What is the definition of retail? Retail is a business that sells a product directly to a customer. But what constitutes a “product”? Can a service or an experience also be a product? Does it have to be tangible? We would like to redefine the word retailer to include anyone who sells a product, service or experience to a customer.
Retail Concepts feels like pretty much any business who sells something direct to a customer is a retailer. Just because you don’t sell a tangible product you can pop in a bag for a customer, you are still selling them something after all. Right?
We are always surprised to hear that many of the below types of businesses do not consider themselves retailers:
- Beauty Salons
- Doctors, Dentists and Other Medical Professionals
- Ski Resorts or Sports Venues
- Professional Service Providers Like Insurance Companies, Printers, Etc.
All of these businesses still provide their customers something they are selling. It may be an experience but people are paying them for that service and expect a certain level of ambiance to be delivered along with it. If you are a customer facing business with a storefront or physical location (that includes a website) where people can enter and pay you for something…then you are a retailer!!
And if you are a retailer then your brand and personality needs to be carried throughout every touchpoint where you interact with your customers.
Max Brenner is a restaurant that really understands this and brings the idea of chocolate into every aspect of their business. The color tones, smells, menu options and even how they serve the food all evoke a sensory experience with chocolate. They even have their own unique drinking glasses and mugs. Try the hot chocolate!
In Australia, the People’s Choice Credit Union wants to be the anti-bank. It offers amenities such as bike racks, coffee, coin rolling machines and other features to make it more convenient and comfortable for members.
Yotel, a New York hotel, takes the brand experience into all aspects of a customer’s stay there. This includes their “Yobot” that stores and retrieves luggage for hotel guests.
Many other service providers are taking their business into storefront models. Recently we have heard or insurance agents, travel agents, etc. designing retail oriented spaces that are more conducive to working with customers and moving ahead from traditional office settings.
Do you consider yourself a retailer? Let us know why or why not and what you have done to bring your brand personality out in every touchpoint of your business.