August 20, 2009

The Pillars of Retail

Sometime ago, I wrote about the segmentation of markets and the inherent gaps there are in that Segmentation when people don't 'fit' the model. In my day job recently I've been doing a lot of thinking about Retail, which is not really a subject I know much about. And recently I've had the experience of some hideous customer service (which I'll write about at length in a follow up article). So I've been thinking about how all those thought processes overlap.

I conceptualised some time ago in an earlier draft of this article what I thought where the definitions of a successful retail offering. While this article is semi-educated OPINION, developed by being a customer for well, a few years now, I think it is important to defer to experts in the field. So I have been canvassing directly or indirectly input about Retail (i.e. Bricks and Mortar) sales outlets. Especially when it comes to the Key Pillar of that channel - Customer Experience.

As part 1 of this piece, let me share my opinions on what I believe a retail business should, at the very least, offer a customer.

Like most things, there are a number of pillars or points of support for a business or any other initiatives to be successful. Just as a house won't stay standing without a minimum number of supports or a car can't drive without a minimum number of wheels, then so the same must be applied to Customer Facing Businesses. I've identified five;
  • Good Brand
  • Excellent Quality
  • Customer Service
  • Pricing acceptance
  • Store Positioning
I suspect some of these are interchangeable to an extent, but I think if you have two or three you've got basis for a reasonable business. To make it remarkably successful however, you probably need to add at least one other. Like I mentioned previously, this is unlikely to be an exhaustive list, but I'm going to focus on these in follow up articles.

In the meantime, I’m interested in your input. Let me know what you think? Have I incorrectly identified the ‘pillars’? Have I missed many? Am I looking at this the wrong way?


  1. Nice post GC.

    As the marketing folk say, the four P's are essential and you have captured them aptly.

    Price, product, placement, promotion.

    Perhaps a clear proposition is one of those pillars? For example, know your business point of different or objective and stick to it. Don't try to be all things to all people, have a clear proposition and stick to it. By all means innovate and diversify, but ultimately stick to your proposition.

    Just a thought. Not my area. And I would argue instead of brand, it should be holistic marketing/public relations including branding.. ;)


  2. Hi KE tnx I guess I need to publish part 2. Nice point about PR. I thunk though positioning fits into that perhaps? I'll bear the input in mind when I rewrite part 2 ;)