In the last post I mentioned watching a DVD from Donald Cooper. I have a client that would like my help in assisting providing a seminar experience for their restaurant general managers, so we were viewing the DVD to see if parts of it would work with the messages in this meeting.
I wasn’t familiar with Donald Cooper – that isn’t much of a surprise, we are blessed as a marketing and business community with lots of smart people with insights to share. Turns out this guy has a lot to say.
I loved one of his stories about his own work – that of opening up a women’s clothing store. As his biography states, he won an award as Innovative retailer of the year from the Retail Council of Canada for his work on this store.
He identified his target audience very well – women looking for a good clothing shopping experience. As he says – most women have a 10 year supply of “clothes” so it isn’t a functional buy at all. And that insight alone was what I wanted to highlight as my key learning: his insight that it was about the experience as much as anything including the actual clothes themselves that provided his touchstone of how to position his business.
And since it was about experience, he felt free to move away from the format of competitive women’s clothing stores designed and operated to show off clothes.
That word choice was deliberate – most clothing retailers make it about the clothes. which is logical – that is what you’re selling.
What Donald Cooper did that was so bright was make it about the shopping experience.
This is not a new concept – Paco Underhill as a writer and speaker will help you understand the headset of the shopping and B Joseph Pine II and James H Gilmore got it right with their book The Experience Economy.
What I loved about Mr. Cooper’s story was that it was so boldly tangible about making it about the shopping experience. And perhaps even a bit of bewilderment that this idea of his has been taught in a bunch of sessions, his DVD’s are online, and he’s not the only guy telling this type of story AND YET VERY FEW OTHER RETAILERS ARE IMPLEMENTING THIS THINKING INTO THEIR OUTLETS.
So here’s what he did:
- He put changing tables and 3 sizes of diapers in all the bathrooms. It was a “bring your little one and you won’t have to worry about hauling the diaper bag”
- He put in EIGHT massage chairs and stacks of current “man mags”.
- He built a pirate ship and a tree house and ran DVD’s of kids movies all the time in the kids area.
- There were 6 hooks in every changing room – and he knew what each was for
- When you walked in there was hot and cold tea, fruit drinks and coffee to refresh you. Free.
Supposedly one kid told Donald he wanted to live at the store, and a 70 year old woman who had driven 3 hours told him she was in love with him.
Think about this all of you retailers out there: Who do you really want at your store? WHAT DO THEY REALLY WANT?