Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Retail Therapy

My part-time job was a good idea. Working at one of my favorite kitchen equipment retailers has really given me a new perspective. As a marketer, I see just how scripted the customer experience is. I also see how the plan comes up short in retail -- everything rests with the employees. Even if a store isn't "set" properly, good employees can make up the difference. This store has a mix of stellar, good and not so good employees. I can see why the retailer has a pretentious reputation ... a small minority of the associates are just horrid. Some of it's intentional, some of it not. I can tell by the way they deal with me. One in particular, on every occasion, has assumed I don't know anything about cooking, "It's a French whisk ..." "It's a dulce de leche, or milk based ..." I don't know which is worse, people who are intentionally asses or people who assume you're ignorant. I'm thankful that I've gotten to interact with the consumer. I realized that this retailer's customers can be segmented. The unifying thread among each is that the retailer is the expectation of expertise. I have some marketing ideas to further that, which was the second goal of this project. Now is not the time to share them because everyone is stressed because of full holiday mode. I plan on talking with a couple of the managers after the holiday season. I also need for them to tell me how I can get in contact with the corporate office.

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