Monday, December 19, 2011

Do You Know Your Customer?

In your business, do you cater to the customer who pays or the one who doesn't?

At a department store a couple of years ago, my 15-month-old daughter managed to get out of her stroller by wiggling out of her five-point harness and standing up. Nothing much scares me more than a potential trip to the ER, so I let her walk.

Once she was out, I stood back to see what she would do. She wandered around the children’s department doing pretty much what I do. She touched what she could reach: the bottoms of all the tiny pants hanging on the racks, the “fur” on the ends of the tiny coats, the tags on anything dangling low enough. Then, she found The Wall and shrieked. The back wall had racks of clothes hanging right at her eye level. I always wondered why clothes were hanging so low.

Now, I know.

She ran along that wall checking out the leggings and the tops. She touched little tiny jeans and soft green pants. She finally stopped in front of the black leggings and pulled a hanger off the rack. She then went for a pink plaid shirt. She lugged those around for a few minutes (see the fuzzy photo) and then handed them to me. She looked up, smiled like she’d conquered the world, and then used the only word in sign language that she ever bothered to learn: the sign for more.

After we left, I thought it pretty ingenious that the store would hang things on such a low rack, low enough for this tiny little shopper to pull them off. Even worse (if you’re the one paying) or smart (if you’re the store hanging things), the price on these clothes was low enough that I bought the outfit.

Sometimes, we have customers who pay and the customers who don’t. This store was prepared for both.

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