Home' Border Enterprise : Enterprise Spring-Summer 2009 Contents 28 enterpris e
HOW many times, as you are
handed your shopping bag at a
retailer's checkout, does the sales
clerk say to you "No worries"
instead of "Thank you"?
Unfortunately, "no worries" is now firmly
established as the industry's standard send-off for
its customers. You may also have noticed that this
phrase is the most common expression of apology
employed by sales clerks when they make errors
or omissions that you, the customer, notice.
Whatever happened to "I'm sorry"?
The subliminal message conveyed by the
mindless use of the "No worries" phrase is not:
"You are a valued customer so please come again"
but rather, "You are a real burden but I forgive you."
Of course, Australia has so far been less exposed
to the global downturn in consumer spending
and the perceived need among retail company
executives to change old ways such as these
appears not to be particularly pressing. To them, it
really does seem to be a case of "No worries."
In other parts of the world, retailers are having
to respond to the fact that the weak economy
has made consumers not just more price-focused
but focused on every aspect of the shopping
No surprise then that a key focus of the
best retailers in 2009 has been to find ways of
conveying to customers the "you are valuable to
The state of the global economy is not the only
reason for this. Shifts in consumer preferences are
a motivating factor as well.
For example, the steadily declining power of
department stores to drive traffic to the small
stores in regional shopping centres is causing
speciality retailers to become much more proactive
about marketing themselves rather than depending
on their large co-tenants to attract customers.
Research by Fox Real Estate Advisory, a US
consulting firm, estimates that department stores
drive only 25-30 per cent of total regional shopping
centre traffic flow these days, compared with
approximately 70 per cent during the 1980's.
The way speciality retailers are responding
varies from the technology-intensive to the more
emotional type of marketing appeal.
Here is my list of the of the most important global
trends in retail marketing in the second half of
1. Mobile marketing.
Consumers opt in to a retailer's mobile marketing
program by giving it both mobile phone number
and explicit consent to be contacted with
promotional offers. The retailer thus builds a
database of customers with whom it has authority
to conduct real-time communications.
The communication itself often takes the form
of text messages alerting the customer to new
products, special deals and other promotional
offers. The messages can also contain coupons
that are embedded with a code that is entered
into the retailer's point-of-sale (POS) system at the
2. Mobile commerce.
Consumers are being given the capability
through their mobile phones of shopping, checking
order status, signing up for text alerts and other
The important thing is that the retailer's mobile
commerce site is optimised for a small phone
screen so that the shopping experience is
comparable to that of sitting at a normal computer
The retailer's mobile store can also carry links
to the retailer's social networking pages on sites
such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and
3. Green products and performance
The Aussie refrain "no worries" doesn't say "you are a valued customer,
come again" --- it says you are a burden, writes MICHAEL BAKER
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