An article entitled “As Big Boxes Shrink, They Also Rethink,” was published this week in the Wall Street Journal describing the move by retailers to downsize stores. Perhaps the need to rethink wouldn’t be so significant now if they had taken the time to actually think in the first place. One of the surest signs of a strategy-less organization is the reactive firefighting that goes on.
Before they opened their own retail stores for which they were highly criticized initially, Apple did some serious thinking about how this component of their business would fit with their strategy. They studied service experiences across industries to identify the criteria that separated the excellent from the rest. One of their key findings was that a good hotel concierge had a big impact on creating truly exceptional service encounters. Apple’s leaders applied this insight to their business and voila, the Genius Bar was born. Additionally, the store layout, lighting, product displays, and even the furniture all fit tightly with Apple’s overall strategic themes of design, integration and convenience.
Contrast this with many of the meandering retailers blindly following “best practices” and industry trends without considering how the retail experience can match with their overall strategic approach. The result is a bunch of companies that have stores too big for their needs. But this size problem is only a symptom of a company lacking clear strategic direction.
How does your customer experience fit with your company’s overall strategy? Think. Or rethink.