From the Editor: Do You Think of Yourself as a Retailer or Customer?
I just returned home after three days in Atlanta, where I was honored to speak with retailers in the interior flooring business at the national COVERINGS show. Over the years, I have been to countless trade shows and countless conferences, but I can honestly say this was unlike any other. Everything seemed so grand and so beautiful – from the welcoming of the show attendees to the actual products being displayed. This isn’t to say other shows aren’t grand and beautiful, but when you are surrounded by thousands of vendors selling gorgeous marble and other exquisite stones, it’s nearly impossible not to feel as if you are in a “grand” environment. This said, I am a big believer that no matter what you are selling or no matter how expensive – or cheap – you are selling something for, you have to consider first WHO you are selling to.
What I’m really trying to say is that it’s not about you or your product or even your store… it’s about the customer. Always.
Now hear me out.
I understand and respect that store owners spend a great deal of time investing their hearts and souls into their businesses. So in theory, their stores truly are about them. BUT considering their stores can’t stay alive and open without customers, then it seems to make sense that customers are really who matter most in this equation. So I’m curious… do you think of yourself first as a retailer, or first as a customer?
I asked this very same question to the attendees of the presentation I gave in Atlanta the other day, and 100% considered themselves retailers first, then customers second.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, by the way. It’s something to be proud of, actually! But what I told my audience and what I want to tell you is very simple… remember to stand in your customers shoes every now and again.
If they are standing at your cash-wrap, what are they looking at? Literally… what are they looking at? Stand where they stand in your store and check it out. I hope it’s not a cluttered POS area with your half eaten lunch. They are standing in a spot that gives you chances to sell more! Hopefully they see it this way, at least. Do they?
If your customers walk into your store for the first time, what do you think they see? You instinctively move throughout your store because you know it well, however imagine if you walked into it for the first time ever? What would jump out at you first? Second? Not at all?
Just like so many things in life, we really don’t know what it’s like to stand in someone else’s shoes. But as a store owner, you should imagine standing in everyone’s shoes. Understanding customers in your store offers a powerful view of how your business is doing and opportunities for it to do better.
On that note, I plan to spend some time this weekend visiting stores that I have never been to. I look forward to experiencing new places and meeting new faces – and as I always do, I will put myself in many folks shoes just to try and see a few different perspectives.
Here’s to a wonderful weekend of happy sales and retail!
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle
Founder & Editorial Director