Retail Customer Hugs
In a recent News-Times story, Jack Mitchell, owner of Mitchells, a high-end mens store in Westport CT, said that the key to success for small retailers is that you've got to "hug" your customers and employees.
"It's getting to know each person on a personalized, individual basis," Mr. Mitchell said last week, according to The News-Times. "Hugging is an absolute mind-set, trying to determine what's important to them."
Mitchell, who owns two other stores in Connecticut, is the author of two books, "Hug Your Customers" (2003) and "Hug Your People" (2008).
What he's talking about is relationship retailing. For small retailers, one of the greatest advantages that they have over their much larger competitors is their ability to engage their customers in a very personal way. By some estimates, regular customers, those customers who visit every 2 weeks or 4 weeks, make up as much as 50% of the customer base of small retailers. This gives those retailers an exceptional opportunity to stay close to those customers, and provide them very personalized, and personal, service.