Move the ball back
During the first several National Football League preseason games this year, the league tried something new for the point after touchdowns. For those of you who may not have noticed — or otherwise don't much care about football — the standard length of the extra point kick following a touchdown has historically produced 20-yard attempts. This preseason, the NFL pushed the distance back to make them 38-yard kicks. Why? It increases the degree of difficulty and adds more nail-biting — and interest — for the fans. Quite frankly, these rather anticlimactic kicks had become hum-drum with more than 99% success.
What does this have to do with consumer health care at retail, Dave? Let me explain.
First, successful retailers are credited with being innovative. And I think innovation means stretching beyond traditional boundaries. One example is occurring to our north with Shoppers Drug Mart experimenting with fresh produce, meat and expanded dairy. Although U.S. operators (Walgreens and CVS/Caremark) have been edging in this direction, the move for Shoppers is quite bold for Canadians who are not accustomed to the concept.
Second, complacency is never an option. Consumers and associates will get bored if the store remains stagnant. Reinventing the shopping experience, introducing new categories and offering innovative services is what sets retailers apart. Abercrombie & Fitch is a pretty good example. What has happened to their tired business proposition? Unfortunately for this retailer, it alienated customers to the point where the clothier has decided keeping their store name on merchandise is a detriment to its survival.
Third, relevance. Face it; customers are changing. Without a solid technology platform and focus on convenience, retailers are subject to being overlooked. Our local submarine sandwich shop, Cousins, now offers order-by-mobile or by-web for in-store pick-up. Who ever thought that a sub sandwich took too long to order in-store or through the drive-thru? The idea is to remain relevant to the on-to-go customer.
For those retailers that no longer challenge themselves by reinventing the customer experience or change the stakes for shoppers, they run the risk of shopper boredom. It’s time to move the ball back and create a more exciting environment that keeps shoppers interested in returning time and time again.
Hamacher Resource Group VP Dave Wendland, a 20-plus year retail industry veteran, is a popular presenter and discussion facilitator available to speak at corporate and association events on a variety of retail-related topics. HRG is a research, marketing and category management firm specializing in consumer health care at retail. Product manufacturers, healthcare distributors, retailers, technology partners and others rely on HRG for strategic and creative solutions to help build their business. Learn more at www.hamacher.com.