New Strategy: Listen.

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It’s no secret that retailers have been feeling the strain from the recession… In a time when you have to justify every dollar spent, more frivolous purchases (such as clothing and accessories) are being pushed to the bottom of the list.

In an effort to revivify retail spending, stores are “reinventing their business strategies” and creating new initiatives to encourage consumers to loosen the death grip on their wallets.

A recent New York Times article highlights several such strategies.  Retail giant Macy’s, for example, recently launched a program entitled “My Macy’s,” designed to increase customer satisfaction by instituting constant contact between local sales staff and the store’s buyers and planners.  With the mandatory weekly check-in, merchandisers will see a log of customer complaints, wishes, etc, segmented by individual location, and then make changes based directly on that feedback.  So not only will the store provide their customers with precisely what they’re requesting, they’ll save their budget by  trimming the fat of items that are going unsold.

The article also mentions a growing trend among retailers to enhance the shopping experience through better customer service.  “More middle-market chains are striving for Nordstrom-quality service to win customers.”  Hmmm…

Not to be a Negative Nan, but really?  When you boil it all down, aren’t they really saying that the hot new strategy for getting customers back into the dressing rooms is to listen to what they’re saying and give them what they want??  Shouldn’t we have been doing that all along?  It’s no secret that a loyal customer is someone who feels listened to, respected, appreciated.  I have no doubt the strategy will yield positive results–our business was built around the benefits of actively listening to women–but it’s too bad it took a recession to drive that point home. 

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