Data shows that US shoppers still prefer to make most purchases in store, for major purchases and those that are sized, particularly for the 50+ customer. This makes perfect sense as this customer is not a digital native and he or she grew up purchasing in store and participating in retail as entertainment. This product and age criteria likely makes up a good portion of your shop offering and customer. So why aren’t they coming?
An excerpt of a current article from the Platt Retail Institute’s Quarterly Journal of Retail Analytics, The Seven Deadly Sins of Retail Laggards by Laura Davis-Taylor, Executive Vice President, Customer Experience, MaxMedia may unlock the key. Davis-Taylor proposes 7 sins keeping many longtime retailers from maintaining success. Let’s find out if you are a Saint or a Sinner.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear this: “It works. It has always worked. I’ve always done it this way.” That’s all well and good, but what worked pre-internet does not work now. If you are hanging on to what you have done in the past as the best and only way, I encourage you to look to the future.
Another comment I hear often: “I’m overwhelmed. I’m not sure I can compete in the new landscape and more importantly, I’m not sure I want to.” I get it. I’m not a digital native. In fact, I am sick of the digital world. I hate social media. Here’s the good news. I don’t have to do social media. I can hire someone who understands it and likes it to do it for me. Consider this. You can focus on your 50+ customer with a fantastic in-store and more traditional communication, while someone else develops your digital side. You get to be in the space you like while someone else develops the space you don’t and builds your future.
I am a big believer in hiring those who fit your business culture. It is absolutely necessary in today’s environment. That doesn’t mean, however, that you always hire from within, or from your current network. You must step outside and find employees who look at your business with “fresh eyes” and bring “fresh ideas”. Urban Outfitter brands do this very well. The hire numerous new young people who fit each brand culture, but bring a fresh perspective. If you aren’t ready to hire, how about building a teen or young adult advisory board? Consider partnering with a local high school or higher ed institution on an in-class project to get new ideas.
Now it’s time to be really honest with you. What is the first thing that pops in your mind when you read “customer”? Was that thought positive or negative? Now dig deep and think hard. Do you see your customer as your enemy? What comes first in your business – your business (ie. you) or your customer? Many stores I work with say the customer comes first, but the experience they offer says otherwise. Consider what you do for your customer. Does your store give your customer a pleasant shopping experience? Are your sales people welcoming and engaging? What amenities do you offer – coffee, seating, a clean restroom, clean fitting rooms with good mirrors? Do you go the extra mile for your customer?
When was the last time you looked at your store and service from your customer’s perspective? As the retail landscape changes, so does customer expectation. You MUST study your customer thoroughly at least once a year. Observation is invaluable. Listening will give you insight. There are many ways to structure a deep dive into your customer’s shoes that will quickly reveal where you have opportunities to improve. All you have to do is be willing to try.
If you are still stuck in Product, Price, Placement and Promotion you are missing the point. Retail has moved way past transaction. It’s about lifestyle, culture and personal connection. If these terms aren’t coming out of your mouth daily, start using them.
So how did you make out? Are you a Saint or Sinner? The good news is as an independent retailer you are more nimble than the big boys. You have the ability to respond to the customer and the market more quickly. Many of these sins can be corrected quickly and with little investment.
ONO offers several tools to help you understand your store, your customer and the experience you offer starting at $99. Contact us today: firstname.lastname@example.org