I also watch with interest as retailers continue to stick to old ways of doing business, become highly irritable, like it's our fault, and resort to being extremely annoyed with the world.
It is clear that if you 'wait' for the economy to pick up, the implications of a carbon tax or the internet to change, then you will disappear as quick as change happens. You must get on the front foot now!
Look at this great example http://fiveminutetheatre.com/. Traditional theatre is attractive to a narrow band of audience who can afford it or love it. Dress up at home, go out, glass of champagne and black tie etc. In Scotland, to attract a broader audience, an amazing concept has been developed where five minute theatre is conducted in the cities over a 24 hour period to contact a wider audience. Lots of critics " It will never work" and lots of people blocking. Guess what – a roaring success and highly acclaimed by the critics, well done.
What did it take? Creativity, energy and resilience just like the Sales Cat.
Tips, traps and trips.
If you are going to survive in modern retailing you need to engage and build value based relationships now. Who are your tribe and what do they get from the retail experience with you? Do you have data on your customers? Do you know where they live what they like? Get to know them and what they need in life to be better. Like all relationships spend time getting to know them. Start a blog with them.
Smile and greet! Yes I know a basic but how often do you get an angry, don't bother me I'm busy response? Every week for the past 12 months I go with friends to a conveniently located coffee shop. They still don't know our names, we don't know theirs even though we sit in the same place every week and order the the same thing. Will they notice when we go for a better relationship or better coffee? Who would they call if we did?
Please get to know your customers and their specific stories fast before the internet gets to know them better than you and takes their business away.