Retail stores must be as responsive as their digital competitors. The days of excuses are over.
I needed to buy a specific item today at a retail store in Hong Kong. I looked up the store address online and confirmed its opening hours. I went to the store at opening to be told it was closed for 30 minutes more. When I returned 30 minutes later I was told they wouldn’t open for 10 minutes. The staff were casually cleaning the store and decided to let me in anyway.
When I was finally admitted they were out of stock, their stock ordering system was down for its second day and there was no chance of them getting stock this week. The staff in store were full of excuses and very apologetic.
I ordered what I wanted online walking out of the store on my phone. I bought it from a digital retailer. It will be delivered to my hotel same day.
This experience was in a luxury goods retailer. Their store for out is incredibly expensive. Their rent is high. There were lots of staff waiting around. However all the money invested is wasted when the systems and employees are not responsive to customers.
The store lost any opportunity to add more to my basket. Worse, I’m unlikely to shop that brand of stores again.
If a retail store is not organised to be as responsive as its digital competitors, then it will lose more than business. Unresponsive retail stores inconvenience customers and lose their support.