Things and Feelings: Retail Innovation

The traditional model of brick and mortar is taking a beating from well-executed e-commerce.

This comes as no surprise. You saw it coming. Probably even lost sleep about its eventual arrival. Well, here it is. So stop complaining and get used to it.

The internet is (at least partially) responsible for a decrease in sales and for the lack of customers through the door. Still, you ought to be thankful for it.

Why? Because it’s presence forces you to truly scrutinize what’s special about your businesses.

And when you know what’s special, you can capitalize on it.

E-commerce makes customers feel different. And humans are always seeking a new feeling more than a new thing (even if it’s this thing that elicits a feeling).

Undoubtedly, pricing, convenience, and endless options add to the draw of the internet, but such things are not the underlying force compelling your loyal customers to stray.

Feeling is the force.

E-commerce is not unlike any other sort of novel innovation. It’s more attractive than you right now, but it won’t be long before it’s just another face in the crowd.

Right now, rather than worry about how online retailers are snatching up your customers, you should be rewriting and refining your overall in-store experience.

You need to red ink the experience like a Hemingway draft. Slash and burn.

There was a time when your story relied mostly on good customer service.These days that’s probably not enough.

Your staff can only smile so much. And smiling alone doesn’t sell stuff.

First thing you need to do is realign yourself with the baseline vision. And maybe it’s different than before? Like maybe you carry half as many shoe brands, or drop all but one of your apparel lines, or partner only with vendors/causes whose values resonate with yours?

The best moves are fueled by that fire burning hot in your belly. Passion should lead your strategy.

Second, spend as much money as possible on employees (and as little as possible on everything else). Show that being a salesperson isn’t the bottom rung of your structural ladder. Prove, with living wage dollars, that working the floor is a lucrative career. Not a stepping stone between “real jobs.”

And finally, commit to high level professional development. Take action to harvest an environment where folks show up ready to rock-and-freaking-roll. Ready to wow customers. But most of all, ready to sell the heck out of your entire store.

Gone are the days when your environment can absorb so-so staffers or people who aren’t great communicators.

The modern goal is a highly talented team of professionals in which each contributes to the unique, specialized, and harmonious atmosphere of your store.

Do this, and you’ll be the one with a thing to offer a new feeling.


Tom Griffen is a highly sought after presenter and educator whose message and impactuntitled-596 transcends industries. He’ll help you (and your team) alter your personal and business narrative in a way that adds joy, satisfaction, and overall success to your life. Contact him to make the change you’re ready to make.

Coming soonNo Plan B, Tom’s book on altering the story you’ve been telling your customers for years.

Also…More to come on Tom’s 2018 storytelling walk across the USA!

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