Taking a trip to CVS
I admit that I do the majority of my shopping on Amazon and rarely make a journey to the drug store. I know all about the distribution channel into grocery and drug stores. I know how brands pay to have certain shelf space. I know how the stores want constant deals so they can sell products at a discount which just cost the manufacturers money and send their margins plummeting. I know that the stores compete with their own white label products at every single level. I might know but walking through the aisles of CVS (and the grocery store) this past weekend was fascinating.
Let’s just start with the grocery which is I can not get over the amount of consumer products. Gluten-free, peanut-free, spicy, round chips, square chips, bugle chips, cookies with new concepts….honestly I could write a tome. Now to CVS where the brands open the aisles. Nothing is curated. I could only take so much before making myself crazy trying to figure out where something was.
In the early 1980’s Macy’s opened a few stores in Florida. Obviously Florida did not need the same clothing that was being sold in NYC during January but it took a while for anyone to figure that out. Curation then was not as easy as it is now. Technology has also changed manufacturing so it is not expensive to make small quantities of clothes. Everything is now streamlined with a click of a finger. You can be thoughtful about what is on each shelf or hanging on each hanger.
Why doesn’t CVS put different brands and different products in their stores based on what the product is? They can track the data. They can see what is really selling vs sitting on the shelf. I get why they have allowed brands to own their own sector. It is a way for CVS to count fixed monthly payments into their budget. Why don’t they curate each aisle so you can actually find what you are looking for and possibly discover something new? Brands want to believe that everyone can remember their name but it is not always true. It seems insanely short-sited.
Retail is far from dead. The stats show that people still like to walk into a store and buying something particularly when it comes to grocery. Spending time in the CVS just reminds me why I order from Amazon and that to me yells opportunity to change.