There is a Kmart not far from where the value conscious Joy Ann and I live. It is an older store but it is clean, well-stocked and very convenient for us. The Kmart company has had its problems over the past few years but generally we enjoy shopping at our Kmart and we find the prices comparable to Target and Walmart.
Kmart has its roots in the Kresge company that ran five and dime stores all over America some years ago. Kresge had its roots in the McCrory’s five and dime stores that date back to the late 1800’s. More recently Kmart bought Sears. There is not going to be a quiz….it just kind of interesting to see the genesis.
Joy Ann and I were at Kmart a few days ago picking up laundry soap and other household supplies. I have a history of chit-chatting…. (ok too much chit-chatting) with cashiers so Joy Ann usually reminds me to chill as we approach check-out.
The line was moving incredible slow and the people in front of us weren’t buying that much stuff. As we got closer we learned the cashier was asking each customer, “Are you a member of our loyalty club? Would you like to become a member? Do you want to apply for a Kmart card? Do you have any Kmart coupons?” and on and on. After each of the customers’ purchases were rung up and paid for, a seemingly endless stream of receipts, coupons and survey questionnaires were splitting out of the cash register….so much so every customer commented on the amount of paper being handed to them.
It seems to me that all the questions, all the added interaction and all the additional paper work was producing a negative experience for us and the other customers. Instead of creating loyalty they were creating the opposite.
I suspect Kresge’s, McCory’s and even Sears were founded on principles like ‘good value, good shopping experience, friendly service’, and so on.
I cannot imagine success coming from ‘get tracking information on every customer, make them a coupon offer they can’t refuse, making shopping with our credit card mandatory.’
In all fairness I should confess that I was totally wrong about the success of the George Foreman Grill and Pet Rocks.
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Manzie R Lawfer