The Best Shopping Experience EVER!!
Someone asked me the other day what was my most positive shopping experience? Now you think it might take me a minute to come up with what my most positive shopping experience in my entire life has been? However it popped into my mind right away, and it truly has been my most positive shopping experience in the last 40 some years. I remember, I was about 5 years old, and on Saturday mornings my parents would drive about 20 minutes to a delicatessen run by an older German couple (being 5 anyone over 25 was older to me). I remember the shop was narrow and long, with the meat and cheese counter on one side, and the other side was lined top to bottom with shelves containing all sorts of packaged foods. I remember the smell of smoked meat, and strong cheese, and I remember how it felt a bit claustrophobic, when there were other customers in the shop. The German couple always remembered us, and greeted my parents and I with such a warm welcome. They would always ask if I was working hard in school, and learning as much as I could. If I said yes, I was working hard, they would give me a dark chocolate, which at first I wasn’t sure if I liked, but over time I grew to look forward to the bitter sweet treat. It didn’t matter how busy they were, when it was our turn, it was always the same question to me, and a chocolate for me, as they bantered with my parents and I, as they sliced meat and cheese for my parents. This was our Saturday morning ritual that I looked forward to, and it continued for years, until we moved from town.
The point I take from this is, it is a challenge for big box stores to compete with the passion, and authentic customer experience small independent retailers can offer. I would argue that you can’t find this experience on line, and it doesn’t come from getting the absolute lowest price. It is the personal connections along the way that create our best experiences, and build a sense of community. It is this experience that independent retailers can offer, when staff that are given the power and encouragement to create relationships with the customers that come through their doors.
So I ask, as a customer what has been your best shopping experience? If you own a shop, what do you think customers remember about their shopping experience in your store?
Michelle Oruski is a certified Winning@Retail™ coach and has been in the retail industry for over 25 years. Her experience consists of sales, sales training, customer service, inventory control, buying, store management, merchandising, bookkeeping, and human resources.