Phillip and Brian get into the implications of multi-generational branding, the ever-changing face of retail interactions, and discuss how empowering employees is key to boosting customer retention. Listen now!

Main Takeaways:

  • Retail experiences that go above and beyond the normal call of duty can lead to brand loyalty that spans several generations.
  • Retail used to be based upon in-person interactions with shopkeepers and store owners, but how do we bring these interactions into the digital age?
  • Multi-Generational loyalty can be achieved by empowering employees to create memorable interactions with customers.
  • How do you make employee benefits as flexible and beneficial as possible for the complicated lives of your employees?

Beyond the Sales Floor: The Multi-Generational Nature of Retail Relationships:

  • Brian recounts two Costco associates that spent a lot of time talking with Brian's father and how their relationship transcends a typical retail relationship in which the front end retail associate considers his customer his friend.
  • This relationship is an example of peak clienteling in which the relationships that Brian's father built with the Costco employees led to Brian having a strong affiliation witch Costco: a textbook example of multigenerational retail.
  • Phillip mentions up a conversation he had on a Merchant to Merchant episode with Birdwell Beach Britches (say that five times fast), a company that has been around for so long that they have become a generational outpost for Venice Beach.
  • Brian brings up a past episode with Michelle Cordeiro Grant in which she spoke about catering towards multi-generational shopping trips.
  • Brands are having to be more community-oriented and it makes sense that if you have a great experience with a brand, you will want to share that brand with your family.

Retail of the Past: The Malls Before Starcourt:

  • In the past, there were shops in towns with owners that lived in those towns and were part of the community. (Did you catch the Stranger Things reference in the section title?)
  • The relationships forged in these small-town shops lasted for generations and if you were able to recreate the brand loyalty of these old school relationships, then you would be monstrously successful.
  • Brian brings up a recent New York Times Article in which the author enjoyed working in retail, but was ashamed to admit that they worked in retail at all.
  • "Investing in your own employees as much as you invest in your customers is a huge topic that we should be spending a lot more time talking about."

Building Connections: Old Fashioned Relationships in a Digital World:

  • If we focus on multi-generational retail experiences that create real connections akin to those that existed in the past, then we might be able to foster relationships that strengthen brand loyalty.
  • Ultimately, the challenge is to bring the interactions of a pre-digital retail world into the modern era and create relationships.
  • If you are a luxury retailer, the challenges are only compounded because everyone has a different definition of luxury and the personal retail interactions have to be even more personalized.
  • It's a conversational challenge to empower retail associates to have meaningful interactions, but companies like Half Price Books are empowering their employees by allowing them to curate their own assortments.
  • Hiring good people and then giving them the freedom to address their customers directly in a place that they feel empowered is a key factor in creating lasting relationships.

Empowering Employees: The Key to Positive Retail Experiences:

  • Phillip brings up an article about Target boosting employee benefits and points out that if you want people to stay at a job for a long period of time, then you have to cater to their lives and treat them as part of your community,
  • This sort of positive and flexible company culture trickles all the way down to customer interactions and leads to better retail experiences.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, Phillip brings up Late Stage Capitalism that pretty much boils down to as the horrible things that capitalism forces people to do in order to survive. (Delightful.)
  • The longer that retail brands exist, the more they have to provide to shareholders and the more they have to increase their earnings, and eventually, this leads to underpaid employees.
  • Phillip thinks that maybe the brands that continue to thrive by prioritizing employee values are the ones that remain privately held.

As always: We want to hear what our listeners think! How can you create an environment that fosters memorable retail interactions? How do you build a strategy that uses technology that plays into actual community building?

Let us know in the content section on, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin.

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Retail Tech is moving fast, but Future Commerce is moving faster.

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