I went into a retail store last week with a problem, not really expecting to find anyone or anything that remotely met the immediate need I faced.
My web search had revealed many solutions, none of which gave me much confidence for one reason or another, but it had sparked a few ideas.
Lo and behold, the store I went to, (after a bit of web research) an independent store that clearly understood the niche it was servicing, had made a significant ‘organic’ investment.
They had several people who understood my problem, and were able to offer several sensible alternative solutions, one of which was perfect.
When faced with the same or similar challenge again, guess where I am going!
It may not be for a while, but inevitably it will happen again. Meanwhile, guess which store I am touting to my friends and colleagues.
Ironically, it seems that the most successful retailer on the planet, when measured by the standard retail sales/sq foot, and margin/square foot metric is one of the tech disrupters: Apple. They have redefined bricks and mortar retail by adding ‘organic’ sales staff to the best long term branding job ever seen, except perhaps for a couple of the major religions. At the end of 2017. Apple had 499 stores worldwide, and not content to leave well enough alone, are continuously investing and experimenting with formats, layout, branding, and the important ‘organic’ part of this hugely successful bricks and mortar puzzle.
On Wednesday (Feb 14, how appropriate) the Myer CEO was dumped by the board for failing to turn the ship around. The last time I was in a Myer store, admittedly some time ago, as I have no wish to repeat the experience, there was no staff anywhere to be seen. My intention had been to buy a suit that had been advertised as part of a sale. Good price, good brand, I was in the store to buy, but no sale for Myer, although I did buy a similar suit elsewhere. Firing the CEO will have little impact on my future purchase intentions, without the long term investment in one of the the foundations of successful retail, good people at the customer coal-face, and a management culture that recognises and nurtures those people.
Digital is great, the convenience, price, and range are seductive, but there is no substitute for a person who has deep domain knowledge, has seen the problem before, and who is happy to help, and clearly gets a kick out of doing so. After all that, price does not matter so much, it just needs to be in the ball-park.
Just ask Apple.
Photo credit: Harry Pappas via Flikr