Chief Shopper: the most discerning customer

Chief Shopper:  the most discerning customer of all
Previously I discussed the concept of the “Retail Theatre” and how in-store experience is now more important than ever before in the battle taking place on the High Street (and battle it can most definitely be likened to). Retailers are having to find new ways by which to engage us and not only at a superficial level but to gain our hearts and minds – our trust and emotional engagement so we – the ‘Chief Shopper’ keep returning again and again.
And what is the single most powerful way to achieve this customer loyalty? How can retailers ensure that we, in effect endorse their brand? More and more, in these austere times, shoppers are making a conscious decision of what is the best way to spend their hard earned income. Which retailers deserve their share of the wallet? What are the deciding factors in where we spend our money?
Great product and great availability are of course essential; gaps on the shelves are a sure way to put us off returning to that particular store. But more and more we are expecting, no demanding, a great in-store experience. And what single factor alone drives a great in-store experience? Using the theatre analogy, it is of course the cast; the store colleagues who are the front line in engaging with the consumer.
We are all ‘Chief Shopper’ this is what makes retail such a fascinating and exciting subject. If asked, I’m sure we could all name plenty of bad in-store experiences and I’m sure some great ones but the former tend to stick more and get repeated more often. The surly youth at the checkout who didn’t make eye contact and mumbled a few incoherent syllables; the unhelpful assistant pointing to the distant corner of the store when asked where a certain product might be found. We tolerate this type of behaviour less and less as the pressure grows to spend our money wisely and more importantly to spend it with retailers who we believe deserve our custom.
My local Waitrose is what I would call a great store. I shop there on a frequent basis .Equally I shop at several other supermarkets when I need to but what makes the Waitrose experience that much more….well, pleasant? The staff are polite, helpful, cheerful – that doesn’t happen by chance – they are engaged, they give the impression that they want to be there. What goes on back of house is irrelevant but when they are front of house – on stage if you will – they are in front of their audience – us Chief Shopper, the most discerning of all.
Employee engagement as a means to achieve great customer engagement and loyalty through great in-store experience is the new battleground in the fight to win a share of our wallets.
As Tom Peters said: “If you want your customers to come first, you have to put your people more first”.

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