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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bathrooms & The Retail Experience

Green Deport storefront NYCIn case it isn't obvious, my delight for the Bathroom Blogfest starting with the first one in 2006 has a lot to do with my passion for the customer experience, for marketing to women and to improving the retail experience for her.

Women, who make or influence the majority of purchase decisions, notice details. Those details communicate to her how well she can expect to be treated. Which means that how well a retailer or any establishment owner handles the bathroom experience says something to customers.

The opportunity is in managing those communications so they reinforce what your organization is all about. Right? In a positive way...

The long and the short of it is that bathrooms matter to the retail experience and that bathrooms represent opportunities, too.

These two posts help illustrate my point: from Stephanie Weaver, look at these two examples and how they reinforce a brand to visitors and from Linda Wright, this amazing facility facelift.

One of the latest marketing to women books - this one from Bridget Brennan titled Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World's Most Powerful Consumers - even includes several references to the importance of bathrooms - particularly clean ones - to women consumers.

The author's recommendations include sweat the details and ask for feedback.

Green Depot ceilingThat's right. Put your heart and soul into making sure details are taken care of and invite your customers to share their views on what you are doing.

As Andrea Learned often reminds us, and recently in this post about the revamping of the Blue Nile website:

"...the goal should be to serve the high expectations of your female customers transparently. Your core male customer, who has been there forever and is your biggest fan, will also notice and positively respond to those changes..."

If you address your women customers' higher expectations, you will also delight you men customers, too!Green Depot bathroom Talk about win-win all around!

To illustrate my point, I include here pictures from the Green Depot in Manhattan.

The store itself is filled with delightful details and products, and all reinforce the notion of environmental living and building. For example, there's the green filter that Green Depot applies to what it carries and the Green Depot icon system.

In anticipation of this year's Bathroom Blogfest, I was interested [and prepared with a camera] in how the bathroom would reinforce Green Depot.

Green Depot bathroom 2Other than not being painted green [the blue is very soothing!], I thought the bathroom was effective in reinforcing the Green Depot messages and communicating how seriously Green Depot took environmental stewardship.

Clean, sparse, yet hip.

Low water consumption toilet.

No paper towels. Instead an efficient, high air flow hand dryer.

Bathroom Blogfest 09
I also felt recharged by the cool blue colors and ready to go back to exploring and educating myself with the store and its products.

So, what about the messages you communicate? Are they the ones you care about communicating? Do all of the details within your store and especially your bathroom reinforce your messages and create the kind of retail experience that not only appeals to women consumers, but also forms the basis for fervent word-of-mouth referrals? I hope so!

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 09! And, don't forget about the retail experience Kaboom contest...

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