Observation lab

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This is the second assignment on the Crash Course on Creativity.

Author: Cuauhtémoc Rivera Loaiza, criveramx@gmail.com

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  • Observation lab

    1. 1. Observation Lab Cuauhtémoc Rivera Loaiza criveramx@gmail.com
    2. 2. Cielito Querido Café Mexican Coffee Shop Chain
    3. 3. Cielito Querido CaféThis is a coffee shop that tries to luretheir customers with nostalgia, greatproducts and competitive prices.They are competing against Starbucksand other we& established chains witha very novel approach: they se&updated traditional mexican coffeedrinks. The stuff that your grandmawould make, but in a modern setting.They carry, for instance, café de o&a,pan dulce, chocolate, and horchata (a&traditional drinks and pastries).
    4. 4. EnvironmentThey use a palette based on black,white and baby blue. The typography ispretty eclectic, but they use “old-fashion”fonts, mostly. They have won severalprices for the design of the stores.The locale that I went had highceilings, mostly open spaces, and thelighting was good. The place lookspretty cool, and so is the people that gothere. The ambience is more hip than aStarbucks, for sure. The cash register isa& the way to the back and they havethere items for sale (coffee mugs, cups,etc.).
    5. 5. PersonnelThey were very They didn’t try toattentive, and were confuse me with milkcertainly in tune with options, nor try to pushwhat you expect now any promotions. They+om coffee shop were very nice.personnel: young, cool,minimalist uniform.
    6. 6. ProductsThey se& only mexican beans. That, Iliked a lot. Also, the cup sizes are inSpanish and do make sense! (Chico/sma&,Mediano/medium, Grande/large).They have a large selection of drinks,mostly coffee drinks but also teas andaguas +escas. Prices are very reasonable,and are displayed next to the item.They carry the usual merchandise withthe store logo, but also, this is very cool,metal items. Like the cups shown in thephoto. They used to be in every mexicanhome.They also se& coffee to grind at home.
    7. 7. Final ObservationsIn recent years, we mexican consumers have seen an avalanche of coffee shop options,but Cielito Querido is rea&y a breath of +esh air. Not only have they innovated withtheir graphic design, but the drink selection is pretty awesome.They provide an inviting environment that nurtures conversation, in a very coolspace.I do hope they spread even further and become a success story in the retail space hereand abroad.
    8. 8. Alfarería San Francisco Hand cra-s
    9. 9. Alfarería San FranciscoThis is a very good example ofoutstanding products sold in aterrible setting. The opportunities,are immense.This workshop is in the outskirts ofmy city. The town is ca&ed Capula,and is dedicated to the production ofpottery. They a& carry a particulardesign in the decoration, a sma&flower.The shop/workshop is owned by acouple of artists, who have won someprizes for their work.
    10. 10. EnvironmentThe store is not on the main street,and is kind of hard to find. They areknown outside their town, and that’swhy we went looking for them.They barely have any lighting inside,and there’s not an apparenta-erthought in the way everything isdisplayed. Every piece is a sma& pieceof art, but it’s very hard to browsethem.The store is cold, and humid. Sme&s ofclay (which I liked). The floor iscement.
    11. 11. EnvironmentThe items are displayed whereverthere’s a space. They se& something,they put another one in that placeinstead; regardless of the type of item.The artist have their workshop inthe same store, and do not have anyadditional employees.They only se& their products in theshop, and occasiona&y in some fairs.
    12. 12. ProductsThey are divine. They are made withsuch care, such precision, that isamazing that they aren’t more widelyknown. If they were displayed in adifferent setting you would definitelypay a much higher price.The prices are very low. Mostlybecause competition +om China hasterribly eroded their profits.They’ve tried to diversify theirofferings (new designs, new colors),but it’s been rea&y tough.
    13. 13. CustomersTypical customers nowadays aremostly urban persons, that look a-erdecoration pieces. Utilitarian productsare not been sold that muchThey go a-er special pieces, mostly fordecorUnfortunately, they sti& bargainheavily, and the artists are forced togive away their products at ridiculousprices.
