5 Steps to Becoming a Remarkable Retailer

We came across an article recently describing a presentation given by Seth Godin called 14 Trends that No Marketer Should Ignore. In it, Godin provided insights on the tremendous number of communication channels open to marketers today and advice on how to effectively employ them.

At the end of the session he opened the floor to questions – among them this one. “With all the channels – how do we get noticed?”

In response, Godin said “That’s a pretty selfish question. It’s not how do we get noticed. It’s how do we make a product or service that people choose to talk about because it helps their life/planet etc. If we make a remarkable product, we will be talked about in tons of different places” His point being; if marketers spent less time and money trying to get noticed and put more energy into building a remarkable product, they wouldn’t need to worry about garnering attention – they’d get plenty of it.

The truth is most retailers are indistinguishable. They’re just one more in a sea of many. Just one more forgettable shopping experience.

So, your challenge is not simply to be noticed. Your challenge is to be remarkable. If you’re remarkable attention is a fringe benefit. The question is how do you become remarkable. Here are 5 ideas:

  1. Don’t Commoditize Store Experience: If your product isn’t remarkable, make sure the way you sell it is. Sure,some products are commodities. That doesn’t mean the store experience needs to be a commodity too. Whole Foods Markets is a great example of a retailer that took a pretty mundane product category (groceries) and set it on fire by adding a great store design and super merchandising.
  2. Be Surprising: Come up with small surprises for your customers? Little unexpected but remarkable things. Think about the way Starbucks lets customers try samples of new drinks and deserts. Costly? No. Remarkable? Sure. How about the Nordstrom sales associate that brings your package out from the counter, thanks you and shakes your hand? Remarkable!
  3. Try to sell something: No joke. Sadly, consumers are used to being treated like an inconvenience by sales staff. Just get your people to try to sell something. They’ll be more present, more engaging and infinitely more remarkable.
  4. Challenge industry paradigms: Apple re-defined what a computer store looks like and consumers loved it. There’s an element of risk for sure but most remarkable things come with a little risk.
  5. Stand for something: In the book, It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For, authors Roy M. Spence, Jr. And Haley Rushing highlight the importance of defining your business’ purpose. For example, Sam Walton (Wal Mart) wanted to save people money so they could live better. BMW set out to build the ultimate driving machine. Southwest Airlines wanted to democratize the skies, enabling average people to enjoy air travel.

So what’s the big idea behind your business? Figure it out and then talk about it. It will energize your customers and your employees and make you remarkable.

So remember; remarkable gets you noticed, followed and talked about. Remarkable is an advantage. If you have a dollar left to spend, don’t spend it on being noticed. Spend it on being remarkable.

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