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

9 restorative ways to tackle the confidence crisis

Salespeople...heck, any one of us, loses our mojo every now and then.    It’s part of the human condition. While it can signify introspection which is important as we make meaning and hopefully build greater self-awareness it can also signal a more permanent...

Quantity or quality?

Once upon a time in a land far far away sales managers everywhere were perplexed by the dichotomy they faced: sales teams who were hitting targets by having high activity rates at the expense of poor customer experience or leaving opportunity on the table.  Their...

Have you reached your limit yet?

Many of us have.  There is so much going on right now, it feels like “The Quickening” with life taking on a roller coaster type quality and speed....without the good thrills though.    If the last 2 years wasn’t enough for us, the torrential rain and floods in...

Curiosity is king

When we think of being curious, it’s easy to link that with questions...discovery.  But did you know that curiosity also dissolves tension, and ensures that an already fraught situation is more easily neutralised?  As a relationship building tool – customers,...

Inner strength

This morning I heard someone say that extreme self-reliance is actually a trauma response that prevents us asking for help.  It’s linked to early life trauma that tells the sufferer that asking anyone else for anything is dangerous: emotionally, physically,...

Purpose led teams

When it comes to elevating sales performance, it’s understandable why organisations look to the most cost-efficient methods that will deliver the greatest bang for buck.     Most organisations opt for initiatives like: Identifying new customer groups that...

Make 2022 Your Year

Regardless of what happens “out there”, 2022 is in your hands.    Success or failure.  Lessons or a loop.  Growth or stagnation.  Joy or suffering. Hit or miss.  It’s the way we approach the year that will make all of the difference, because when we’re aligned to...

Embracing Change

There’s a meme going around social media about 2022...something about this year being like the boyfriend who lets you down but you keep taking back because they promise to change?   I admit I had a bit of a chuckle to myself, not only because I’ve been there, but...

Take Time to Recharge

Well it’s been quite the 2 years, hasn’t it?    For many Australians, they’re more than eager for a decent break....a time to recuperate mentally, emotionally, physically even spiritually.  The toll of lockdowns, constant disruption to routines, home schooling...

Be the light that others run to

My cousin said this in our weekly Zoom chat.  She was referring to a friend who was that for her.    When we’re in the midst of darkness, we need direction.  We need a light to run to, don’t we?   Light of the soul, of the spirit.   Are we opening...