What We Can Learn From Sears
The announcement that Sears has filed for bankruptcy is all over the news media. So are the various opinion pieces on what went wrong with this once-innovative American retail giant. Most of the opinions agree that a multitude of poor decisions kept accumulating until the end. But the one thing all agree on is that this successful department store stopped being successful when it failed to keep up with its customers.
Keep Up With Your Customers
Sears has had a history full of change as it expanded the business to meet the need of the American customer. It was innovative and creative as it became a retail icon. But gradually, the decision-makers stopped making those decisions based on what the customer was doing. One example would be the reliance on big stores in the mall when more and more shoppers were online. Continuing to maintain strategies that used to work well in retail is only a good idea as long as those strategies continue to be effective.
ChainDrive’s customer relationship management tools can be a great way to keep up with your customers because you can analyze your data and determine what is no longer working. You can also see how that information fits into the “big picture” of your entire enterprise because ChainDrive is able to integrate all your data. You see an accurate view because you see all the pieces and how they fit together.
Keep Track Of Your Data
There is a lot of information to keep track of in a department store. Individual departments and their inventories, employees and their commissions, promotions and their rules, and much more. But as individual as the various categories of data can be, they function together in real life. A customer should easily move from browsing on your site to walking through your store. Shoppers should confidently order online and pick up their orders at your store or have them delivered. Your staff should be equipped to answer questions about inventory and update customer profiles. All the details of your department store should fit together to make a streamlined experience for your customers. That streamlining requires an integrated software platform that can collect, store, and move data where you need it for analysis and action.
Whatever the legacy of Sears will be, the lesson for department stores is to keep up with our customers as their shopping habits change.