I am not sure of the origins of the phrase “chore and cherish” retail, but I immediately liked it when I read it. Simply put, chore retail is the purchasing of commodity product. In other words, purchasing products because we have to, not because we want to. The key to chore retail is to make it easy and frictionless. Amazon has dominated this sector by making it easy to purchase these items with dash buttons, auto re-ordering, Alexa voice integration, and one click purchasing. Aside from Amazon, many other retailers are vying for the recurring purchase pattern associated with commodity purchases.
Cherish retail is about finding those products you really love and want to share with others. Cherish retail is also about the social aspect of retail and creating great experiences. In many cases, Cherish retail requires a physical presence to allow people to touch, feel, and try on products. It also includes impulse purchases as customers discover new and unique products.
As I have read more on these types of retail and apply them to myself, I find a gap. Sure there are products that are a “chore” to buy. And I get the idea of needing to create a great experience in the store to entice customers to explore and find new products. But I keep coming back to how I purchase a lot of products and “chore” and “cherish” don’t really capture the essence of what I do.
Let me provide an example of what I mean. I needed a charger for my daughter to take on a camping trip. Since the camping trip would last three days, I wanted a charger with enough capacity to provide a number of charges for her cell phone. This isn’t commodity purchasing as I needed to research the products. It isn’t a product I want to fall in love with either. It is about finding the right product, with the right specifications, at the right price. I choose to call this “chase” retail. OK, maybe “quest” retail would be a better term, but I am trying to be consistent with the “ch” term theme.
Enabling Retail Styles
Consider the core requirements to support a Chore/Chase/Cherish style of retail.
- Basic Product Information
- Streamlined ordering
- Quick delivery
For chore retailing technology is already providing many advances to simplify and streamline the purchase process. Technology enables a frictionless and seamless customer interface. Examples of this are the Amazon Dash Button, Google Home ordering, and literally hundreds of custom mobile applications. In addition, technology plays a critical enabling role in the order fulfillment process. Technology combined with physical logistics networks is rapidly changing two-day delivery to same-day delivery in many markets.
- Detailed Product Information
- Simplified and comprehensive search
- Customer reviews
- Fulfillment options
For chase retailing, advanced product information is a must. Specifications, photos/videos, benefits, comparisons, and related items are just some of the elements needed to satisfy customer’s research needs. Chase retail purchasers also pay a lot of attention to customer reviews . Leveraging visual product recognition coupled with augmented reality now provides the means to allow customers to easily access product information and customer reviews in a store. Finally, the customer wants options for fulfillment. Whether it is buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), ship from store, or ship from fulfillment center, the customer wants to have options for getting the product in their desired timeframe.
- Deep insights into customer behaviors and trends
- Artisan and curated product offerings
- New and unique experiences
- Social connection
Cherish retail is all about customer experience. Much of the focus for cherish retail will be in the store for the next few years. However, the work to build a truly engaging experience begins well before the customer walks into the store. Developing great insights from customer and fashion trends is critical in building a compelling product assortment. The ambiance of the store must be enticing and encourage the customer to browse and discover. The use of virtual reality and augmented reality to rapidly test and learn from new store layouts is a critical enabler for those retailers wanting to provide the most unique and captivating in-store experience.
Customers are also demanding more levels of personalization. Think about it, nothing is more unique than something you create just for yourself. Of course, personalization adds a massive layer of complexity to most supply chains and will require more investment in technology and business innovation.
Finally, customers want the ability to interact with technology even while in a store. Getting real-time feedback from family and friends, posting about an experience, or even participating in retailer gamification are all important aspects of today’s customer experience.
For many years we have talked about retailers competing on price, convenience, or experience. Customer expectations are changing this to an extent. Finding the best price and getting quick fulfillment are readily available to customers. Retailers that want to win in 2018 and beyond will need to determine the style(s) of retail where they want to compete and be ruthless in building the most engaging customer experiences.