Kill the Barriers…
…and be open to new ideas.
Look at what innovators do well, that creates changes for them to grow and capture market share. It is far more productive than blaming them for grabbing business.
Trends happen because someone, or some entity, changed something and it became widely accepted. E-commerce retailers, since inception, have had a major obstacle to overcome. That was to create a convenient experience that could equal or surpass that of brick and mortar. Ask five of your customers why they shop on Amazon, or on one of the apparel rental company sites, and you will get great feedback on why they shop online.
The answer is NOT for you to compete online. The challenge - and therefore the opportunity - is for brick and mortar retailers to focus on convenience for their customers by competing and being as innovative as e-commerce retailers.
What e-commerce has done is take down 100% of the barriers that would make shopping with them inconvenient. Convenience also means removing all the risk and fears customers have about shopping with you. And what is interesting is that they have redefined convenience with speed.
They are solving the challenge of convenience and are innovating regularly to find new ways to raise the bar and break down the barriers.
Barriers include the need to address:
Outdated return policies
Opening access to you and your people
Training all your people on a consistent message so they can say “yes” and not “no”
Empowering your people with the authority to solve customer issues and problems on the spot
Breaking down barriers also includes more speed:
Speed in getting alterations back to customers
Speed in transactions
Speed in getting new goods on the floor
Speed in relieving your inventory of underperforming stock and replacing it with product that sells
These are just a few examples. There are more…and some require changes in your process and some problem solving.
At the last MAGIC party for our clients, one of our clients shared a big barrier that they busted:
They changed their return policy to take anything back, including anything their customers had ever purchased. They turned this into a marketing event that created a tremendous amount of business and good will. And it spiked the upward trajectory of the business, leading to the biggest and one of the most profitable times in their history. And that has continued on with new customers and happier customers and more profitable business.
Just like that client, instead of thinking about what you might lose, recognize what you might gain.
Consider the barriers you may have intentionally, or unintentionally, created.
It is time to banish those barriers and start competing in an arena where you can beat e-commerce.
Don’t let them win at a game that you should own.
Onwards and Upwards!
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