Think Retail

Jill Lajdziak thinks this recession is her best-ever moment to innovate. Not coincidentally she also thinks retail is a critical point-of-difference for her born-again brand, Saturn (link).

For Saturn, retail is the outlandish idea that buying a car should actually be a pleasant experience — before, during and after the sale. Jill is not the only one who is thinking “different” about retail.

Microsoft is creating stores that may not sell anything, but will help customers experience its software. Shiseido is training 5,000 “beauty counselors” to pamper its customers with personal service, and sell more products as a result.

Nespresso is Nestlé’s fastest growing brand in part because it controls its own retail experience through 175 of its own boutique stores, including its flagship on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
P.C. Richard, an east coast electronics retailer, is setting up shop in a rundown neighborhood along the New Jersey turnpike as part of a strategic plan to improve customer service and drive its next round of growth.

GameStop, a purveyor of used videogames, is growing not only because it offers great value, but also because it employs enthusiasts who speak its customers’ language.

So, while most of the retail world responds to economic crisis by laying off workers and slashing prices, a few enterprising souls see something quite different indeed.

They see retail as the future of marketing itself, a future in which it’s the experience that matters most, and faith that the cash register rings when we treat our customers right.TM