Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard

Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


A view of the industry through the eyes of independent and chain retailers.

Printer Version

Why You Need an Executive of Customer Experiences

Someone to study what your customers do, act, think, and where they shop.

by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender (May 3, 2010)

There’s a new revolution coming your way – a Retail Revolution where everything is about to be changed, re-defined, or eliminated.

What will the Retail Revolution impact? How about advertising, acquisition, strategies, blue laws, buyers, capital, census, chain stores, competition, consumers, department stores, discount stores, big boxes, independent retailers, retail employees, and retail employment; marketing, social medias, the Internets, full price, sale pricing, promotional pricing, retail growth, income, manufacturers, suppliers, vendors, inventory, investment, labor force, market share, operations, payroll/sales ratio, outlet stores, population, profit margin, retail industry, retail strategies, retail events, urban locations, suburban locations, NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), trends …. We’re exhausted and we haven’t reached the tip of the iceberg. Or the depth of the Revolution!


Lately, we’ve been on the look out for Revolutionary Retailers who have embraced the Revolution and are doing the things that are right for today’s customers. We’ve met the good and we’ve then the outstanding. Here you’ll meet two outstanding grocers but only one who has joined the Revolution.

Store number one is a large, well known grocery store that we were excited to visit. Once inside, we were immediately impressed with the store’s bright, colorful décor. The music wafting through the aisles was upbeat and the sound of shoppers shopping was strong. There were plenty of customers and almost every register was open – what more can you ask for?

Half way into the store we stumbled across a big-deal, in-store event – lots of product demos to help solve that quick dinner dilemma most of us occasionally have. Okay, frequently have …. Customers were enjoying the samples (you know our motto: Food is Good!) and they were perusing the menu and recipe cards they could take to help recreate the dishes at home. Pretty cool.

Or was it?

We were not seeing the smiling faces we expected to see, so we asked a number of customers what they thought of the event. The collective answer: Not so much.

One man summed it all up when he said, “This isn’t such a big deal, or even new. Every grocery store does this.” He said his next stop was another grocery store (he prefers their produce) just a little over a mile away. He urged us to check them out and we did.

Store number two also had good ambiance and plenty of shoppers. This store was clean and, we had to admit, the produce was spectacularly displayed. Even better was the customer noise; it was over-the-top laughter sprinkled with applause. So we followed our ears to a demonstration of … You guessed it: Quick dinners. This time there was a twist. In addition to the expected food samplings, this retailer had included a mini-cooking school – customers were actually preparing the entrees right on the sales floor. There was a crowd of shoppers watching and taking in the inside tips from the store’s resident chef. We looked at each other and smiled, knowing that each of the two stores we visited were essentially doing same thing. The difference was the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

You know we asked questions. We wanted to know why the second retailer made such a production of quick dinners. “Easy,” said a store associate. “Our focus in on the customer experience. We value that more than counting how many people go through the checkouts each day.”

Music to our ears! For years we’ve talked about the importance of “The Sultan of Sizzle” – the person assigned to add pizazz to whatever is going on in the store. It’s the Sultan’s job to look at everything from the customer’s point of view; the Sultan influences everything in the store from sales floor layout to in-store events and promotions. And it’s a big influence, and an even bigger impact.

We’ve been told that Wal-Mart – yes, Wal-Mart – has someone in the position of Vice President of Customer Experiences. That’s just pure brilliance. Here’s a company that understands the importance of market share expansion, but also understands that because customers today compare the retail experience from store to store, their stores need to stand out.

It’s no longer 1995 and the same-old, same-old rules of retail no longer apply. Every retailer – yourself included – needs to change because your competitors are changing, too. The battlefield is raging for the top position in the mind of the consumer. And once consumers learn that a trip to the store can include great service, a unique experience, and be FUN all at the same time, they will demand those qualities from every place they shop.

And so we say, every, single retailer in business today needs to appoint an Executive of Customer Experiences (ECE). This job description includes knowledge of what’s going on beyond the four walls of the store, and how the store can affect the customer experience. Your ECE’s job is talking with customers, walking the customer walk, visiting places your customers hang out, even if that’s a competitor or a business that has nothing to do with what you sell – the goal of the ECE is to know and understand what your customers are up to, and what they expect from you, at any given time. The job of ECE holds a lot of responsibility.

We’re in a Retail Revolution. This means we need to do business differently than we have ever done business before. As the old ways of doing business make way for the new, don’t waste another moment on things that no longer work the way they used to work. Instead, meet with your team and talk about the customer experience in your store. Find out what they know and how you can combine this information with new and unique ideas to grow your business. You will see the value of creating the office of Executive of Customer Experiences. Once you make this customer-centric move you will have officially joined the Retail Revolution.

(Note: To read previous columns by Rich and Georganne, click on the titles in the right-hand column.)

KIZER & BENDER Speaking! 

Keynotes | Seminars | Consulting | Store Design

103 North 11th Ave., Ste. 206, St. Charles, Illinois 60174
Phone: 630-513-8020 | 24/7 Mobile: 708-347-2682 Fax: 630-513-8098
Web: www.kizerandbender.com     
Blog: www.kizerandbender.blogspot.com  
Twitter: http://twitter.com/kizerandbender   
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/KIZER-BENDER/258761889930
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/kizerandbender




horizontal rule

horizontal rule


Kizer & Bender's Recent Columns...
VISUAL MERCHANDISING, PT. II; Add new life to your displays by knowing how people browse and shop.

VISUAL MERCHANDISING, PT. I; Taking the mystery out of a well designed store.

