The Power of Direct Observation in Retail

All to often people make changes based on data without taking the time to observe what is really happening.  This can lead to decisions that are not in the best interest of the business.

Recently, in our retail shop the data showed that we had some product that was not selling.  If we would have gone strictly with the data, we would probably clearance out the product and not carry it anymore.  But, we believed the product was something that people truly wanted.

Instead, we observed people as they perused the shop.  What we saw was people weren’t even seeing the product with the way they were shopping the store.

We decided to re-merchandise the store and almost instantly, as in the next day, we had sales on the product that wasn’t selling.

Data didn’t tell us the problem, but it did point us in the direction of a problem.  That is were data is very helpful, but the power came in observation.  Observation helped us see what the problem truly was so we could take appropriate action.

Do you take the time to observe the problem?  Or do you just manage by data?

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Posted on July 23, 2014, in Customer Focus, Principles, Retail and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Check out the book “Why We Buy” by Paco Underhill. His research has shown time and time again how right you are. Touch, scent, color, and display location all affect the customer’s decision to buy — especially for impulse nonessential items like yours. It’s an emotional decision to take home something that the customer “feels” can increase happiness and wellbeing. The decision might start in TPN — the task of choosing a gift for a birthday — but the DMN will be where everything else takes place.

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