Generous retailing: A little goes a long way!
Take 2 petrol stations, located only 100 metres apart. Let’s say for example BP and Shell.
They are both recently refurbished with spacious forecourts and shiny new stores. They both collaborate with recognised retailers appealing to a similar customer. Let’s also say Marks & Spencer & Waitrose.
Their petrol prices are identical and matched daily.
They both offer loyalty schemes both for the petrol brands and for the supermarket operators.
The staff are helpful and pleasant in both cases.
So why is it that I have decided to patronise one of these businesses and to ignore the other.
It’s the small things that matter
The reason came to light recently when I went to check my tyre pressure before a long journey. Kneeling at the side of my car I was wondering why there seemed to be a lack of air entering my tyre. I checked the instructions on the machine and it was then that I noticed the problem. I was being asked to pay 50p for the pleasure of pumping up. My personal pressure began to rise.
Not only does the adjoining petrol station give you free air, but so do all the others in the town.
And so, I took my deflated tyres down the road.
A little goes a long way
This is one example however it illustrates how easy it is to both build patronage as well as lose it.
There are many other examples from the hotels who still incredibly charge for wi-fi, the stores with pre-payment parking, to the “free” coffee that requires a purchase.
In comparison to the real and potential sales that the customer could generate these amounts are almost insignificant. However, for the consumer it is not the price but the principle. It is the perception of the mean and grasping retailer against the friendly and accommodating.
In deed generosity and meanness often have no price tag attached. Sour faced assistants, locked changing rooms, the forbidden touching of displays, inconvenient opening hours are all symptomatic of a serious lack of a “generosity of spirit!”
Generosity of Spirit!
So, retailers take a hard look at yourselves. Analyse the customers journey through your stores. Are you being mean and uncharitable? Are you lacking a generosity of spirit?
What you are demanding of the customer may seem a little to ask from your perspective, but it may have a profound impact on the temperament of the individual customer and their future patronage, or not.
Can you afford to lose the bigger sale for the sake of a few pence?
Can you afford to lose a friend for the sake of a smile?