“Why don’t they sell swim trunks in July? That’s when I need them. Seems like stores aren’t very focused on what their customers need!”
Now, I know all you folks out there in retail-land have your reasons for why this occurs. Seasons for the industry are not the same as the seasons for consumers. Inventory needs to be cleared out for next season’s merchandise. I am sure you can share more.
However, let’s look at this from a customer’s perspective. It took driving to 6 stores and over 50 miles (total) to find a pair of swim trunks that fit. This is due to the fact that most swim trunks are no longer in stock. If we had wanted to find a winter outfit, or something for back-to-school, we would have been set!
Putting Customers First
There needs to be some type of balance between the needs of the business and the needs of the customer. Sure, it is difficult when a whole industry is set up to operate on a certain schedule. However, our next generation is looking for a new, practical approach to business. They want to feel important, like they matter to companies. This will be key in building relationships with them.
We can build all the cool social media sites we want, connect with our customers on Facebook and MySpace, and even get them to spread our message virally. But if they come into our shops and retail spaces and we don’t have what they need, that creates shaky ground for any relationship already built.
Organizations need to stay in tune with what their customers need, want, and desire. One of the best ways to do this is with ongoing customer conversation. Keep in touch, remind them you are there, and meet their needs. These steps will help strengthen any shaky foundations that may have developed due to thinking more about ourselves than our customers.