Why retailers are so important

Posted: December 7, 2011

I recently decided to buy a bicycle. What could be simpler? Hah! I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about bikes until I started to read up on them. Sadly I found reviews were less than helpful as they are written by and for people who know that ‘derailleur gear ratio calculator’ isn’t just a collection of four random words.

I ended up buying a bike from a local independent dealer. I’d love to say it was a great experience but it wasn’t. I didn’t know what I wanted so I ended up with the model the salesman wanted me to have. Unfortunately the first time I took it out I realised I had made a quite expensive mistake.

I wonder how many people experience that awkward feeling of being ‘a stranger in a strange land’ when they venture into the sex toy market for the first time? Dry lists of features will mean next to nothing and they won’t know the benefits of one material over another, nor how important a quiet motor is – until they turn it on for the first time and discover it’s loud enough to wake the neighbours.

An unsatisfactory initial experience can mean a consumer will just give up on their new interest, and the industry loses them as a customer forever, which is why good retailers are so important.

Times are tough on every High Street but the very best retailers are still thriving. These are the stores who take time to assess their customers’ needs, present them with a number of the most suitable alternatives, in several price brackets, and let them have a bit of a play with their shortlist before they make their final decision – regardless of whether they are selling cycles, sofas or sex toys.