“Mind the Store – Don’t be Out of Stock”-CONSUMERS EXPECT IT - With consumers having busy schedules and ever changing and improving technology, shopping on the internet has had an increasing role with retail spaces having a hard time competing and being profitable. Online “shopping” extends to real estate, with internet presence and SEO increasingly important. There are some that say the internet will take over the real estate selling and purchase process entirely. That’s a whole other discussion, but I want to look at an aspect of use of the internet that consumers, real estate agents, and retailers, for that matter, should be considering.
On several trips to stores recently, I have been asked at checkout if “I found everything I was looking for”. My answer increasingly has been, “actually, no, you used to carry……..” or, my favorite, “the last time I was in, you had an out of stock sign for this item, and you still have an out of stock sign”. The checkout clerks then very nicely tell me that I can possibly order online, or better yet, they expect me to figure out their instore kiosk system to order. They seem to be oblivious as to why I am in their storefront in the first place.
I may be a little old fashioned on some things, but I do some shopping and banking online and I do have a reasonable sense of how to navigate the internet and embrace the trending. What I feel is being missed by retailers, is that retailers don’t seem to understand the reasons why a consumer chooses to go to a storefront. For me, it’s the convenience of one stop shopping in the course of other errands I am running. Sometimes I need something right away, not tomorrow, not even same day, but within the next hour or two, and retail storefronts allow me to handle not only the crisis of the moment, but other things I need. More importantly, there is convenience in being able to see certain items first hand and not having to deal with having to return things that the internet can’t really give a true visual.
So you might ask – what does this have to do with real estate? Real estate agents absolutely must accommodate sellers and buyers with comprehensive, user friendly websites and strong internet presence. However, real estate agents need to be “fully stocked” – knowledgeable, available and responsive with the details consumers seek that are tailored to their specific real estate needs and transactions. They can’t just assume the internet is the one stop shopping. They need to recognize that there are consumers that need a lot more – they need to “Mind the Store – Don’t be Out of Stock” – CONSUMERS EXPECT IT.
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