I am a retailer’s worst nightmare.

I am a college student who does not have any household bills to pay, does not have children to support, does not have any regular monthly expenses. Period. I have a job, which means I have the money for the frivolous spending that my age group is so well associated with.

What’s the problem with that?

Well… I’m not spending.

I sat on the outskirts of the recession and watched as it hurt countries and nations. Many have lost their jobs and the income that they once believed would withstand any recession. It did not quite affect me. I grew up in a middle-class family and my mother has always had a stable job. Luckily, she is the only one who can do her job. Simply put, I’ve got the money, but I’m not using it.

Well, what am I waiting for?

I’m waiting for prices to drop. I’m waiting so I can have money in case of crisis. I’m waiting to save. Save for what? Well I’m not quite sure yet. As of now the only major expenses I’m concerned about is the price of college textbooks. (Really? $ 200.00 for a book I’m only going to use once?)

I’m waiting for a good enough reason to spend – like a nice new outfit and an amazing pair or turquoise heels to wear to the NRF’s Big Show.  I am the potential buyer which retailer’s love. But, when I don’t make any purchases, retail dies a little.  How can retail survive if many are waiting it out to spend their disposable income instead of spending it right now?

That is the question that speakers at the Big Show have posed various answers to. Some said give change – introduce something new to entice the target customer. Some said it is not something new that should be the focus; it is the quality of a product or service. Sustainability of a product is the key to selling it.

And then, there is the opposite approach…the answer is not in the product at all, it is in the service. Showing expert customer service no matter what item you are selling will prove to be a top technique for retailers worldwide.

As mentioned by Mark Williams, President of Financial Service for Best Buy Co., Inc., the “blue shirts” are memorable not only because of the uniforms, but indeed because of their product knowledge that is reliable and helpful.

During the Super Session, Execute or Be Executed, Williams noted that there were challenges that  Best Buy Co., Inc. faced during the worst points of the recent recession. Those challenges were faced and dealt with when they adopted and perfected the theory that high quality customer service wins the hearts of a potential buyer. Even if the customer opts out of making the purchase today, they will stick with that retailer in the long run, because they know that the retailer had expertise knowledge of every product.

Well, here’s what I have to say. One answer cannot stand alone as the key to the revival of our economy after a recession – it is the combination of all of them. (The combination of having a helpful employee sell me some lovely turquoise high heels that will not hurt my poor feet and will be durable for many years of wearing). That is what is going to bring back the buy.

Jena Glick is a freshman at LIM College, one of the Foundation’s college partners.

Posted in: Colleges & Universities | Educators | NRF Foundation News | Retail News | Retailers | Students and tagged , , , , ,
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