Dear retailer: I get it, you don’t really want me as a customer, do you?

Dear Retailer,

I know. And I get it. You don’t really want me to be a customer do you?

All the money you spend on branding, fit-outs, advertising and trying to entice me is for another purpose, isn’t it?

After all, what’s the point if I can’t see your point of difference in your branded offer and the cross-channel execution?

How do I do business with you if I visit one of your shops and I can’t find a staff member to save my life, or I am pointed to signs that confuse, or self-help technology that requires a degree in computer science to understand?

The in-store signage skilfully inspired by Monty Pythons’ thinking that walking in a circle continuously was far more effective that a straight line.

I see your advertised specials boldly displaying the latest product and I am motivated to purchase, however the next daunting challenge is to find it.

I see in the distance a staff member. Wait, don’t run, you are spotted. The staff member sheepishly approaches me, skilfully placing her chewing gum under the shelf, talker strategically located nearby, and attempts an add-on sale with an item that doesn’t address one of my needs and is completely irrelevant to my initial enquiry.

Now send me the invitation to join your database, stunning me with a 10% off VIP club offer that is only just possibly better than your online offer,

Then bombard me with edm’s/sms’s and other messages inviting me to repeat the experience.

Overwhelming, exhausting, confusing, tiring, unhelpful, and that’s just the first 20 feet.

I know. And I get it. You want me to go online or visit your competitor don’t you?

Sincerely,

Bemused Customer

This was written after an exceptionally challenging post-Christmas sale experience as a customer. Of course, this is not the experience of all customers out there. However, unfortunately, these negative experiences are the ones we tend to remember.

As retailers, we work with the greatest of intent to please our customers. However, this intent is not always delivered at the store level, and in order to build our business fitness we must measure and reward excellence and carefully manage and work to improve on anything less.

To quote BB King:

“I remember way back,
When all the money, the money was rolling in,
Not wanted anymore”

There is too much competition out there to think that anything less than excellent will keep the money rolling in.

(Any resemblance to true and factual occurrences or the possibility that it could be a common experience for shoppers is entirely coincidental. Names are withheld to protect the innocent.)

Happy fit retailing!

Brian Walker is the managing director of Australasia’s leading retail consultancy, Retail Doctor Group.

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