In a discussion the other day with a group of people putting together a proposal for a retail company it struck me that even large, reputable companies in some cases get lost in the woods. Then they run into a candy cottage and think they’re on to a good thing. The company in question was doing well and getting lots of browsers. They were looking to get more people into the store by offering an enhanced experience. So far so good. What did they have in mind?
“Well they want people to enjoy spending time in the store so we are considering various fun activities such as using the game consoles, book reading corners with beverages, play spaces for kids… “
I was expecting “shoulder massage while waiting to pay” to creep in somewhere. Why?
“What do you mean why?”
Why are they looking at this shift, change, transition or whatever you want to call it?
“Well, people are walking in but they aren’t buying stuff”.
And this will be remedied by rewarding browsers just to be browsers?
Then we got to talking about how the company is branded. Is it branded? What do you think of when you see the logo? And please note that this is a successful retailer with a dynamic approach to doing business. So how did we get to the point of examining what meat lockers we need to install without determining how many of our customers are vegetarian?
It all boils down to knowing who your customer is. In some cases you should also be looking at which customers you are attracting? Are they the same as the ones you are targeting? If not, which way do you go? How strong is the brand? Is it strong? Has work gone in to building it? What are you changing and why? The fact is that in real life there are loads of companies that start a change initiative without taking a good look at the facts and figures. In an unbiased manner. With an open mind. And if the figures aren’t there, for God’s sake get some. Who is your customer? Who do you think your customer is? And who are you targeting? Impulse buying came into the conversation. Then it went downhill.
So you are targeting customers with enough disposable income to embark on impulse purchases by offering free pastimes in a pleasant and accessible environment with free beverages and use of facilities?
I got a few looks and changed the subject. There was really no reason to walk out of the room having created a bad atmosphere I wasn’t being paid for.
But do stop to think: what are you selling? To whom? If it’s working, instead of trying to change it, find out why it is working and enhance it. A Captain not willing to change course is more likely to crash into the rocks than the one that sees an unexpectedly favorable passage and follows it.