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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Does your product focus blur the customer experience?

Okay, this posting is a little different, because it is based purely on personal observation and experience rather than an issue I found from some web site, trade publication or news organization.

My wife and I had stopped at a JC Penney store to pick-up a gift item we had ordered online. While walking to the catalog pick-up area, we passed a rack of nice sport coats that were just my size… so I tried one on. Then, wanting to see how it looked, I scanned the men’s department for a simple mirror.

There weren’t any.

Really? In the area of the store that sells sport coats, suits, tuxedos, pants, shirts and ties... no mirror? Thus, I placed the coat back on the rack, and didn’t even pick-up the other two that I thought might be nice. So the opportunity to make a perfect add-on sale was lost. (I say “perfect” because a spontaneous purchase like this involves no additional-overhead for the retailer; they already had me in the store on another mission.)


Dear local clothing provider (and other small businesses),

Do you study these nuances to notice your competitive advantages? Companies so focused on the type or volume of the product they sell can easily overlook the other, more important part of the transaction: Their shoppers.

I really prefer buying clothes in-person, rather than online, for the simple reason that I can try-on an item to see what it will look like on me. (I don’t care what it looks like on the male model at the website or in a catalog.) But in this particular store, that advantage has been squandered… as the retailer had squashed so much inventory into the department that they did not leave space for even a single mirror outside of those in the dressing rooms down the hall (which nixes getting second opinion from my wife.)

How do you help people consider the product you sell? Has that that device or assistance been overlooked, in recent years, as you try to keep up with warehouse stores, big discounters, department stores or other competitors?

Mike Anderson

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