Dollar stores, urban deserts, sustainability and black lives matter
I followed Dollar stores (Retail store which sells general merchandise, such as clothing, auto parts, dry goods, hardware, home furnishings and a selection of groceries. It has generally sold them at reduced prices, sometimes at one or more fixed prices, like a dollar - Wikipedia) growing in the United States (but also growing in many other developed countries) for a few years and is probably one one of the few winners of the covid-19 era when it comes to retail. His analysis of success should, in my opinion, include its causes and consequences on our societies and our “way of life”.
Dollar General opened 1,000 stores in the United States in 2019 and said there were still commits to opening 1000 new stores and 80 store moves in fiscal 2020. In 2018, there were 31,620 dollar stores in the United States according to Statista. In 2018m grocery sale at Dollar Tree and Dollar General combined, about $ 24 billion nearly eclipsed Whole Food's sales of $ 15 billion. This happens when more than 100 retailers in the United States have gone bankrupt in the period 2019-2020, including Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, Muji USA, Dean & Deluca, Fairway, JCrew, Lord & Taylor or Beauty Brands.
Dollar chain stores continue to thrive in markets Amazon or Walmart seem to ignore: rural towns. But, you might be wondering: why don't rural customers shop at Amazon or Walmart online? Lower price?
I thought Dollar Stores wouldn't sell online because their business model (low price strategy, high inventory turnover, quality low margin products) reminds me of Primark, the Irish fast fashion retailer, whose low margins make difficult online sales. Then I realized that Dollar Stores also sell online! But, honestly, UI / UX is very poor and their estimated turnaround and delivery times are 10-14 days at Dollar General.
Is eco-friendly consumerism exclusive to the rich?
More and more businesses (in grocery, fashion, etc.) are accelerating the shift towards durability while customers demand environmentally friendly products, healthy food, product traceability, responsibly sourced food, better quality to increase product life cycle, etc.
But who are these “eco-conscious” customers? According to Forbes, Compared to typical shoppers, Whole Foods customers love to exercise and adopt what is known as “athleticism” as 62% are more likely to visit stores like Lululemon. Sixty-seven percent are more likely to spend time outdoors. They are 82% more likely to work out with a personal trainer and 56% more likely to take yoga classes. This definition could be used as a standard for defining high net worth clients and their “tastes” in Western societies.
Therefore, we could conclude that “eco-shopping” or having a “green lifestyle” is often only available to the rich. Retail purchase choices can be mapped to Maslow's pyramid where each industry will see companies position themselves on the different layers or segments that correspond to customer needs. At the top of the pyramid, one would find sustainable fashion brands and eco-friendly retailers (eg Whole Foods). Not everyone can afford a $ 25 avocado toast or a $ 45 Patagonia organic cotton t-shirt. Being green is cool, but expensive.
Today there are more dollar stores in the United States than all the Walmarts and Starbucks combined. What is the real social cost?
This phenomenon occurs in our current cultural context of climate change which emphasizes the need to rethink the way we consume (eat, wear, work, travel…) and do business. Meanwhile, inequalities are increasing in most developed countries and the #blacklivesmatter dynamic urgently requires new policies (and even institutional changes). Like I said in The coronavirus, the biggest challenge, covid-19 exposes the limits of our socio-economic model. It is not a spark or a flame, but a great fire.
It is not surprising that António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, presents the World Social Report 2020 “In both North and South, mass protests have erupted, fueled by a combination of economic hardship, growing inequality and precarious employment. Income disparities and the lack of opportunities create a vicious cycle of inequality, frustration and discontent across generations ”.
Last week, on my way home, I heard the term “urban food desert” on the radio. According to wikipedia, a food desert is an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food, unlike an area with higher access to supermarkets or vegetable shops with fresh food, which is called a food oasis. I researched more information and found that approximately 54.4 million people, or 17.7% of the U.S. population, live in low-income, low-access areas and more than one half a mile or 10 miles from the nearest supermarket, according to United States Department of Agriculture. These areas are dollar store magnets.
“The middle class continues to disappear, unfortunately, down the economic ladder… as this economy continues to create more of our core customer base, I think there will be more opportunities for us to build more stores. . - Todd Vasos, CEO, Dollar General (2018. CBInsights)
Assuming that if dollar stores grow, the low-income population (and inequality) could also increase. This is what the graphs above show and Covid-19 is likely to increase poverty. How are we going to eradicate racism, reduce school failure, reduce obesity, diabetes and cholesterol, educate about the environment,…, if inequalities increase? And this is not just an American problem as shown in the graph "The rise of inequalities in the world".
