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

Support one another

It’s been tough enough over the last 20 months: we don’t need to make others bad and wrong in order to move forward.  It’s low level, distracting and unhelpful.   Instead, let’s see how we can unify behind one another to lift each other’s energy, emotion and...

The state of sales leadership

We’re witnessing and living through a time we’ve not experienced before.    A phase of constant uncertainty about the future – even with “re-opening pathways out of lockdown”.  In Victoria, we were told our 4 month lockdown in 2020 was to end all lockdowns...only...

Are you someone who just breathes in?

When I first heard someone say this, I loved it because it says it all!    Are you someone who simply sucks the air in, or are you someone who contributes? I’ve written a lot lately about the obvious difficulties we’re experiencing, selling remotely in a market...

I’m not a salesperson – why this isn’t helping

It’s getting tired actually.    I mean, how deluded are we when we’re responsible for driving any of the following and not join the dots to selling: Memberships Clients Revenue Sales Donations Corporate partners Retention Services Subscriptions Participants...

Is it time to readjust your sales force?

With changes to markets, and so much disruption going on, it is inevitable that companies are looking to the levers they can utilise to maximise revenue, and reduce costs so they can respond well now and place themselves in a stronger position going forward.  ...

The antidote to uncertainty

It’s everywhere…and for good reason.  Uncertainty.  What will the future be like?  How will it impact our business/our team/our customers/me?  What do I need to do to be ready for it?  What do I need to do today? When we don’t have certainty we create it for...

Sales Teams Need Strong Leaders

In workplaces, schools, businesses, politics, communities we look to leaders for strength, truth, hope and a clear path forward.    This couldn’t be more important for businesses everywhere than it is right now.  The right leadership will rally teams together in...

Getting Back Up

How many times can a person be struck down before they just can’t bring themselves to get back up?  We each have a breaking point.    There are superhumans who have a well of inner resourcefulness they draw upon that keeps them internally strong when all about...

Truth

  We know when we hear it.  We sure know when we don’t.  Conveying it without brutality however, is a skill worth cultivating. It’s not acceptable to simply vomit truth bombs on others without any regard for that person’s feelings, experiences or context, and...

Courage

Have you ever woken up at 2am in a sweat?  Filled with anxiety and pacing the floor?  Have you walked around in your pjs in the wee small hours, looking into the fridge, not really knowing why, but hoping the answer will jump out yet at the same time, knowing it...