SHEER INTENSITY! THE RETAIL BOOT CAMP; How to make 2013 a great year.

42 GREAT IDEAS TO "WOW" YOUR CUSTOMERS; Suggestions for your store and staff.

NEW YEAR, NEW ATTITUDE; Change is inevitable, and improving your employees' attitude can be done.

HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SUCCESS AT TRADE SHOWS; Make sure you optimize your return on your trade show investment.

10 IDEAS TO JUMP START YOUR BUSINESS! Strategies to make 2012 a success.


"LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS, THEY'RE SMARTER THAN YOU"; Savvy, inexpensive ways to improve your customer service.

GENERATIONS 101; Different strokes (and strategies) for different folks.

HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SUCCESS AT TRADE SHOWS; Straightforward advice that can increase the return on your trade show investment.

5 SUREFIRE WAYS TO ESTABLISH YOUR BRAND; Create a good story, then tell it.

WHEN BIG IDEAS DON'T WORK, IT'S OK TO MOVE ON! Learn from the example of a Las Vegas mogul.

IS YOUR BUSINESS "ZOOMER" FRIENDLY? Nine ways to make your store more convenient for older customers.

CRAFTING THE ULTIMATE CHARITY EVENT; Participating in cause marketing helps a worthy cause and promotes your business. Here's how to do it right.

FAUX SHOPPING FOR REAL RESULTS; Imagine all consumers are mystery shoppers because, in a sense, they are.

RETAIL IS IN THE DETAILS: HOW TO PLAN EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS; Planning, planning, and more planning.

5 THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE; Customer service is an election every day, and your customers are the voters.

HAUL OUT THE HOLLY: IT'S CHRISTMAS TIME ON THE SALES FLOOR! Nine way$ to make your Christmas Merry.

WORD OF MOUTH: SOCIAL MEDIA 101; And a preview of upcoming seminars.

ARE YOUR READY FOR RECORD HALLOWEEN SALES? Thirteen ways to make it happen.

WE'D SHAKE YOUR ANTENNAE BUT WE'RE TOO TIRED; Has your business ever bugged a customer? Here's what not to do.

510 TIPS TO SURVIVE IN A TOUGH ECONOMY; When the going gets tough, the tough...

50 IDEAS TO INCREASE STORE SALES! Basic, simple, and effective.

COLOR PSYCHOLOGY: THE USE OF COLOR IN STORE DESIGN; Your store's color scheme can boost sales, or kill them.

TAKING CUSTOMER SERVICE TO THE NEXT LEVEL; It's a constant struggle, but with big rewards.

THE 360 DEGREE PASS-BY; Take a close -- and closer -- look at your store.

SOAR ABOVE COPY CAT COMPETITION; And fly away with more traffic, sales, and profits.

"ALEX, WE'LL TAKE 'THINGS THAT CHEESE US OFF' FOR $500!"; Perhaps it was a customer, not you, who infuriated a customer, but you still must deal with the anger.

WHY YOU NEED AN EXECUTIVE OF CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES; Someone to study what your customers do, act, think, and where they shop.


BOOST YOUR ECONOMY - CREATIVE A COUPONOMY! Profitable ways to use coupons.

THE SALES POTENTIAL IN PROMS AND SCHOOL DRESSES; Rich and Georganne interview themselves on a new retail sales opportunity.

MERCHANDISING SENSE; Strategies to help consumers see, hear, taste, touch, smell -- and then buy.

THE FINE ART OF ASKING QUESTIONS; The smart questions result in better sales.

20 PERCENT DISCIPLES; Your best customers can help you attract new customers.

DUDE, YOU'VE BEEN AIRLINED. AGAIN; These are "friendly skies"?

HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SUCCESS AT TRADE SHOWS; Straightforward advice that can make a big difference.

IT'S THE CUSTOMERS DEFINITION OF SERVICE THAT COUNTS, NOT YOURS; Apple needs some help - and K&B's CHA seminar schedule.

IS THE CUSTOMER ALWAYS RIGHT? Manufacturers have to handle irate consumers, too.

TURNING LIONS INTO LAMBS; How an angry customer can become a loyal fan.

12 EASY WAYS TO MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS; Simple, straightforward, and effective.

LOVE ME, LOVE MY KIDS; How to keep children happy in your store.

HE SHOPS, SHE SHOPS ... DIFFERENTLY; And that can make a big difference in your sales.

BRAND AID; Building a brand is simple: consistency and attention to detail.

CLANDESTINE RETAILING; CREATING NEW CUSTOMERS! Clever, creative, and inexpensive ideas.

TELEPHONE ETIQUETTE; Simple tips to make a good impression.

WHAT TO DO ON YOUR CUSTOMERS' VACATIONS; How to entice them into your store for summer fun.

STAKE YOUR CLAIM ... DON'T PLAY THE RECESSION GAME! Attitude makes all the difference.

HEY THERE! HI THERE! OH THERE! How a day at Disney can make you a better retailer.

STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT DIVERSITY AND DEMOGRAPHICS; What works for one group may hurt sales with another.


A MIRACLE IN RETAIL; What a hockey coach can teach you about building a great team.

THE CUSTOMER SERVICE CIRCLE; How your staff gets along with each other makes a big difference.


YOU HAD US AT "HELLO"; Simple, common sense ways to improve customer service.


SIX TRAINING TIPS TO GROW YOUR GREATEST ASSETS; Basic ways to make your employees more effective.

HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SUCCESS AT TRADE SHOWS; Straightforward advice that can increase the return on your trade show investment.