Retailers have long held a variety of sources of competitive advantage, including location, product availability and pricing. But through it all, one core competency has been critical to creating and maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage – service!
The reality of service is that it’s not only a long-standing competency, but by its very nature, multi-dimensional. The variety of service models and their importance to retail differentiation was the topic of the October installment of the RetailNext webinar series, “Retail’s New Mantra: Service, Service, Service.”
Bridget Johns, head of customer success at RetailNext, started the webinar with a quick overview of today’s shopper and her new shopping journey. A particular point of emphasis was placed on opportunity – today’s shopper moves seamlessly across channels, and as such, brands have numerous opportunities to surprise and delight through service.
Service has changed considerably over the decades, and has included emphases on services of convenience, personalization, peace of mind, surprise and delight, and more. But, for the purposes of the webinar, focus was placed on two different service models from two leading edge service companies – The Container Store and Enjoy – and how both models put the shopper front and center.
John Thrailkill, vice president of store systems and business development at The Container Store, started the panel discussion by reviewing the value-based Foundation Principles that all decisions are built upon at The Container Store. As its shopper has changed both demographically and in behavior, The Container Store has constantly evolved its service models to not only emphasize completeness, but ease and convenience as well. It’s helped build a national reputation for the company that far exceeds the footprint of its 72 store locations.
Kristina Eastman, the head of operations and experience at Enjoy, then described the models in play at her company, a startup that debuted in May and is already turning heads. The competitive service advantage for Enjoy is the bringing of the very best of brick-and-mortar retail to the shopper, and not the other way around. Enjoy’s model delivers highly trained associates to the shopper, on her terms, on her schedule, and at her convenience – and all done with an eye towards quality and speed.
After Kristina, the crowded group of attendees took over, showering questions to the panel of three to get shared insights on employee training, building trust with shoppers, attracting and retaining new generations of shoppers (and employees) and so much more.
To watch and listen to the entire session, please access the webinar on demand recording – and it you like it, and I know you will – please feel free to share the link throughout your professional network.
Next up in the RetailNext webinar series: October 27 and Targeted Marketing and Mobile Shopper Engagement! Looking forward to seeing you there.
Join the #service and #retail conversations on Twitter @RetailNext, @BridgetJohns, @ContainerStore and @goEnjoy, as well as www.facebook.com/retailnext.