The lessons of this book--understanding the reasons why people buy—apply equally to manufacturers and retail businesses in anticipating consumer behavior now and in the future. Retailers need to explore with their shoppers why people shop in their stores. What features, products, attributes, benefits, needs, and consumer desires does the store meet? In what areas does it fail to satisfy? Retailers need to dig deeper than simply "customer service" and "quality." Too many retailers imagine their point of difference is customer service or quality products, but if you sit in a room for five minutes with consumers, you discover that these terms are meaningless. Retailers have to understand the heart, mind, and emotions of their customers. They need to figure out what experiences consumers expect and desire to have while shopping in the store and then develop strategies to give them more of those experiences.
Retailers have to understand the heart, mind, and emotions of their customers.
Customer service has to be more than answering a question, wrapping a package, or escorting the customer to an aisle. Retail salespeople need to participate in the shopping experience with their customers. They have to be shopping partners, not salespeople or clerks. They have to have authentic enthusiasm. They need to be real and honest. They need to be likeable. They need to like their customers.
Retailers can also enhance the shopping experience by providing information. Why should The Home Depot have a monopoly on teaching people how to use their products? Any retailer selling home products can figure out hundreds of ways to provide information to its customers. Just watch HGTV, The Learning Channel, or The Discovery Channel to figure out how. The same theory applies to retailers of electronics, books, pet supplies, cosmetics and personal care, fashion jewelry, gourmet foods, housewares, sporting goods, hobby items, and crafts supplies. Consumers are eager to learn about their passion and willing to participate with retailers in this process. The key to launching a successful experiential-retailing program is to provide valuable information without substituting a sales presentation for a learning experience. Consumers are too savvy today. They will immediately see through the hoax.
Finally, the retail mantra "location, location, location" will never fade. Retailers need to be where shoppers shop. When shoppers stop coming to your street, your strip center, your mall, you'd better move and fast. Today's shoppers are more time sensitive; they are not going to go out of their way and use up valuable time driving to this store and that one. They are going to look for the easiest, most time-effective way to complete their shopping. Retailers need to be where the shoppers are. We are already seeing the future of the shift in consumer shopping patterns. Retailers need to anticipate the shopping shifts in their local markets and be ready to move before it is too late.
Consumers are eager to learn about their passion and willing to participate with retailers in this process.