This outside-the-box approach to retail marketing, which he called the marketing of retail, gave his store teams an overarching vision within which to operate and build their businesses.
It was a heady experience for the people involved, and they rose to their task enthusiastically. The store teams became extremely good at launching and testing retail concepts, some of which worked, some not. They weren’t afraid to innovate, try new things and see if they took hold. They got into and out of their “failures” quickly and put what they’d learned to work in the next venture.
Whoever puts up a store, hangs out a shingle or creates a web site to sell a product directly to consumers is in retail marketing, although only a tiny percentage of these businesses embrace the marketing of retail concept, which may be described more accurately as the marketing of retail experience.
So, let’s say you decide to start a new business. A piano store.
You can stock your store with whatever instruments you want: handmade performance pianos or mass produced pianos; pianos to learn on or decorate your home with; fancy pianos or plain pianos; vertical pianos or grand pianos, new or used, plus electronic pianos -- even acoustic pianos that play themselves. And while you have to purchase your goods from piano manufacturers (unless you also make pianos), you get to make your store look and feel however you want. You can “create” your own experience.
What will that feel like?
I have seen piano stores with such a cold, forbidding atmosphere that customers get a chill just walking in the place. I have seen warm and inviting piano stores that offer shoppers a pleasant experience and plenty of solid piano knowledge to help them make their purchase decisions. And no doubt there are piano stores so alive with any and every thing having to do with pianos and piano music that they’re a joy to visit and attract willing customers like the proverbial magnet.
You can apply the piano store analogy to most any business, whether big or small, product or service, B2C or B2B, OEM or aftermarket, online or brick-and-mortar – even a school. It doesn’t have to be “retail” in the storefront sense; it can be a professional practice, for example: a law firm or medical office. In every case, a core question to ask yourself about your business is this:
In addition to clearly presented products whose attributes compare favorably with your competitors’ products and are priced fairly, what kind of experience do you want your customers / clients / students to have?
Will people enjoy coming to your store? Will they pick up the phone and call your company because they know – from experience – that someone who cares will answer your service line instead of some machine or a person from overseas who “almost” but not quite gets your issue? Will they enjoy interacting with your staff to solve a problem? Will they make time when your sales rep knocks on their door? Will they tell other people about their positive experience and send new customers or clients or patients your way?
If so, regardless of what you sell, to whom you sell it and by whatever channel, I say congratulations!
You are a marketer of retail.
TakeAway: "Shop" your business' experience -- or ask someone else to do it. You may be surprised by what you find.
Content © by Brian Faulkner