How the Chicago Cubs Show How To Fix Brick and Mortar Retail Sales
By Bob Phibbs
Update: The Cubs start the world series tonight. They had not won the National League pennant in 71 years until finally winning it this year. You can tell a winning team as this blog I wrote many months ago shows...
I was watching the Yankees and the Red Sox game last week. Both teams seemed like they were just going through the motions. I was bored because they seemed bored.
A few days later I was watching the Cubs versus the Pirates. It was an exciting game. The Cubs played like they wanted to win. All their players were having fun.
And remember, while the Cubs got to the playoffs last year, they have not won the World Series in over a hundred years.
It’s no secret the Yankees are enduring one of their worst starts since 1991. I turned to a buddy and told him that I put the fault on their manager, Joe Girardi.
I said, “If Joe really wanted to win, he’d find a way for his whole team to take the day off and go do something totally unrelated to practice. He’d have the whole team go to a Little League game and work with the two teams or do an impromptu fundraiser ... something ... anything to bring his team together.”
The Yankees haven’t been a team to me since 2009 when A.J. Burnett would routinely smash a pie in the leader’s face after their walkoff wins. Everyone celebrated their team spirit. They were hungry to win. Their games were fun to watch.
A video during the Cubs game featured the Cubs dressed in Minimalist Zany suits. Turns out their manager Joe Maddon had them dress like this for this road trip. The guys were all seen smiling and enjoying it as much as they seemed like they were having fun on the field.
And it wasn’t just this year, last year’s road trip featured Jake Arrieta's no-hitter at Dodger Stadium and the team pajama party that followed.
One for all and all for one...
One team of extraordinary Musketeers.
“Don't ever let the pressure exceed the pleasure,” Maddon said. When he was with the Tampa Bay Rays, he famously brought in dogs, penguins, and snakes to lighten the clubhouse mood. It’s no mystery why he has been American League Manager of the Year for three times running.
What’s that got to do with the retail customer experience?
It is so easy in this day and age with so many must-do, must-find, must-complete tasks pressuring retail management to do more, be more, achieve more with less that they forget the fun of working around products that many times are pretty cool.
It’s also easy to forget that people who shop are by their very nature hopeful.
Let’s back up on that…
Pessimistic people don’t buy.
People shop because something about them has changed. They want to look better. They want to feel better. They want to try something new. They are filled with hope.
The only way to get them to move past their interest to purchase to actually purchase is to make their customer experience fun.
Sure you can get a cutting-edge Oculus virtual-reality device, strap it to a shopper’s head, and hope virtual reality will do the trick, but technology doesn’t necessarily make shopping fun.
The fun comes when you have created a team.
Sure you can come up with a contest, but that rarely builds esprit de corps.
And you can’t just say you’re a team like this cheesy retail sales training video using team as a metaphor does.
No, the fun comes from having well-trained teammates all rooting for each other.
You can play a variety of games, but that often falls flat as you haven’t looked at the fundamentals of why they aren’t a team.
When you limit the number of hours an employee works to avoid paying their healthcare...
When you limit the schedule so you don’t overpay payroll in case of soft demand...
When you don’t give them retail sales training…
When you don’t practice daily to keep their minds fresh and engaged....
Is it a mystery why shoppers are staying home more and more?
Shopping in brick and mortar stores are simply not fun.
But it used to be.
Employees used to be valued. Not because they posted pictures, or wore a brand’s clothes, or were paid to influence their community of Instagram followers.
It was because they were all working for the same goal.
When employees learn proper retail sales techniques and are taught how they can enjoy working in retail, management can keep those brand ambassadors at their peak.
And when they do that, fun comes naturally. It isn’t a gimmick or a promo. It’s genuine.
The fun that comes from your crew sharing new technology and the gee whiz of the experience...
The fun of outfitting the woman going on a date...
The challenge of finding just the right elements for the weekend project.
These all take a laser focus on the fun of your crew making the customers’ day. Just like the Cubs are solely focused on getting back to the World Series; you never want your team to lose their focus, their drive, their fun...all aimed at getting the sale.
Looking to fix your brick and mortar shop?
Think about the lack of fun in your business. Do your employees give off a feeling of pessimism or hope? Shoppers are much less inclined to buy from pessimists.
If you and I can see it, so can your customers.
Oh, and if your store is not as fun as you’d like it to be because you have someone working for you who doesn’t want to be part of a team, take this quick survey.
Thanks to @Cubs for their permission to use this team photo.
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