From The Co-Founders


Tips, Tactics & Strategic Insights and Commentary
from The ROI Co-Founders, Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists LLC; Retail Turnaround Experts

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Have Retailers Created a Monster?

The season of ghosts and goblins and things that go bump in the night is upon us. While Halloween comes and goes, there may be another very unhappy monster haunting retailers this Holiday season. And it is spooky!

What is this monster? It is an unintended consequence of the good faith efforts of many retailers to provide "excellent customer service." Customer expectations have been raised to heights that may not be fulfilled this year. A grim reality is setting in. 

We can't help but wonder: have retailers spoiled the customers? 

Customers not only expect – but some feel entitled to – wide selection, significant discounts, unique assortments, all kinds of special perks, easy no-questions-asked returns, immediate delivery (free of course), and always service with a smile. And all at a special low price. 

  • This year, some retailers are simply not able to meet their own high standards, for reasons that are simply outside of their control: staffing issues, supply chain challenges, fewer suppliers, inflation, higher costs, new technology and its associated glitches, and others. 
  • Meanwhile, some customers just don't get it! They blame the retailers – or their computer screens – for not being able to meet their heightened expectations. And some even take to social media to share and amplify their displeasure.

Over time, well-intended retailers have raised the expectations of shoppers worldwide. And for many years, those expectations have been met or exceeded. 

However, this year those expectations may be haunting retailers. We've created a monster that feels entitled. One with a loud voice, and a lot of clout. 

The challenge: just don't take it personally. And remember, this monster very likely has a short memory. 

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