As Australia welcomes Amazon and other international mega companies, Australian retailers are being scared into business plans and actions that will all but fail. Why? Read on.
In the last 10 years, Westfield Shopping Centres and other major shopping centre owners the world over have moved into experience shopping. Experience gifts have exploded thanks to Red Balloon, Groupon and other coupon companies. Consumers have been trained that a trip to a shopping centre is now an experience, it’s a day out, just ask any Bunnings customer. It’s now the hot place to take a date or your wife, not just a hardware store anymore.
Experience shopping is all about the emotion, it’s about the human body and how it reacts. It’s the smell of coffee, the fragrance wafting from the perfumery or chemist, it’s the massive food courts that make you salivate as you smell the food. These are all human stimulants, none of which you can receive from behind the keyboard buying online. It’s why retailing still holds the majority of GDP and why online businesses sell mainly digital, hard cover,
Sure there is a wave to more online buying. Coles and Woolies and almost every business is getting into the Click and Collect scenario but at the end of the day, human interaction, smell, vision and sensory will win over and this is where good retailers will make their coming fortunes.
Consumers want an “experience” when they buy. It could be buying a cake, buying a car, doing a deal. All these involve human interaction. Businesses who provide excellence in customer service, meet and greet, return telephone calls in prompt fashion, meet the client and find out their needs and personalise their offer will always win more business than a commodity business.
Buying online makes every item a commodity. Buying with human, face to face interaction creates a relationship that allows for flexibility, fallibility, excellence.
The key to being successful against an online player is to provide a level of customer service that shows you care about your customer and the experience they will receive from buying your product. It’s the birthday cake purchased with a smile and the extra topping and “have a great party” message from the staff behind the counter that sticks in your mind, not just the cake.
So if you want to win against an online competitor, provide a level of service to your customers that shows you care more about the sale, give them an emotional experience.