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Give Me What I Want

Retail is all about giving customers what they want. Seems simple. But customers’ wants and needs change. And they always want more. When they don’t get it, they shop elsewhere.

 

That’s the Point A for Miller Zell’s video series, “Retail Evolving.” We’ve spent nearly 60 years helping businesses align their branded environments with evolving customers’ wants and needs. It’s helped us develop many mutually beneficial long-term partnerships.

Yet, despite our efforts, when customers in general are asked about their retail experiences, too often they aren’t happy. Consider this recent Wall Street Journal story that noted “Some 74% of the 1,000 consumers surveyed said they had experienced a product or service problem in the past year. That is up from 66% in 2020.”

The article produced multiple surveys that said the same thing. And then it added this: “The rising dissatisfaction is accompanied by more frequent and aggressive complaints, according to the National Customer Rage study.”

Those complaints can happen in-person or online via reviews or on social media. The end result is a bad customer experience, spawning public anger that can range from momentary to viral.

Another problem: Customers can be fickle.

For example, a 2020 Visa survey found

“63% of consumers would switch to businesses with contactless payment.”

Sounds like an eager embrace of stores like Amazon Go, right? But in March of 2023, instead of expansion, Amazon announced the permanent closing of eight of its 29 Amazon Go stores.

Why? Retail was different in 2020 — think pandemic — and 2023.

Customers prefer experiences that match their “in-the-moment” needs, and those needs change, and not always in predictable ways. In fact, a single person can switch shopper personas from day to day — one day prioritizing convenience, the next browsing and engaging with products, primed for impulse purchases.

For retailers, it’s about understanding your customers and meeting them where they are at every touchpoint, from in-store to online, providing them what they want, when they want it, with as little friction as possible.

No, it’s not easy. But that challenge fuels us at Miller Zell, as we provide solution-based innovation for our clients.

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