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Keeping up with the new customer expectations - Are you?

How fast are things changing? Well they have changed, period. 

Have they changed much? Dramatically is the answer and customer expectations are sky high. As an example ask a young person how quickly they expect to receive an online purchase, they won't answer 3-5 days, they expect to receive it today! Their expectations have changed in retail and hospitality too, they expect value for money which can mean many different things, as customers look for an experience as they spend.  

What about expectations of the retail/ food offer at visitor attractions and holiday destinations? Again expectations have changed. 

Bristol Zoo Gardens, a fine example of innovation, they are in the process of building a fantastic new food proposition with experiential facilities which educate and entertain. Many will follow in Bristol Zoo's footsteps.

We have seen a massive shift in shopping habits at convenience stores and food to go outlets, or people simply choose to eat out. It is simply no longer good enough to have a clean, well fitted out shop or food outlet/diner that is in stock with well-presented staff, customers expect it as the norm. So what about these changes, people are moving to eating out more or they shop daily and expect an improved and larger offer of chilled goods or in some locations an offer of international foods is expected or customers want a good selection of hot food ready to eat.

It is no coincidence hot food to go suppliers have 'upped their game' with many affordable solutions available improving the offer without bringing in concession operators with a large up front financial outlay.

How do you keep up and offer your visitors a proposition which meets current day and tomorrow's expectations? Oh and future proofing is key!

Let me break it all down...

Understanding your customer and their expectations is the first step, having an understanding of what's out there in the market place is the next. Then you need a clear idea of the type of outlet you desire, fixture types, finishes, colouration and look and feel. Or is it simply a visual make over and brush up that moves your offer forward? Now you have a base to start from and a 'brief' to move forward with. If you are making major change sending a BOQ (bill of quantities or a list of components required to match the look and feel you desire). All very straight forward! 

Once you have the tender documents ready, drawings, images and BOQ's you can send them to a list of fit out specialists with a detailed timeline which includes a milestone review process.

Getting all too much for you? And we haven't talked about retail merchandising, service levels, promotional plans oven types, chiller decks, should I have doors and save money or should they be open decks? All reasonable questions to raise and explore. Oh, and by the way you have a job to do in between all this and you need someone to project manage the process.

I will spare you the sales pitch here other than to say all of the above is our day job and we can assist in a small way with a light touch and a gentle steer or we can take your thoughts and ideas and turn them into reality for your sign off and approval. Importantly we like what we do and we enjoy working with great people helping them build better businesses. 

I hope my short article gives you some ‘food for thought’ and perhaps you will take a little time out of your day to stop, draw breath and take a walk round you shop, food to go offer or cafe/restaurant and look carefully at it from your customers view point. Their expectations have changed...have yours?

PARTNER OFFER As part of our aim to provide you with inspiration advice and recourses to put your holiday business on the map. We have teamed up with The Retailer Group and offer a review of your retail and hospitality outlets at a knock down price.Normally the cost to review and make initial recommendation is £1500. We are offering the initial consultation at *£500 and the figure is fully refundable if The Retailer Group are engaged to assist you in your project. With the pace of change in retail and hospitality, now is a good time to take a step back and review the opportunities and challenges facing you.*Travelling expenses may apply.Gordon MacPherson is Managing Director at The Retailer Group offering support and advice to large and small operators of retail and hospitality outlets in visitor destinations and attractions.

Email: gordonmacpherson@the 0845 658 8530

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