Thanks, Pass It On

Discussion
Nov 25, 2009

Commentary
by George Anderson

We’ve finally
reached the season where people make the time to take stock
of their lives and “count their blessings.” While we typically think
in personal terms for this time of thanksgiving, there are also quite
a few reasons for being grateful on the professional front.

Having
pulled back from the precipice of what many economists feared would
be a total economic collapse, retailers find themselves moving into
this holiday time with a cautious sense of optimism that has been
more or less absent for the last couple of years.

All that
being said, we thought now would be an appropriate time to look at
the positives in retailing today and invite recommendations on how
the industry and all who are vested in its success could look forward
to better holidays in the years to come.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Discussion
Questions: What reasons are there for retailers to be thankful moving
into this holiday season? What innovations or other positives, either
big or small, can they build on going into 2010 for an even better
holiday next year?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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14 Comments on "Thanks, Pass It On"


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Charlie Moro
Guest
Charlie Moro
11 years 5 months ago

After the turbulent year that most companies have gone through, now may be a good time to acknowledge the stress of their associates. They as well as management/owners worried about long-term survival. Those associates that weathered possibility of lower or no raises, no bonuses and layoffs of friends…now may be the time to acknowledge the stress and make them feel valuable to the organization as key to its survival, and come out of this with a stronger, more focused workforce that can make major strides in 2010 and beyond.

Kevin Graff
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

A few things all retailers should be thankful for:

1. Still being in business.
2. Having the privilege and responsibility for developing people–their staff–every single day. Creating a work experience where individuals succeed and learn skills to take beyond work is one of the great things a retailer can do.
3. Being lucky enough to have customers who like what they do and are prepared to spend their hard earned money with them.
4. Gift cards (God’s gift to retailers!)
5. That 2009 is nearly over with!

Marge Laney
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

Retailers should be thankful for each and every customer that walks into their stores and treat them with the care and respect they deserve. We christened 2009 “The Year of the Existing Customer,” but how many retailers did much more than talk about improving the in-store experience? Most, unfortunately, succumbed to cost cuts that made “self-service” the customer service of 2009.

A few did step up to the challenge and took steps to manage the in-store experience with real BPM, and measure the success of those processes with useful BI. They are starting to reap the benefits of their investment with improved margins and more loyal customers.

Managing the in-store business process in such a way that gives each customer a consistently excellent experience should be every retailer’s goal. Let’s make the 10s “The Decade of the Existing Customer.” Happy Thanksgiving!

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
11 years 5 months ago

First, your doors are still open! This was a year for the smart ones to take time to assess their entire company from top to bottom. To trim the fat and become more efficient and effective. This year was a “readiness” year and a “learning” year. Gone is the “old way of retailing.” Technology and generational changes are changing the way we market, merchandise, and distribute. If you are not changing, you will become extinct. If you are not looking at the next wave of efficiency tools–software and hardware–you will not be as productive and this will impact retailers’ bottom lines. Be thankful for the A players; the cream of the crop in your company that have remained and are passionate about the future.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

Be thankful for the positive momentum that has come as an eleventh hour gift in 2009; for renewed determination on the consumer, retailer, and supplier side; for technology and gadgets that consumers think are indispensable; for retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart that are stepping out, making early-stage investments and working out the bugs so that you won’t have to (you can just follow along)!

David Livingston
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

A good economy or bad economy…it doesn’t matter; there are always new opportunities to do business. We can’t fail. I was at the local food pantry yesterday and realized I would never starve.

Phil Rubin
Guest
11 years 5 months ago

Aside from the obvious–survival–retailers and other businesses should be thankful for their:

1. Employees, the most important asset for smart merchants, particularly those where employees meet customers directly.
2. Customers: pretty obvious.
3. Partners and suppliers (“vendors” though I prefer the other terms).
4. Government and military, as there are many good things our government does in spite of partisan politics. If you have a huge problem with this, I’d suggest you consider moving or become politically active.
5. Competitors, who should motivate you to make your offering better!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
11 years 5 months ago

Ironically, I think we’re sitting at the edge of what could be one of the most exciting and dynamic periods in the history of retail.

