I belatedly caught the Jack Nicholson movie (The Bucket List) on pay-TV. Sad case that I am, I saw lessons for retail in that.
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The general idea being that everyone should have a list of things to do/see before the ‘kick the bucket’.
So, if your business was going to die tomorrow, but you had an opportunity to have a perfect month in retail, what would it look like? (And, no, you are not allowed to say you will close the doors and just have a rest ;-))
I thought many retailers would compile a bucket list that looks something like this:
[And tell me whether yours would look much different?]
- To just have one more bumper Christmas where there is no pre-Christmas discounting and the stock flies off the shelf.
- To have no staffing issues – everybody is eager and willing to work and they arrive on time and do their jobs.
- The stock arrives on time, as ordered and the suppliers happily wait 60 days for their payment.
- The accountant does the BAS and there is enough cash-flow to pay the damn bill.
- I only work Monday to Friday and I do not receive a single phone call over the weekend.
- Not one single customer complaint to deal with the whole month.
- I only see the reps who have made an appointment and for once I feel like I have bought well and paid a fair price.
I could go on but I think you get the idea.
Does your (retail) bucket list look something like that to?
But ultimately the movie wasn’t about the sights or the experiences. The key question was asked (by Morgan Freeman in the movie) when he asked Jack:
- Did you find joy?
- And did you bring joy?
As sentimental as that may sound, these are two pretty tough questions to answer truthfully (in life) so I skipped that and thought what the retail equivalents may be. And what I came up with was this:
- Did you find out what the customer wanted?
- And, did you deliver on what the customer wanted?
If you then revisit the bucket list above, you will see that everything revolved around ‘me’ (the retailer).
But retail success is NOT measured by how well things are going operationally. The true measure of success is measured by answering entirely different sets of questions.
Did I bring joy to my customers and did my customers find joy in my store?
Some people may say that is really easy – just give them the stuff for free (or cheap) and they will be happy.
And that is the attitude that I wage a war against. Customers don’t always want the cheapest – it makes them feel cheap. Of course, upon reflection, I found that I wasn’t being particularly profound; it is just marketing 101.