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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What is "Value" for Your Customers?

What is the definition of "value" for customers? Pretty straightforward, actually.

  • Value = benefits received for the burdens endured.

Wait. What? "Benefits received?" "Burdens endured?"

Turns out, the only single answer to "What is value?" is, "It depends." 

Don't just roll your eyes. What constitutes value for your customers increasingly is a make-or-break part of retailing. 

Like beauty, value in retail operations is in the eye of the beholder. And each beholder's eye is a personal decision. 

Consider this: If you were to itemize the "benefits received" by your customers, you might list your merchandise selection.

  • But, is it better to have carefully edited selections, or extensive choices?
  • What about the qualitative factors of your merchandise, from where and how it is sourced, to labor practices of the manufacturers?
  • How long will it last? Do your customers want an enduring "classic", or do they prefer to replace items regularly?
  • That depends on your customers. And they can be fickle. 

How about the benefits of a "knowledgeable sales staff?"

  • In these days of online reviews, internet influencers, price comparisons, etc, is that even relevant to your shoppers? Again, depends on your customers. 
  • Your staff's knowledge, and the personal connection that offers, may be more important today than ever before.
  • But, their knowledge may have to be raised a notch; your customers likely already know the basics. 

Well then, what about those "burdens endured?" What might that include?

  • For some customers, the hours your store is open – or not open – could be an issue. Late evenings? Early mornings? Weekends?
  • Yes, once again, "it depends."
  • It depends not only your customers age, but their Lifestage: if they have young children, their time demands are different from empty nesters, or single 20-somethings.

Then, what about the speed of shopping for the customer (or lack of speed.)

  • How efficient are your processes?
  • What about your employees??

Of course, price can always viewed as a burden. But remember, true price hounds, who always chase the lowest price, are only about 20% of all shoppers. The other 80% of shoppers are looking for other measures of value.

  • There are many ways for you to overcome price objections. It all has to do with the total of the "value" the customer perceives. 

Clearly, you DO have benefits to provide to your customers. But before you choose which ones to feature – gift wrapping, evening hours, special events, valet parking, prices, merchandise selection – you need to have done a thoughtful analysis of who your customers really are today. 

The challenge of that may be greater now than in recent years.Demographics changing, psychographics changing, opinions changing, etcetera, etcetera. Just look at the recent election. 

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