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Monday, Jul. 2, 2007 at 6:17 am

Disorganized Retail

By Bryan Eisenberg
July 2nd, 2007

Seth and I must have been drinking the same thing this weekend. I had the same thoughts yesterday as I went in to the local convenience store and wondered why it was so inconvenient to find a diet iced tea. Why did I need to scan 10 coolers worth of drinks and not find what they probably had anyway?

Many businesses believe they’re focused on customers, but they leave many clues to show that they’re not. What are you subconsciously revealing about your business?

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Comments (5)

  1. My perspective on both this post and Seth Godin’s is that while you make excellent points, I do not feel this type of selling should apply across the board. For example, women do not want to see a store divided up by size. They will never shop there–they don’t wish other ladies to see that they take a size or two larger. (TJ Maxx sells by size though, but they have such a hodgepodge of brands that it makes sense). Men probably don’t care either way. It would be tough for customers to adjust to store layout changes as well. Interesting perspective though.

  2. Great posts. Personally, I don’t see this being a huge departure from the kinds of personalization efforts we’re already seeing online, it’s just being applied to the in-store experience. It’s all about providing more relevant shopping experiences for consumers.

    If you’re looking for a hammer, it’s only logical that you’d probably need some nails too. Why not make it easy to find those relevant items by pairing them together?

  3. C.Stevens, I agree this might not work in every situation. Few things do. Still, it’s always worth testing and optimizing both online and off.

    Dan, I totally agree. Try to pay attention though to ho infrequently you actually see it implemented well on sites you visit. Just because it is common sense doesn’t make it common place.

  4. WOW! I was in retail (grocery stores) and wholesale (Kraft Foods) over 30 years ago and this was the mantra: CROSS SELLING! Now it is the newest best thing??? As a store manager and then as a salesman I was constantly “reminded” to mix items. Salad dressing in the lettuce display, cheese slices in the hamburger display, grated cheese on display in the pasta aisle, etc. Sales of both items increased. Unfortunatley the market now has become a pay to play game.

    Haven’t been able to figure out how to carry this idea over to the health care business…..yet. Not too many “choices” for people to obtain cross over services when they are having anesthesia.

    Keep up the interesting work and ideas.

  5. Would it be out of line to add that stores work with the lowest common denominator and that, unfortunately, with general recruitment today, is staff. Imagine, for a moment, managing a host of staff to get the organization correct – it just wouldn’t happen.
    And, er, aren’t we a brand conscious society?
    I will agree with Robert though, those who do try and do it well, will have more success cross selling. What is old is new again, hey Robert?

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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