I’ve presented at several retailer conferences this year.
The atmosphere has been buoyant at some and desperate at others.
Sometimes, when I’m giving a keynote, I use fear as a motivator to give the audience a whack on the side of the head.
For retailers, I used to name the shops which no longer exist and ask if they wanted to be next on the list.
Now I have a new threat…
‘If you don’t step up you could end up being owned by Mike Ashley!’
There’s a look of horror, some nervous giggles and a general gulp from the audience.
The challenge is it’s true. He took over another yesterday – the 100-year-old Evans Cycles
As a Newcastle United fan, I shiver when I think of another Mike Ashley takeover.
So what to do?
Retailers can survive – but only if they: Serve, Inspire, Love and Listen.
Often carrying out the most basic rules of retail is missing in many shops:
Greet every customer (See, Smile, Say hello)
Engage, have meaningful conversations, and NEVER ask, ‘Is there anything I can help you with’ unless you’re happy with, ‘No thanks, just looking’.
Be helpful, make suggestions. Remember, it’s easier to make a second sale once a customer has committed to the first.
Oh I could go on …
When was the last time you felt ‘inspired’ in a store?’
There’s so much to do; demonstrating products, holding events, offering something different to the 40 other stores either side.
And if you are in retail, are you having conversations with your customers and really listening?
Because of the amount of technology involved with gathering customer insight, the shop floor conversation can easily be forgotten.
Come on retailers
Yes, it’s a scrap …
Yes, it’s going to get tougher …
Yes, you have to work twice as hard just to stay still.
However, if you love retail then show your customers and love them too.
We need great stores, we need you.
PS What advice would you give retailers? Leave a comment here.