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I just love the competitive retail marketplace! It works on all levels.

On one hand you have the big-boys clobbering each other with ever-lower prices. The rational price-value they offer to consumers is a marvel of our 21st century economics. Most products in Costco, Amazon, Walmart and the super markets are amazing value. (How can jeans be $20 or a box of blueberries in winter be $1.99?)

And coming still is another wave of even sharper prices like Uniqlo and Primark (jeans at $10–15 and cashmere sweaters at $60―woo ha!) plus food deep discounters Aldi and Lidl. But more on these in a couple of weeks.

On the other end of this scale, for example, is the truly “awesome” array of chocolate shops in the Belgium cities of Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent. Here the literally mind-boggling “assortments battle” is on a totally different battlefield―creativity. The following photos show packaging taken to a new level. The store, fixtures, products, packaging/boxes/wrap, décor, posters, and information are in creative harmony. Each store brand has a unique niche―from super-cool to folksy, from overwhelming assortments to highly edited product ranges, from technical to hand crafted, from international brands to mom & pop shops. Many of these are exquisite! When achieved, “exquisite” is an unbeatable strategic position.

What you find here is a devotion to quality products and emotional marketing through creativity. There is not a “sale” sign around!

Why not think about this strategic direction?

The “packages” start with the facades and windows

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Windows are used as “shopper-stoppers”

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Packaging is exquisite

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Visual presentation is dramatic!

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Total impact delivers a “WOW!”

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Signage and visuals are sophisticated

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Written by: John Williams, Senior Partner, Strategy and New Concepts at J.C. Williams Group

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