Think about it….

Changing demographics and economics have shaken the foundations of big-box retailers, which will open the door for smaller, more nimble retail brands.

Social media has torn down the barriers to entry for niche players and small independents, and allowed them to garner share of voice that was unimaginable only a few years ago.

The consumer has embarked on a period of thoughtful aspiration where they will hold retailers to a higher standard for service, quality and social responsibility. The advent of web 2.0 is further fueling this sense of consumer empowerment.

And cross-channel and mobile applications will yield customer experiences, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

This is an exciting time to be in retail and I suppose we can all be thankful for that!

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 5 months ago

It’s not all bad news. In fact, I would say this is a very exciting time in our industry. Sometimes it’s difficult to let go of outdated beliefs and processes. Our customer and industry is changing on a seismic level and the ones who will survive and flourish are the ones that can adapt to the shifting landscape. Remember: The only constant in retail is change.

John Crossman
Guest
John Crossman
11 years 5 months ago

It is a great time to be thankful for opportunities. This market is separating out the retailers and the best ones are gaining market share. While the market is certainly challenging, it benefits those that have remained focused on customer service and strong core values. Also, we need to be thankful for the lessons learned. Happy Thanksgiving!

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
11 years 5 months ago

We should be thankful for the lessons learned in the past year. We have learned so much about what is truly important to reach out to our valued customers, what it takes to keep them coming back–and we are still in business to apply these insights.

Signs of positive change are the focus on the store experience for the shopper and a new understanding of value for all of us. As many have said, change is constant, and we are blessed to have associates, clients and community that support retailers every day as we find better solutions for challenging times. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tim Henderson
Guest
Tim Henderson
11 years 5 months ago

Merchants should be thankful that consumers are still shopping and buying. Throughout the recession, consumers have indeed kept buying, but thanks to the recession they’re more savvy, frugal shoppers with a strong bent toward practical purchases.

We know consumers are expected to be in this savings mindset for years to come and I think it’s actually an opportunity. Rather than trying to yet again reinvent retail, I think it’s time to get back to basics, i.e., the fundamentals of retailing, like good old fashioned customer service and selling product by being creative in merchandising and marketing to consumers (and there’s plenty room for technology). As merchants count down to 2010, I’m hoping they take a look backward to find their way forward.

Gary Edwards, PhD
Guest
Gary Edwards, PhD
11 years 5 months ago
1 – Customers. Marge Laney perhaps says it best, christening 2009 “The Year of the Existing Customer.” Every retailer should be thankful for every customer they have, as without customers, they wouldn’t be in business. 2 – Happy employees.Going hand-in-hand with customers, having happy employees is certainly something in which to be thankful. Without passionate individuals who truly enjoy their work, there’s no question that your customer service is going to suffer. As your employees have the day-to-day interactions with customers, they’re the ones primarily responsible for whether or not your customer is satisfied with their experience at your store. 3 – Technology. There are more ways for retailers to participate in the online and tech space than ever before. And it’s not only increasing their brand exposure, but also helping them connect with customers and putting a face to the business, in many instances. From Facebook Fan Pages and apps that allow customers to recommend a brand, to in-store mobile text surveys and customer deals advertised via Twitter & mobile alerts, technology is changing… Read more »
Mark Johnson
Guest
Mark Johnson
11 years 5 months ago

I agree with Phil; this is a very exciting time. Retailers (small, medium and large) have so many opportunities in front of them to engage, listen to and create loyalty brand advocates.

Those who do not will create openings for those who are more nimble, focused and eager to listen to your customer.

With all the focus on social and mobile media, the true benefit is to open up an effective DIALOGUE with your customers, your suppliers, your brand participants in a way that has never happened before. The question is, how many will actually do this?

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