Ted Rubin on keeping retail simple…

Consumers have always valued simplicity, in part because it’s often not so easy to find with the retail experience. Think about how complicated it was to order something before the digital age, and how much waiting was involved. Anyone who has ever ordered something from a catalogue in the mail will know what I mean. 

Since the purchasing process was often anything but simple, many consumers looked for everyday low prices (EDLP) when deciding where to shop. If you were going to wait a month-and-a-half to get your product in the mail or make in-person visits to a bunch of different retailers to find what you needed, at least you could shop around to get it for the lowest price.

Today, shopping around is a built-in part of the retail experience. It’s just not that hard to do anymore, especially when online mega-retailers make it so easy to find everything in one place. So one of the best ways to differentiate your business today is with simplicity. In retail and in life, if you make it easy to do, then more people are going to do it.

We’re all shoppers

You know what I like when ordering a product? Simple. Quick. Convenient. Get me what I want; deliver on your promises; give me a decent price; and do it all as quickly as possible. Don’t make me wade through a bunch of unnecessary forms or navigate a clunky website. Just make it easy! Treat me like a human being, and make sure that I get what I need, when I need it. If you’re nodding your head in agreement, you’re not alone. Simplicity is one of the biggest keys to reaching consumers in today’s retail environment.

“In retail and in life, if you make it easy to do, then more people are going to do it.”

Consider your own retail experience, both online and out in the world. Check your favorite social channels to see what real people are saying about their own retail experiences. Ask questions, analyze the data, and think about what you can do to simplify the experience for everyone who buys from your business.

Think about their journey – and fine-tune it

For me, simplicity means logging into a retail website and seeing recommendations for products I might use, based on my prior purchases. It means getting a heads up when I’m about to run out of something important, and an option to resupply with as little effort as possible. It means having my payment information saved – securely – so that I can quickly make a purchase with minimal fuss. I want to be able to access the retail website through my mobile device and get the same quality of customer experience I’d expect on my desktop.

It also means simplicity in customer service. If I need help, I want a clear place to turn with people who are ready to answer my questions. If I have a problem, I want to be able to reach a real person, have an honest conversation and resolve the issue. If there’s a discount available for something I’m about to buy, I want to be able to access it without first jumping through a million hoops. 

The most successful retailers are already trying to make life simple for their consumers with products like Amazon Echo, Prime Membership, buy online and either simply return to store or picked up at our door, try-on and return services, etc. Small and mid-sized businesses need to be thinking along the same lines as well, with a focus on creating a simple, accessible retail experience both online and in-store.

SIMPLICITY is the new EDLP! Make it easy for them… and they will buy it from you again and again and again. Frictionless fulfilment is the retail of the future.   

Keep it simple, and your customers won’t be the only ones who benefit. #RetailRelevancy

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