Lack of accessibility to healthy food is an important aspect of food insecurity, as good nutrition plays an important role in the optimal growth, development, health and well-being of individuals at all stages of life. life. Eating a healthy diet can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer. The economic cost of food insecurity is around $ 90 billion per year in rising costs of medical care (A rights-based approach to food insecurity in the United States. Chilton M, Rose DAm J Public Health. 2009 Jul; 99 (7): 1203-11).
The Covid-19 economic crisis will increase this trend as consumers will be more frugal, so we can expect more grocery stores and supermarkets closing stores. But other retailers could also struggle. Dollar stores are increasing their offering while positioning themselves as a one stop shop where customers can find a wide assortment including cleaning, health and beauty, food and drink, home, electronics, toys , babies, clothing, pets, among other product categories.
Besides making money, the goals of mass market retailers should include the adoption of sustainability.
Urban fashion deserts
The idea of this article, although not 100% fashion related, is to line up the dots, share some thoughts on the interrelationship of the factors mentioned above and the possible consequences in the fashion. Dollar stores and discount supermarket chains (eg Aldi, Lidl, Carrefour) also sell clothing and accessories. Where do they manufacture? What materials do they use? What is the environmental cost? Are human rights respected? Do they recycle? How sustainable is their supply chain?
As mentioned earlier, over 100 retailers went bankrupt between 2019-2020 and many of them are fashion retailers (e.g. J. Crew, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Brooks Brothers, John Varvatos, Aldo Group, G Star Raw, Roberto Cavalli, Diesel, Barneys New York…). What if these retailers were replaced by discount supermarkets, dollar stores or Amazon Fashion?
Often the trends are presented as something “holistic” or generic, but we need to differentiate between early majority and late majority early adopters. Economic crises can accelerate but also slow down trends. As I said before, being "green" is expensive and it won't be the first choice when shopping for food or clothing for many people during the covid-19 period.
Make "circular mode“More affordable and fresher food should be a global goal. The middle class is shrinking and the socio-economic outlook is not optimistic. Public-private collaboration is needed to address the socio-cultural, political, economic and environmental challenges we are currently facing. Radical capitalism and populism are not the solution.
Technology will play a vital role in helping companies optimize their business operations, reducing financial risks and ensuring the quality and durability of their products as depicted in the fashion Technology the ecosystem. More efficient businesses will deliver better quality items at lower prices, transforming purchasing choices and giving back to society. To do well while doing good is possible.
Are you a retailer ( or retail sales associate ) who’s struggling with how to approach shoppers ? Worried that you lack the magic touch, or that you’ll come off as an annoying salesperson ? Would you rather be awkwardly staring at your store’s point of sale software screen than actually talking to the customer in front of you ?
You should keep reading because, after years of being one of the strongest sellers at my store, I can assure you : anyone can sell. That’s not to say it’s not going to take a lot of practice. But over the years, I’ve found that a customer will tell you verbally and/or physically how to sell to them. If you’re listening properly and looking for the right cues, you can always tell if a customer is interested in what you have to say, what approach to take with them, and what exactly they’re looking for.
Check out the tips below, put them into action, and you should find yourself successfully closing sales : Practice Active ListeningActive listening isn’t just about standing in front a customer silently. There are a few important things you should be doing to engage in this practice :
The most important part of active listening is to not form a response while the customer is speaking. This is really hard to do, and is going to take a lot of practice. It’s very natural to latch on to one part of a comment and form a response to it, and then shut out the rest of the comment. to become a good listener, a sales person must resist doing this. Active listening should engage your whole body. Things like nodding and having an open stance show the customer that you are listening to what they have to say. Once it’s time for you to speak, give the customer a quick summary of what they said. This has a few purposes. First, it allows you to come up with a response post-comment without things being awkwardly silent. Second, showing the customer that you heard everything they had to say will often open them up to providing you with more information than they initially supplied.
Practicing active listening means that you are fully engaged with learning what the customer wants. This engagement makes a huge difference. Not only will you understand what the customer wants in a deeper way, but you also gain their trust easier.
Next : Pay Attention to Body LanguageAlong with réactive listening, you should be practicing ‘active looking. ’ ( Yes, I just made that term up. ) People will betray a lot of what they’re thinking in the things that they do with their body. A lot of body language experts will tell you some odd things to look for, like watching if someone scratches their nose, but I don’t think that level of depth is necessary. In fact, I think that if you’re watching for a customer to scratch their nose, you’re probably not practicing réactive listening.
However, there is still plenty of body language you should be paying attention to while you’re actively listening. Let me give you a short list of tells you can easily pick up on during a conversation with a customer. 1. Eye ContactWhere a person’s eyes are looking is one of the easiest ways to tell what they’re focusing on. If the customer is looking at you, or the products you’re working with, that’s a good sign. It means they’re engaged with you and are interested in what you have to say and sell.
