Forward Thinking Design love this recent piece from The Retail Doctor:

Show me the LOVE ( from Inside Retailing

by The Retail Doctor on November 03, 2009

Go ahead, make yourself comfortable, kick off those shoes, relax, perhaps even slip into something a little more comfortable (no photos please) because we are now going to talk about love. That’s right that soft emotional feeling, or as Google defines it: a strong positive emotion of regard and affection.

Now let’s get even more intimate – (The rigid, disassociated “retail is only a numbers game” people will close down the article about now).

Let’s not get confused here. Retail, when all is said and done, is an affair of the heart, the art of connecting with customers at an emotional level and helping them feel good about themselves. Isn’t that what love is? An act of connecting and feeling good about ourselves and the object of our affection.

Starting to relax? Feeling soft and warm? Now tell me the last emotionally uplifting experience you had in a retail business? (That should bring you back to life).

You see, for some retail businesses the love is dead, emotionless businesses simply going through the motions & squeezing out the last drop of profit that they can.

A type of romancing the stone if you will, perpetuating mediocrity and sameness day in and day out to their suspecting public. You know this business has a pulse, it’s just hard to find.

* Now close your eyes- think closely about the last three times a customer came to you and said something like, I love those windows, I love the brand messaging, I love this product, I love the customer service, I love the in store experience?
* If you are the CEO – Close your eyes and think of the last three times somebody in the team told you how much they loved working for the company you lead?
* Now close your eyes and think of three words that describe the personality of your business, Irreverent? Fun? Exciting? Cheeky? Energetic? Inspirational? Engaging? Different? Evocative? Sexy?
* Or do the words predictable, consistent, low cost per square metre ratio, functional , perfectly suited to our target market, etc. come to mind?
* Now walk through any mall and by and large you see a lack of love, in fact in some cases the windows and shop experience look like castings from “Land of the Living Dead”. In some ways the vogue of ‘standardisation and consistency of delivery’ might have been the death knell of innovation and exciting our customer? Now we make sure that all windows, layout, fitout, look, staff greeting, and therefore experience is the same across the board.

The mantra of no surprises, consistent delivery and don’t get it wrong sounds suspiciously like any relationship in need of rejuvenation and one in which the love is missing.

What is the Doctor’s prescription for this malaise? Simple, bring back the love of retail and the passion. Work on what turns your customer onto your retail experience and your staff, designers, merchandisers, buyers etc to deliver it and love them for their contribution.

Imagine a business where innovation and customer comments of excitement and adulation from all the stakeholders were openly rewarded above wage to sales ratios, or sales PSM productivity,

It is great genuine customer excitement that builds a legendary status and the folklore of your business. Your customers won’t share stories of the profit you reported, they will however help grow the legend by loving what it is you do.

Think Nike, Apple, Vin Diesel and many other examples where love of the crusade, commitment to exciting the customer, innovative experience and product, and a chorus of voice amongst staff in unison who love their companies and are delivering this love to their customers.

As an aside, I listen with interest to businesses who want to build a customer loyalty program yet they have no love for what they do and their employees jump ship at a rate of knots. How can they possibly engage anyone into a customer engagement program? These businesses don’t really want loyal customers, they just want more money and the two are inversely related.

Imagine a business where short term profits were sacrificed to do something that the minority of retailers have actually consistently done over time and that is to genuinely love what they do.

To some degree LOVE in retail could be an acronym for:

L Lights, camera, action
O Object of our desire and affection
V Visual magic, vivacious,
E Experience, energy, excitement, enveloping, evolving,

‘Fit’ businesses understand that uniqueness, people and love are the engines that drive the retail bus.

Now you can connect with the Retail Doctor and respond to this diagnosis. Go to Contact [email protected] to discuss how to increase your multichannel sales and profitability to be truly “Fit For Business”.

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