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August 1999


'Before You Go ...'

Interview customers to develop your niche

Create your store brand based on the elements that distinguish you from your competition. Identify which of these points are most important to customers and build your brand around them, says an article in Retail Strategies,a newsletter by American Express.

To do this, the article suggests conducting exit interviews. Over two weeks, ask customers to respond to a five-minute questionnaire before leaving the store. The questionnaire should include rankings on a scale of 1-10 of merchandise assortment, service, store environment and total shopping experience. For the survey to be useful, you'll need at least 100 responses. Offer gift certificates or discounts to encourage customers to participate.

Use the results to determine customers' values, then make changes in your service policies and merchandise to accommodate these values.

– by Stacey King

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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