In search of my favorite Molton Brown product, I stopped in my local haunt that carries the line only to find the item out of stock. After a couple more attempts at different stores without any luck, I recalled a store that was sure to carry it — #1 Beauty.
So I trekked to #1 Beauty, and this is the beauty (pun intended) of the place – it stocks nearly every hot brand plus all the old standby brands with loyal followings – in a place that is cluttered, dirty, messy, disorganized, dingy, lacking customer service and utterly devoid of any experience. All this in a store located on one of the best shopping streets in Los Angeles. Despite the store’s shortcomings, here was the hip mom pushing her tot in a stroller shopping next to the aging Hollywood star that’s been nipped, tucked, stretched and pulled 15 times, both shopping for their favorite products.
And then it occurred to me…that old phrase that’s been used and overused in politics was so relevant to this retail experience – it’s the merchandise stupid! It’s the ONLY reason people are coming to a particular store. The merchandise selection trumps customer service, store environment, price and every other aspect of retail. If you don’t have my product, I’m going elsewhere.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY: It’s about the merchandise. If you have it, they will come. So, do you have the goods? Are you stocking the merchandise that you personally like and have an affinity for, or are you catering to your clientele? It’s time to take stock – ask your customers, “Are there particular items or brands that you’re not finding here?” Listen, then act – keep a running list of those things. I am sure your customers will be in agreement and you’ll find several items or brands that are mentioned consistently. Stock the merchandise that people are asking for (and get rid of the stuff that doesn’t sell) and you’ll be on your way to developing a one-to-one relationship with your clients which in turn, drives increased sales and profitability.