Listening to customers is key to a successful retail business

Industry Insight

Customers are critical to the success of a retail business. Without them, retailers would have no one to sell to. However, it is easy to forget about them when making decisions about the retail business, which may have disastrous ramifications.

Internet Retailer pointed to Wayfair as an example of this. Wayfair launched a flash sale site and, because of the nature of flash sales, decided to put a “no returns” policy in place. The move made perfect sense for the retail business – because it sold products for a limited time only, the retailer did not want to wind up with a bunch of extra inventory from returns that it couldn’t repackage and resell.

However, the site struggled out of the gate because the “no returns” policy didn’t make sense to customers.

“The online shopper can be the most valuable ally to a retailer who pays attention to what she wants”

After all, they could return items to Wayfair’s other eCommerce sites, so why couldn’t they do exchanges at this new one? The retail business ended up revising the policy to allow shoppers to make returns if need be. Although the site did not receive many returns anyway, simply knowing they could exchange products removed a psychological barrier to making the initial purchase.

“The online shopper can be the most valuable ally to a retailer who pays attention to what she wants,” Internet Retailer editor in chief Don Davis added. “Not only will consumers provide invaluable feedback, happy shoppers will take to social networks to broadcast their delight. And when those social posts take the form of videos or imagery, they can be even more effective.”

Whether a retail business is looking to add another item or change a policy, the customer must be a consideration. This can help guide retailers as they look to improve their eCommerce operations.

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