Long Live The Shopper! Part 2

Nolan Burris, Visionistics Kmart sells a 1.7-ounce bottle of Escada cologne for $28. The same bottle is nearly $50 at Nordstrom. Why, then, did Kmart file for bankruptcy while Nordstrom had a record year? Service is part of it, but service isn’t enough. Nike Town is a huge, multi-level sensory overloa

By: Nolan Burris, Visionistics

Kmart sells a 1.7-ounce bottle of Escada cologne for $28. The same bottle is nearly $50 at Nordstrom. Why, then, did Kmart file for bankruptcy while Nordstrom had a record year? Service is part of it, but service isn’t enough.

Nike Town is a huge, multi-level sensory overload bonanza. Its prices are higher than most retailers selling the same things. Service? About the same as any discount mall. My local runner’s store is far more knowledgeable about Nike products. It isn’t price, and if service is only part of the equation, what’s the secret?

These retailers realize that every purchase is preceded by shopping. If shopping is enjoyable in itself, the shopper is more likely to become a buyer. They also set prices (think “fees”) assuming that a certain percentage of customers will simply shop and not buy.

Remember when bookstores used to object to reading in the store? The biggest surge in sales has been a direct result of changing the experience, adding comfy chairs, even espresso. Everyone could just read the books there. Some do. Most don’t.

Think about the experience in your agency. Is your office welcoming? Is it clean and tidy? Is the coffee hidden or conveniently placed for customers? Is the music selected to keep your staff upbeat or to soothe your customers? (Mozart has been proven to increase the sale of higher priced products and services.)

In my days as a travel agent, nothing made my eyes roll more than “wasting time” with a shopper. I now wish I had focused on improving my selling skills and created a memorable total experience.

A personal, professional and classy experience gives our shoppers (a.k.a. future customers) something that no Web site or supplier-direct experience can ever touch. It’s one more brick in the customer loyalty foundation. And service is the mortar that holds it all together.

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