How big box retailers are doubling their customer base

I was in a meeting the other day, listening to a research consultant describe some of her experiences with big box retailers, a la Best Buy and Target.

It’s not surprising to hear about big companies losing touch with their customers. After all, this woman has made a career out of telling companies what their customers think and want.

But this comment got me thinking:

The majority of big box retailer leadership views their online customers and in-store customers as two different people.

The belief is that some people shop online, others come in the store. Neat.

You, of course, are proof that this isn’t true. You shop online. You go to stores. And all with one brain.

But they don’t quite get it. Why would you go online if you also plan to go into the store?

To get reviews and comparisons, of course.

And why would you go in-store if you also go online?

To touch and taste and smell and avoid shipping fees and hassles, of course.

So what’s the solution? What can we do to better mesh the experiences?

For starters, where are the in-store product reviews? This could range from fancy displays near the product to more simple kiosks that allowed me to browse customer reviews, as well as submit my own.

And virtually, how about online chat or similar customer / representative interaction? What if I could talk to other shoppers? How about better product descriptions? How about more coordinated delivery options?

It might be best to start by seeing me as a single consumer.

What do you think? Why do you shop online and shop in stores? What would you like to see?



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