Kate Newlin’s book Shopportunity!: How to Be a Retail Revolutionary is a slap in the face of big box and impersonal retail stores. The cover boldly proclaims the premise of the book: “Why discounts have destroyed the thrill of shopping.”
If you long for the days of the small grocer or local hardware store, this book’s tales will resonate with you. The dilemma of the current retail market is that people have given up so much in service and product quality just to save a few dollars.
Shopportunity outlines twenty-one steps that you, as the shopper, can do to better the retail situation. While they are directed at the buyer, the seller (your business) should take note and treat your customers the way they deserve. Some of my favorite points included:
- Let Brands Transform You – Brands display an image or status, embrace it and show the world what you want to be.
- Kick Your Addiction to Price – “No more discussions of price… Do you really want that jar of pickles enough to shop at a place that won’t give health care or a living wage to its workers?”
- Don’t compromise on the everyday – “Buy the best in class of every single thing you buy. This doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive: It means the best… Buy better and you’ll buy less is my guess, and you’ll enjoy each purchase more.”
- Shop where the staff knows more than you – “if they can’t or won’t help you because they simply don’t know anything about what they’re selling, move on.”
- Follow the Passion – “Shop where the retailer’s passion meets your own.”
- Seek the Ethic – “Go behind the scrim and figure out what these firms stand for and shop the ones with which you agree.”
- Calculate Value Beyond Price – “Who is going to be there for you when you need them — and what is that worth?”
- Invest in Relationships, Not Cheap Transactions – “Probe the salesperson about their follow-up to the sale — and if you don’t like what you hear, move on.”
- Reward the Personal – “When you find a salesperson who ‘gets you,’ … stick with that person. Go back to them.”
- Make the Seller Pay for Dissing You – “Make sure you follow up every time that you receive unsatisfactory service.”
If all consumers followed Newlin’s guidelines, big box retailing as we know it would fail. Unfortunately, this process would require that the majority of people actually change their habits in mass which doesn’t seem realistic. Nevertheless, if customers did follow these principles when shopping, their money will speak for itself.
If you as a business or retailer can tailor your company’s service to match these characteristics of a consciencious shopper, you’ll gain even more business and profits. Even if customers aren’t looking for these specifics, they’ll notice the positive difference in doing business with you. That difference will help close the sale and drive repeat business.
Check it out at the library – Since I’m not a big shopper I did find myself skimming through some of this book for the little golden nuggets of wisdom. Nevertheless, the points Newlin makes are powerful and deserve your attention when dealing with customers.
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