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Four big switch offs

merchandise_store_stockIn the USA a number of department and discount stores have been monitored for many years and ranked on the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

In the most recent ranking, the lowest scoring store group was counted poorly on four main issues.


If you say that you won’t be beaten on price, you better mean it. Even if you have one of those wishy washy price guarantees, many customers will not go through the process. It is just too time consuming and frustrating. And once a customer finds a better price, their confidence in the retailer is shattered – in perpetuity. The price promise of course mainly applies to discounters but not exclusively. If you buy a known brand from store A and you find the identical item at store B at a significantly different price, you will be dissatisfied with at least one of the stores.

Finding stuff

Customers get frustrated when they can’t find stuff, especially if an item usually found in one location, is moved to another. They also don’t like untidy shelves and items that are out of stock. This is especially applicable to those retailers who profess to be one stop shops. A conundrum here is that an item may be out of stock because it has sold incredibly well. Here a smart replenishment system helps but is never fool proof.


Retail salesperson is usually not a highly paid profession. It therefore doesn’t always attract happy, friendly and helpful employees. Not being able to find someone to help you is bad enough but when you do find someone, it is nice to have a smile and not a scowl. And the service extends to checkout or POS waiting times. The question that needs to be asked and answered is whether your staff are happy. Because if you don’t have a happy workforce, you will never give good service.


Value is the trade off between price and quality but even if you are paying a low dollar price, you want quality, within reason. If an item falls apart or doesn’t work properly, expect customer dissatisfaction to soar. And similar to price, it’s not good enough to have a good returns policy. The damage is done and the customer’s hassle in returning the item is a nuisance they won’t forget.

Stuart Bennie is a retail consultant at Impact Retailing and can be contacted at or 0414 631 702

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