I have decided that it would be a good idea to start a professional blog so that I can simply state my opinion on things going on around me. This will be an evolving blog that focuses on a wide range of topics from business to family to becoming a better person. I greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions you may have as I understand that there are many different viewpoints on the topics that I cover.
For my first post, I would like to briefly discuss something that has been on my mind for some time now: training customers in the wrong ways. As a sales associate at a growing retail department store, Belk, I have encountered a major problem in the retail industry. Before I dive head first into this problem, I want to say that I am a huge fan of the Belk company. I feel that the company has sound ethics, values and policies that impact both its employees and its customers.
Like many companies, Belk is training its customers in a way that I see unfavorable. Its hard to say this when our store alone increased 2011 sales by $1 million dollars over the 2010 year, but it is a problem that should be addressed. Far too often I am asked, “Will this be on sale this weekend?” or I am told “I am interested in this [insert product here], but I will wait to buy it this weekend when there is a coupon out”. Retail department stores have trained their customers to wait.
I did not really realize this problem before I started working in the retail industry. Once I gained some interest in working in retail management, I started following some of the new industry trends and paying attention to some of the industry leaders (and the failing members of the industry also). Lots can be learned from a failing business, especially when they do something “extreme” in an attempt to save the company. One example of this that has been in the spotlight is J.C. Penney. J.C. Penny was founded by James Cash Penney “on the principle of treating customers the way he wanted to be treated himself: fair and square”. J.C. Penney is currently transforming their business operation in a way that most retailers say will not work. “Customers will discover straightfoward Fair and Square Pricing” with month-long promotions. “Month-long promotions”–what a concept. Will this concept keep customers from asking if products are going to go on sale the moment they leave the cash register? Will this increase sales for J.C. Penney? Will customers appreciate the consistency in pricing? All of these questions will be answered with time.
I applaud J.C. Penney for bringing in a new team of top executives (including Ron Johnson who oversaw Apple’s retail strategies) that are not afraid to implement a strategy that could change the industry. This is what the industry needs. It needs change. It needs to be fair to its customers by allowing them the opportunity to receive the same prices no matter what day of the week it is. Customers are not uniform; different people shop at different times during the week, not just on the weekends. It is the retail store’s job to give “fair and square” pricing when the customer deserves it.
For more information on the new strategy of J.C. Penney click here!
Thanks for reading!