Many of you are rightfully concerned by online competition. Retailers such as Amazon have taken a lot of your market share. So I have a suggestion to increase your profitability in a way that will endure.
Instead of doing more of what you already do, or engaging in progressively more intrusive and annoying advertising, how about capitalizing on your strengths? The strength of a local store is responsiveness. Workers at a store can answer questions, find things for customers, and set up orders for things not in stock. Knowledgeable, personable employees are the difference between a successful business and a faceless set of walls and aisles.
Central planning is the bane of many shoppers’ existence. How many shoppers have gone into a store to buy something and discovered that it wasn’t available in the style they liked because Corporate didn’t carry it? Usually, that just sends shoppers online because comment cards and suggestion boxes do nothing to put the goods they want in the store.
As a business, why not put the human touch back into the department store and be truly responsive to customers? Then they will have a reason not to send all their money to online retailers. Engage your workers, encourage them to become experts about what they sell, and encourage them to order what customers actually ask for. The result may be a slightly lower, but more enduring profit, and more importantly, customer loyalty.
Customer loyalty can be all too temporary when they aren’t getting what they need. Move with the times and with customer demand, and your future will be secure.