    14. 14. Final ObservationsIt’s heart-wrenching to see the storein this condition. The products areoutstanding, but they are very hard toget.The owners are in desperate need ofsupport and advice +om differentinstances, governmental and private.The opportunities are huge, and I dobelieve their products deserve a betterway of being sold.
    15. 15. La Casa de Santa Claus
    16. 16. La Casa de Santa ClausThis is a store that is open only in thelast quarter of the year, and se&sChristmas decorationsIt’s located in another sma& townclose to my city, ca&ed Tlalpujahua.The town itself is pretty terrific:mining town, up i the mountains,surrounded by forest....it does lookchristmasy!The main draw to the Casa de SantaClaus is the tradition and scale of thestore. It’s comprises several stories.
    17. 17. Environment.The store is lit with the Xmasdecorations, mostly, and the music isa& Xmas a& the time, which rea&ysets you in the mood...even if it’s justOctober!I went there on a Saturday, andthere was a good number of customers.The items are displayed by categories:ornaments, trees, figurines, etc.The main draw are the Xmas treedecorations made of glass. They areartisanal, and made in town.
    18. 18. ProductsThe mouth-blown glass decorationsare fantastic. They have them indifferent shapes, sizes and colors, andthe prices are mostly reasonable.I’d say that 70% of the productsdisplayed are made in town, and therest (plastic trees, light series, andplastic stuff) are foreign (mainlychinese).They emphasize the origin of theirmore prominent items for sale.
    19. 19. ProductsIn general, the quality of theirproducts seems good (and word ofmouth is positive)There’s personnel readily available,and looked like everyone is related.Personnel wasn’t uniformed, anddressed casua&y. They didn’t try to bepushy and were very helpful.Customers to the store were mostlyfamilies when I was there.
    20. 20. The Restaurant :)On the roof they have a greataddition to the store: a restaurant. Itfaces the main church and you canhave a 360 degree view.The food is pretty good, home made,traditional mexican food. You canenter through the store or straight+om the street.I found it to be very convenient, sincea-er browsing and hopefu&y buyingtheir products, you can take a breakand perhaps buy some morea-erwards.
    21. 21. Final ObservationsWhen being besieged by industrialcompetition +om the East, your bestweapon can be to stick to traditionand aim to a more sensitive customer.Nothing in the store seems cheaplymade: a& is acknowledge to be madeby hand (except the plasticky stuff, ofcourse), and in a careful wayWhen you take something +om here,you do carry the whole experience ofthe town and the magical Casa deSanta Claus.
    22. 22. Sanborns
    23. 23. SanbornsThis mexican institution is acombination of lifestyle store,drugstore, bookstore, restaurant andbar.They aim for the middle to upperclasses of mexican society, and areubiquitous in urban spaces.Sanborns has established itself as themost traditional retail shop in thecountry. They are currentlyexpanding their presence in CentralAmerica
    24. 24. EnvironmentThey have we& defined sections:retail, restaurant and bar.Lighting is warm, security iselectronica&y omnipresent, andpersonnel is uniformed.They do have very we& appointeddisplays, and sme&s nice. The feel ofthe store is pretty comfortable
    25. 25. PersonnelThey are very attentive, and appearto be mostly in their 30’sYou can te& there’s not a big rotationof personnel, since they seem to havebeen working there for long.Their uniforms are suits in the retailspace, and in the restaurant thewaitresses have this funny lookingdress. I don’t particularly like it, butyou immediately associate it withSanborns
    26. 26. ProductsThey do have their own brand ofproducts, mostly chocolates andcandies, and they se& it evokingtradition. Mexican upper classtraditions.The food is not particularlyoutstanding, is more convenient thananything. They do, however, have astar dish: Enchiladas Suizas, whichare a very comforting dish and amexican staple (only find inSanborns).
    27. 27. CustomersMostly middle classPrices aren’t cheap, nor outrageous, but it’s definitely not for the price consciousThey have become the main book distributors in Mexico, so they do also attract aninte&ectual crowd as we&.The stores are located in ma&s or in high traffic streets, and are o-en a oasis in theurban chaos.
    28. 28. Final ObservationsThis chain has a very we& defined niche, and have no direct competitionThey know the mexican customer pretty we&, and have grown along with thechanging generations and progressing tastes.I think, though, that they should improve their restaurant and bar services, since theyseem pretty outdated in both decor and products
