January 23, 2014

Story: Dimensions of Warmth

The great sadness of the #omnichannel movement involves a complete lack of what I call "Dimensions of Warmth".

Look at this image. This was one of five revolving images from the home page of Patagonia. This has elements of what I call "Dimensions of Warmth". There's a story here, don't you think?

We might grade that a "B" on the "Dimensions of Warmth" scale.

Here's Gap's home page.

This isn't a warm message. What is the story that Gap is communicating to you? Patagonia is encouraging women to participate in fly fishing. Gap is encouraging customers to take up to 50% off and to earn GapCash. I'm not saying this presentation won't work, in fact, it might work great. But it isn't warm.

How about Macy's, the self-proclaimed "America's Omnichannel Store"?

The story goes off the rails here, doesn't it? This is #omnichannel perfection, no doubt about it. Low prices, sale, clearance, free shipping, extra savings, buy one get another at 60% off, aligned across all channels. Cold, sterile, lifeless. Again, I'm not saying this stuff doesn't work. It does work. Macy's posted positive comps last quarter.

But there's nothing warm about Macy's. Or Gap. Amazon has never been accused of being a warm brand, now has it?

So maybe there's a competitive advantage out there, waiting to be snared, by somebody willing to add "Dimensions of Warmth" to their business (or maybe it's best to be "cold", what do I know?).

As you know, I used to work at Nordstrom. Cosmetics was always on the 1st floor of the store. It smelled good on the 1st floor! That's a "Dimension of Warmth". Best Buy's "Geek Squad" represents a "Dimension of Warmth" - a human interjected into a cold, sterile experience. Or the "Genius Bar" at Apple - again, a human being interjected into a cold, sterile experience.

I'm suggesting that there's a hole in the marketing world - the rush to create a perfect #omnichannel experience seems to have sterilized retail and e-commerce ... and that only helps Amazon and the lowest priced "brands". Somebody, please, go fill that hole!