Are You Focused on the Transaction or the Experience (part 1)

With the economic downturn taking a toll on retailers one has to wonder what is going the be the differentiating factor for the survivors.  With people spending less across all retail channels, I heard a pundit on a financial network say last week that retailers were going to focus on taking market share away from competitors.  That sound good on paper but how exactly does one do that.

The vast majority of retailers will be going for the wallet with margin-crushing discounts and deals.  While this may be good for customers (clearly a buyer’s market), it will not be sustainable unless you are a retailer with deep pockets and those are few and far between.  The other approach would be for a retailer to leverage their experiential benefits.  Unfortunately, this approach is not something you can just whip up in time for the holidays.  If you have not been growing your customer base through great experiences, you are not going to be able to take this approach this time around.  That said, you may want to consider making changes now.

In retail, the experience your customers receive is a reflection of your organization’s culture.  An open culture that encourages, rewards and acts upon bottom-up and outside-in feedback is one that fosters engagement at all levels.  Engagement with the organization by your customer-facing people leads to engagement with the customer and that lays the groundwork for delivering great experiences.

I don’t mean to over simplify the idea of an open culture.  If your organization isn’t structured this way, you can simply mandate it.  Getting there requires real leadership, considerable effort and a willingness and ability to dedicate resources to the goal.

As the title suggests, I’m planning a series of posts on this topic.  In my next post, I’ll offer some suggestions on how to build an Open Culture and how to leverage it once you get there.

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2 comments so far

  1. [...] Legendary customer experience marketer and wanna-be rock star Doug Meacham has begun his own series on the Transaction vs. the Customer Experience (in retail). Here’s the first entry. [...]

  2. Olivier Blanchard on

    “The experience your customers receive is a reflection of your organization’s culture. An open culture that encourages, rewards and acts upon bottom-up and outside-in feedback is one that fosters engagement at all levels. Engagement with the organization by your customer-facing people leads to engagement with the customer and that lays the groundwork for delivering great experiences.”

    Pow! Nailed it. Interestingly, organizations that manage to do this also tend to have excellent employee retention rates. Their people LOVE working there. It becomes part of their identity.

    Looking forward to more posts. :)


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