R is for Retail. R is also for…..

Recent announcements of the government’s definition of Australia being in a recession caused me to cast my mind way, way back to the “recession we had to have”.  Early 1990’s.  Times, when most businesses cut back on recruitment and cost wherever they could and made, do with the resources they had.

I was lucky enough to work for The Body Shop Australia during this time.  The directors announced to the business that while other retailers were cutting their training budgets, they were increasing theirs.  Their belief was that in a time of cut backs, it would be the way we made our customers feel that would bring us the sales results we needed.  And they were right.

The 90’s was a golden age for The Body Shop – not just because of its excellent product range: to do so diminishes the retail experience.  Anywhere I travelled in Australia, taxi drivers would tell me how wonderful the service was at The Body Shop once they knew where I worked.  It was widely known FOR ITS SERVICE.  The experience.

What would today’s taxi or uber drivers say about the retail experience at your stores?  Would they even know who you were?  (Don’t blame marketing if they don’t).

For a while now, I’ve been reading articles written by so called retail experts talking about the high costs of rent and labour as the primary culprits for the demise of some of this country’s former giants of the industry.  There’s little to no discussion on service, product or experience.  It’s almost as if retail has forgotten itself.

The reality is rents are ridiculous.  And labour is high relative to the price of some goods and services.  It’s true.  So if this is true across the industry, why are there so many high profile retailers falling?  Hint: it’s not because customers are just going online.

Customers have more choice than ever before about where they shop, when they shop, how they shop and what they want from the experience.  Retail has trained customers to only buy during sale so we’re perennially on sale.  We’ve taught customers to buy on price.  And now we believe it.

We must take responsibility for what we CAN do, rather than just complain about what everyone in retail is facing.

Retail will be saved by how we make our customers feel while they’re in our stores.

Do our customers feel welcome?  Do we make them feel like they belong and that we’re glad they came in?  How well are we ENABLING our people to connect and provide real service?

 

It’s time.  Recessions sort the wheat from the chaff.  Which will you be?

 

 

View our other posts

Making the shift from Knowing, Doing to Being

I’m not interested in what you know, how long you’ve known it for or even how much you know.  I am happy that you know it.    Experience shows me though that it’s not knowledge that changes things, it’s the application of that knowledge.  We can know a lot of...

Choose Enthusiasm

Joy!….What is it good for….absolutely everything!  Say it again!   Customer service people, sales people, leaders of people….those of us who work with others to achieve an outcome understands the power of enthusiasm.  Of bringing joy to a situation.  It’s...

Are you successful in spite of yourself?

Success.  Achievement.  Getting results.   In sales and in sales leadership, there’s a measure of success: improvement in sales, improvement in margin, increase in average transaction value, reduction in sales cycles…So when targets across these measures are...

2021 Starts Now

Victorian sales teams: if you’re waiting for the end of lockdown until you can get back out there in person to see your prospects and customers, stop waiting!  The time was 2 months ago.  Act now.   I say this because it’s like we’ve been wading through treacle...

Unexpected lessons from COVID

One of the things I drive and encourage in my client work is a practice of review and reflection.    It encourages and promotes a greater level of self awareness, learnings to take forward into future situations and link new concepts to existing knowledge.  It...

Why Connection means more now than ever

A big part of my business is facilitating workshops with sales teams and their leaders….these days, all of these are on Zoom.    One of the things that initially worried me was how well I’d be able to connect with the participants as I’m not able to physically...

Hibernation

I’m a Victorian.   Just as we faced the end of stage 4 of lockdown there’s no real end in sight…we’re all just hoping we can have a “normal” Christmas.   Now I know it can seem that the weeks are kind of flying by on one hand, but I think it’s because one...

Output over Optics

Remote workforces are here to stay.    While in many ways we’ve never been so “unseen” the essence of the value we bring to others has never been more exposed than it is right now.  Poor sales approaches, poor leaders, poor company values, poor work practices….ta...

From What if to Even if – A practice of positive action

Things are tough right now.   Regardless of where you live, the impact of the decision for Victoria to effectively close up shop will be felt by us all.  It’s just a matter of degrees.  Victorians will of course feel it more acutely. It is human to be despondent...

WIIFT?

No it’s not a typo.    We’re so used to seeing WIIFM that it makes sense that over time perhaps we’ve taken that on at an extreme level.  In business, it can mean transactional relationships that only exist to get something from someone else, and in society,...