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Show Some Authenticiy

Show Some AuthenticiyHappy New Year and welcome to 2014!
     This is the time of year when I typically talk about new beginnings, fresh starts, the opportunity to apply what we learned last year to the year ahead of us and other bubbly and positive insights.
     Not this time. This year, I am throwing you a curve ball in that I've decided to start my first column of 2014 from a somewhat negative perspective.
     In our desire to be consumer-focused, we devote a lot of time to trying to figure out what she wants and expects from a retail encounter.
     While that is certainly time well spent, I think it is just as important to invest some time considering what she doesn't want from a retail experience. I spent some time thinking about this over the holidays and here - for better or worse - is my short list of what she doesn't want.
     ■ She does not want to be sold. Yes, you want to sell her, but she wants to pull the trigger on the purchase rather than feel she has a gun held to her head. Sorry, folks, but she's in charge here.
    ■ She's likely not overly interested in how great you tell her that you, your company and your products are. What she does want is for you to provide her with the time, space and information she needs to come to her own conclusions.
   ■ She doesn't want her shopping experience with you to complicate her life. Most shoppers are time-starved jugglers desperately trying to balance jobs, families and a host of other responsibilities. The last thing she wants or needs is for anyone or anything to add stress to an already stressful life.
    ■ If there is a miscue with her shopping experience with you, she does not want you to hide, go dark and disappear on her.
     In order to end on a positive note, let me share one last observation.
     Having spent the last few months casually polling shoppers about what they do want, I need to share a single word that came up over and over: authenticity. The folks I talked with told me if they could have one thing when they shopped it would be authenticity.
     They explained that meant authenticity in the product, authenticity on the part of the people offering the product and authenticity in every aspect of the after sale and follow up.

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