Talk recently about latest Curry’s financial results (ie. fucking bad – or ‘lower than expected profits’ in city speak) and how these sort of highly geared low margin companies are having a dire time due to the recessions and the strangling off of the bountiful cash injections we used to be provided with by a tactical re-mortgage. I needed a new telly so decided to head over to my local out of town retail park and grab myself a deal. I’ve got the cash, I’ve got intent, I’ve got an empty cabinet back home. In retail terms I’m super hot to trot. But perhaps it’s not the recession that’s buggering these large companies, perhaps they’re just buggering themselves:
1. Once in store there is the palpable anti-buzz, a vibe of people not giving a fuck. I stood next to a vast TV and gave off the most obvious buying signals I could muster (tapping my wallet in the palm of my hand, looking around with eyebrows raised) and there was nobody in sight. When a ‘worker’ finally meandered over rather than try and sell me something he suggested I check their website for more stock options. Being fairly comfortable shopping on the interweb it prompted two thoughts. If I wanted to shop online I would have done so and secondly my default web shopping mode is to find my product and then *compare price*. Hoping I would go home and stick with Currys as a punter is at best naive and displays a breathtaking lack of understanding of how consumers shop. You’ve got the bastards in your shop, sell them stuff.
2. Everything is on special. All lines appear to have £150 knocked off. It’s like they don’t have confidence in their shit either. It’s as if somebody has identified their brand values as cheap shit sold by people who don’t care and then rolled this out across all their stores. There is a confidence vacuum in a place where there should be optimism. Optimism because they’re selling shiny electrical stuff! This shop should be the distillation of the western dream, the very essence of consumerism is summed up in the isles of blenders and toastie machines. But it’s entirely absent.
3. The place is designed like a dogs dinner and never once in the buying cycle did I appear to be at all at ease. The transaction (should you ever get this far) is conducted on a sort of narrow shelf that you stand in front of. These stores appear to have not changed one jot in the past 30 years. Given that a significant part of this shop is supposedly positioned at the pointy end of tech sales (they have Apple products in the building) why not get some big comfy seating areas where i can find out more about the products sitting down, perhaps look at their own website for further info. Read some reviews. Grab a nice complementary cup of coffee. A biscuit to help with my anxiety and low blood sugar levels.
Doing the same thing but with indifferent staff and cut price products isn’t the solution. Many companies convince themselves that the internet offers convenience without facing up the possibility that the shopping experience they provide in the physical world might well be an inconvenience.
I bought the telly by the way.