Would a better experience make you a different shopper?
I went to an electrical wholesaler today to pick up a couple ceiling ventilation fans for bathroom remodels. They were the only company to carry what I needed. And when the boxes came out and were put on the counter, a black cloud of dirt and dust arose into the air. It didn’t matter to me since they were the only ones that carried the product [and I had my trusty hand sanitizer in the car). But I was stuck in this place because regular DIY retailers didn’t stock the product in store.
But the customer being stuck isn’t true for so many retailers. The simple fact that is most customers DO have a choice about where they want to purchase things. Since we’ve seen just about everything become a price game, from grocery stores to drug stores, beauty products to cell phones and more, do customers really care about store experience, or is just price. All in all, are the features of the products really that much different? Is Chevron gas worth 10 cents more than Arco gas?
The question comes down to the experience. And 10 cents more per gallon doesn’t always equate to a better experience. And there are people willing to pay the extra 10 cents a gallon if the bathroom is clean and the store personnel have a personality.
As you know, the retail world has become centered around value propositions. Shopping with my sister for clothes this past weekend, there were deals everywhere. Talbot’s had 15% off everything when you used your Talbot’s credit card. She didn’t have one, but she got one. She also received a bounce back good for $25 on every $75 she spent. That means she can go spend $300 and get $100 off. All in, she’ll have saved nearly 25% on everything she bought. Not bad. But she wouldn’t have spent that much time and money in the store if the experience had been bad. And the experience was anything but. They were playing great music, they had a great selection of clothing and [here’s the kicker], the sales associate was fantastic! Doing more than bringing different sizes, she was offering suggestions, finding the size at another store, recommending complimentary items and doing everything a salesperson should be doing. And she was rewarded in sales from my sister. And my sister received a great experience including a pretty decent discount in return.
The customer experience does matter more other value. From the environment to the merchandise to customer service, it’s the one thing that can differentiate a retailer today when product mix and price cannot.
How are you changing your experience to beat your competitors?