Do you practice effective empathy in your store? Maybe you should, according to an Expo West educational session given by Alyssa D’Arienzo Toro, senior partner and chief marketing officer, and Scott Madden, senior partner and director of strategic planning at Connelly Partners.
On its surface, shopping appears to be a perfunctory, repetitive routine that fills a need. Certain stores meet this expectation. If I am shopping at a mass merchandise store—inconvenient to get to, time-consuming to find the items I want, possible delays at the checkouts—I do not expect to enjoy myself. What do customers expect when they shop in your store?
In my early days in natural foods wholesaling, when we were making sales calls on small but rapidly growing independent natural products stores, we would talk about the concept of first giving the retailer warm fuzzies. Warm fuzzies are comforting words and phrases designed to put the buyer at ease. Innocent topics like the weather, sports or some lighthearted shared observation or experience of the moment.
We have arrived at time when customer service has taken to the Internet and is a pivotal tool in how business is done. Most stores, mom-and-pops included, have a Twitter or Facebook presence or have been featured on a Yelp or Google Plus review. But, what happens when that company receives a bad review from a customer? How does the company go about addressing it?
It’s getting harder to make your store stand out in the crowded natural organic marketplace. If you honestly assess your competition, you will likely see your customers can get most of the same products you offer elsewhere; perhaps even more selection in certain categories.