There is doom and gloom on the high street in many town and cities around the world. Takings have plummeted,stores are closing and employees laid off. Some have streets with shops that are boarded up and wouldn’t be out of place in a ghost town. National and international chain stores are wringing their hands not knowing which way to turn or how to revive their fortunes. It’s the cost of parking or business rates that the authorities charge on the bricks and mortar they say, the internet takes all the trade now or shoppers don’t go to shops now…
Well have I got news for you – actually it’s bad management FAILING TO OFFER WHAT THE CUSTOMER WANTS
here’s the thing; if your chain store looks the same as another in the next town and beyond that is boring.
If you don’t make your store unique and so that it stands out that is boring.
If you don’t entertain your customers with all their senses that is boring.
Now think about this, when you buy on the internet you can’t smell the food, candle or perfume – but you can in a store.
When you buy on the internet you can’t take a turn round the block – but you can in a car on a bike or a pair of roller skates.
When you buy clothes on the internet you can’t try them on there and then to know if they fit, see if the color is right or that the trousers match a shirt.
Or and here’s the big one meet up with friends for a coffee do ‘a bit of shopping’ have lunch, more shopping, socialise and then head home content.
IT’S ALL ABOUT PROVIDING WHAT THE CUSTOMER WANT’S, at a competitive price in a (seductive) retail environment that leaves a satisfied customer that will come back again bringing more friends and family.
Now compare these two bricks and mortar examples. Toys’R’Us and Clarkes Shopping Village Street Somerset UK.
Toys’R’Us are bankrupt, not providing what their customers wanted at the right price – enough said…..
Clarkes Shopping Village have seen their shopper numbers go up and up, why? They listen to their customers. So there are areas where shoppers can sit down next to play areas, enjoy refreshments while the children play, there are no cars in the site and the shops are easily accessible are doing brisk trade. There are directors on boards around the world that just don’t get it. If you put up a 25%, 50% or even 75% discount poster up in a store don’t they know the consumers are blinded to those lame offers? You need to get inventive! (actually that applies just as much to online and offline retail)
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not against internet shopping. In fact you may well know I sell online products, but when I want a special shirt I’m going on a Saturday to see if family or friends would like to meet up for coffee or lunch, do a bit of shopping in a unique store and maybe take in a film. That is the service I want provided, and if retailers don’t deliver I will be going online for my shirt, ordering a take away and streaming a film….