If they’re looking around, at someone else, out the door… anywhere that’s not where you are – that’s not a great sign. Usually if this is the case you should say something like, “Let me know if you need anything else, ” and let them do their own thing. No eye contact doesn’t mean you won’t be able to close the sale – but it could spell dysfonctionnement if you don’t pay attention.
Hands/ArmsAnother important thing to pay attention to is what people do with their hands and arms. Typically, if someone’s arms are crossed, they are uncomfortable and probably not interested in what you have to say. You should tread gently : let this customer know you are there to help. If you’re talking with a customer who is clearly shy and uncomfortable with talking to you, I recommend acting in a more reserved manner and avoiding things like answering questions the customer has yet to ask. In addition, because this forme reflects a closed off mind, I mostly suggest avoiding suggestive selling. Suggestive selling does not work well on someone who is not interested.
Open arms and palms facing towards you, however, are an excellent sign. If your customer has taken this sort of position in your conversation, you’re doing well. In fact, I would definitely recommend going for it with suggestive selling. ( Of course, make sure you’re showing them items that are actually related to what they want, not just some pre-placed item that your directeur wants to get rid of. )
Facial Expression—Particularly the Curve of Their MouthLastly, you should be paying attention to the termes you customer is making. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to pay close attention to your customer’s facial locutions. Even if a customer is pulling a straight face at you, most people’s mouths are fairly expressive in small ways. Often, the corners of the mouth will be curving slightly up or slightly down. Down is not good for you – it indicates frustration or annoyance. Curving up, though, is an super sign. Additionally, you should pay attention to how tightly the lips are held. If they’re pressed tightly together, it can mean the same thing as crossed arms.
That’s the three major areas of body language you should be paying attention to while actively listening to your customer. Keep in mind that while the customer’s body can give you an indication about how they feel towards you and your product, it’s the listening that is going to yield you the important information about what they want. Now that we’ve established good customer reading techniques, let’s talk about what to do with the information you pick up :
Respond With Similar Body LanguageOne of the easiest ways to set someone at ease is to “mirror” their body language. You don’t want to go overboard on this – that can seem creepy or just mean. But little things are really important. Start with pace and timing. Is the customer in a hurry ? Or do they want to take things slow and steady ? Speak and act at the same pace as the customer. If she’s in a hurry, speaking quickly and speed walking across the store, then you should speak quickly and speed walk across the store as well. If she’s speaking slowly and moves slowly, your speed talking and walking will only come across as aggressive to her.
In addition, you can do subtle things like adopt a similar forme, or use similar hand gestures. With the hand gestures, be careful. You don’t want to come across as mocking your customer. Don’t make exact replicas of hand gestures, keep it general. Determine if someone is ready to buy ( or not ) based on non-verbal cuesHere are a few more tips to help you differentiate shoppers who are ready to buy versus those who aren’t interested.
According to SCORE contributor Lee Perlitz, signals that shoppers are interested in a product include : Spending time looking at or discussing one product type – When a customer spends time focusing on just one product, there’s a good chance they’ve already set their sights on that one and are interested in purchasing it. Looking around for somebody to help them – Catch the shopper’s gaze when you see them looking around. According to Perlitz, you can approach them “if they sustain the glance or raise their eyebrows. ”Body language – A shift in body language signals “a change in mental state that may well indicate readiness to buy. ” For example, if the shopper suddenly styles relaxed after you’ve answered their questions, that could be an indication that they’re ready to buy.
Be sure to approach customers once you see them exhibiting these signals. Failing to spot these signs or not acting in time could result in you missing out on the sale. On the flip side, here are the non-verbal signals indicating that someone isn’t ready to buy. Avoiding eye contact – If a customer doesn’t hold your gaze when you look at them, it likely means they’re not ready to make a purchase yet. Making ‘not now’ excuses – Statements like “just looking” or “not now” are clear signals that they aren’t ready to buy. Perlitz recommends that retailers “make an encouraging remark to keep them looking and back off. ”Looking at many different products – Not being focused on just one product is another indication that shoppers should be given space.
When you see or hear people exhibiting the signals above, then it’s best to hold off on the hard sell. Figure out the type of customer that you’re dealing with and respond accordinglyAs you know, there are several types of customers who walk through your doors, and you need to tailor your approach accordingly. to help you do that, we’ve put together a quick slideshow summarizing the most common types of customers in retail. Check it out below :
More tips ? Those are our tips and tricks to help anyone become a good sales person. It’s important to remember that truly good sales people work on creating trusting relationships with their clients before they sell them anything. If you are capable of creating a trusting relationship, you are capable of selling. These tips are intended to help you create that relationship.
What tricks to reading customers do you employ ? Let us know in the comments below ! Author Bio : Cara Wood is a digital administrative assistant at Capterra, a company that puts software buyers in touch with business software vendors ! When she’s not at work at Capterra, she can be found horse-back riding, reading and just generally having a good time at life.