    29. 29. Bodega Aurrera Express
    30. 30. Bodega Aurrera ExpressThis is the sma&est retail format+om W almart Mexico.It’s located in highly dense urbanenvironments, of lower classes.It carries mostly groceries in awarehouse setting.They are of recent creation, and arerapidly expanding,
    31. 31. EnvironmentWe&, it’s pretty sparse. It’s definitelynot aimed for comfortability, butconvenience.They carry most stuff that you needin an “emergency”, when you can’tmake it a& the way to thesupermarket. You can’t stay that muchin there, you don’t go there to browse.You go to get a particular thing andleave.They have few employees, and rely invideo cameras to provide securityinside. There’s a police man in the exit.
    32. 32. Products
    33. 33. ProductsHousehold items, mainly.At very low prices.Again, aimed to the lesswealthy classes inMexicoThey usua&y have one ortwo On Sale bins, andone seasonal bin (xmas,día de muertos, etc.).
    34. 34. Final ObservationsThis retail format has lots of opportunities in my country, as more and more urbanMexican society becomesI do expect that their offerings and product display wi& become more sophisticated aspeople become wealthier (they are walmart, a-er a&, and they do know how to adapt).One thing, though, they must be regulated, since they are cannibalizing traditionalmom and pops stores in the neighborhoods. Traditional stores cannot compete pricewise with them
    35. 35. Mixup
    36. 36. MixupMixup is the main music retailer inMexico, and have been since the mid90’sThey have presence in most ma&s inMexico, and though their focus wasin music, they have leaned more andmore to dvd’s and bluray.They also se& LPs, some electronics,and have a Ticketmaster counter
    37. 37. EnvironmentThey have rows a-er rows of media,ordered by performer or genreMusic is loud, and mostly upbeat,though they have an isolated area forclassical music.Decor is also loud with stuff hanging+om the ceiling and displayseverywhere. Lighting is more on thewarm side.They want you to browse as much asyou can, and the format a&ows you todo just that
    38. 38. EnvironmentAlthough the lightning is warm, the Due to the immersiveness of mediastore feels cool. Probably is because of shopping, it is expected that you spendthe meta&ic touches everywhere (only a lot of time there, and Mixup does athe classical music section has wooden good job on that +ont: shelves are we&shelves). spaced, music is upbeat, but not too loud and the displays are we& stocked.Security in the store is a combinationof electronic measures and police menon the exit
    39. 39. ProductsAt the beginning they used to se&mostly music, but due to piracy andchanging shopping habits, they haveturned more into a video store.They s
    40. 40. PersonnelMostly in their thirties, They are mostly helpful,always on the move. not intrusive.Always ordering the They do not have anmedia that customers opinion, but do knowhave moved. where what you’reThey are uniformed, looking for is.with a navy and ye&owpolo shirt, and khakis.
    41. 41. ProductsWe&, they are THE source for your Although they announce their digitalmedia cravings in this country. If they services (music shopping, mp3s, etc),don’t have it, you should probably go there’s no specialized section to servicestraight to Amazon. that! The personnel doesn’t offer help on that.Prices are ok in national made items,and super pricey in imported stuff. They prominently display their on sale products, in the second row of theThe selection is good, though I believe store, forcing you to get in to the store,they should get rid of their CD bins and browse beyond the bins.(they occupy a lot of space and fewcustomers seem to wander there) Cash registers are always slow. They need more counters.
    42. 42. CustomersMostly individuals, you I’ve noticed that mostdon’t see families customers browse theshopping there entire store; they begin in the far le- and goAges vary +om teenagers through a& the binsto people in their sixties trying to find something(mostly on the movie special.sections)
    43. 43. Final ObservationsIn order to survive Mixup has to Using their already goodacknowledge and embrace in+astructure, I would recommendwholeheartedly streamed media setting up facilities that would encourage the customer to buy mediaAlthough I appreciate the availability +om their online store, by providingof recorded media, the future is in non browsing displays to preview theirtangible media. Mixup seems to not offeringsnotice that, and therefore they mightgo the way of the dodo.

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