Without guests there is no retail

“Wholesale Changes” by Eric Krell (Consulting Magazine, March / April 2009).  A fairly insightful article that was good enough to trigger this letter to the editor:

Consulting Mag:

The ill condition of retail is well known. However, there is a factor that was not directly mentioned (in the article) and we believe is essential to understanding and solving the problem. Typically it’s
called the customer experience. Although we prefer the higher ground of The Guest Experience. Even prior to the economic correction many of retail’s industry leaders and
results producers provided an experience that was average at best and continually failed to meet guest expectation.

For example, my local supermarket has more video monitors than my local sporting goods retailer. In addition, when online a person interested in a product or service can get detailed information, read reviews, watch video, compare prices, ask questions, shop 24/7, etc. Walk into a retailer today and once you get past the obligatory greeter you’re not likely to get much help – let alone an experience that inspires loyalty and guides purchases. Finally, merchandising is so me-too and cookie cutter that the yawns are increasing louder than the ca-chings.

Like it or not online is raising the bar for all purchase expectations. Much like print (magazines and newspapers), retail is in denial and is losing – and has probably already lost – the next generation of customers. The fact is retail (with its accountant driven formulas) only has itself to blame.

Hoist a new flag

Mark Simchock
Chief Alchemist
Alchemy United
Princeton NJ