Australian Retailers are frozen in time, what they need is Online support.

In a previous post I said that “Pricing alone will never lead to a long term strategic advantage, only service quality and inspiration can” – something similar to a quote today from CEO of Masters, the challenger hardware-retail brand from Woolworths.

Don Stallings commented: “more than half the people shopping for whitegoods at Masters hardware stores use smartphones to check competitors’ prices… to get those sales over the line in a traditional store, customer service and the personal touch had to be of the highest quality. [at] Masters [we have] spent as much on training staff to deliver customer service as on the rest of the business”

Meanwhile, across town at Myer, Bernie Brooks laments that “[the] customers’ propensity to purchase is not improving” so they are “pinning hopes on their midyear stocktake sale”

Sadly, I suspect a slash and burn approach will not be the answer long term, unless Myer fancy jumping onto JC Penny’s EveryDayLowPrices strategy? (The downside of which I blogged about earlier).

Myer + Myer One Loyalty club have the bones of a very defensible Retail strategy when Multichannel is fully embraced; where Lifetime Value, upsell and cross sell are key and are driven by what is already known about each customer segment, customer cohort or even, individual customer. But each retail touchpoint has to be aligned to the vision of “lifetime customer value is king”, something that may be easier to achieve when the business is built from the ground up with no technical or cultural legacy, sadly Mr Brooks doesn’t have that luxury.

“Discount heavily and I will love you right now, inspire me with insights and ideas and great service and I will love you for ever”

2 thoughts on “Australian Retailers are frozen in time, what they need is Online support.

  1. This is a great article and it mirrors some of my post on smartcompany in that most retailers do not know how to retail. They are good at putting stock on a floor and manipulating the price.

    In the face of the Internet where consumers can get what they want for a good price AND good service, retailers need to step up or rather return to when retail was a environment where great service was the standard.

    I bought a leather jacket over the Internet after giving 3 stores the chance to sell me one. Not one of them seemed to care about the sale so straight to the Internet I went and sent an email to a potential seller. It was 3am their end when they responded to my questions. It is clear that online seller will try and inject as much service they can I the absence of a face to face “advantage”. Guess who got my business. This is not an uncommon story. eBay sellers bend over backward to ensure they get a positive rating. I think bricks and mortar retailers need a rating system to help steer them towards providing service.

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