Stores from Saks to Target are trying a groundbreaking new strategy to one-up online retailers: being nice to the people who spend their money there.Many consumers are “fed up” by how they’re treated by store employees, reports Sharon Edelson at Women’s Wear Daily.
Brick-and-mortar retailers are facing more competition than ever from online suppliers like Amazon: e-commerce sales increased 17 per cent in the first quarter of this year from 2011, according to ComScore.
“Service is even more important than it’s ever been. If I’m going to spend the time and effort of going to a store, the service had better be good,” Stephen Sadove, CEO of Saks, told WWD. Saks is reevaluating how long its employees should wait before asking “How can I help you?”
Meanwhile, Target is trying to reduce its register wait times to under one minute. And JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson is trying to make the consumer experience more like that of his Alma Mater, Apple.
Retailers also implied they’d be more lax with returns, including Nordstrom:
Consumer loyalty has gotten a big boost from the company’s generous return policy. “We’ve long known that more than anything else, the message of trust that comes from having a liberal approach to returns is a driver of our business,” Nordstrom said. “Are there some people that take advantage? There may be, but we’ll deal with those few outliers.”
Target takes a similarly flexible approach to its staff and service. “We empower all stores to make decisions on a guest-by-guest basis,” said Carrie Hughes, group director of stores at Target. “It’s whatever makes sense for that guest.”
Will providing consumers with what they should have all along help edge out online competition?
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.