What’s your favorite store (and why)?

It’s the shopping season and that got me to thinking about what makes a store a favorite store. All other factors being relatively equal, why do you buy that blazer at Macy’s instead of Dillard’s, or at Saks instead of Nordstrom’s, or a TV at Best Buy instead of at Wal-Mart or Target, or your blue jeans at Marshall’s instead of TJ Maxx, or your groceries at Publix instead of Sweetbay?

There are very few stores that sell such unique products that you must buy them there, or do without. In most cases, products are commoditized, buyer power is high, and there are many substitutes available to the shopper. This suggests that while being the low price leader is still a marketing strategy, the power of that strategy is waning. Just like there will always be someone smarter, prettier, stronger, whatever, there will always be a store willing to sell me the something that I want, for less…

But that doesn’t mean I will buy there.

Competitive pricing gets you into the game. To score the sale, you need to get me into your store (or on your website).  So why should I choose your store?  Is it clean and well stocked? Do your sales people offer to call around if the size or color or model I want is gone? Is going to your store a positive experience? Do you stand behind what your sell? Is there something unique or special or attractive about your selection, displays, or programs? Do I get courteous service? Do you maintain adequate staffing and open registers? Do you offer a fair return policy? And what about your website? Is the search effective? Is the site well organized, attractive, and easy to navigate? Are the product illustrations clear and can I view all aspects? Is checkout streamlined?

I won’t drive to another store or order elsewhere just to save a few dollars, if shopping at your store or on your website is a great experience.

PS: If you want to know what your customers consider a great experience – what they value – or what may drive them away – just ask.

What’s your favorite store, and why?

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