business news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a story the other day about a survey in which shoppers identified their favorite chain stores on a state-by-state basis, which prompted the following email from MNB reader Lynn Gust:

I was fortunate enough to spend my 46 hears in retail with Fred Meyer. I was happy to see that according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, our Customers (Mr. Meyer always used a capital “C” when spelling Customer) feel the Freddie’s is the best retail chain in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Having not read the article I am surprised that Alaska wasn’t recognized as well. We worked hard to connect with our Customers and our Associates (my capital “A”) have delivered time and again on our promise. The future of retail is certainly going to be interesting and filled with changes, but I have enjoyed every minute.

Full disclosure, I was lucky enough to have been the President of Fred Meyer from 2012-2016 and as I have told anyone willing to listen, it was THE BEST job in the world. Excited to see what the future brings.

Yesterday’s Eye-Opener was about an email I got from Nordstrom that reflected the power of a retailer saying, “Yes.”

MNB reader Glenn Cantor responded:

It is ironic that you published Nordstrom’s Magic Word, Yes, in today’s MNB.  Over the weekend, my wife were shopping in our local Stop and Shop.  We love this store and make nearly all of our grocery purchases at Stop and Shop.

All of their employees are now wearing shirts with three customer promises declared on the back.  The third promise is “Never Say No.”

Last week, my wife asked them to cut a pork roast in half, because the roasts that had for sale were too large for our needs.  The store employee said “No.”  He couldn’t cut the roast into a smaller size because it would result in a different cost.  This week, they were out of the green seedless grapes that were advertised on the front page of their circular.  Although I didn’t ask, if I had asked if they had any of the advertised product, the answer would have been “no.”

The point is that you cannot make a customer promise unless you can support it.   Nordstrom’s culture supports “Yes.”  Hopefully, Stop and Shop will get there.

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