Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Project Your Store's Personality

Retail stores come to have a personality in the minds of customers and prospective customers. Some businesses are seen as daring and spirited, while others are seen as cautious and intellectual. It works best when you decide what personality you'd like your store or website to have and then carefully design advertising, merchandising, signage, staffing, and all the rest to strongly project that personality.
     Here are five dimensions that consumers use in understanding a retailer's personality:
  • Sincere or witty: In what ways is the retailer honest? Wholesome? Cheerful? Teasing?
  • Exciting or predictable: To what degree is the retailer daring? Spirited? Stimulating? Trendy? Responsible? Dependable? Persistent?
  • Expert or inquisitive: In what ways is the retailer knowledgeable? Successful? Calm? Confident? Secure? Imaginative? Curious?
  • Sophisticated or approachable: To what degree is the retailer formal? Assertive? Ambitious? Casual? Sociable?
  • Rugged or luxurious: In what ways is the retailer gruff? Challenging? Cooperative? Trusting? Considerate? Indulgent?
     Fit your store's retailing personality to how your target market members want to see themselves. But realize that whatever you choose to be on each of the dimensions will always carry some good and bad points. For instance, stores with a sincere, predictable, or expert personality are usually highly respected, but may have trouble keeping customers after a product recall or bad customer service. That's because the target market members don't like surprises when the surprises make it look like the retailer is inept.
     But with stores that have a witty, exciting, or inquisitive personality, customers are ready for a reaction like, "We make shopping more fun with the unexpected," and, "We're always learning so we can get better and better."
     Which mix of these five dimensions will distinguish your retail business in ways that are most profitable? What will you be doing today to start projecting that mix?

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