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Customers look different now

This week we have seen the demise of Fletcher Jones and the opening of Top Shop. My 15 year old daughter texted me, saying ‘I’m even more excited than when Zara opened – it is British and I love it – when can we go?”

Many Australian retailers are left thinking “what happened – where did our customers go?”. We are in the peak of Christmas season and there is not one retailer in Australia who is not holding their breath and ‘hoping’.  As we know however ‘hope’ is not a strategy.

From the online world I can see so clearly what is likely to happen over the next few years. But I don’t have a massive infrastructure or team – I don’t have to move a mammoth organisation into the position of competing against global players.

Think of the traditional retail customer experience: we battle the traffic, search for a parking spot, deal with lousy weather – and then try to find someone to serve us– when we finally do find someone to assist we discover that the retailer does not have the color, quantity or size you need. No wonder people are choosing online… it is soooo easy.

I’d hate to be in the business of having to have all the right stock in all the right places at all the right times – being served by all the right people… how hard is that?

What can retail businesses learn from the entertainment business?

What if retail outlets became show rooms – where as a buyer once your color and style are determined you have your item delivered at no extra cost direct to you the very next day. Not schlepping your purchases from store to store – wasting hours, with hurting feet – that would be an experience.

Retail in Australia is about to make a massive shift and not all will make it. I hate to say it – but it is all about the experience. In speaking to the MD of  Chanel Australia he says that their concept stores go from strength to strength – people love being immersed in the brand – and you just simply cannot achieve the same experience in a department store.

Fletcher Jones did not grow with it customers. I have just come from a business lunch in the city – half the attendees were wearing jeans….

Please retailers – wake up  – listen to your customers and give them something worth fighting for. I understand that the reason why Top Shop is opening stores here – is because they have been shipping so much product here via their website they realised what a fantastic market it is.

Bring innovation back to retail… for instance young Eliza Roberts (11) has started her first business  – in the northern beaches of Sydney she has started a Pet Birthday cake business… in the first month she sold 30 cakes. She knows her market, she provides fab service – and people are very much getting the ‘entertainment value’ of being able to talk about the experience of their purchase.

Retailers it is time you gave your customers a ‘good time.’

Reader Interactions


  1. Hi Pete, Thanks for this – and no I had not seen it. I did see the Korean supermarket billboards where commuters could scan items with their phone and the items would be delivered to their home. Love this.

  2. I couldnt agree more with this article – and I think that StyleRocks delivers that fun and cool experience to customers. I also agree that multi-channel retailing: whether its in a showroom using an Ipad, via a website, via a Facebook app…is where its at.

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