Friday, 1 April 2011

Never underestimate floor play

How good is your floor play?

There are so many retailers wasting their money and resources on glossy marketing simply because the in-store experience fails to match customer experiences. Rather like being attracted to a woman's 'dangerous curves' only to discover its all padding and fillers! (I can say this, I'm a woman). And, it seems, the problem is getting worse because of the proliferation of online channels raising shoppers’ expectations.

If the objective of the retailers glossy marketing is to seduce us into their stores, and clicking through their sites, then surely it makes sense to ensure the end experience is just as glossy? This is, after all, where our ultimate buying decisions are made. If your floor play is poor customers get left feeling frustrated and resentful - certainly not an experience they'd like to repeat!

The face-to-face experience remains the purest form of brand experience and yet is consistently overlooked in preference for the easier, sexier and instantly gratifying world of marketing and advertisments

Exclusive research among 3,000 consumers to Marketing Week reveals that it is crucial consumers’ actual shopping experience matches what a brand has promised in its communications. Half of those polled by agency Live & Breathe say they look forward to visiting a high street store because of the image they have of a brand, only to be disappointed by poor product availability when they arrive.

The 'red thread' theory must be adopted by businesses if they want to avoid consumer cynicism, destroyed confidence and mistrust - this involves an equal focus and investment in the store experience as in glossy brand communication. Consistency is critical in the battle for loyal customers and 'forgive-ability' - saying one thing and doing another may be tempting but the impact is fatal for the success and relevance of the retailer.

Women are far more likely to notice, and subsequently become irritated however, men are just as likely to vote with their wallets and look elsewhere for the same thing.

Some things to avoid (and so invest in putting right) include -

  • Tatty shop fits with poor lighting and grubby fitting rooms
  • Visual pollution that confuses and overwhelms
  • Uninterested and bored sales teams who know nothing about your 'stuff'
  • Long queues - however great the product having to wait means perception plummets
  • No-one to ask for assistance because they're all busy with tasks
Glossy marketing counts for little if you're unable to deliver where it counts - in reality disappointing customers in the store does more damage than if you'd just kept quiet and they didn't know you existed. Consumers measures of competency are rarely, if ever, the same as our own. Assume nothing. Be honest with yourself. Remain consistent. Invest where it counts most. Quit posing - start performing.