Time to Come Home..?


An acquaintance of mine is involved in a home merchandise group…about 150 stores around the country.  In 2013 they had a drop of about 250,000 customer visits.  A decline they attributed to bad weather, poor holiday timing and some questionable merchandise mixes. Those rational made everyone comfortable until they saw a 600,000 customer visit decline in 2014.

That’s anecdotal, true…but it’s no secret retail is struggling.  The Gap closes 150 stores.  Radio Shack is gone.  Nordstrom records same store traffic declines again this year.  Best Buy is hanging on by downsizing.  JC Penny is…well those were self inflicted, but you get the idea.  Retail as we’ve known it is in trouble.

It took just four years but The Wall Street Journal reports that November/December store traffic declined from 40 billion to 17.6 billion between 2010 and  2013.  Shopping patterns have changed in dramatic ways – and the power of retailers, large malls and even established brands are in deep dive.

The reasons – online shopping, changing demographics and even satiated consumers are secondary to my point here.

It’s time for radio and retail to be reunited.  WHY?

1)  Radio delivers customers at the last possible minute.

Abandon mall

Coming soon to a retailer near you…?

2)  Radio can effectively sell the ‘experience’ of shopping retail…still a compelling story.

3)  Radio uniquely can create demand where none exists.  That’s why it’s become so important for event promotion.  Using radio creates demand among consumers who didn’t know about a product or service previously.

4)  Radio is intrusive.  Spots, endorsements, live events, and drop-ins all create awareness intrusively.

5)  Radio still has the reach – 90%+ according to Nielsen every week listen.

I’m certain that the Radio Advertising Bureau is on this nationally – but it’s also time for local radio to get in front of local retail management.   Even the big box retailers and franchises listen to their local management – well, the smart one’s do.

Radio created consumer brands in the 30s.  Radio sold a bonanza to retailers in the 60s and 70s.  It’s time for retail to come home to radio.