How retail giants attract customers
One thing big-box retailers do very well is build market share. That means they know how to add new customers and keep them loyal. Market analysts say that the half-dozen or so major brick-and-mortar retail giants in the U.S. have honed a customer-attraction strategy that is built on five key factors, two of which are built around the natural human craving for food and drink. Here are the 5 ways the big stores bring people through their doors:
Free Food and Drinks
The big-box stores pioneered the massive “free sample” deluge of free foods and drinks in their store’s decades ago. After years of testing and consumer surveys, the retailers now have the system down to an art form. Walk into any major retailer these days and you’re bound to see at least a half-dozen kiosks strategically positioned around the floor. The free samples are delicious and usually freshly prepared on site. If you like what you eat, simply turn around and buy a large container from the shelf behind you. Giving away free samples has long been the most effective way to get people to buy things.
Many of the nation’s largest retailers are testing 24-hour stores in their biggest markets. Consumers have been steadily demonstrating an appetite for longer hours and the retail giants are responding. Expanded Costco gas station hours, Walmart 24-hour grocery outlets and other examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ever-growing service hours of retailers.
Hassle-free Return Policies
Return policies used to be one of the ugliest parts of retail shopping. No one wanted to wait in line and eventually explain why the item was defective or otherwise unwanted. Consumers were often met with argumentative clerks who denied the return on flimsy grounds. Nowadays, that’s all changed. Walmart, Target and the other retail biggies offer virtually seamless and hassle-free return policies. If you have a receipt and the undamaged item, you’re good to go, with either cash back or a refund on your card, whichever you prefer.
Everyday Low Prices and Good Quality
The bedrock of retail strategy is twofold: low prices and high quality. Without this part of the puzzle, the rest of the efforts would be ineffective. Costco, Walmart, Target and others have built their success primarily on offering quality goods at low prices. One reason the several major players in this segment have survived decades of economic turmoil is this bedrock strategy of selling well-made goods at reasonable prices.
In-Store Fast-food Restaurants
Food is everywhere! Visit a big-box store near you on the weekend and you can practically live on the free samples offered at the product kiosks. Or, if you’d rather try a more common approach to dining, choose among several fast-food outlets located right inside the store. When you’re finished eating, walk a few yards and get a manicure or order a coffee drink from the in-store shop. Retailers know that customers often combine shopping and fast-food trips so they figured “Why not put everything under one roof?” The strategy has been a resounding success for at least two decades now.