Retail stores are suffering mightily this holiday season. AP reports, "With disparaging holiday-shopping forecasts haunting traditional retailers as shoppers are expected to flock to the Web in droves, the big guns are arming themselves with the ultimate impulse-buying ammunition—candy. The type of candy being carried might vary—for instance, more high-end candy in a clothing store where women tend to shop."
Now, if the problem is getting people into the store - how is candy at the register going to help? Bulldog reports that these retailers are just looking to get as much money out of people who will shop sans computer this holiday. They quote Marshal Cohen, the chief analyst for the market research company, NPD Group Inc. who explains, "We've entered into a time when dollars per square foot is better than educating customers about what's in the store," he said.
Rather than relying on chocolate, why not a quick cost-benefit analysis? Bring in your best PR people to evaluate the differentiating experiences of shopping in a store - and commit to refining, promoting and communicating those benefits with customers. Focus on those things the web just cannot offer; personalized, immediate customer service, a comfortable place to try on clothes with flattering lighting, places for kids to play and husbands to sit, and painless returns and exchanges. I'd take that over a Snickers anyday.