Saturday, August 9, 2008

Book store

There's a small bookstore which I (used to ) frequent . Went there recently to look for books on specific subjects . While in the store I remembered that I needed a particular issue of a magazine . Turned out that it was the last week's issue and no longer in stock . Asked the store manager if he could get me a copy . He readily declined . No "sorry, I don't think we would be able to organize it". Just "It's not possible. It's already 4 days since that issue was returned ". I tried to reason with him that it would be easier for him as a store to get a copy than for me as a consumer . His response was that he had tried it once earlier and it was not possible.

In retrospect I realized that the store had another person running it until few months ago . That individual was service oriented and had managed to get me several books based on my request . During visits to the store he would recommend books based on his understanding of my preference. 

Book retailing (like most other businesses ) is extremely competitive . Large stores draw customers with the depth and breadth of offerings , loyalty programs . Books can be easily purchased on-line .Magazines can be purchased from magazine stalls across the city or through subscriptions. For a small book store to thrive their best bet is to develop a strong understanding of the customers , provide personalized service on a consistent basis .
Not everyone seeks the impersonal service of a large retailer. A lot of consumers would prefer patronizing a store that offers them recognition and personalized service . 

The new store in-charge seems to have no connect with the product or the customers . He could well be selling chips or cement.

People with strong service orientation and product knowledge are invaluable assets in the retail business . Without them a business has to work harder on all other aspects (product range , price , non-price benefits ) to offer compelling reasons for customers to walk in and share their time and money.

1 comment:

Neelakantan said...

Ah! And then can thrive with this set of satisfied customers. Who needs a million customers to drive away?