Sunday 16 April 2017

Why Customers Need Us

We often talk about modern retailing making it easier for customers, but is it? I am old enough to remember retailing without digital technology. Things were so much easier.

Making a purchase usually involved a limited amount of forethought before heading off to that amazing retail innovation, a market or shopping centre. I might go to a suburban shopping centre that seemed to have everything or head into the CBD which usually included a trip to the Queen Vic Market.

Grouping retailers together was a great innovation because all I had to do was have a rough idea of what I wanted and then make the best choice from what was available. No matter what happened, I invariably made a purchase by the end of the day.

Now my shopping is much more complex. There is a lot more available. I can pre-shop online from a bewildering range of choices. Yes, some things I can purchase from my lounge seat, and that is great, but making a decision is so much harder because there are so many choices. 

Things that I want to touch or try on will necessitate a trip to a retail outlet. But even then I have in the back of my mind that the item on sale across the other side of the country, or in a completely different country, may be more suitable. That product online is cheaper and looks as good, but is it, and should I go for what I can touch and feel?

There are too many choices and indecision is my enemy. It is also the retailers enemy. Market traders who understand and adjust to that customer dilemma are most likely to succeed. When a customer visits our stall, that is our big chance to help with their decision. It is an opportunity we must grasp with both hands and we need to know as much about what our competitors are offering as our informed customers do.