Lego Imagination Center at Mall of America April 11, 2011

Flora Delaney and Kay Roseland dispense unasked-for advice about retail marketing, strategy, merchandising, and more.*

FD:     Going through the Mall of America with you, Kay, is a treat.  I know you have the pulse on the Twin Cities retail and marketing scene, so it is surprising to me that we see this Lego store at MOA so differently.  I was unimpressed by their opening and said as much in my post “How to Waste Windows in Retail.”  Thank goodness they have finally done something with those front windows.


KR:    It was almost as though we saw two different stores!

FD:     Yeah, I still don’t understand why they put handles on those windows just to let their employees in there to dust the models or whatnot.  They are so obvious and I see new visitors trying to open those “doors” all the time – really confusing.


KR:    I think our shopping buddy above agrees with you!

 FD:     I have to admit the $250 Tower of England model and the other model sets in that window are great aspirational sets that kids and adults want to look at.  I guess we can just chalk up their awful windows at Christmas when they opened to yet another failure of a retailer to look its best on opening day due to an inability to get all the parts to the store on time.  I see that all the time.

KR:    My first impression is those wonderful Lego figures soaring high about the main selling floor, visible as you traipse the second and third floors of Mall of America.  Now that’s Lego Imagination!

FD:     There is really only one thing I truly love about this store and that is the Minnesota-themed mosaics they did on the side without windows.  It is the only tip of the hat to this particular location and I frankly really truly want to make one of these just as large and impressive at my cabin.  

KR:    I must not have gotten the craft gene; I’m glad they buried the local mosaics on the least trafficked side of the store.  It’s not the Mall of Minnesota after all. 


FD:     I know you love the larger than life transformer, dragon and the helicopter dude – and I love that use of space, but maybe because I have been to Legoland the amusement park in San Diego, I am not that wowed by them.  They fill in space and make a nice brand statement and I guess because I totally expect something like that, I just am not wowed by their oversized presence.  Maybe I’m just jaded.


KR:    My fav was the look on the face of a young girl I saw looking up at the dragon’s face….sheer wonderment.  How can you not love 3 stories of Lego magic soaring above the store?  Where else in retail does a store get the 2nd and 3rd stories above their store to stoke retail and kiddy imaginations? Times Square maybe…..

FD:     The play area sure has changed from before.  It used to have a track that kids would build Lego vehicles and then send them down.  It wasn’t until you pointed out their use of their iconic Lego shape did I even pick up on what they were doing. 

KR:    Yep, on my second visit, from above I noticed the play area is actually a giant Lego connector; nice branding touch in a popular functional area.

FD:     The front of the store is filled with plastic bubbles across the entire wall with specific Lego pieces in them that you can buy in bulk.  If you need a green six block or a red four block, you can go there and buy them like produce in the grocery store.  It reminds me so much of that same merchandising concept I saw at the Time Square M&M store.  


KR:    Great place to pick up those pieces that have disappeared from the sets at home!  Plus the bonus of creating an entire wall of focus framing the checkout counter.

FD:     I know you think this store is making a ton of money, but I wonder.  It’s my experience that flagship stores rarely pay back their rent.  I don’t know if Lego is paying for the second and third floor air above their store where the transformer and motorcycle rider abide, but if they do, it’s hard to believe this is a profitable location.  I advise retailers who are determined to create a destination flagship store to think of it as a permanent marketing or advertising location and not to expect to have positive income from a flagship.  It should be all about building brand identity and invoking a positive experience with the brand the next time they encounter it – even if it is just back home in their usual stomping grounds.

KR:    Actually, I said if they aren’t making a ton of money, they should go to Retail Jail! I mean, look at this location!  Practically on the front door of Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America….and three feet from the Microsoft – Apple battleground. The traffic can’t get much better!

FD:     Let’s face it, most people are not going in there to buy the $150 Hogwarts Express kit.  They are probably just going home with one of those $7 Bionicles set. 

KR:    Makes me long for those days I had access to percentage rent figures for a major shopping center company:  we want sales numbers!!!  I guess we’ll have to be satisfied with our trip to a reopened Lego Imagination Center we now imagine in two very different ways!

*With a huge tip o’ the hat to Rick Nelson and Claude Peck of Withering Glance!

Follow us on Twitter:               @FloraDelaney and @KayLoire

Flora at Delaney Consulting:

Kay at Shareology:        


Which Twin Cities shopping center is This? Part Deux… April 3, 2011

One of the things that kept Shareology alive during the Winter of Discontent was the strolling between windows of one of the best merchandised shopping centers in the Twin Cities.   Rhoda Morgenstern would have died to have created these beautiful windows:

blue and white sky: 6 inch wide division


blue and white sky: 6 feet wide division


sweet dreams are made of this window....


oooopppps, I'm dripping pure gold......

OK, so which Twin Cities shopping center is this????

Kay Roseland    @KayLoire


S’More P.O.P. Please! May 31, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kayroseland @ 7:33 pm
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Shareology was taken with point-of-purchase for S’more ingredients she noticed this Memorial Weekend.

