One thing that I continue to hear is that the internet is killing stores all over the country. The biggest excuse I hear for the demise of brick and motar stores is that the internet is more convienent. You can sit at home and do all of your shopping online while eating cheetos on your couch. This maybe true as far as being able to sit on your couch and shop. Let me ask you a question, have you ever order something and the wrong item arrived? I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that question. Let me ask you one more question, what do you do when you get the wrong item? That’s right, you have to re-package the item, drive to the post office, unless you have Amazon prime, then wait another 2-7 days for your corrected item to return. Would’nt it just be easier to drive to the store pick up the item and go home? Why would you want to wait days before you get the item you purchased, are we that lazy? I do not believe that everyone who shops online is lazy by any means, but I do believe it is a way to make sure you do not have to deal with the grumpy person behind the counter or scavaging through the store to find what you are looking for. Did you know that Amazon, the king of online shopping has hundreds of brick and mortar locations? Did you also know that they established those stores after they became an online giant? Why would they do that, the money is in online shopping, it’s more convienent, it’s easier…right? Some of the the reasons previously stated may be true in some cases, like buying the charmin toliet paper you have used for the last decade, it hasn’t changed. Most companies like Macy’s, Sears, Carson Prairie Scott, and JcPenny have online shopping, just like Amazon. This begs the question, why are they still struggling? Multimillion dollar companies have given you the same convience as Amazon, but none the less they continue to falter.
People love to shop, there is no question about that, it is how they shop that makes the difference. If you continue to go to the same store and receive the same crappy experience, you won’t go back. If this continues with other businesses, you then turn to online shopping. That doesn’t mean you do it for convienence, you do it to avoid a bad experience. Companies that go above and beyond for their customers to create the perfect experience and atmosphere still have a great customer following. Nordstroms is a perfect example of how a business can be successful with minimal marketing, in comparison to other retail businesses, and not see a downturn due to the online shopping boom. Portillo’s is another company that even during the 2007-2009 economic downturn was still opening location after location. Costco is one of the largest retail giants and they are packed with people everyday, they even have online shopping, it’s mind blowing that the interenet hasn’t caused them to shut multiple locations. I think I have made my point. These companies that I have mentioned all have one thing in common that makes them successful, customer success. When was the last time you walked into a Nordstrom and had a bad experience?
Putting your customer first is the most important thing a company can do, customers keep your doors open. What tends to happen, is we don’t train or hire the right people to interact with our customers. The front of the house is just as important as the numbers you review everyday to see how your company is doing. If you have been on a downward slide don’t blame the internet, look at how your customers view your business and try to see what has changed or what you can change to be more customer centric.