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As were going into the Friday after Thanksgiving and Black Monday, coming up soon (Ill be in Paris on Black Monday, so as far as Im concerned, I hope not to be impulsively clicking on anything) Im reminded of a... [Read More]

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Yes, the loss leaders. What if as you hint at here, we rewarded the best (as in most profitable) customers instead?

I imagine you would have a lot of experience having been involved with retail operations in your line of work. Everyone has addressed growth with cost cutting in many industries, not only retail. It's a short sighted way.

Hi Valeria,
Black Friday is an event that retailers both love and hate. Here in Richmond, there were people camped out overnight at Best Buy and Circuit City even though the same deals could be had on-line. Clearly, a demonstration that for these shoppers, it's about the quest. On the flipside, the items that they are going after are often sold at a loss to get people in the door. Those customers who camp out to get the deals are rarely the same customers who show up on a company's "best customer" (i.e. most profitable) list. At my previous company, they were sometimes referred to as "bottom feeders".

Regarding shrink, it is indeed a big problem for retailers. The four sources are employee theft, shoplifting, vendor theft and paperwork errors with employee theft accounting for almost half! The advice to hire A-players sounds great, but in a marketplace where margins have become razor thin thanks to the Wal-mart Effect, retailers have addressed margin erosion by reducing labor costs and that typically won't lead to hiring A-players. Sadly, the approach taken by many retailers to address the problem is to lock up hi-risk products to make them less accessible which leads to a diminished customer experience.

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