Saturday, November 8, 2008

How Do You Improve the Mundane?

It doesn't get any more basic or mundane than shopping at Costco. I've been a member for many years and they have some incredible bargains. If you have been to one, you know that they are pretty basic in design. They used to call it a warehouse store and that still describes it very well. The selection of merchandise is great and there is always new things coming in all the time. They choose high quality items with recognized brand names on purpose and they buy in quantities sufficient to reduce the cost and pass that savings to the members. It is an excellent store and I continue to pay for the privilege each year.

Yet, with all the positives of this store, the one negative that most of us could agree on is that it is slow to check out and at most times there are long lines waiting to get up to the check out register. This makes it unpleasant enough that I do not go there except about once a month. If this were not the case, I think I would go more often.

So, how do you improve the shopping experience at the warehouse super stores? Simple: speed up the check out dramatically.

Now, my business partner likes Sam's Club which is a similar type of store run by Wal Mart. So, for our business, we joined Sam's Club and they have improved the checkout process. They have a guy that has a hand-held scanner and he gets your membership card, scans it, then scans all your items, so that when you get to the check out register, all you do is pay. Wow. I was really impressed. It was much faster and much more pleasant.

How can you take a lemon in your operation and make lemonade with it? Find out if there are any negative experiences of customers in your shop or store and think of great ways to solve that and create a superior experience. It will pay large dividends in repeat and more frequent visits.

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