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
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
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
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.