Let’s take a peek at how Cub merchandises this campfire classic:


Note the tent above, the cooler, the campfire…

Let’s head across town and see what Walmart does with the same products:

So who do you think won the S’Mores battle?  Walmart or Cub?

Kay Roseland   @KayLoire


Pining for Princess Finery? January 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kayroseland @ 9:53 pm
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Shareology was on her way to coffee at Good Earth in Galleria once again on Friday.  You might remember that coffee at Good Earth consists of yogurt with raspberries and kiwis……   One of the delights of Galleria is the indoor walking and eye candy combination.  Now the two Tiffany windows are probably on the top of the eye candy list.   But on the other side of Galleria, Arafina manages to pull off glorious gown color combinations.  Shareology always stops to see what colors are bouncing off each other.  Friday there were no colors…(Halston did decree that the primarys are black, white and red….)

What was in the window was the most wonderful princess dress Shareology has seen in a long, long while.  Too bad there are no inaugural balls in DC to attend this year.  (Last year, one local lady did buy her dress at Arafina before flying off to her ball.) 

Below is sheer eye candy to perk up your winter blahs.  P.S.  Black and white is a trend that just will not die.  

Shareology always thought “pearl encrusted bodice” was one of those really over the top descriptions of something that anyone could easily live without.   But the pearls on this dress just elevate it to heavenly.  Maybe Shareology has a Barbie doll tucked away in a closet that needs a new dress.

UPDATE February 2, 2010:

Shareology couldn’t resist one more look at “the dress”…..  To justify what has become an obession, she popped in to Arafina and asked “Who IS the designer?”

The black short cocktail dress is by Robert Rodriguez.   Next to it, the magic tulle gown is by Jovani

Kay Roseland   @KayLoire


New Retail Blog Star = Flora Delaney! January 27, 2010

Shareology is proud to alert readers to a new blog about retail and networking:   Flora Delaney writes on retail, merchandising, strategy and networking.  Her recent post on The Care and Feeding of Your Network touches on a subject dear to Shareology’s heart.   Once you click on the link below, be sure and read her earlier posts on holiday merchandising:  (you can also follow her on Twitter at  @FloraDelaney)

Kay Roseland    @KayLoire


Inspired Merchandising? or Worst Idea Ever? You decide! November 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — kayroseland @ 12:12 pm
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Shareology is proud to welcome a guest contributor today; Bill Carlson (of Kestrel Marketing in Chicago) and I worked together on the Honeywell Interactive Kiosk.  Bill is still finding amazing items at retail.   Let’s see what he says:

So I happened across this inspired merchandising while shopping at the grocery store and thought it worthy of a humorous sidebar in Shareology… Bet you won’t find this combination in any best practices documentation!

….house brand perhaps, which may explain the “unique” placement (i.e. Impromptu store-level decision vs. structured best practice recommendation from national brand?).

Discord grabs the eye and in fairness to whoever set this up, the sheer fact that I took note is indicative of its success. Actually not often that something stops you in your shopping tracks, requires a second or two of thought and then gets you chuckling. That being said, not so sure this would be in my top-10 cross-promotional recommendations…

1)    There are good ideas for cross-merchandising and there are
not-so-good ideas for cross-merchandising.  Most basic and logical approach
is having products which somehow complement one-another — in front of pizza
you might have red pepper or parmesan cheese, for example.  Creates a
“that’s a good idea” moment for the customer.  Another approach is simply
using that space for any impulse items whether connected or not — in the
frozen foods section one might envision condiments, for example, though
could be just about anything.  Anything except products which don’t look
right next to one-another, of course — in this case, not so sure stomach
relief is the right thing to have in a food aisle!

2)    So, how did this occur?  Are these trays on freezer doors
merchandised based on store-level discretion?  With due respect to store
staff, it’s not their daily challenge to be considering marketing and
cross-merchandising so perhaps someone just didn’t see the irony?  Or maybe
they DID and this is intentional (guys in the back chuckling every day?) —
certainly gets me every time so perhaps there is some wisdom here,
intentional or not?  While cute, and maybe a lesson in how a mismatch can
get more attention than something we might consider more appropriate,
perhaps this is not the right message, and certainly not what I would want
to see in front of my product if I’m one of the pizza suppliers.  If the
stores were not provided with best-practice directions/recommendations, then
indeed the result is at the whim of store staff and this case in point
demonstrates the potential issue.  We’ve all seen a good idea in the
conference room not get executed properly in the field, eh?

3)    Finally, merchandising overkill?  Trays on many of the freezer doors
break the clean look through those doors and if what is on those trays
doesn’t fit the area, then it’s a waste of time and space.  Would be
interesting to do a hidden camera deal in that aisle — merchandise those
trays with complementary products for a day and then merchandise them with
unrelated goods another day and see which gets more action.

Have fun!

Bill Carlson
Kestrel Marketing

So, dear Shareology readers, what do you think?   Inspired Merchandising?  or Worst Idea Ever?

Kay Roseland   @KayLoire


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