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Monday, March 05, 2007

Stores That Floor!

What makes a Store That Truly Floors Consumers?

In my mind, the basics must be covered really well. And the basics I have in mind correlate with Raymond R. Burke's 10 Principles of Retail Shoppability.

Raymond R. Burke, Ph.D., teaches at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and researches what goes into making a successful retail experience. I first heard him speak on the subject at the 2005 Total Retail Experience [TREX] conference [which reminds me that the James Damian presentation was fascinating, too, and that I need to share that here...] when he was the featured keynote speaker on 12/8/2005 and discussed "Retail Shoppability: 10 Principles for Converting Shoppers into Buyers". I was in awe at how clear and universal his principles were and vowed to mention them at every opportunity [see Why Amazing Shopping Experiences Matter ].

The 10 Principles of Retail Shoppability consist of:

• Showing the Product.
• Providing Effective Navigational Aids.
• Simplifing Product Organization and Presentation [i.e., think Are There Too Many Choices?]
• Minimizing Clutter [or eliminating it!].
• Maximizing Product Affordance [i.e., communicate what value you offer].
• Showcasing New Items and New Ideas [yes, you are selling FASHION!].
• Making the Shopping Experience Convenient.
• Making the Shopping Experience Enjoyable.
• Speaking with Authority.
• Maintaining Flexibility.

Assuming the basics are covered, then consider tweaking those basics to make the retail experience stand out:

• Does it represent a total brand experience, starting before the store physically begins? And continuing on after the consumer leaves the store? Does every brand element consistently reinforce the message?
• Does the store environment appeal to and engage the emotions? [Remember that shopping is about seduction!]
• Does it create a sense of community [i.e., a Third Place]? Is it welcoming?
• What message does your product assortment send? Is it edited and does it represent the unique perspective of your store experience?
• How impeccable is your customer service? Does everyone in your environment focus passionately on the consumer?

If done well, the consumer will consider the retail experience well worth the premium!

And, finally, from Pamela Danziger's new book Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience, a fascinating "equation" for Shops that Pop! that definitely applies to a Store That Floors. Such a store should:

• Offer a high level of customer involvement and interaction.
• Excites consumer curiosity to explore and experience.
• Exudes contagious energy and excitement.
• Represents a fine synergy between all tangible and intangible elements [atmosphere, store design, merchandise…].
• Captures an authentic concept [have you noticed how authenticity is cropping up repeatedly? See Authenticity Goes Mainstream and the original post from Experience Manifesto for more authentic perspective.].
• Offers superior value at a reasonable cost.
Welcomes all with an inclusive [not exclusive] attitude.

Do you think I've missed anything? Let me know.

Given this recipe for Stores That Floor, I'm excited to share that I have just identified my first honoree! More on that shortly....

[Hat tip to Maria Palma at Customers Are Always for inspiring me with this concept!]

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Robyn McMaster, PhD said...

Hi, C.B., one of the best businesses I know rated as "The Best Company to Work For" and "Customer Satisfaction" is Wegman's. These milestones were ranked by Fortune Magazine. When you go into Wegman's it is an experience and not a trip to buy groceries! And things change all the time. They are never satisfied with the status quo. By the way, a lot of the floors in the store are marble.

CB Whittemore said...

Robyn, Wegman's is a great example! We wish one would open by us in NJ. Are the floors shiny marble or matte marble?

Maria Palma said...

Wow! Marble floors! I walked into a Bank of America the other day and their floors looked like they've been there since 1970!

When I open up my own shop one day, I may consider marble floors...

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