Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Retailing it!

You remember the time you were 10? You'd have salesmen knocking on your door through the day. Sometimes even at night. One of the reasons we all had dogs when we were young was probably to shoo them away. 

They'd come along lugging around big bags of just about anything. Toys, utensils, groceries, dairy products, books, pencils, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, furniture, petro cards and a whole lot of other blah blah. The list goes on. But you get the drift. Back in the day, they learnt that the customer was god. 

Lets make his shopping experience completely hassle free. He needs a refrigerator? Lets send a catalogue to his doorstep through our best salesman. Lets also give him free delivery, seeing that he stays in an apartment complex. If he's happy he'll refer us. Lets install it for him. And just to seal the deal, lets throw in 3 cartons of milk... FREE. And if he still doesn't agree, we'll also pack in a one year free service bonus. He wont ever need to step out that door. 

And as always, times change. Door to door salesmen lost their jobs. You can blame the damn dogs for that. Retail stores have replaced door to door selling. If you need something as basic as a pack of cigarettes, you have to get up, go for a walk to the nearest store and pick it up yourself. You might as well take your dog along. Thats probably the only exercise it's gona get. 

Compare selling today. You walk into a Nike store. You see a group of salesmen at the cash counter probably talking about the latest flick, or their respective girl problems. They see you but cant decide if you're worthy enough for their attention. You know you want to buy a pair of running shoes but you're not really sure what kind. You pick up a shoe that you think you like. Someone hobbles over from the cash counter. 

He: May I help you sir?
Me: Yes please. I was looking for a running shoe
He: Sure sir, we have this entire wall of running shoes.
Me: Hmm, holding one up. Can I try this? I'm a size 8.
He: Sure sir. I'll just get your size.
10 minutes later
He: Sorry sir we don't have your size in that.
Me: Do you know if I can pick it up from another Nike store?
He: No sir, I don't think any store has this.
Me: Can you check please?
He: No sir, our phone lines are down.
Me: Can i leave my phone number here? Can you get back to me once your phone lines are up and running?
He: Er.. yes.
Me: Do you have a pen? or a comments book?
He: Our comments book is on the cash desk sir. 
Me: (Walking towards the cash desk) Pen please.
He: Sorry sir, I don't have pen.
Me: !@$#@%#@$%@#
He: #@$@%#% good riddance.
Me: Making up my mind never to walk into that store again.

Salesmen back in the day, would visit your doorstep again and again hoping to make a sale. They would come back with another size, with 5 different colors, a little something extra for the kids in the house and if thats not enough, they will also come back with the same smile they left with the first time. They would bend over backwards to fulfill your every wish. Yet, today, salesmen in retail stores expect you to dress up, leave your house, drive 15 minutes, spend half an hour finding parking, and walk 20 minutes to the store. What's worse is that you still walk out empty handed... and pissed. 

Would you let "god" (AKA the customer) walk out of your house... pissed and disappointed? The only way you can get god to visit again is if you go out of your way to please him. He might even bring his gopiyas next time. But he has to think you're worth it.