Just because the pundits say that certain forms of retail are on their way to the grave doesn’t mean that merchants in those markets are going to go quietly into that good night. Such resilience puts many over-the-hill brands in a difficult position, though. Unable to go it alone and continually besieged by ambitious rivals and fickle customers alike, the search for saving graces often takes retailers far outside their commercial comfort zones.
But if the name of the game isn’t just survival but sustained profitability, then this week’s Retail Bedfellows Tracker proves that there’s no aisle too wide for desperate retailers to eventually reach across.
Barnes & Noble Wants That Unpublished Script
As regrettable as it may be to the enlightened few out there, there’s no denying that book culture is on the wane. It’s been decades since movies and TV came to dominate the cultural conversation, and the ever-present rush toward revenue off digital video content has pushed everyone from Netflix to Amazon to produce their own original content.
This all seems a sign of the times that traditional booksellers, like Barnes & Noble, should ship up or shape out. Instead, it looks like B&N is willing to get more creative with the products it does offer to its increasingly visual audience.
Publishers Weekly reported that Barnes & Noble has finalized an agreement with publishing house Adaptive Studios that will see unpublished screenplays converted into book-length texts and other forms of multimedia. Founded in 2013, Adaptive has carved out a space for itself in the growing self-publishing market, and with the new agreement, it’ll push 16 adult, young adult and graphic novels to B&N by the end of 2016.
While it might seem like a radical departure from B&N’s brick-and-mortar mission, Chief Merchandising Officer Mary Amicucci explained that the brand’s From Page to Screen promotion that highlights novels later adapted into movies “has been one of our highest-selling promotions for readers of all ages since we launched it a few years ago.”
“We anticipate that customers will love experiencing Adaptive Studios’ reimagined stories from screenplays and scripts in adult and teen books, children’s picture books, graphic novels and more,” Amicucci said in a statement.
Xiaomi Makes Friends In India
Xiaomi may not be a household name in the smartphone business as far as American consumers are concerned, but it’s a different story outside the U.S. of A. In China, the world’s largest smartphone market to begin with, Xiaomi boasts a 15.9 percent share — good enough for more than Apple and Huawei. In the global economy, though, being the market leader in a single country — even if it is the most populous in the world — just isn’t enough.
To that end, Xiaomi has signed onto a deal with Just Buy Live and InnoComm, two direct-to-retail distribution firms, that could see its smartphones for sale in more than 5,000 brick-and-mortar locations across India, Gadgets 360 reported. That’s no small feat, especially considering India’s status as the place to be for global retailers looking to offset domestic sales declines. To that end, Xiaomi Head of India Manu Kumar Jain believes matching with two similarly eCommerce-minded distributors will help Xiaomi expand reach and control costs at the same time.
“We are primarily an eCommerce company, and we have brought our learning from the online model to our offline model,” Jain said. “We have chosen Just Buy Live and Innocomm because of their unique models that distribute directly to retailers. I believe that this strategic alliance will strengthen Mi India’s presence across India. As we expand to more than 5,000 offline outlets, it allows more people to experience our products and purchase them easily.”
A Smarter Fast-Food Fountain Drink
In the fast food and quick service restaurant industry, the current flavor of the month seems to be branded snack items that might’ve come right off the set of an unaired episode of “Fear Factor.” For all the Doritos tacos and Cheetos fries, though, there are data-driven interventions, like the one from beverage analytics startup Weissbeerger, that might do more than any brand mashup ever could.
Weissbeerger and Lancer, manufacturer of beverage dispensing systems used by QSRs across the globe, announced a partnership that will see the former’s analytics suite integrated into its fountain drink configurations. Already, the dual system is in place and up and running at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s locations, and with the backing of beverage giant Coca-Cola, COO Illan Sobel thinks that Weissbeerger can take its data-driven drinking mission to the more than half a million fountain setups in the U.S.
“This agreement propels technological disruption for the beverage industry unlike anything that’s been done before,” Sobel said in a statement. “With our technology installed in Lancer machines, we are able to offer fountain beverage manufacturers and customers unparalleled insights and analytical data that will revolutionize the way they operate across every element of the fountain value chain.”
Let this be a warning to diners who like to abuse free refill policies.