From there, I went to see the Weinstad section, so I saw the B, and the S outlets. And these kind of are posing some issues for me in terms of the marketing.

So again, I made a lot of notes on that, in terms of how to kind of, maybe handle that. So I think overall I’m pretty happy with what I can do with it, but it’s not 100 percent clear. So I’m going to have to go back to the numbers, and really study the numbers, to help me guide the marketing plan a little bit further down.

So besides that, I saw one more shop that I was quite impressed with, but it faces a marketing issue that a lot of these boutiques face. And that is that it’s very niche, and it’s not really suitable for broad marketing strategy. So I’m going to have to look at the numbers to see if they warrant that. So I’m going to have to look at the numbers, and see how that breaks down, and see if that makes sense in the big picture to go after that brand, if there’s enough volume there.

Because it would require a whole different kind of marketing strategy, that’s not really internet friendly. And that I know a lot of my friends struggled with. So basically overall, my brain feels like it’s been fried, and I feel all I’ve done all day was just basically watch people. That was my major effort, and yeah, I think I almost can’t think anymore, so that’s why I’m even dictating this blog entry. 6 PM now, off to the hotel room. Tomorrow is a free day, so I think I’m probably going to do a little bit of exercise in the morning. Maybe even today if I get a little more energy. And then off to Boston, and LA from there. Okay, over for now.

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